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For the past few years, American Express has periodically raised the welcome bonuses on its personal and business OPEN Starwood Preferred Guest credit cards from the usual 25,000 points to 30,000 points. These increased bonuses usually appear at the end of summer for about a month; however, it looks like they’re coming back a little early this year.
This comes on the heels of Amex lowering the minimum spending requirement on the consumer version of the card from $5,000 in 6 months to just $3,000 within 3 months of account opening, which is more in line with competing cards. Best of all, it looks like Amex will keep that same lower spending requirement even for the larger welcome bonus, though the spending requirement on the business version is $5,000 within the first 3 months.
Here’s the info about the new, limited-time offers on these cards:
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
What Are Starpoints Worth?
While an extra 5,000 points may not seem like a monumental increase, I value Starpoints at 2.4 cents apiece, so those 5,000 extra points are like an extra $120 in value – a nice little bump considering the $95 annual fee is waived for the first year on both cards.
In an era where we’ve seen devaluation after devaluation from the likes of Hilton, Club Carlson and even Hyatt, Starwood remains a strong program with a great portfolio of hotels and decent redemption values, including cash & points rates, and some competitive promos like the current targeted one offering up to 7,500 bonus points for stays.
Apart from hotel redemptions, one of the most valuable aspects of the Starwood Preferred Guest program is that it partners with over 30 airlines, so you can transfer your Starpoints directly to your frequent flyer accounts. Plus, you receive a 5,000-mile bonus when you transfer 20,000 Starpoints, so transferring 20,000 Starpoints to American Airlines or Delta (for example) would net you 25,000 AAdvantage miles or SkyMiles.
Though not mentioned in the terms above, one of the other valuable benefits offered by both Starwood Amex cards is the that you automatically get elite credit for 2 stays/5 nights each year you’re a cardmember. That’s 20% of the way to Gold status. Furthermore, if you spend $30,000 on your card within a calendar year, you automatically get SPG Gold status outright! SPG Gold benefits include earning an extra point per $1 on Starwood purchases, 4pm late checkout, enhanced guest rooms and a choice of welcome amenity (options include bonus Starpoints, premium internet access and a complimentary beverage).
Who Is Eligible?
American Express states explicitly that this welcome bonus is not available to applicants who have or have had this product in the past. This is a pretty standard blanket policy, and is in line with what we heard about American Express no longer allowing multiple bonuses on the same card product as of May 1, 2014. However, you’re still eligible for the business version even if you have (or have previously had) the personal card, and vice versa.
For more information on the Starwood Preferred Guest program and how to maximize it, check out these posts:
- How to Get the Best Value for Starwood Hotel Redemptions
- The Ultimate Guide to Starwood Preferred Guest Airline Transfer Partners
- Starwood “Enhances” Cash & Points Awards
- Major Starwood Preferred Guest Elite Enhancements
- Spotlight on Starwood Preferred Guest Elite Status and Why I Continue to Qualify for Platinum
- Maximizing Starwood Preferred Guest Airline Transfers
Know before you go.
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With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards