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 — the highlights include 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 to extract immense value from the card, even with the card’s $95 p.a. annual fee starting the second year.
Product Details, Application Requirements, and Fees
- Product Name: Starwood Preferred Guest American Express
- APR for Purchases (Purchase Rate): 15.49% to 19.49% variable based on creditworthiness
- Balance Transfer Rate: Same as purchase rate
- Cash Advance Rate: 25.49%
- Annual Fee: $0 for the first year; $95 p.a. thereafter
- Card Type: American Express
- Interest-Free Period: Up to 25 days
- Minimum Credit Score: Excellent (720+)
- Minimum Age: At least 18 years old
- Other Requirements: Only available to U.S. residents
Fees and Repayments
- Annual Fee: $0 for the first year; $95 p.a. thereafter
- Returned Payment Fee: Up to $37
- Late Payment Fee: Up to $37
- Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 3% of the transaction amount (whichever is greater)
- Cash Advance Fee: $5 or 3% of the transaction amount (whichever is greater)
- Foreign Transaction Fee: None
- Over limit Fee: None
Starwood Preferred Guest American Express review
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 3 months, which are 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 5 points for every dollar you spend at Starwood properties and 2 Starpoints for every dollar you spend at Marriott Rewards hotels. You only get 1 Starpoint 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.
The Starwood Preferred Guest card brings value beyond points, however. 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 on 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 in its own right.
As a sweetener, however, the Starwood Preferred Guest card is highly accommodating for flights as well: You can redeem your Starpoints for flights on over 150 carriers and transfer Starpoints 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 American Express’ hotline for travel assistance are welcome, as are American Express’ purchase protections like extended warranties. 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 3 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 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 (2 as a cardholder and 2 or 3 as a Starwood Preferred Guest member).
- 2x Starpoints for Marriott Rewards purchases. You’ll earn 2 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 1 Starpoint per dollar spent.
- 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 2 stays and 5 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 15.49% to 19.49% 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 25.49%. You will also need to pay the cash advance fee of $5 or 3% of the transaction amount (whichever is higher).
- Penalty APR. If you submit a late payment or your payment is returned, a penalty APR of 29.49% may be assessed to your account.
How to apply for the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express
- You are at least 18 years of age
- You are a resident of the United States
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