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There is a limited time special offer for the Starwood co-brand credit cards — the biggest signup bonus they’ve ever offered and only the second time they’ve ever offered it. According to Starwood’s release it will be available through April 5 only.
The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express is offering 35,000 bonus Starpoints® as a signup bonus: 25,000 after $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months plus an extra 10,000 ter you make an additional $2,000 in purchases within the first 6 months. It has a $0 introductory annual fees for the first year, then $95.
This is 40% more points than usual. And with a reasonable spend requirement to boot.
When I first got the Starwood card 16 years ago I actually received no signup bonus at all for it. I’ve had the card since then and still carry both the personal and business versions in my wallet. I am a Starwood Platinum and each card gives me 2 stays and 5 nights towards my elite status.
Sorry, Not My Credit Card Number!
The Starwood Preferred Guest co-branded card has been one of the very best for a long time. I’ve been using this card as a consistent go-to, it was the one I recommended most back in 2002 when I started this blog. In fact, I recommend it in my very first archived post from May 2002.
Westin Siray Bay Resort, Phuket
Starwood points remain the most valuable currency to this day — whether for redeeming on hotel stays or transferring to airline miles since they have the largest array of frequent flyer program partners.
35,000 Points is the Biggest Bonus Ever Offered
Historically the available bonuses on this card have been low. 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 now and again. As I say, I signed up with no bonus at all.
Six summers ago American Express introduced a 30,000 point signup bonus on their Starwood cards for the first time. That’s been the biggest offer they’ve gone back to.
American Express generally restricts consumers to get a card bonus one time. They’ve done 35,000 points with this card only once before.
American Express is looking for a way to keep this card product since Starwood has been acquired by Marriott. But there could be a limited time horizon to get the card. I’d say it probably doesn’t get better than this.
35,000 points may not seem like a ton in a world of 50,000 point bonuses. But Starwood points are in my view the most valuable currency. They’re hard to earn (they don’t have many partners). And it’s bigger than the number implies because when you transfer points to 20,000 airline miles you receive 5000 bonus miles as well. Spend $5000 on the card and you’ll have 40,000 Starpoints which transfer to 50,000 miles with your choice of about 30 different airlines.
The Value Proposition of the Starwood Cards
The Starwood Amex remains my go-to for spend that isn’t bonused elsewhere, because the bonus for transferring points to miles (in 20,000 mile increments) means that I’m effectively earning 1.25 miles per dollar on all of my spend. So it’s my card to give myself a category bonus when there isn’t one otherwise.
Starwood pioneered no blackout dates or capacity controls on award nights, if there’s a standard room available at a hotel you can have it on points. Most hotel programs have since more or less matched this.
W Seoul Walkerhill
Starwood also pioneered premium room awards, and still offers a better value on those than many competitors.
Cash and points awards are still a good way to stretch the value of points (and are now available for premium rooms as well).
I like the points best for transfers to airline miles. Transfers don’t happen instantly, but they’re great for topping off a variety of accounts — they’re good for transferring almost everywhere except United (where the transfer ratio isn’t favorable). They partner even with relatively ‘obscure’ programs for US members like Lufthansa’s Miles & More (access to Lufthansa first class awards more than two weeks in advance), Singapore Airlines (Singapore first class awards), and Japan Airlines (the best program to use most of the time for Emirates first class awards). And of course all with the aforementioned transfer bonus.
$30,000 spend on the card in a year earns Gold status in the Starwood Preferred Guest program. But since having the card gets you most of the benefits of Gold status anyway, minus check-in amenity and points bonus for in-hotel spend, the usefulness of the card towards status comes for folks shooting for Starwood Platinum.
In addition to the benefits the card has always offered, a year and a half ago they added three new ones.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees
- Complimentary, Unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi
- Complimentary Premium In-Room Internet Access
The Starwood card is a staple of the frequent flyer toolkit, and the 35,000 Starpoint bonus offer is the best time there’s ever been to get it. The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express is worth considering now, during the limited time offer which is 40% better than usual.