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.
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!