The versatility and points-earning ability of the Starwood Preferred Guest card makes it a great option for frequent travelers.

The Starwood Preferred Guest credit card from American Express is a hotel rewards card that offers a flexible points spending at worldwide Starwood hotels and resorts and at most major airlines.

Starwood Preferred Guest Card Review

Upon signup, new Starwood Preferred Guest cardmembers will receive 10,000 bonus Starpoints after making a purchase and an additional 15,000 bonus points after spending $15,000 in the first year.

  • 2.9% APR for the first 6 months, variable 15.24% APR thereafter
  • Earn 4-5 Starpoints per dollar spent at SPG hotels and resorts
  • Earn 1 Starpoint per dollar spent on everything else
  • Annual fee of $65, waived first year

Cardmembers are automatically enrolled in the Starwood Preferred Guest program, which increases the points earning rate at SPG hotels & resorts (2 Starpoints per dollar spent plus an additional 2 Starpoints for being an SPG member).

Starpoints can be redeemed for free nights at over 1,000 SPG hotels & resorts worldwide with no blackout dates. There are seven categories for hotels and resorts and cardmembers can start redeeming free nights with as little as 2,000 Starpoints at a Category 1 hotel.

Also, Starpoints can be transferred to a participating airline membership rewards program, many at a 1:1 conversion ratio. Make a single transfer of at least 20,000 Starpoints and get a bonus 5,000 points.

Card Analysis

From the onset, Starwood Preferred Guest cardmembers are guaranteed 4 points per dollar spent at SPG hotels & resorts. It’s rare for any rewards card to be able to offer such a high points earning rate.

When redeeming Starpoints for free nights, there are a wide range of options. A free night at a Category 1 hotel can range from 2,000 to 3,000 points while it can range from 30,000 to 35,000 at a Category 7 hotel. For hotels in categories 3 to 7, cardmembers can redeem for five nights and the fifth night is free.

One very attractive feature is the option to transfer Starpoints to airline miles. For many airline rewards programs, you can convert at a one-to-one rate. Transferring 20,000 points at a time yields an extra 5,000 points (equivalent to $1,250 in spend on the SPG card).

Cardmembers have the flexibility to use their Starpoints for travel without being limited to any particular airline.

The card has a few disadvantages. The first is the 2.7% foreign transaction fee, which can become costly if the cardmember prefers to use this card when travelling abroad. Also, not many consumers can stomach the $65 annual fee, which is common for many hotel and airline credit cards.

The Starwood Preferred Guest card is ideal for the frequent traveler and loyal Starwood Hotels & Resorts customer who will pay off the balance every month and avoid coughing up interest at 15.24% APR.

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