Best Card For Starwood Stays: SPG Amex or Amex Platinum?

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Many people have reported being targeted for the 100,000 point offer for The Platinum Card from American Express through the CardMatch Tool. Be sure to check for yourself to see what offers are available to you (there is no credit check)!

Update: The offers mentioned below for the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Cards from American Express have expired. View the current offers here –personalbusiness.

This past week, TPG reader JG tweeted me to ask:

@thepointsguy I’m going on a two-week trip and staying at Starwood hotels. Is it more worthwhile to use my SPG Amex or the Amex Platinum, which  just offered me 50,000 points for a $5,000 spend?”

I would recommend putting the actual hotel spend on the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express (which, for the month of June 2014, is offering a sign-up bonus of 30,000 miles for new cardholders) – unless any of those hotels are outside of the U.S. Unfortunately, the SPG Amex charges foreign transaction fees, so I don’t recommend using it while abroad. The fees you would accrue from an overseas spend could easily negate most, if not all, of the value of your Starpoints.

While in other countries, use a card like the American Express Platinum, which charges no foreign transaction fees (and recently added some great new benefits for travelers). Personally, I use the Chase Sapphire Preferred card for all my international hotel stays, because not only does it have no foreign transaction fees, but I also earn 2.14 valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points for every dollar spent.

The Starwood Preferred Guest American Express is the right choice for Starwood hotels stays - unless the properties are overseas
The SPG American Express is the right choice for Starwood stays in the U.S., but foreign transaction fees make it a poor choice when staying in Starwood properties abroad

One of my wishes for 2014 is that SPG Amex will dump their dopey foreign transaction fees, just like the Delta Amex cards did in May. SPG is a global hotel brand, and I think it would behoove them greatly to make it more practical for loyal SPG customers to use the company’s co-branded credit card at their own properties – no matter where they happen to be located.

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