Starwood American Express 30,000 Point Sign-Up Bonus

by on July 26, 2011 · 114 comments

in American Express, Starwood

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Update: The offer mentioned below for the Platinum Card from American Express has expired. View the current offer here

Update: Offers for the Starwood Amex cards have changed. Visit these links to see the current offers for the Starwood business and personal cards.

Offer Expired: September 3, 2013

While we’ve been used to 50k+ sign-up bonuses this year, you may want to consider the new offer from American Express for their Starwood card. You get 30,000 Starwood points after spending $4,500 within three months. Their normal offer is 10,000 points with 15,000 after $15,000 in spend within 6 months, so this offer is more lucrative and more attainable for those with lower spends, plus the $65 annual fee is waived for the first year on both personal and business cards. Limited-time. 

Personal card application (Note: You must be logged out of your American Express account for the 30k bonus to load- or use a new browser).
Business card application

Why are Starpoints valuable? In general, because there is a ton of flexibility in the redemption options.

1) Free hotel nights. Starwood has great award availability. 10k will get you a free night at a nice hotel (12k even nicer, 20/30k at a top hotel). If you redeem for 4 nights, you get the 5th free. So 40,000 points will get you 5 nights at a category 4 hotel.

Starwood Free Night Chart

2) Cash & Points! This is primarily the way I use my Starwood points. This can save you huge money, especially when traveling to Europe, where the Euro/Pound is killer. This option allows you to use a small amount of points with a cash (in USD) outlay. For example, I always use 4,800 Starpoints and $90 USD for my stays at the Westin Palace Madrid, when the room rates were all over 250 euros a night ($361). $361-90, means my 4,800 Starpoints saved me $271 or 5.6 points a piece – and this isn’t even an extreme example! I have gotten close to 12 cents per Starpoint on some redemptions. While Cash & Points space is limited, if you are flexible you can almost always make it work (or ask the hotel to release space).

The living room of my suite at the Westin Palace – Elites can get upgraded on award/cash & point stays

3) Airline transfers. While I primarily use my Starpoints for Starwood hotel stays (since I have boatloads of airline miles), it has come in handy to be able to transfer points to airlines whenever I need to top off accounts. And the kicker is that Starwood throws in a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 points transferred. Transfers sometimes take up to a week (or more), which is a drag, but there’s no way around that. The extensive list of transfer partners (note: American Airlines, which is not a part of the American Express or Chase programs – many AA flyers looking to bump up their lifetime miles will transfer Starpoints to AA because they count towards qualification):

Frequent Flyer Program Exchange Ratio (Starpoints : Miles)
Aeroplan/Air Canada 1:1
Air Berlin 1:1
Air China Companion 1:1
Air New Zealand & Air Points 65:1
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan 1:1
Alitalia MilleMiglia 1:1
All Nippon Airways (ANA) Mileage Club 1:1
American Airlines AAdvantage 1:1
Asia Miles 1:1
Asiana Airlines 1:1
British Airways Executive Club 1:1
Continental Airlines(R) OnePass 2:1
Delta Air Lines SkyMiles 1:1
El Al Israel Airlines No Transfer Option
Emirates Skywards 1:1
Flying Blue 1:1
Hawaiian Airlines 1:1
Iberia Plus No Transfer Option
Japan Airlines (JAL) Mileage Bank 1:1
King Club Miles 1:1
Mexicana Frecuenta 1:1
Miles and More 1:1
Qatar Airways 1:1
Saudi Arabian Airlines Alfursan 1:1
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer 1:1
Thai Airways International Royal Orchid Plus 1:1
US Airways Dividend Miles 1:1
United Mileage Plus 2:1
VARIG Smiles 2:1
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club 1:1

4) Earning on Starwood spend. Regular Starwood Preferred Guest members get 2 points per dollar spent. If you have the Starwood card, that increases to 4 points and if you have elite status it’s 5 points per dollar spent.

5) Elite status. Having the card knocks off 2 stays or 5 nights towards elite qualification. That means you only need 23 stays or 45 nights to get coveted Platinum status, which I’ve had for years and generally love. Starwood Platinums get space available suite upgrades (international properties are generally great with this benefit – US is hit or miss), 500 point amenity per stay, 50% bonus on Starpoints earned and special customer service/gifts throughout the year. Gold status is earned at $30,000 in spend on the card or 8 stays/20 nights. FYI: if you have an American Express Platinum Card, you get complimentary Gold status.
Key perks:
Gold - An extra point per dollar spent on Starwood stays, 4pm late check-out, room upgrades and enhanced customer service.
Platinum – Gold benefits, plus select standard suite upgrades if available at check-in, free internet, 500 point or local gift amenity, gym/lounge access, concierge and guaranteed room availability (at rack rate).

6) Business card. Amex offers a business card option, which is a nice tag team to a personal card. Plus, you can combine the elite qualification benefits – slicing 4 stays or 10 nights off elite qualification, thus making it only 21 stays or 40 nights to Platinum.

7) Starwood Moments. Throughout the year Starwood offers unique experiences for sale only via using your Starpoints. I have seen a lot of good values and recently they’ve been “selling” premium concert tickets at huge discounts. I haven’t personally gotten in on them, but friends recently snagged tickets that were near front row orchestra with face value of $300 per ticket – for 5,000 Starpoints for both tickets.

8 ) SPG Flights. Generally not the best redemption, but Starwood lets you use points for 1 cent each towards booking revenue airline tickets (meaning you get the miles and elite status for the flights).

Overall, it’s a solid every day spending card that allows you to accrue valuable, flexible points. Note: it does have foreign transaction fees, so I don’t recommend it for international travel/spend.

What are your thoughts/experiences with the Starwood Amex card?
Personal card details:

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Steve

    Question: can I turn 1 2 night stay at a Starwood hotel into 2 1 night stays by checking out and back in at the same hotel on day 2? Or will that hotel treat it as 1 2 night stay for purposes of getting to elite status?

  • Anonymous

    Technically you need to switch to a different hotel for night number 2. Usually the hotels will merge your two separate stays, though I’ve had some slip through the cracks :-)

  • Scott

    Anyone have good experience receiving bonuses for both the Personal and Business cards? T&C’s for the Business Card has me thinking no, but maybe there’s data to prove otherwise? I have the Personal card and would definitely apply for the Business version… but only if it comes with the bonus.
    T&C #2: “Bonus Starpoints can only be received once per Cardmember, regardless of the number of Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card accounts the Cardmember may have or had.”

  • Frank

    I just got my card a month ago under the 15k for 15,000 points. What’s the best way to go about getting this switched?

  • stef

    Hi! I just signed up for this about a week or 2 ago (for the regular 25K points for 15K spend)…do you think I have any chance of getting this offer with a phone call?

  • Sean Buchanan

    I signed up for my SPG about a month ago as well. Once I heard about this offer (a week ago) I sent a secure message to Amex asking to be switched over to this promotion. The CSR said she couldn’t switched me but credited my account with 20K star points. I still have to hit $15K in 6 months for the extra 15K points but having an extra 20K star points added (they hit today) makes me happy and a satisfied SPG/Amex customer.

  • Chris

    Does anyone have experience applying for both the business and personal at the same time?

    TPG, FYI the business card link isn’t working. The landing page loads fine but when you click on the ‘apply’ link it goes to a ’404 not found’.

  • Scott

    Nice!! That would be a total of 35k bonus points… (which is better than the 30k offer out now). Wonder if others will have similar fortune – just tried and will report back.

  • Anonymous

    For the biz card link, they are probably just updating on the back end- should be good to go soon.

    As for applying for both at the same time, I personally haven’t but I don’t see why not since you’d be using them for different reasons. I think that could be easily explained if you were initially declined

  • Anonymous

    Nice! It never hurts to ask, indeed :-)

  • Romina

    @Chris I had applied for the two (per/Biz) at the same time last year and got both bonus. Can’t tell if the terms or the current offer differ from the one last year.

    Question: do we have to transfer the points before to cancel the card ?

  • Ang

    The personal link seems to go to an “add authorized user” page. Am I the only one having this problem?

  • Mike

    $4500 in spend!!! Hey AMEX didn’t you hear the mint deal is dead. Take it easy on us!!!

  • Paul

    They did. That’s the reason they brought the $15k spend down to $4.5k spend.

  • Ophelia

    I’m in the same situation (signed up last month). Just got off the phone with CSR at Amex – they can’t directly switch you to the new promotion unless you received an email offer about it (as opposed to finding it online). She put in a formal “request” and is supposed to call me back with an update. To be continued…

  • Michael Chung

    This is a great deal compared to the what is currently offered by SPG Amex Canada 20000 starpoints for $120 annual fee ($150 biz). Unfortunately, we can only hope and wish one day we can get such an offer… sigh…

  • Namsilver

    I previously had the SPG card, received the 25K sign-up bonus then, and canceled it about a year ago. Does anyone have any experience with re-applying for the SPG card, and whether you can receive the points bonus again?

  • Tom

    “and special customer service/gifts throughout the year”. I’m a Plat member and I don’t remember any of those.

  • Scott

    @Ophelia I was able to get the 5k points added… they asked for an Offer Number (there isn’t one as far as I can tell). Told her it was “offered” to me by SPG Insider on Twitter (I’m a follower –!/SPGInsider). Was put on hold while the nice CSR checked with her supervisor… 10 minutes later and she said the points would be in there within 3-5 days!

  • Scott

    I’d call in for a CSR (# on the back of your card); I tried a Secure Message through AMEX earlier today and was shot down because I wasn’t “targeted”… nevermind that it’s being offered on the SPG home page to everyone. :)

  • Anonymous

    @thepointsguy: I was wondering if you are considering getting this card or have it (and what your experience has been)?

  • Dan

    Yes. Last year, when they were running the 30k bonus under much more generous terms, I picked up the SPG Biz card and received the bonus.

  • Chemist661

    Last year, spouse signed up for both personal & Biz Starwood cards. (30K for $1500 spend). Nice to have 60K pts plus spend. Coworker at work got the same deal.

    We use the points for mainly lower level hotels in USA and lower/mid level hotels in Europe. We use the cash & points whenever possible. We aren’t big spenders so she cancelled her personal card. Will keep Biz card when annual fee comes around next statement.

    We are concentrating on hotel points as we have a healthy amount of airline miles accumulated.

  • Heather

    Hey, I clicked on your link above and the page it goes to doesn’t show anything about the 30K bonus points. Any ideas? Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    Which link did you click? The personal one is working fine for me. The business link is a little messed up- Amex is having issues on their end, but it should be working soon (theres an error when you try to apply). They’ve assured me everyone applying today will get 30k as promised.

  • Anonymous

    These points are not transferable- they automatically bank into your personal Starwood Preferred Guest account. When you cancel the account, the points are still yours. Given this card is free for the first year, I’d recommend keeping it open at least 9 months to be safe.

  • Anonymous

    Should be fixed now- lmk if you are still having issues

  • Anonymous

    I often feel sorry for the Canadians… so close, yet so far from the action!

  • Anonymous

    I’d apply for the business card to be safe, you should be eligible for that bonus.

  • Anonymous

    How long have you been a plat member? I’ve gotten awesome NCAA tickets, discount award nights, personalized bag tags, personalized memory books, $25 coupons, magazine subscirptions and more. You may be opted out of communications, in which case you should opt in because these gifts are usually open to all plats.

  • Anonymous

    I actually don’t have the card, but I will probably hop on this because its generally as good as it gets for this card and I love SPG points (and am running low!)

  • Anonymous

    I agree that we often focus way too much on air miles and forget about hotel points. Especially in Europe, hotels can be a HUGE drag on the budget. This is a great way to top up and I plan to use Cash and Points to stretch the value as much as possible

  • Heather

    Hi, I clicked the one @ top of this page and then the one near the end that has pic of card next to it. I’ll try it again right now and see what happens.

  • Heather

    I clicked the link at top of your page and the one at bottom with credit card picture next to it. Just tried again and doesn’t say anything about the 30K point bonus. Here is the link it takes me to:

  • Anonymous

    It loads fine for me. I would recommend logging out of your American Express account and trying again (or use a different browser)

  • liang dong

    Hi, I get referred by a friend, so receive AMEX email about Business card, use link to AMEX website to apply in SUN evening, went through everything, it was pedning.

    Now I checked status online or call CSR, both cannot find my application, they suggests me call back later, to my app will show up in their system.

    My question is: 1). is this normal for AMEX? cannot find my app though I use their email link to app? 2). How long did we get response if status is pending? 3). what to do? just call CSR again & again everyday?

  • Larry K

    Using the Cash & Points, do you have to use your SPG cards to pay the cash (given the foreign transaction fee, ideally we could use a different card..)

  • Anonymous

    You can use any card you want! I don’t recommend using the SPG Amex since it has foreign transaction fee

  • Flyer

    I clicked on link at work and no offer came up. We still use IE6. However, when I tried it with IE8, it worked fine. No idea why.

  • Flyer

    Yea, I am thinking about investigating if I can prepay my cable and cell phone bill for a year. How silly is that.

  • stef

    I called this morning, and they said they made a note in my account, and I have to call once I’ve hit the $4.5K in 3 months, and they will credit the 20K extra points. Followed up with a secure message to get written confirmation.

  • Karan Kchopra

    Just got approved – used personal link while logged into platinum Amex.

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  • Heather

    Thanks. I tried a different browser and I see it! :-)

  • Hanqter

    can i plz get a referal for business?

  • Mike

    We always feel being taken advantage by these credit card companies. Unfortunately, we don’t get these ludicrous bonuses with low fee. You’d be lucky to find 20000 for $120 annual fee. I must say our new Amex Gold rewards card is as close as your Amex Premier gold card but not quite there….well better than nothing.

  • Ryan B

    I should know this, but if I got both cards using the 40K offers in 2010, met the spend, got the points, and cancelled, can I repeat with these offers now? Or are SPG bonus points a one-time thing (i.e., no churning)?

  • Phil

    I got the card under the 10/15K offer a couple of months ago. Asked for the new offer or bonus through the website and got denied, called in and got some (friendly) pushback before being transferred to a supervisor, who gave me the extra 5K.

  • Global Explat

    I sent a message on the Amex site. CSR said they couldn’t lower the 15k spend (though I’d admitted I was gonna get there anyway) but gave me 5k immediately to match the shortfall on the total bonus (was gonna be 25k instead of 30k).

  • Julian Robbins

    As always, love to get in on a good deal, and I always find them posted on TPG…
    … so I’m instantly approved for the personal card and I also tried my hand at the business card. Business card says I need to call in. Anyone else have this step to go through? What kind of information will they be asking me about? I assume they want to verify that I am a real (sole proprietor) business, which might take a little creative talking.

  • Anonymous

    Okay.. I can answer my own question… they saw two applications in the system, so wanted to make sure they weren’t duplicate. Rep didn’t seem to have a problem with applying for personal and business so the business one has been released for processing.. Will post back with how I get on!

  • Chris

    I’m moving to Canada in the next couple of months. So it might be time to jump on these points well I’m still eligible.

  • Solomon

    Given that LAN gives a 2:1 ratio for transfers and LAN is a oneworld member, wouldnt it make sense to transfer most or all points to LAN? Separately, how do you figure out the best mix of cash and points for hotels? Is there an ideal ratio? Thanks!

  • Paul

    The application for the business card is not working for me (IE8). Tried clearing the cache – still no go.
    Is Amex still having issues?
    I have a personal SPG Amex – can I get the 30K points on a business card (if I get approved)?

  • Anonymous

    Its not working for me either- I have no idea what the problem is. You think they’d have it worked out by now! I tried to find an active 30k link elsewhere and couldn’t so if you want to just hang tight, it should be up by tomorrow.

  • Jason

    In looking at, I have found very little in the way of cash and points options as far as booking a hotel. Have they tightened up on this??

  • Ryan B

    This is not churnable – correct? i.e., if you’ve had the specific card before – even a year ago – you will not get the bonus for signing up again. Correct? (Sorry for asking twice – didn’t get an answer before.)

  • Anonymous

    Technically No, but if you cancelled it 2+ years ago, of say there is a chance. Otherwise I recommend just getting the business card- same offer and you use your social security number to get it

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  • Lisa

    If I transfer Starpoints to my AA account does it not only count toward the accrual of lifetime miles but does it also reset the 18 month expiration period for my current miles? I have a lot of AA miles banked and I keep a Citi AA card open just so I can can charge something every once in awhile and make sure I don’t lose them. I like the idea of dumping that card and getting this one. I was also thinking of dumping either my Amex Blue or Green anyway, once CO/UA pull out of Membership Rewards. This sounds like a good time to make the switch!

  • David Hagins

    I guess still no go on an active link for the Biz card? It’s giving me an error. I wanted to apply for the Personal and Biz at the same time for me and the wife, and maybe even the Gold Premier also. I’m worried Am Ex may so no to me on the Gold Premier if they realize I just opened 2 other Am Ex account with them, so I wanted to apply for all at the same time.

  • MiamiGuy

    I just called and got the additional $5k points. Thanks for this tip!

  • Jack
  • Lisa

    Thanks, it works

  • Anonymous

    FYI the business link now works.. sorry for the delay!

  • Anonymous

    Yes- Starwood to AA will count as lifetime miles and it will keep your miles active. It sounds like a good card for you!

  • Anonymous

    The business card link so now works

  • David Hagins

    Just applied at the same time for personal and Biz. Personal went right through, Biz had me call to approve. I called, they said it should be approved within 24 hours. They said if you apply for both Personal and Biz at the same time, it flags the apps and the system “thinks” that it may be a double application automatically, but you call and they see it’s 2 different apps, it goes through within 24 hours, supposedly.

  • Andrew

    The business application asks for a TIN for sole prop. Can I oput my SSN in instead?

  • Anonymous

    Yep- Ssn should work

  • Kevin

    Just tried to apply for this and the Chase Sapphire at the same time. Got a pending on both. I expected a pending w/ Chase since I got the CO and BA cards back in Feb/Apr of this year. I was surprised to get a pending with Amex since they were instant with my Delta Gold and the Platinum. Excellent credit and all that jazz too. Hopefully I can get them approved.


    If I had already a starwoods card that i canceled 6weeks ago can i get bonus for applying again? HOW ABOUT CAN I GET 2X BONUS ONE FOR PERSONAL CARD AND ONE FOR BUSSINESS?

  • Larry K

    I just called SPG Amex (# on the back of my card), told them 1) that I’ve been an SPG Amex card holder for the past two years, 2) my signup offer wasn’t as lucrative as the current signup offer, and 3) that I’m a loyal SPG Amex user. I then asked if I could participate in the currnet offer (ie spend $4.5k in 3 months to get 30k points). She said “no” but instead gave me 2k points. Not bad!

  • Bellagio121

    The Personal link only points to a 10K point bonus and not a 30K point bonus. Is that what we are supposed to see and hope we get 30K point bonus?

  • Anonymous

    Doubtful you will get the bonus again if you just canceled 6 weeks ago. Maybe if it was 2+ years. And yes, you can also get the bonus for the business card

  • Compo

    Moments is a KA programme. Two people to possibly the greatest hospitality ever on Sunday at the 2011 Open in Sandwich – for 10,000 Starpoints!
    Nice one SPG

  • Phil

    The link goes to 10k in bonus, not 30k, has somehting changed?

  • Phil

    The link goes to 10k in bonus, not 30k, has somehting changed?

  • Anonymous

    Log out of your amex account or use a different browser and then you’ll see the 30k bonus

  • Anonymous

    Interesting. I was just looking at the Canadian Gold card and I would say the deal is quite comparable. It’s cheaper ($150CAD vs $175USD), has the same published bonus but with a lower spend threshold (15k @ $500/90days) — 75k secret offer notwithstanding.

    And while it’s true the US Amex offers 3x points on Airfare, the Canadian card offers 2x points on Airfare, Hotel, Cruises and Rental Cars. And best of all, the Canadian card offers travel medical insurance AND trip interruption insurance! The US card you have to buy that as a supplemental ($19/mth for health and $? for interruption). Unless there’s something I’m missing the Canadian card looks to be one hell of a deal. I’m actually going to recommend my northern family members pick one up.

  • Xbrantarx

    Seems that they are either having difficulties or they have pulled this promotion. Trying to apply and no matter which route i take it says that the offer is no longer available.

  • Xbrantarx

    Seems that they are either having difficulties or they have pulled this promotion. Trying to apply and no matter which route i take it says that the offer is no longer available.

  • Anonymous

    It’s definitely not pulled and loads fine for me. Make sure you are logged out of your Amex account and /or use a different browser. Let me know if that works!

  • Anonymous

    It’s definitely not pulled and loads fine for me. Make sure you are logged out of your Amex account and /or use a different browser. Let me know if that works!

  • middlebeiz

    Any ideas on how to up spending to reach the 4.5K ??? I don’t normally spend that much on a card in 3 months. Any help would be appreciated.

  • MJLouise

    What’s the bonus for first usage only? Is it 10k points?

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  • mww

    Any tips on how to ask a hotel to release cash and points space? What’s your success rate in doing so? Thanks

  • Bryan

    When I click the personal card link, the offer is only for 10k points. Am I blind or did they already modify the offer?

  • Anonymous

    Offer is still good- you just need to be signed out of your Amex account or use a different browser

  • Carol

    Business link still works; personal link does not.

  • Anonymous

    Offer is still good- you just need to be signed out of your Amex account or use a different browser

  • Anonymous

    Hi TPG. I got the SPG Amex card last year, and its presently up for renewal. I’m not sure that its worth it for me. Its $65, and I don’t use SPG hotels all that often. On top of that, I recently got the BA Visa card, the Cap 1 card, the Citibank AA Amex, I’ve been approved for the Premier Gold Amex, and am awaiting approval for the Hyatt Card (all thanks to you!) …. Any thoughts or suggestions? Will my [excellent] credit rating really suffer a lot if I cancel?

  • Lisa A.

    I need the personal card 30K offer. The link is no longer working. (and of course I waited until just before the deadline to apply.) I tried from Safari and Firefox. Am definitely logged out of my Amex account. Can anyone help?

  • Lisa

    (different Lisa than the Lisa below)

  • Dzmego
  • Anonymous

    The 30k signup promo is now over

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  • FW

    Hello Pointsguy:
    I think that I should have read your blog when I applied for my AmexSPG back in Nov 2011. I have spent well over the required $5000 to get the 15K bonus but I think I made the mistake of signing thru my Amex account. Now I am getting nowhere with the CSR, I must have called 4 times in the last 3 weeks and I can’t even get a written response…Do you have any advice on how to proceed to at least get Amex to acknowledge the issue? Meanwhile I have stopped using both Gold Rewards and SPG cards and focused on Chase Sapphire.

  • evodad

    A little research says both my wife and I can both apply for the card and earn the bonus, but I originally signed up for this offer and added her as a second card on my account. Does anyone know if she can still sign up separately under the current promotion where I can refer her and earn 5k bonus points and then she can sign up and earn another 25k bonus points?

  • thepointsguy

    Yes- being a secondary cardholder does not disqualify you from getting the signup bonus if you decide to get your own card

  • evodad

    good to know, thanks for the quick reply, now time to refer her and get her signed up…

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  • Tpsmith

    Checked on it and they only offer 10,000 points for your first purchase. Nothing else.

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  • Tpsmith

    Just went back on and offer seems to be there now on a different page

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  • Lawrence

    I signed up for an SPG Amex back in October 2013 – at the time deal was 10k pts after first spend; extra 15k after $5k spend in first 3 months. I satisfied that and have been patiently waiting for the extra 15k points. I finally emailed Amex this week and they’re telling me the only deal was 10k points after first spend. I don’t think I saved anything regarding the deal – but found it odd that they’re not willing to offer me anything given that the current deal is spend $5k in 6 months. Anything I can do here? I guess lesson learned is to always screen shot or somehow save deal to be able to verify down the road?

  • Traderlatino

    Got it!!

  • DBSunDevil

    I just got my card in the mail. I applied through your site because I’m assuming it helps you and I’m a fan of your site. I love how you can achieve gold status with Starwood just by spending $30,000 on the card. I was looking through your site for a section that shows you other programs where you are able to hit a higher status level just through spending and I couldn’t find one. Do you have a list of those types of cards? If not, I think it would be a great thing to create. Also, I was wondering if I hit gold status by spending $30,000 do I only need the 25 night difference between gold and elite to achieve elite status or would I still need the full 45?

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