Best Signup Bonus Ever for the All-Around Best Mileage Credit Card Out There: 30,000 Starwood Points for a Starwood American Express

Starwood points are incredibly valuable for their large number of airline transfer partners at a 1:1 rate (Continental and United though are not so favorable, LAN is at an incredible 1:2), for the 5000 mile transfer bonus for each 20,000 miles you transfer to an airline, and all in addition to the hotel redemption options.

Sure, I have my issues with Starwood’s award category creep. But the Starwood Amex remains the best general, al-purpose credit card for points accrual. There are some reasons to get other cards — such as when spending will help you requalify towards elite status with your preferred airline, or because you’re after a very specific award like a British Airways companion award ticket or US East Coast to Europe in Business Class (in this one particular case, the Asiana American Express from Bank of America is excellent) — but without a very specific reward goal in mind or for general points accumulation, hard to beat this card.

Historically, the best (low key) offer was 15,000 points at signup and another 15,000 points if you spent $15,000 within six months of getting the card.

Now, as blogged by Lucky and by TM Travel World, American Express is now offering all 30,000 Starpoints after spending just $1000 on the card within 3 months. So a much lower spend requirement for the big haul of points. The offers say they expire July 6, so worth jumping on this now.

And of course there’s both a personal card and a small business card, and both come with the $45 annual fee waived the first year. So there’s potentially an easy 60,000 Starpoints for the taking.

Now, American Express is usually pretty adept at only awarding a bonus once per card, though in my past experience at least if you have had a card and cancelled it you can apply again and get the difference in miles between the signup bonus you actually received and what’s now on offer. That experience is quite dated, so perhaps others will chime in with more recent experiences. And I certainly have heard of folks getting Delta American Express signup bonuses more than once, several years apart.
Starwood allows points to be transferred between any two accounts at the same residential mailing address, so a husband and wife could each get the two cards and wind up with 120,000 Starpoints in the same Starwood Preferred Guest account (actually 124,000 once meeting the spending requirements on all four cards). And those could all be transferred to the same airline mileage program account.

Note that Brad’s Deals claims you can get 40,000 points per card but nowhere on the links he provides does it appear to me to say that (10,000 points with first purchase and then 30,000 more after $1000 in spend). I’m sure that they’re using referral links that’ll get them kickbacks for signups (the links I’ve offered above get me nothing) and perhaps the Amex -marketing rep has even told the Brad’s Deals folks that, or perhaps they’ve misunderstood the offer.

If it were me, I’d go for the standard deal of 30,000 per card after $1000 in spend, and of course I’d also print out copies of the offer just in case they’re ever needed arguing for the bonus should it not post on its own.

Update: I misread Brad’s post, he wasn’t saying there was a 40k bonus being offered. The deal I detail above does appear to be the best one. The website Brad was linking to didn’t have teh details of this mythical offer simply because it doesn’t exist, he didn’t say that it did, and I simply read his post too fast. Whoops!

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. […] View From The Wing suggests: “Starwood allows points to be transferred between any two accounts at the same residential mailing address, so a husband and wife could each get the two cards and wind up with 120,000 Starpoints in the same Starwood Preferred Guest account (actually 124,000 once meeting the spending requirements on all four cards). And those could all be transferred to the same airline mileage program account.” […]


  1. If I have a second cardholder on my account and he applies for the card, will he get the 30,000 points or is he considered a pre-existing member?

  2. Gary, in your experience, can one apply for a biz Amex if one already has a personal Amex and get the bonus? I’ve never had a biz Amex.

  3. Hi Gary,

    So what I said was “Get 10,000 points with your first purchase and an additional 30,000 after spending $15,000 within 6 months (it’s a 15,000 bonus plus the 15,000 you’d get from your spending).”

    Unless I’m wildly off-base, that is correct. And I thought it was sufficiently clear.

    I guess I’m not sure why you think I misunderstood anything. And, as a fan of yours and FT, it would have been much nicer if you didn’t question motives or imply I got fooled by a “marketing rep.” (I’m a little more self-reliant than that.) :)

    That said, thanks for the link to the 30k upfront deal. I hadn’t seen that yet and will update my post. It works out better for a few reasons.


  4. I’d appreciate your insight. Do you think it’s within reason to call American Express to complain about missing out on this new monstrous bonus offer, regarding how I signed up for this Starwood Card about two months ago and got the standard 10,000 bonus points?
    I was wondering if they’d be likely to give me the difference of 20,000 points.

  5. @Bob Amex will often give bonus miles in response to complaints, you can try the online email system and if you odn’t get the answer you want write to the executive offices in FL.

  6. Response to Gary’s response,

    Thanks for the tip about writing or emailing AmEx with my bonus points complaint.
    I’m a novice at this sort of thing, fighting for extra points. I just called Customer Service, and a “veteran” service rep (as he called himself) said AmEx marketing has a strict policy never to give out extra bonus points to someone who signed up under a different promotion. He said in his 20 yrs there it has always been that way.

    Should I accept being turned away like this, or fight further for the extra 20,000 points? Writing an email won’t take long, I can try that now.
    Anyone’s 2 cents is appreciated.

  7. @Bob
    absolutely do not accept that answer. log in to your amex account and click on “contact us”. write them a nice email explaining the situation and ask for a “one time courtesy promotion adjustment”.
    this way it worked for me in the past, they were actually nice about it.

  8. So I went back and forth via internal messaging with AmEx all day today. I think I did a good job of trying to encourage them why it would be worth their effort to make this customer very happy with the 30,000 bonus point credit. In the end they stood firm in saying no, but did offer me a 2,000 point “valued cardmember” bonus as consolation, with no strings attached.
    So I’m pretty happy about that, will take the 2k and respect their decision. They do have the rules on their side on this one, but I was impressed with AmEx customer service all day today.

  9. Applied for the personal card yesterday and was accepted, entered my current SPG account # (although it’s empty).

    Applied for the business card today, under review. Whatre the odds that I get accepted/a bonus for both?

  10. Ken – It may be a bit presumptuous, but I am sure Gary will agree – there is a better than 50% chance that you will achieve one of the two results. :p

    If you are turned down, there will be a number to call – it may be an issue of too much credit, so you may have to cancel another AMEX to make room for this – not sure if they have allowed swapping credit lines between accounts since ’08.

  11. My wife applied Wed. night, and we got a UPS overnight with the card around noon Fri.. I wonder if their system popped up with a note telling them we bought a house last month….

  12. Just got my personal card via UPS overnight yesterday. Am I allowed to also get a business card, or am I now considered a “current cardmember”?

  13. Are transfers between accounts at the same address officially allowed? I couldn’t find anything to that effect on Or is it just a one-time-exception sort of thing? I.e., can a spouse pair get two cards and transfer the points once, or is it reasonable to continue to accrue points in two accounts and transfer back and forth as needed?

  14. Is this an open ended offer? Or, is there an expiration date?

    My 6-months period since the last AMEX obtained is in Mid October. Thanks!

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