» Starwood Preferred Guest Card Review
The Starwood Preferred Guest credit card from American Express is great if you have excellent credit and you like to stay at Starwood owned hotels and resorts. American Express is currently running a promotion for new cardholders offering 10,000 bonus points with the first purchase on your card and $15,000 bonus points if you spend $5,000 in the first six months. If you are not familiar with the hotels owned by Starwood they include Sheraton, W Hotels, Westin, Le Meridien, St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, element, aloft, and Four Points by Sheraton. There is no annual fee for this card for the first year, subsequent years the annual fee is $65.00.
You earn both hotel and airline bonus points with this travel associated credit card. The ‘Starpoints’ can be redeemed for free nights at Starwood hotels or free airline tickets. If you book stays at Starwood hotels or participating property restaurants you can earn up to five ‘Starpoints’. For all other purchases you earn one point for every eligible dollar you spend with the Starwood Preferred Guest card. A free night at a Starwood hotel requires 2,000 Starpoints for a weekend night in a standard room at qualifying hotels. Discounts up to 35% off regular room rates at participating locations are available to Preferred Guests based on the availability of rooms. Accumulated Starpoints can be used toward reaching what is referred to as the ‘elite tiers’ of membership. Starwood hotels are ranked by categories ranging from category 1 to 6. If you qualify for the initial 25,000 combined reward points you could stay free for one night at a category 6 hotel or six nights at a category 2 hotel. If you book a room for two nights at participating hotels you get a third night free. To earn this promotion you must check in from Thursday to Sunday. There are no blackout dates for either hotel stays or airline reservations at participating hotels and airlines.
Frequent flyer miles
Starpoints can be used for frequent flyer miles in approximately 30 major participating airline loyalty programs. If you choose this option you must be registered for frequent flyer miles as your earning currency. You can register for this option on either the spg.com site or by calling the SPG customer contact center. Converting 20,000 Starpoints to frequent flyer miles earns you an additional 5,000 bonus miles. Starpoints do not expire as long as you continue to use your card.
Card membership with the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest also comes with standard American Express features such as travel accident insurance up to $100,000 and car rental insurance which covers damage or loss of the vehicle.
The Starwood Preferred Guest credit card is one of the cards you can apply for online and be granted a temporary line of credit almost instantly if you qualify. An application for the Starwood Preferred Guest card is available at the spg.com site. If approved for a Starwood card you will be granted a $1,500 line of credit. Once you receive the card you receive your full line of credit. You need to have excellent credit to qualify for this card.
Benefits substantial but a bit confusing
The benefits available with the Starwood Preferred Guest card are substantial if you travel frequently and like to stay at Starwood properties but they are fairly difficult to figure out between the different tiers of membership, hotel categories and identifying participating hotels. There is also a business version of this card. See Business Credit Cards.