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Update: Some of the offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express, Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express
Our poor neighbors to the north in Canada never seem to get the lucrative credit card sign-up bonuses we get here in the US, but at least from time to time they’re treated to a few (relatively) good opportunities.
In this particular case, the Canadian Starwood American Express card is offering a limited-time bonus of 15,000 Starpoints for people who apply and spend $1,000 in the first three months they have the card. While that doesn’t seem great compared to the 30,000 point offer we had in the US recently, the normal sign-up bonus is 10,000 points, so this is a 50% improvement and it’s only available until November 12, 2012.
Unfortunately, as is common with Canadian card bonuses, this isn’t even close to the high ones we get in the US, including the 30,000 points that were recently up for grabs as a sign-up bonus for both the personal and business Starwood Amexes in the US.
However, with each of those, you needed to spend $5,000 within the first 6 months, so the minimum spending requirement on this one is at least a lot lower. What’s not lower is the $120 annual fee…as opposed to $65 in the US, although it is waived for the first year when you use the RSVP code 15000, so make sure you plan on using those points toward some great redemptions in order to make this worth it.
The card also offers a free weekend night award at a Category 1-4 property when you reach $40,000 in purchases each year, and, like the US personal card, Starwood Gold status when you spend $30,000 within a year. One way this card beats the US version: you get 8,000 Starpoints for each approved referral instead of just 5,000.
Like the US version, this card carries foreign transaction fees, and has the same 30 airline transfer partners plus a 5,000-mile bonus when you transfer points in increments of 20,000 to an airline partner.
Bottom line: though it’s still not an amazing bonus, at least it’s 50% higher than normal, so if you are Canadian and have been thinking about getting this card, now seems like a good time to pull the trigger, especially with such a low minimum spending requirement. While this premium card has one of the highest annual fees on the market, it has several valuable perks that could make it worthwhile, depending on your travel patterns. These include a $200 annual airline rebate, lounge access, free Hilton Gold status and free Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status.
While this premium card has one of the highest annual fees on the market, it has several valuable perks that could make it worthwhile, depending on your travel patterns. These include a $200 annual airline rebate, lounge access, free Hilton Gold status and free Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status.