Review: The Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express credit card – October 2017

A well-rounded card that offers robust hotel and flight privileges — especially for Starwood regulars.

The Starwood Preferred Guest American Express offers several impressive benefits — including great point multiples for frequent Starwood guests, point redemptions for hotels and flights, and perks like free in-room internet. Ultimately, the packed list of features allows cardholders great benefits, even with the card’s $95 p.a. annual fee, starting the second year.

Product NameStarwood Preferred Guest American Express Credit Card
Intro APR for Balance Transfer16.2420.24% Intro APR for 60 days (with $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater% balance transfer fee)
Balance Transfer Rate (not intro)16.24% to 20.24% variable
APR for Purchases ( Purchase Rate )16.24% to 20.24% variable
Annual fee$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Cash Advance Rate26.24% variable
Card TypeAmerican Express
Interest Free Period
The interest-free period on purchases is the period or number of days you do not have to pay interest on your card purchases. You will be charged interest either from the day you make a purchase or from the statement date, unless you pay the closing balance in full by the due date (or within the interest-free period) on your statement.
Up to 25 days
Returned Payment Fee$38
Foreign Currency Conversion Fee (AMEX)
Foreign currency conversion fees are charged when you make a transaction that is converted by a credit card network, such as MasterCard, Visa or American Express, from Australian dollars to a foreign currency. You’ll also incur a currency conversion fee if you make a purchase or obtain a cash advance in Australian dollars while overseas or shopping online with a foreign merchant or financial institution.
0% of transaction value
Minimum Credit ScoreGood (700-739)
Minimum Age18 years of age
Annual fee$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Returned Payment Fee$38
Over The Credit Line Fee$0
Late Payment Fee$38
Cash Advance Fee$5 or 3% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
Rewards ProgramAmerican Express Rewards
Bonus Points on Sign-up25,000
Rewards Points per $ spent (VISA/MC)5
Points ExpiryNever

The basics

For a glimpse at the powerful set of features offered by the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express, you might first take a look at its introductory bonus: 25,000 Starpoints after $3,000 of spending within the first three months, which is enough for multiple free nights at Starwood properties worldwide. Even better, you can spend those points without running into pesky blackout dates.

If you’re a Starwood or Marriott regular, you can accumulate Starpoints quickly: You’ll receive up to 5x points for every dollar you spend at Starwood properties and 2x points for every dollar you spend at Marriott Rewards hotels, and 1x points per dollar spent on everything else; luckily, points go a long way, as you can get free nights at Starwood hotels for as little as 3,000 points.

However, the Starwood Preferred Guest card brings value beyond points. You’ll receive complimentary credits toward Starwood Preferred Guest Elite status, as well as free in-room internet and access to Boingo Wi-Fi hotspots around the world. Add the advantages of a $0 annual fee for the first year ($95 p.a. afterwards) and no foreign transaction fees, and you’ll find a solid travel card.

As a sweetener, the Starwood Preferred Guest card is highly accommodating for flights as well. Redeem your Starpoints for flights on over 150 carriers and transfer to over 30 airline frequent flyer programs. It’s a valuable addition that increases points flexibility, similarly to the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Barclaycard Arrival Plus.

The American Express suite of benefits rounds out a great card. Travel services like car rental insurance and the American Express hotline for travel assistance coupled with the American Express purchase protections, like extended warranties make this card well worth it. And if you love going out, you’ll enjoy cardholder privileges like ticket presales and discounts, as well as cardholder-only events.

Benefits of the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express

  • 25,000 introductory Starpoints bonus. When you spend $3,000 within the first three months, you’ll receive 25,000 bonus Starpoints.
  • No blackout dates on Starpoints. You can spend your Starpoints for free nights at 1,300 locations with no blackout dates.
  • No foreign transaction fees. You can use your Starwood Preferred Guest card for transactions overseas without incurring fees.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year. Afterwards, the annual fee will be $95 p.a. per year.
  • Up to 5x Starpoints for Starwood hotel purchases. For every dollar you spend at Starwood hotels, you’ll receive up to 5 Starpoints (2x as a cardholder and 2x or 3x as a Starwood Preferred Guest member).
  • 2x Starpoints for Marriott Rewards purchases. You’ll earn 2x Starpoints for every dollar you spend at Marriott Rewards hotels.
  • 1x Starpoints for all other purchases. On everything else you buy with your Starwood Preferred Guest card, you’ll earn 1x Starpoint for every dollar you spend.
  • Redeem Starpoints for free nights at Starwood properties. Properties include St. Regis, Aloft, Element Hotels, The Luxury Collection, Tribute Portfolio, W Hotels, Le Méridien, Westin, Sheraton and Four Points by Sheraton.
  • Complimentary credits toward Starwood Preferred Guest Elite status. Each year, you’ll receive credit for two stays and five nights toward Starwood Preferred Guest Elite status. (SPG Gold requires 10 stays and 25 nights; SPG Platinum requires 25 stays or 50 nights.)
  • Free in-room internet. You’ll receive complimentary in-room internet when staying at a Starwood Preferred Guest hotel.
  • Complimentary Boingo Wi-Fi As a cardholder, you’ll have free access to Boingo Wi-Fi, which offers more than a million hotspots around the world.
  • Redeem Starpoints for flights. Through SPG Flights, you can redeem your Starpoints for flights on over 150 airlines. You can also transfer your Starpoints (most often at a 1:1 ratio) to more than 30 airline frequent flyer programs.
  • Starpoint bonus for frequent flyer program transfers. When you transfer 20,000 Starpoints to a frequent flyer program, you’ll receive a 5,000 Starpoint bonus.
  • Travel services. As a cardholder, you’ll receive travel perks like roadside assistance, car rental insurance, American Express’ Global Assist Hotline and travel accident insurance.
  • Entertainment access and membership experiences. As a cardholder, you’ll have access to presales and discounts to concerts, shows and sporting events. You’ll also have access to cardholder-exclusive events.
  • Shopping perks. Receive extended warranties, purchase protection, return protection and dispute resolution on all purchases made with your card.
  • Fraud protection. If you don’t recognize a charge, simply call the number on the back of your card and they’ll remove it.

Features of the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express

  • Sliding APR scale. The purchase APR will be 16.24% to 20.24% variable based on your creditworthiness.
  • 60-day window for balance transfers. Balance transfers must be made within 60 days of your account’s opening date.
  • Higher APR for cash advances. If you plan on taking out a cash advance, keep in mind that the APR for doing so is 26.24% variable. You will also need to pay the cash advance fee of $5 or 3% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater.
  • Penalty APR. If you submit a late payment or your payment is returned, a penalty APR of 29.99% variable may be applied to your account.

Compare other American Express credit cards

Rates last updated October 18th, 2017
Name Product APR for Purchases ( Purchase Rate ) Intro APR for Balance Transfer Annual fee Product Description
Wells Fargo Propel 365 American Express® Card
14.99% to 22.99% variable
0% Intro APR for 12 months (with 5% for each balance transfer, with a minimum of $5% balance transfer fee)
$0 annual fee for the first year ($45 thereafter)
20,000 bonus points if you spend $3,000 (net purchases) in first 3 months
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card
13.99% to 25.99% variable
0% Intro APR for 12 months (with 5% for each balance transfer, with a minimum of $5% balance transfer fee)
$0
20,000 bonus points if you spend $1,000 (net purchases) in first 3 months
Blue from American Express® Card
16.24, 19.24 or 21.24% variable
16.24, 19.24 or 21.24% variable% Intro APR for within 60 days of account opening (with $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater% balance transfer fee)
$0
Earn rewards with no annual fee.
Blue Sky from American Express® Card
18.24, 21.24 or 23.24% variable
18.2421.2423.24% Intro APR for within 60 days of account opening (with $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater% balance transfer fee)
$0
Flexible travel rewards and no annual fee.
Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express
16.24% to 20.24% variable
16.2420.24% Intro APR for 60 days of account opening (with $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater% balance transfer fee)
$0
Earn 50000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $1,000 or more in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express
16.24% to 20.24% variable
16.2420.24% Intro APR for 60 days of account opening (with $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater% balance transfer fee)
$75
Earn 100000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $3,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
American Express Serve®
FREE ATM withdrawals at over 24,000 MoneyPass® ATM locations nationwide.
The Mercedes-Benz Credit Card from American Express
16.24% variable
16.24% Intro APR for 60 days of account opening (with $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater% balance transfer fee)
$95
Earn 10000 Membership Rewards ® points after using your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
Plenti® Credit Card from Amex
15.99% to 25.99% variable
15.9925.99% Intro APR for 60 days of account opening (with $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater% balance transfer fee)
$0
Earn 5000 Plenti® points after you spend $250 in purchases on your Plenti® Credit Card from Amex within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card
16.74% to 25.74% variable
16.2420.24% Intro APR for 60 days of account opening (with $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater% balance transfer fee)
$195
Earn 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) and 35000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. In addition, earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card
16.74% to 25.74% variable
16.7425.74% Intro APR for 60 days of account opening (with $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater% balance transfer fee)
$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.
Earn 50000 Bonus Miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months† and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Plus, earn an additional 10,000 bonus miles after you make an additional $1,000 in purchases within your first 6 months. Offer expires on 11/8/2017.
Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express
16.74% to 25.74% variable
$450
Earn 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) and 40000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card
16.74% to 25.74% variable
16.7425.74% Intro APR for 60 days (with $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater% balance transfer fee)
$195
Earn bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
American Express® Green Card
No interest charges because you pay your balance in full each month
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Shop with more confidence
Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
No interest charges because you pay your balance in full each month
$195 for the Premier Rewards Gold Card and $0 for the Basic Card
More Points. More Rewards.
The Platinum Card® from American Express
No interest charges because you pay your balance in full each month
$550
Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5X points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com.
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
13.99% to 24.99% variable
0% Intro APR for first 15 months (with $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater% balance transfer fee)
$0
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
13.99% to 24.99% variable
0% Intro APR for 12 months (with $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater% balance transfer fee)
$95
Amex EveryDay® Credit Card
13.99% to 23.99% variable
0% Intro APR for first 12 months (with $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater% balance transfer fee)
$0
Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card
13.99% to 23.99% variable
0% Intro APR for 12 months (with $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater% balance transfer fee)
$95
Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Credit Card
16.24% to 20.24% variable
16.2420.24% Intro APR for 60 days (with $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater% balance transfer fee)
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn 25000 bonus Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
USAA Secured Card American Express®
10.90% to 20.90% variable
$35
You can get travel benefits (no foreign transaction fees), retail benefits and collision damage waiver coverage on your rental car.
USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card
12.90% to 26.90% variable
$0
Get high cash back rewards on most purchases, including gasoline, groceries and military base purchases.

Compare up to 4 providers

How to apply for the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express

Eligibility criteria

  • You’re at least 18 years old
  • You’re a resident of the US


Required documents & information

  • Your name, residential status, and residential address
  • Your Social Security number
  • Your email address, phone number, and date of birth
  • Financial information like your annual salary and wages
Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, read the PDS or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms and Conditions and our Privacy Policy.