American Express has a number of cards that I am a huge fan of and love to use them both to earn and burn points for free travel. Traveling can be EXTREMELY expensive, but when done right, traveling can cost next to nothing. One of my favorite American Express Cards is the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) American Express. This card is not only inexpensive, offering NO annual fee for the first 12 months and then only $65 for each sequential year. SPG points are EXTREMELY valuable.
The SPG American express also provides cardholders with a jump-start on Elite Status. Cardholders are provided with the equivalent of 5 qualifying night and 2 stays towards status each year. Therefore, cardholders only need 20 more nights or 8 separate stays to achieve Gold status. Whereas Joe Blow needs 25 nights or 10 stays to earn status! Gold Status is great too because it comes loaded with the following benefits:
- Three Starpoints for every eligible U.S. dollar spent – a 50% bonus over base-level membership. (SPG cardholders actually earn 5 points per dollar spent! 3 points per dollar for status + 2 points per dollar on the Amex!)
- 4 p.m. late checkout,1 so you can sleep in, relax by the pool or see more of the local area you’re visiting.
- An enhanced room at check-in, when available.2
- Special elite customer service telephone line (available in most countries).
- Your choice of a welcome gift with each stay. Choose from bonus Starpoints, complimentary in-room Internet access and a complimentary beverage.
Or for those SPG fanatics and travel junkies, Platinum members who achieve Platinum Status after 50 nights (45 for SPG card holders or 25 stays (23 for SPG card holders) the benefits multiple!
- Three Starpoints per eligible US dollar spent, a 50% bonus over the Preferred level. (SPG cardholders actually earn 5 points per dollar spent! 3 points per dollar for status + 2 points per dollar on the Amex!)
- Upgrades to best available room at check-in, including Standard Suites.1
- Your choice of a welcome gift with each stay. Choose from bonus Starpoints, continental breakfast (New Option!) and local amenities.
- Club- and Executive-level privileges where available.
- Complimentary in-room Internet access.
- 4 p.m. late checkout,2 so you can sleep in, relax by the pool or see more of the local area you’re visiting.
- Guaranteed room availability when your room is booked by 3 p.m., 72+ hours prior to arrival.3
- Our signature Platinum Concierge service4 at 888-625-4991 – always one call away to help you arrange just about anything regarding your visit. It’s service tailored to your needs.
SPG 50 Nights Benefit
- Take an upgrade when it matters to you most. Receive 10 Suite Night Awards5 which can be redeemed for upgrades to suites and select premium rooms. Confirmed starting 5 days prior to arrival and subject to availability.
SPG 75 Nights Benefit
- 4 Starpoints for every eligible US dollar spent – a 100% bonus over the preferred level, and the richest earning bonus in the hotel industry. (SPG cardholders actually earn 6 points per dollar spent! 4 points per dollar for status + 2 points per dollar on the Amex!)
- Your24™ – have the flexibility of choosing your check-in. For example, check in at 9 p.m. and check out 9 p.m. day of departure.
No matter where you start, the Starwood Preferred Amex will get you towards elite status faster! Or for big spenders, Gold Status is gifted after spending $30,000 in a calendar year!
SPG Points are VALUABLE:
The SPG American Express earns 1 point per dollar spent on every day purchases and 2 points per dollar spent at SPG properties worldwide. The SPG portfolio includes over 1,000 hotels in 100 countries and includes chains we all know and love including: Le Meridien, Aloft, Four Points, Westin, W Hotels, Sheraton, St. Regis, Element, and the upscale luxury collection. This means points can be earned all over the world. Once the points are earned, there is a plethora of ways to burn them for a value around 3 or 4 cents per dollar!
Get the MOST of your SPG Points
- Hotel rooms are becoming more expensive, however, SPG gives Starwood members a break by allowing them to mix cash and points to lower the cost of the room. Meaning, category 1 hotels can be booked for as little as $30 + 1500 points or high-end properties that are out of most peoples price ranges can be booked for 10,000 points and $180, resulting in HUNDREDS of dollars of saving!
- My favorite redemption option for SPG points is the Night and Flights option. This option is truly unique to SPG and allows members to use points for both airline miles and free nights. Just 60,000 Starwood points translates to 50,000 airline miles on any of SPG 1:1 transfer partners and 5 free nights at a category 3 hotel! The same offer is available for their category 4 and 5 hotels for slightly more points! Oh, and if you didn’t know, 50,000 airline miles is enough for 1 person to fly roundtrip form the USA to Europe for free, or two people to make a roundtrip domestic flight!
- Unlike airline credit cards that can only earn points on one airline, SPG points can transfer to over 30 airline partners! Points transfer primarily at a 1:1 ratio to most airlines, however SPG gives a BONUS 5,000 points for every 20,000 points transferred! This means if you transfer SPG points earned on this card to airlines, this card truly earns 1.25 airline miles per dollar spent instead of the typical 1 point per dollar! Participating airlines are listed below:
|Frequent Flyer Program||Exchange Ratio (Starpoints : Miles)|
|Air China Companion||1:1|
|Air New Zealand & Air Points||65:1|
|Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan||1:1|
|All Nippon Airways (ANA) Mileage Club||1:1|
|American Airlines AAdvantage||1:1|
|British Airways Executive Club||1:1|
|China Eastern Airlines||1:1|
|China Southern Airlines’ Sky Pearl Club||1:1|
|Delta Air Lines SkyMiles||1:1|
|El Al Israel Airlines||No Transfer Option|
|Iberia Plus||No Transfer Option|
|Japan Airlines (JAL) Mileage Bank||1:1|
|Miles and More||1:1|
|Saudi Arabian Airlines Alfursan||1:1|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||1:1|
|Thai Airways International Royal Orchid Plus||1:1|
|US Airways Dividend Miles||1:1|
|United Mileage Plus||2:1|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||1:1|
- I will repeat that hotel rooms are expensive, however this card helps you get them for free! SPG rooms are broken into 8 categories and free nights start at just 3000 points and dip as low as 2,000 points on weekends! Higher end properties like the St. Regis do run as much as 30,000 points, but hundreds of hotels can be found in the category 1-4 range, meaning a night will cost you between 3,000 and 10,000 points
- For only 1,000 SPG points, members can receive a 50% certificate off ANY hotel for up to five nights! This could mean a cheap stay at an airport hotel or a major savings at a luxurious resort! The options are literally endless!
- SPG will comp the 5th night at any category 3-8 hotels when redeeming 4 consecutive nights! A free night can easily be worth hundreds of dollars depending on the location. Your just got extended one day for free! So sleep easy, because it’s on someone else’s dime!
The SPG program and American express is not something anyone should overlook. Many travel bloggers and enthusiast report having this card for years and love the card for the flexibility of the points. Not to mention, SPG properties tend to be very well maintained and convenient to the places you and I want to go! The card is available in both the business and the personal editions and anyone can hold both! If you do get both, just be sure you can meet the spending requirements because a total of 60,000 points are too good to pass up!