Why the Starwood Business Amex is Better Than the Personal One

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Both cards offer $0 introductory annual fees for the first year, then $95.

Interestingly, the business card is better than the personal one.

Both have three new benefits effective August 11:

  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • Complimentary, Unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi
  • Complimentary Premium In-Room Internet Access

But the small business card also had access to Sheraton Club Lounges added.

And that’s on top of the business card already getting statement credit rebates as part of the OPEN savings program (for American Express small business cards).

What’s more, past business cardholders may be eligible to apply again and still receive a signup bonus if they haven’t had the product in a year.

The Starwood American Express business card is better than the personal one although I have them both (since they each give me 2 stays and 5 nights to help requalify for my Starwood Platinum status).

Westin Stonebriar

I really don’t know why American Express and Starwood chose to make the business card better at the same price point, though I imagine spend volume on the business cards tends to be higher than on personal cards.

OPEN savings (automatic rebates for using the card with particular merchants) isn’t specific to the Starwood card but is something on all Amex business cards (and Visa/MasterCard have similar programs for business cards as well).

Plus the thinking may be that club lounge access is uniquely appealing to small businesses (since there’s some savings on price sensitive travel, and lounges in the US are mostly used by business travelers during the week).

Both cards are among the better out there. I believe they’re the best hotel cards by far, because they earn the most valuable hotel points currency. I use them for unbonused spend, because each Starpoint is worth 2.2 cents to me. They’re the most valuable and versatile currency, transferring 1:1 to the most airline programs in addition to being useful for hotels.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.


  1. I got approved for the SPG but on the SPG business I got the “we need to talk…” response. Should I call right away or wait?

  2. @Larry,

    Wait. I applied for both on the same day back in 2013. Personal was approved immediately, business was approved 5 days later without a phone call.

  3. Unfortunately I cancelled the Business version in Oct last year, so it looks like I’ll miss out on this promotion. I usually wait until the AF is up to cancel cards, but with these rules from Amex and Citi about not being eligible for bonuses if you’ve “had” the card in the past xx months, it actually might make more sense to cancel earlier to start the clock going again.

    I’ve had the personal card since 2010, and always put $30k+ spending on it, which has kept me Gold and with enough SPG points for my needs. I definitely recommend this card to anyone who will listen.

  4. Going to app for business spg using your link, so you can get the points because I value your blog and honest assessments over what other bloggers do.

  5. @Gary — Can you prove this statement, ” I believe they [SPG AMEX cards] are the best hotel cards by far, because they earn the most valuable hotel points currency”, especially in view of how tough starpoints are to earn at just 1 or 2 per $, in the first place, and that top-tier Starwood hotel awards are, by far, the highest-priced in the business?

    The usual abuse of superlatives notwithstanding, it seems like double whammy, but inquiring minds wanna know 😉


  6. One more slightly unrelated perk of the business card — it doesn’t affect your personal credit score, so even if you exceed 30% utilization on this card, your score won’t drop! That makes it more attractive to me to MS on the business card vs. the personal, but I got both as well to get the full 60k. Personal instant approval; business will be processed automatically 5 days after.

  7. Hope this comment gets read:

    I have just cancelled my Business SPG card and now want to apply for a new Business SPG for a different business. Can I do that just a week later?

    I mean to apply AND get the bonus as well.

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