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Along with new benefits coming to the Starwood American Express cards on August 11, they’ve rolled out a new card design — just being announced this morning.
New Benefits of the Starwood American Express Cards Coming August 11
There are four new benefits effective August 11. Three of the benefits apply to both the personal and business cards, and one benefit – in my view, the best one – is specific to the business card.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees
This has been a long time coming. Premium travel credit cards shouldn’t have foreign transaction fees. Customers travel abroad, put the card away, and don’t take it back out when they return home. It’s in the bank’s interest not to charge these for customers who are regular international travels, and the portfolio of hotel and airline co-brand credit card customers overall meets this criteria. I can finally use my Starwood American Express cards at Starwood hotels, even outside the U.S.
- Complimentary, Unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi
This is a benefit that American Express added to their Platinum cards a year ago. It’s free unlimited unlimited access to Boingo’s wireless hot spots around the world, something they’d charge at least $60 per month for.
- Complimentary Premium In-Room Internet Access
Starwood no longer charges SPG members for internet access, and as a result they give ‘premium’ (faster) internet to Gold and Platinum members. This upgraded internet will also be extended to their co-brand American Express card holders.
- Access to Sheraton Club Lounges for Starwood Preferred Guest® Business card holders.
I get this anyway as a Starwood Platinum, but for cardholders without Platinum status — and especially with the investment that Starwood is putting into the Sheraton brand — this could be the real sleeper gem benefit.
The benefit isn’t included with the personal card. So this, along with the OPEN savings program, is another reason why the business card is actually better than the personal card – though I have both.
Time to Refresh the Old Look and Feel
I still love the original metallic blue look of the Starwood American Express I got in 2001. I’ve never been as much of a fan of the red. It was time to change, anyway, since that no longer matches Starwood Preferred Guest’s branding in any case.
Here’s my personal and small business Starwood American Express cards.
The New Purple American Express Cards!
Here’s what the new Starwood American Express card looks like:
The new card design has a black ‘core’ which you’ll notice from a side view, and a matte finish. It has an EMV chip.
They were pretty clever to send me a graphic with my name embossed on it, and also showing that I’ve been a Starwood Amex cardholder since 2001. For the record though, and for anyone that might otherwise be tempted, that’s not my actual account number!
My Starwood cards (in red, above) actually show ‘Member Since 00’ because American Express reflects the year you got your first American Express card, not that particular American Express card — I’ve only had my current Starwood business Amex for a couple of years, for instance, and it still shows the ‘member since’ date as 2000.
You Won’t Have to Wait Long to Replace Old Cards
I figured it would take awhile for existing cardmembers to have their cards replaced, even recognizing a need to move to chip-enabled cards in the near-term.
But plans are actually to replace existing cards with the sleek new ones right away. In fact, just a few weeks.
Specifically, I was told
We will be sending existing Card Members new plastic. It will take a few weeks past August 11th to get them all out though.
Who Knew Purple Could Look So Good?
I admit I’m not a huge fan of the Starwood Preferred Guest purple colors, but I think it looks really good contrasted with a black core and with the American Express logo and EMV chip. It just works.
It’s not a mic-dropping statement out of ‘Legends of Cool’, but it’s a subtle, classier update to a card I’ve carried for 14 years.
I love the Starwood American Express cards because they earn what’s:
- The most valuable points currency
- That’s difficult to earn, due to limited partnerships and limited promotions outside of staying at their hotel properties
The look and feel of the cards aren’t the reason I’ve held onto them, but I do enjoy unique looking cards, loyalty cards are enough of my life that I appreciate when thought goes into the design.