As a limited time offer through September 4th American Express will give you a similar number of points as the signup bonus on each of their personal and small business co-branded American Express cards.
- 10,000 bonus points after first purchase
- 20,000 more points after $5000 in spend within 6 months
- No fee the first year ($65 thereafter, which is lower than most airline co-branded cards
This card has been top of my wallet since 2001, I signed up with no bonus at all, and there has never been an offer of more points than this though they have made this offer two times in the past. (In 2006 at the same time they brought out their small business card they bumped the signup bonus offer to 10,000 points. The standard bonus had been 4000 points, but there were also 6000 point offers.)
Starwood points are the single most valuable currency there is, and 30,000 points goes farther with them than a similar amount goes in most any other program. (And when transferring points into 20,000 miles you get 5000 bonus miles). They’re flexible with more and more airline mileage transfer options than anyone else and with ways to stretch points on hotel stays with cash and points awards — a category 4 property like the Sheraton Nassau, Westin Hilton Head, or Walt Disney World Dolphin runs 4000 points and $60 per night, those 30,000 points can go a long way.
(Westin Diplomat, Hollywood Florida)
Way back in May 2002 when I first started this blog I wrote, “the credit card I recommend most often for earning miles is the Starwood American Express, because points transfer 1:1 into most airline programs and you get a 5k mile bonus for transferring 20k points — equivalent to earning 1.25 miles per dollar on all purchases.”
My Starwood Amex has gotten me an overwater bungalow on Bora Bora and an ocean pool villa in Phuket. It’s gotten me stays at the W hotels in Hong Kong, Seoul, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Seattle. And free stays at the Le Meridien in Chiang Rai, the Sheraton on the river in Bangkok, the Parker Meridien in New York. Not to mention the St. Regis in DC, the Diplomat in Hollywood, Florida, the Westin Beijing, and the Le Meridien Barcelona. And many, many more stays over the years.
(View from my deck, points redemption in Bora Bora)