The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express is one of the strongest points-earning cards, and has been for years. It’s got new new benefits this year and the small business version of the card even comes with club lounge access when you stay at Sheraton hotels.
Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Card’s Strong Points-Earning
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express comes with 2 stays and 5 nights towards elite status, and $30,000 spend gets you Gold status from Starwood. There’s a very similar business version of the card as well. (Offer expired)
I’ve had the personal version for nearly 14 years. The reason it’s great is because Starwood has the most number of airline points transfer partners where transfers are 1:1 into miles (or better).
You’re earning Starwood Starpoints and those are the most valuable currency.
And there’s a built-in 25% transfer bonus: for every 20,000 airline miles you transfer points into Starwood gives you 5000 additional miles. So you effectively earn 1.25 miles per dollar on all of your spend (a built-in 25% bonus), and you get to pick what airline program you want your miles in later.
American Express Platinum Card’s Strong Benefits
You get access to American Express Centurion lounges. (Here’s the Las Vegas lounge, the New York LaGuardia lounge and Dallas. There are lounges in Miami, San Francisco, and Seattle. Houston is next, and it looks like we’ll see Los Angeles.)
Complimentary Exhale Spa – Miami Centurion Lounge
You get access to Delta lounges when flying that airline same day (though guests will cost $29). You get a Priority Pass Select card that includes access to Alaska Airlines lounges, and many international lounges.
Alaska Airlines Boardroom Pancake Machine
You can designate one airline on which you’ll receive a $200 fee credit for the year (and in my experience, and while terms and conditions apply on all of their offers, small denomination airline gift cards have worked for reimbursement.
The Platinum American Express also reimburses the $100 application fee for Global Entry or the fee for TSA PreCheck, comes with Gold status in Starwood Preferred Guest and Hilton HHonors Gold, and National Car Rental Executive status.
All 4 of These Cards Come With Unlimited Boingo Wireless Internet
Last year American Express announced that Platinum (and Centurion) cardholders would get unlimited Boingo internet hot spot access. This year the benefit was expanded to Starwood co-brand credit card holders.
The closest approximate of cost from Boingo for such a plan is $60 per month and Boingo offers over 700,000 land-based hotspots worldwide.
You’ll be asked to enter your American Express card number to verify eligibility.
If you already have a Boingo wireless internet account, it won’t automatically be cancelled just because you have this new free unlimited service, so you’ll need to handle that separately.
Once you’ve registered they’ll try to get you to download their app (which apparently will automatically search out their hotspots) but I see no reason to do that, I’d rather control the internet I’m connected to myself.
This Means True High Speed Internet at Several Major Airports
I didn’t find Boingo access to be all that useful, now I will. Because Boingo will be providing true high speed internet to members at 7 major US airports.
- New York’s JFK
- New York LaGuardia
- Chicago O’Hare
- Chicago Midway
Boingo Will Be Fast … but Not as Fast as My Home Wireless Network
Free airport wifi provided by Boingo at the 60 airports they service tops out at 5 Mbps. Boingo subscribers, including those whose accounts are provided via American Express cards, will get speeds that “vary from a minimum of 20 mbps to up to 50 mbps.” That’s substantially faster than the average US home internet speed.
I didn’t expect to love this benefit. Now I do, and I hope it spreads to more airports.