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Is It Worth Getting the Starwood Amex When I Already Have the Amex Platinum Card?

by on September 1, 2013 · 18 comments

in American Express, Sunday Reader Questions

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Update: The offers mentioned below for the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Cards from American Express has expired. View the current offers here – personal, business.

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

TPG reader Leo wants to know if he should pick up another American Express card:

“Do you think it’s worth getting the Starwood Preferred Guest Card from American Express when I already have the Platinum Card? Is the only advantage earning two extra Starwood points per dollar?”

Comparing the Starwood American Express and the Platinum Card from American Express is kind of like comparing apple to oranges. Starpoints, in my opinion, are more valuable than Membership Rewards points that are accrued from the Platinum Card. Not only are you getting an extra 2 Starpoints per dollar when you spend at Starwood properties (on top of the Starpoints you earn as an SPG member), but you’re earning more valuable points on everyday purchases.

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The key reasons why I like Starpoints are that they transfer to a lot of great airline partners like American Airlines and US Airways, and there is a built-in 25% transfer bonus – any time you transfer 20,000 Starpoints to an airline partner you will get 5,000-mile bonus with most of the frequent flyer programs.

In general The Platinum Card from American Express is not the best card for earning points. If you want Membership Rewards points, the Premier Rewards Gold card is a much better option because of its earning structure. With this card you will earn 3x on airfare, 2x on gas and groceries and 1x for everything else. You will also earn a 15,000 point bonus when you hit $30,000 in spend in a calendar year.

One of the great perks of the Platinum Card is the Airport Club Access Program.

One of the great perks of the Platinum Card is the Airport Club Access Program.

Update: Beginning March 22, 2014, American Express Card Members will no longer have access to American Airlines Admiral Club and US Airways Club airport lounges through Airport Club Access / Airport Lounge Program. This means that Card Members will no longer be able to gain complimentary access to the American Airlines airport lounges (known as Admirals Club lounges) or the US Airways Club airport lounges as a benefit of their Platinum Card Membership.

However, the Platinum Card is great because of the numerous perks that come along with it. Card benefits include an annual $200 airline fee rebate, airport lounge access, Global Entry reimbursement, Starwood Gold status and access to the Fine Hotels and Resorts program. Read this post for more details on the various benefits and why they bring more value than the cost of the card’s steep $450 annual fee.

As for the Starwood Amex, the $65 annual fee is waived for the first year and there is a current 30,000-point bonus after $5,000 spent in 6 months that is available until September 3, 2013. I value those 30,000 Starpoints at $600 right off the bat. The Platinum Card has a 25,000-point sign up bonus which you will earn after spending $2,000 on the card within the first 3 months. If you’re able to spend $7,000 in 6 months to earn both bonuses I might recommend getting both cards instead of just choosing one since you can rack up those valuable Starpoints, but also enjoy the perks and benefits of the Platinum Card.

As we noticed this week with the American Airlines surcharge scare, it’s always good to have a robust portfolio of different points accounts with flexible transfer options. I would recommend having both cards in your wallet and deciding at the end of the year whether it makes sense to keep both or get rid of one. That plan is feasible because American Express will let you have 4 open credit cards and unlimited charge cards. The Platinum Card is actually a charge card so it won’t count towards that limit of 4 credit cards that you can get approved for.

I myself have multiple American Express cards, both the Starwood personal and business card, the Mercedes-Benz Platinum Card as well as the Premier Rewards Gold card so its definitely possible to mix and match and maximize those points. Please tweet me @thepointsguy if you have any follow up questions and good luck!

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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  • PWC

    If you actually travel a lot and earn elite status it gets even better. I’m a Platinum with Starwood (100+ nights per year, Ambassador etc) so I get 5 Starpoints for every dollar I spend at their hotels. It doesn’t get much better than that.

  • Candace P

    I applied for the SPG card yesterday and they said they would not give me the bonus as per the link I clicked on, because I already had another type of AmEx card! (Delta Gold) Is that normal procedure?
    I applied for the British Airways card this morning and got immediate acceptance.

  • Slee

    Bonuses are forfeit usually due to having the SAME (or similar) product OPEN within a certain time period. Lately, that’s been a similar card open within the last 365 days. Delta Amex, Regular Amex (Plat, Gold, Green), and SPG Amex are all DIFFERENT products. Personal and Business versions are also DIFFERENT products. A bonus being denied based on what you are saying doesn’t make sense. You should only be denied the bonus if you’ve had the same (two personal or two business) SPG Amex open within the past 365 days.

  • Corky

    Are these questions just made up? I have a hard time believing someone knows enough to write to you but can’t figure out there’s a sin-up bonus.

  • Kristie Cu

    I’m a consultant, but have just been put on a local project. I likely won’t be staying at hotels for the next year, so is the Starwood AmEx worth it? Or just sticking with Chase Freedom/Sapphire better?

  • thepointsguy

    I think they knew about the sign-up bonus, but were asking long-term which card was better.

  • thepointsguy

    And no- all questions are real!

  • thepointsguy

    Depends what you spend your money on- if travel/dining (likely) then you’ll rack up more points with Sapphire Preferred 2x and Freedom 5x rotating bonus combo.

    You need to spend a lot of money on the SPG Amex to get free nights and it only offers 1x on spend, so the other cards will likely get you more value long term- plus the CSP doesn’t have a foreign transaction fee, but the SPG Amex does.

  • thepointsguy

    The rep may have been confused.. as long as you haven’t had the SPG Amex in the past, you should be eligible for the bonus. I received it when I applied last year (And I had many Amex cards already) and I know most other people I’ve talked to have gotten the bonus even though they were existing Amex customers.

  • thepointsguy

    I’m a 100 night Plat as well and the 5x makes SPG point accrual easier, especially when stacked with promotions.

  • Candace P

    I know it doesn’t make sense. That is why I posted the question.
    I applied though another browser, and filled out the form by hand, not clicking on “Already an American Express customer.” I submitted, and my application is being reviewed. We will see what happens.
    Thanks for your input.

  • Candace P

    I just got an email saying I was approved. It shows it pays to keep on trying sometimes.

    Thanks all, for your help.

  • Texas281

    starwood points are the most valuable points in my opinion. I use them a lot, and am platinum with starwood. I like the fact we can get platinum status by doing reward stays. I also enjoy the fact i can transfer to emirates from SPG. Emirates is a good way to travel the word and flies direct from houston.

  • John

    Hi Brian, I’m an Aussie looking for some ways to get smarter with the flyer points etc. Any tips on where I should start looking, on your blog etc, or even better what is hot downunder. I have looked at a few deals that you mention but most are for US residents only. Regards John

  • Jerry

    is there somehow a way to get this card for a French citizen ?
    opening an bank account in the UK ?

  • Wellington

    How much time has to elapse between applying for AMEX cards? For example, I was approved for a targeted Delta Gold Amex and a Blue Cash card on 7/29. Will I be rejected due to only approximately 30 days having gone by? I would like to also apply to the MB platinum card soon. Thank you for any advice.

  • http://david.ulevitch.com/ davidu

    Amex MR transfers to airlines are usually instantaneous… I’ve been sold the Starwood transfers can takes weeks…. or months! Can anyone shed light on this?

  • EYang

    I’ve had success transferring SPG points to Aeroplan within a few days. Best of all, 20,000 SPG points netted 25,000 Aeroplan miles!

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