The One Reason I Keep Paying for Two SPG Amex Cards

Jan 11, 2018

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I maintain a healthy stable of credit cards — and while I could easily do without a few, there are two cards I wouldn’t dream of canceling, even though each carries a $95 annual fee after the first year and I rarely use them for purchases.

I’m talking about the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express. While it could make sense to keep them both solely for the purpose of separating personal and business expenses, neither card has gotten much use lately. Still, they’re certainly worth keeping around, specifically because of the five credits I receive toward SPG Platinum status from each card.

So $190 in annual fees gets me 10 nights closer to Platinum, which means I need to stay 40 nights instead of the usual 50 — that’s a heck of a lot cheaper and easier than dealing with an end-of-year mattress run. In fact, if it hadn’t been for having both cards, that’s exactly what I would have needed to do in order to have requalified for Platinum last year, since I managed just 43 nights at SPG properties in 2017.

My 10 night credits have already posted for 2018, too, which gives me some peace of mind. I have nearly 12 full months to stay 40 nights — which, for many frequent business travelers, is entirely doable.

There are plenty of other reasons to get and keep the cards, too, but realistically I could get by with just one. Since I have limited business expenses and already have Sheraton Club access, which comes as a benefit of the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from Amex, I’d probably keep the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from Amex — specifically to use when paying for stays at SPG and Marriott hotels, which earn 2 points per dollar, and for purchases that don’t earn a bonus with other cards, since the 1 point per dollar I earn on everyday spend is equivalent to a generous 2.7% return.

While it’s still not entirely clear what will happen once Marriott launches a new combined program, replacing Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest, I’m hopeful that it’ll still be possible to get at least 10 nights closer to top-tier elite status by carrying co-branded credit cards. After all, it’s a tremendous incentive to keep these accounts open, despite the $95 fees.

Featured image of an Overwater St. Regis Suite at the St. Regis Maldives.

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