Starwood has a new co-brand credit card partnership. They’ve just launched the Emirates NBD Starwood Preferred Guest® World MasterCard® and what’s notable about it isn’t just that they’ve added a fourth region where there’s a co-brand product in addition to the US, Canada and Japan.
Of course that matters — the UAE and Middle East generally is a big market for Starwood, which is why they launched “Your World Rewards” with Emirates a year ago.
It’s significant because:
- The signup is bigger than what they offer elsewhere: 50,000 points — 25,000 on activation and 25,000 more after US$20,000 in spend during the first three billing cycles.
- It comes with automatic Gold status, something that requires $30,000 in spend in the U.S.
- There’s a joining fee. The card costs AED 2500 the first year (~ US$680) and then AED 1500 (~ US$408) each year after that.
So I was a bit jealous of the signup bonus and the automatic gold status until I saw that fee. But it’s a premium card, and comes with additional premium benefits:
Additional Emirates NBD benefits include access to over 500 airport lounges globally; complimentary local concierge services and airport transfers in the UAE; complimentary rounds of golf and privilege access to select courses across the UAE along with complimentary multi-trip travel insurance.
The lounge network is most likely LoungeKey since that’s what they provide on other cards (updated). Concierge services are standard for premium cards, though some products offer specialized concierges.
The complimentary rounds of golf is of course similar to what Citi offers with its Prestige product in the United States.
I do find the airport transfers in the UAE benefit intriguing — although of course both Emirates (on Emirates’ own ticket stock) and Etihad offers a similar benefit in the UAE to their premium cabin customers.
Etihad Car Service, Abu Dhabi International Airport