5 Reasons to Get the Starwood Credit Card Bonuses!

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SPECIFIC STARWOOD AMEX OFFERS LISTED HERE ARE NO LONGER AVAILABLE.

The miles and points question I get asked the very most by a wide margin is how do I earn the miles and points I use to travel with my family? I sort of hate the question not because my tactics are sketchy or secret, but because my answer is very boring. Over 90% of the answer is that I apply for rewards credit cards when bonuses are increased, strategically use those cards to leverage my everyday spending, and take advantage of various bonuses as they pop up whether they are for paid travel, online shopping, or very occasionally points purchase bonuses.

SPECIFIC STARWOOD AMEX OFFERS LISTED HERE ARE NO LONGER AVAILABLE.

The cheapest, easiest, and most relevant of all of those ways I earn our miles and points is the one I always say first…applying for rewards credit cards when the sign-up bonuses are at their peaks. Right now the two Starwood Preferred Guest Amex cards are at their historic peaks, and if my husband and I hadn’t both already had both versions of the card, we would absolutely be applying. There are tons of reasons to apply, and virtually no reasons not to apply (other than already having the cards and thus being disqualified from the sign-up bonus).

Because I know you want to travel more for less, I do not want you to miss out on these increased SPG Amex bonuses that are only available through 4/5/17, so you will probably be hearing a lot more about them in the final few weeks of the offer. Today I’m going to share five reasons why you should consider applying for at least one of the increased SPG Amex credit card bonuses, and yes you can theoretically have both.

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express: Earn 25,000 bonus SPG points after you spend $3,000 on the card in the first three months and an extra 10,000 bonus Starpoints after you make an additional $2,000 in purchases within the first 6 months. $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $95 in subsequent years.

Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express: Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months and an extra 10,000 bonus Starpoints after you make an additional $3,000 in purchases within the first 6 months. $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $95 in subsequent years.

1. These are the Highest SPG Amex Sign-Up Bonuses Ever

The normal number of sign-up bonus points for these cards are a total of 25,000 bonus SPG points. They have gone to 30,000 points once a year in several previous years, and last year they once spiked to the 35,000 point level with a lower spending requirement than this year. However, they have never gone higher than 35,000 total bonus points, and they only hit that level once before in the history of these cards. I have no crystal ball, but there is no reason to think that the bonus will go higher than 35,000 points in any foreseeable future. However, there is every indication that after 4/5/17 the bonus will drop back down to 25,000 points. SPG points are worth more than most other types of points, so a 10,000 point swing is pretty massive in the SPG world.

2. The Future of the SPG Amex is Unclear

Because of the merger with Marriott, the future of the SPG Amex is very unclear beyond the next year or so, especially as it relates to new customers. I am sure that Amex will/would love to find a way to continue issuing the SPG Amex or a new Marriott Amex when the programs are presumably fully combined at some point, but I don’t know whether or not that will happen. We have seen examples of where more than one bank issues rewards cards for a loyalty program, but we have also seen examples when that doesn’t happen and one type of card/issuing banks ceases to exist post-merger.

marriott-spg-merger

3. The Future of the SPG Award Chart is Unclear

Even if the SPG Amex continues to exist in some form going forward, there is every indication that the SPG award chart as we know it today will not. Marriott Rewards has thus far been very thoughtful and methodical about how they handle the integration of the SPG program, but I haven’t really read anything that points to them keeping SPG as a separate program as we know it today into perpetuity. I think 2017 was always ‘safe’ for the SPG program, but for 2018 and beyond I think it is much more likely that things get combined into Marriott Rewards in some form.

St. Regis Punta Mita

St. Regis Punta Mita

What we get from a combined Marriott Rewards/SPG program in 2018 or beyond may be just fine, but I personally prefer to lock things in as I know them today, especially since SPG permits award bookings up to 18 months out into the future. This means I want my SPG points today…or as close to today as possible rather than just crossing my fingers that the future works out just fine. You can always choose to save your SPG points and use them in the future or even transfer them now into 105,000 Marriott points at a 1:3 ratio, but there may come a day when you really wished you already had SPG points in your SPG account.

4. SPG Properties are Just Awesome

You can use SPG points for a variety of things from otherwise unattainable SPG Moments opportunities, to good transfer rates to many airlines, but the truth is that I love Starwood properties so much that I most often use my SPG points to stay in fantastic places. The upper end of their award chart can get painful, but free nights start at just 2,000 points, and one of our most frequented SPG redemptions within walking distance to two sports stadiums in Kansas City is just 3,000 points per night on the weekend.

Westin Dublin

Westin Dublin

Most of my favorite SPG redemptions are usually for mid-range Category 4 and 5 properties when award prices are 10,000 – 12,000 points per night, or less if you stay five award nights and thus only pay the award rate for four. I have stayed at SPG Category 4 and 5 properties in Disney World, on ski slopes in Colorado and Canada, in Austin, Dublin, Alaska, and beyond. It is not unusual for me to get more than 4 cents in value per SPG point redeemed when comparing the points rate to the best available selling price for the rooms during peak seasons.

View from the Sheraton Steamboat starting at 12k points per night

View from the Sheraton Steamboat starting at 12k points per night

5. No Chase 5/24 Problems at Amex

I know that a good number of points loving folks can’t get all of the Chase rewards cards they want because of the “5/24 rule” that prevents you from getting most of the Chase rewards credit cards if you have five or more new credit cards open across all banks in the last 24 months. However, American Express thankfully doesn’t have that rule, so simply having five or more new accounts across all the banks in the last 2 years doesn’t automatically disqualify you from anything at Amex the way it can at Chase!

Furthermore, if you decide to go for the business version of the SPG card, it shouldn’t count against your Chase 5/24 limit either as Amex small business cards report differently to the credit bureaus than personal cards.

 

I could seriously go on and on, but if you like to travel on miles and points and haven’t already had both the SPG Amex and the SPG Business Amex, then you really should strongly consider getting one of both of them before the limited time bonus increase ends on April 5, 2017.

 SPECIFIC STARWOOD AMEX OFFERS LISTED HERE ARE NO LONGER AVAILABLE.

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express: Earn 25,000 bonus SPG points after you spend $3,000 on the card in the first three months and an extra 10,000 bonus Starpoints after you make an additional $2,000 in purchases within the first 6 months. $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $95 in subsequent years.

Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express: Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months and an extra 10,000 bonus Starpoints after you make an additional $3,000 in purchases within the first 6 months. $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $95 in subsequent years.

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

Comments

  1. My husband and I are already planning a trip to Kauai in 2018. The hotel we are planning on staying takes starwoods points. How hard is it to earn more points after the bonus points? Is it one point for every dollar spent?
    Sorry if that’s a silly question. I’ve been following you for sometime now, but am just now jumping into trying all the points and rewards programs.

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