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When Should I Get the SPG Amex Card to Maximize the Bonus?

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TPG reader Dave tweeted me to ask:

@thepointsguy–“Is now a good time to get the SPG Amex? Does that card ever offer more than the 25,000 points sign-up bonus, or should I apply now?” 

If you follow my Monthly Valuation Series, you’ll know that I think Starpoints are the most valuable loyalty currency out there. You can transfer them to over 30 different airlines at a very good ratio, you can redeem them for hotels at a great value, and you can even get great value by redeeming them for SPG Moments (like the awesome time I just had taking my dad to a Knicks game in a luxury box for just 45,000 points). This was an unforgettable experience, so I’m pretty high on Starpoints at the moment.

When is the best time to apply for the SPG Amex? Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
When is the best time to apply for the SPG Amex? Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

To answer Dave’s question, if you’re deciding when to get the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express card, you should know that generally once a year the card offers an increased sign-up bonus of 30,000 points. This typically comes in the summer (around August, though this year it came earlier). So you could wait until next year to apply; while there’s no guarantee the higher bonus will return, I think it’s likely.

However, you have to consider the opportunity cost. If you’re looking to book a trip with SPG points and need to boost your balance, it could make sense to just get the card now. For example, this card gives you two stays and five nights toward elite status, so if you’re worried about coming up short this year and being unable to qualify, you should consider getting the card now so that those elite credits will count toward this year’s status.

Also think about your everyday spending. If you wait until next summer, you lose nine months of solid earning to build up your SPG balance. Depending on your spending patterns, that could easily end up costing you more than the 5,000 points you gain by waiting.

I really love my SPG Amex, and I also have the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Business card, which gives me a total of four stays and 10 nights toward elite status each year.

So are those 5,000 points worth the benefits you could be using if you got the card now? Think about it and decide what works best for you!

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook, or send me an email at info@thepointsguy.com.

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Apply Now
  • Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 2 Starpoints® for each dollar of eligible purchases spent on the Card at participating SPG® & Marriott Rewards® hotels. Earn 1 Starpoint for all other purchases.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on International purchases.
  • Receive free in-room, premium internet access. Booking requirements apply.
  • Redeem Starpoints® at over 1,300 participating hotels and resorts in over 100 countries and for flights on more than 150 airlines with SPG flights, all with no blackout dates.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms and Conditions apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR Regular APR Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Rating
N/A 15.49%-19.49% Variable $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95. 0% Excellent Credit