American Express typically offers just 25,000 points as a sign-up bonus for the Starwood Preferred Guest credit card. Fortunately Starpoints are pretty valuable — I’d peg them around 2.5 cents each — and can be converted to airline miles in most programs. But 25,000 isn’t much in comparison to the 50,000 miles or more offered by many competing cards.
That’s why I recommend readers wait for one of those times when Amex temporarily raises the bonus to 30,000 points. It usually does this twice a year, and if you have a small business you can get another 30,000 points by applying for the business card. The current promotion runs through September 14, 2015.
Both cards offer:
- 30,000 points after reaching minimum spend in the first three months ($3,000 for personal card or $5,000 for business card)
- No foreign transaction fees (new benefit)
- 5 nights and 2 stays toward SPG elite status each year
- 2 points per dollar at Starwood hotels and 1 point per dollar elsewhere
Starpoints are easy to amass if you have family members. If your SPG accounts indicate that you’ve lived at the same address for at least 30 days, you can initiate a free transfer to consolidate your points in one account. I have SPG elite status while my wife does not, so she transferred all of her points to me. This not only means we get better benefits when we redeem those points but it’s also easier to book more expensive awards such as the St. Regis Bali for our honeymoon.
If you’d like to apply, I have both the personal and business cards and receive a bonus 5,000 points for each person I refer; just send me an email. You can refer someone, too, if you already have the card. However, I’ve also included generic application links below that don’t earn me anything.