Brand New SPG Amex Benefits Announced!

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Continuing the (awesome) theme of credit cards upping their sign-up bonuses and/or increasing their perks, there is more good news today from American Express!

Specifically, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express has not only lowered its minimum spending requirement to trigger the sign-up bonus, but it is also ready to officially announce its benefits makeover!

New SPG Card Design

Beginning on August 11th the SPG Personal Amex will have the following new perks:

  • No Foreign Transaction Fees– SPG Card Members can now enjoy international travel without foreign transaction fees from American Express when using their Card on purchases abroad.
  • Complimentary, Unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi – SPG Card Members will enjoy complimentary, unlimited Wi-Fi access when they enroll in the Boingo American Express Preferred Plan. Receive Wi-Fi access on up to four devices to more than 1,000,000 hotspots worldwide and pay no Wi-Fi roaming fees.
  • Complimentary Premium In-Room Internet Access – SPG Card Members won’t miss a beat while away from family, friends, or the office with complimentary premium in-room internet access at SPG® Participating Hotels when booked via an “eligible channel”.

The Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Amex also gets this new perk (in addition to the ones above):

  • Access to Sheraton Club Lounges for Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Amex cardholders staying on an eligible reservation for the cardholder and a guest  in the same room.  Card Members with a SPG Business Credit Card feel like VIPs with access to Sheraton Club Lounges, which includes a complimentary daily breakfast, evening selection of premium beverages and hors d’oeuvres, and space for hosting a friend or colleague.

New SPG Amex Benefits

Review of new SPG Amex Benefits:

If you didn’t already have Sheraton Club access via SPG Platinum status, then being able to grab a snack or complimentary daily breakfast vai having the business card is a real improvement.  Now, most Sheraton Club Lounges in the US aren’t exactly memorable, but having the option to grab something is better than not having the option!

No foreign transaction fees on both the business and personal cards doesn’t sound near as novel now as it did a few years ago since many rewards cards already have this feature, but for this card it is still a very welcome change.  The SPG Amex awards 2x points on SPG charges, so it is very tempting to use it at international SPG properties, but the foreign transaction fees made that a deal killer.  Now you can swipe and earn valuable SPG points both in and out of the United States without any additional fees – hurray!

I could have used the card during my recent stays at SPG properties in Madrid and Barcelona if no foreign transaction fees had been in place during that stay!

Earlier this year SPG announced that internet would be free for all SPG members who book directly with SPG, but often hotels have different tiers of internet available, and the free internet available to everyone via that SPG benefit is just standard internet unless you have Platinum status or have Gold status and select that as your “amenity”.   This means that for those of us who aren’t SPG Platinums, this premium in-room internet perk is an improvement!   You still have to book directly with SPG and the benefit is limited to one room per cardholder.  Complimentary Boingo is also handy when traveling, especially at airports that don’t yet have free WiFi for everyone.

The other card perks are staying as they are, and those include:

  • 2x points on eligible SPG charges, 1x on most other charges
  • Receive credit for 5 nights and 2 stays toward SPG elite status each year (this stacks so if you have business and personal SPG Amex cards you get 10 nights and 4 stays toward SPG elite status)
  • Upgrade to SPG Gold status after spending $30,000 in eligible purchases on the card in a calendar year.

The bad news is that the annual fee will be increasing from $65 to $95 effective August 11th, 2015 for both versions of the card. The first year of card membership is still $0, and the $95 kicks in starting at the first anniversary.  Personally I currently have the business version of the card, and I’m glad I do since it gets the Sheraton Club perk and the personal card does not.

What do you think of these new benefits for the SPG Amex?

Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.

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Comments

  1. No foreign exchange fees is a great perk. I guess if I were being cynical I’d say that’s more of bringing the card up to the new standard than adding a great perk, but I’ll happily take it either way.
    I’ve still never used boingo internet, but should probably sign up and get it all sorted out as soon as it becomes available, because I’m sure it will come in handy someday.

  2. Looks like I will be switching my stays from Westin to Sheraton. Great new perk! This is probably part of the re-branding of Sheraton and I’m so glad. Also like the free Boingo.

  3. any word if Sheraton club access benefit for Amex spg biz cardholders applies to starpoint redemption stays?

    • I’m verifying. Will report back, but my bet would be toward yes as it references Starpoint Eligible Rates, and those are defined below. It doesn’t specifically exclude award reservations, but again, I’m waiting for final confirmation.

      “Eligible Rate” is the rate an SPG Member pays for a stay in a guest room at an SPG Participating Hotel unless:

      (1) the guest room was booked through a tour operator, online travel channel or other third party channel including, without limitation, expedia.com, hotwire.com, priceline.com, orbitz.com, booking.com, travelocity.com, ctrip.com, and elong.com;
      (2) the guest room was booked at a group rate as part of an event, meeting, conference or organized tour, and the SPG Member does not directly pay the SPG Participating Hotel for such room;
      (3) the guest room was booked at a tour operator, wholesaler, or crew room rate including, without limitation, STARNet and STARPRO;
      (4) the guest room was booked at an employee or friends and family rate or a Starwood business rate;
      (5) the guest room was provided complimentary; or
      (6) a voucher or third party award (e.g., Aeroplan room award, Air Miles room award) was redeemed for the guest room.

  4. I wish that the new benefits for the business card included some kind of club access or free breakfast to the Westins. We usually visit the Westin in Hilton head during the summer or fall. Free breakfast would be a nice bonus.

  5. 5 night + 2 stay credits x 2 does not equal 10 night + 10 stay credits with both biz and personal.

    Check your math

  6. Correct, I doubled checked with my 5 year old and 2 + 2 doesn’t (sadly) equal 10. Typo fixed, both cards give you 10 nights toward elite status, but 4 stay credits. Thanks for the head’s up!

  7. Is this considered a different/new product aka will previous holders of the personal spg amex now be able to requalify for the sign up bonus if applying after August?

  8. Thanks for the information. It definitely makes my card more valuable. Any idea if there’s a listing or reference on which Sheratons have lounges? If not, is there a way to find out for a given property? For instance, Hyatt lists Regency Club rooms when there’s a club in a specific hotel.
    Also, can you pay with another card when using the business card to gain club access?

  9. Hopefully, SPG will continue to offer the promo 30k signup offer once or twice a year. My wife and I are heading to Barcelona, Madrid, & Lisbon this summer. Are you going to post a review for the Westin Palace & Le Meridien in Spain soon?

  10. i’m underwhelmed. I’ve had this card for a long time. It used to be my ‘go to card’ now it’s sitting in the sock drawer. No bonus categories given that I rarely stay at a starwood hotel. The no foreign transaction fees is hardly a novelty in this competitive environment. Boingo? You’ve got to be kidding. Hardly anything to get excited about. And the annual fee going up to nearly $100? That’s my net cost of the Citi prestige and I don’t need boingo as I’ll be sitting in a real airline lounge–not on the floor next to a plug accessing boingo wireless. This one might be a goner for me.

  11. Hmm, I’ve had this card for over a decade. I don’t stay at spg hotels, but value the ability to earn points. I don’t want to pay $95, as this is not my primary card. Plus I think my credit will take a hit since it’s such an old card. What to do, what to do.

  12. Is the Sheraton Club access tied to the SPG number so that you have automatic access? Or do you need to show the Biz card at check in?

  13. Great new benefits but not sure it’s worth the annual fee increase for me. I already carry:

    1. British Airways Visa from Chase
    $95 annual fee but worth it for the 10% off on BA flights via CARDOFFERU discount

    2. AA Aviator Red Mastercard from Barclays (formerly US Airways)
    $89 annual fee but worth it (just barely) for the 10% redeemed miles credit up to 10k miles

    3. Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa – my primary day-to-day card
    $95 annual fee but worth it

    Since I am already diversifying my mileage earning via the Chase Sapphire Preferred and all three cards now offer no foreign transaction fees I think I might drop the Starwood Amex when it renews.

  14. MommiePoints,
    Most personal credit cards allow the holder to have a second card issued on the same account (e.g., your spouse). Does this business credit card allow the same? I ask because I am thinking about getting this card in my wife’s name, as she has the “business” (consulting/single-proprietorship). I would then like to get a card in my name too, which would let me get into Sheraton clubs when I travel around (frequently without my wife, unfortunately). Thanks for your time!

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