Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury review | finder.com

Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card review – December 2018

We value our editorial independence, basing our comparison results, content and reviews on objective analysis without bias. But we may receive compensation when you click links on our site. Learn more about how we make money from our partners.

Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card

A stellar addition to the premium-travel-card market with valuable rewards and benefits.

  • Get this card if you’re an SPG or Marriott Rewards regular.
  • Pick something else if you want general travel rewards or prefer staying with a different hotel group.
  • Apply with a good to excellent credit score of 740 or higher.
Product NameStarwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card
Annual Fee$450
APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for Purchases17.74% to 26.74% variable
Balance Transfer APR17.74% to 26.74% variable
Cash Advance Rate27.24% variable
Foreign Transaction FeeNone
Cash Advance Fee$5 or 3% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
Interest Free PeriodUp to 25 days
Late Payment FeeUp to $38
Returned Payment FeeUp to $38
Rates & FeesRates & Fees
Minimum Age18 years of age
Welcome OfferTo be eligible to earn 75,000 bonus points, you must make eligible purchases with your Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Card that total $3,000 or more (the "Threshold Amount") within your first 3 months of Card Membership, based on the date of your card approval.
Reward Value per Dollar2x points

The basics

There’s long been stiff competition among premium travel cards, thanks especially to the superb options offered by leading providers. Now, the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card has entered the field following the merging of Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) and Marriott Rewards. But is it worth its hefty admission fee?

There’s good news: You’ll find tremendous value for the price. The card can pay for itself with just a few of its benefits.

Not surprisingly, the card’s rewards are most impressive for frequent travelers. But a notably deft touch is elevated rewards for dining, which makes it competitive with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

Alternative Starwood card with lower annual fee: Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

  • Earn 75,000 Bonus Points after you use your new card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 6 points for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating SPG® and Marriott Rewards® hotels and 2 points on all other eligible purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees on international purchases.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your card account anniversary. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 points) at a participating hotel. Select hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy complimentary, unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi on up to four devices at more than 1,000,000 Boingo hotspots worldwide. Enrollment required.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Read less
Read more
Promoted

Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Annual fee $450 $450
Welcome offer 75,000 points when you make $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of card membership 50,000 points when you make $4,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of card membership
Points
  • 6x at SPG and Marriott Rewards hotels
  • 3x at US restaurants and on eligible flights
  • 2x on all other eligible purchases
  • 3x on travel and dining
  • 1x on all other eligible purchases
Free Night Award Yes No
Hotel program status upgrade Yes No
Travel credits $300 annual SPG and Marriott Rewards statement credit $300 annual travel credit
Airport lounge access Yes Yes
Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit Yes Yes
Points transfers Yes Yes

The perks

  • Welcome offer: 75,000 bonus points.

    Earn these points after you make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months following your account opening.

    When you earn these points, you’ll have enough for a reward night at any participating property in the SPG and Marriott Rewards portfolio. You’ll also have enough left over for another stay — perhaps even at the same property.

  • Rewards: Up to 6x points.

    Earn 6x points at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards hotels. This was the rate you’d receive before SPG and Marriott Rewards merged in August 2018, and it’s still a strong one.

    Earn 3x points at US restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines. On all other eligible purchases, you’ll earn 2x points.

What can you redeem points for?

Redeem points for complimentary stays at SPG and Marriott Rewards hotels, as well as car rentals and flights through the Air+Car program.

You can also transfer points to miles with over 40 airlines, including Delta, Emirates, United and more. The transfer ratio is 3 points per 1 mile. Plus, for every 60,000 points you transfer, you’ll get a 15,000-point bonus. That means you’ll receive not 20,000 — but 25,000 miles.

  • Free Night Award.

    Each year after your card anniversary, you’ll receive a Free Night Award. You can use it for a night at a participating hotel that has a redemption level at or under 50,000 points.

    Currently, complimentary nights range in cost from 7,500 to 60,000 points. That’ll change in early 2019, when the upper range will extend to 85,000 points.

    The other two SPG credit cards offer a Free Night Award, but it’s only valid at properties with a redemption level of 35,000 or fewer points.

How good is the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card Free Night Award?

Your Free Night Award lets you stay at a participating hotel with a redemption value of 50,000 points or less. To give you a sense of how far your award goes, check out these properties you could potentially book a stay in.

The Ritz-Carlton, Macau

The Ritz-Carlton, Macau

Park Tower, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Buenos Aires

Park Tower, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Buenos Aires

Wailea Beach Resort – Marriott, Maui

Wailea Beach Resort - Marriott, Maui

  • $300 in SPG and Marriott Rewards statement credit.

    Each card year, you’ll receive $300 in statement credit for eligible purchases you make at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards hotels. This is an excellent perk that can largely offset the card’s annual fee, depending on your normal travel spending.

  • Priority Pass Select membership.

    You’ll receive a complimentary membership in Priority Pass Select. Once you enroll, you’ll enjoy complimentary access to over 1,000 airport lounges around the world. At Priority Pass lounges that allow guests, you can bring two along without paying extra.

  • Statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.

    Every four years, you’ll receive a statement credit for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application, which cost $100 and $85 respectively. If you’re approved for Global Entry, you’ll automatically receive a TSA PreCheck membership at no additional charge.

  • Complimentary Gold Elite status.

    Gold Elite status in the combined SPG and Marriott Rewards program comes with a 25% points bonus, 2 p.m. late checkout based on availability, a dedicated elite reservation line, welcome gifts and enhanced room upgrades based on availability. Normally, you’d need to stay 25 nights a year to attain it. The other two SPG cards only offer Silver Elite status.

    When you make $75,000 in eligible purchases on your card in a calendar year, you’ll earn Platinum Elite status.

Silver Elite vs. Gold Elite status in the combined SPG and Marriott Rewards program

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express offer complimentary Silver Elite status. Meanwhile, the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card offers complimentary Gold Elite status. Here’s how the tiers stack up, with base-level Member perks to compare.
Member Silver Elite Gold Elite
Complimentary in-room Internet access checkmark checkmark checkmark
Member rates checkmark checkmark checkmark
Mobile check-in and mobile services checkmark checkmark checkmark
Ultimate Reservation Guarantee x checkmark checkmark
Points bonus x checkmark
10% bonus
checkmark
25% bonus
Priority late checkout x checkmark checkmark
Until 2 p.m.,
based on availability
Dedicated Elite reservation line x checkmark checkmark
In-hotel welcome gift x x checkmark
Typically points
Enhanced room upgrade, based on availability x x checkmark

You’ll also like

  • Coming in 2019: Credits toward higher Elite status.

    Each calendar year, you’ll receive a 15-night credit to help you reach the next level of Elite status.

    If you open your card account before December 31, 2018, you’ll receive the credit on or before March 1, 2019. You’ll need to link your card account to a Marriott Loyalty Program in your name.

    If you open your card account on or after January 1, 2019, you’ll receive the credit within 60 days.

  • No foreign transaction fees.

    Use your card abroad or at foreign websites without paying a fee. This is standard across travel cards.

  • Complimentary Wi-Fi.

    After enrolling, you’ll receive unlimited Wi-Fi through more than a million Boingo hotspots around the world.

    You’ll also receive complimentary in-room, premium Internet access when you stay at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards hotels.

  • Travel benefits.

    Enjoy roadside assistance, car rental insurance, travel accident insurance and lost luggage insurance. Get access to the Premium Global Assist Hotline as well, which can connect you to medical and professional services when you’re in a pinch on vacation.

  • Shopping and entertainment benefits.

    Get extended warranties, return protection and purchase protection on eligible items you buy with your card. Also access ticket presales and select events in your area.

  • ShopRunner.

    You’ll receive free two-day shipping on eligible items at over 140 online stores in the ShopRunner network with this complimentary membership.

What to watch out for

  • $450 annual fee.

    This card is priced at a premium. To its credit, however, it offers impressive benefits for its annual fee that can easily make up the cost.

  • Potentially high APR.

    You could receive a purchase and balance transfer APR as high as 26.74% variable, depending on your credit. That’s much higher than the average credit card APR of around 16%.

  • Penalty APR.

    American Express may apply a 29.99% variable APR to all balances if you pay late or make a returned payment. This rate will apply for at least six months, but you may be stuck with it indefinitely.

Consider other cards if …

  • You want general travel rewards.

    You’ll find excellent premium cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express and Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which offer points you can redeem for flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises and more.

  • You want rewards for another hotel chain.

    SPG and Marriott may seem peerless in the upscale-hotel credit card market. But you may also want to consider The World of Hyatt Credit Card, the Hilton Honors™ Aspire Card and the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, which can take you to exclusive hotels around the world.

  • You want to pay a lower annual fee.

    The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has a $0 intro annual fee for the first year and $95 after, and the Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard® also has a $0 intro annual fee the first year, followed by a $89 annual fee. Both are excellent mid-tier cards. They’re good choices if you just want travel rewards and don’t need bells and whistles like elite status or travel credits.

  • You’re an SPG and Marriott Rewards regular, but you don’t want to pay for premium perks.

    Look into Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express. It’s well-featured in its own right, with 6x points on eligible SPG and Marriott Rewards purchases, a Free Night Award and complimentary Silver Elite status. If you have a business, try the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express. You’ll likely earn more points with it due to its great mid-tier elevated rewards.

Compare Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card vs. American Express® Gold Card

Compare Bank of America business credit cards

Updated December 11th, 2018
Name Product APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for Purchases Introductory Purchase APR Annual Fee
13.24% to 23.24% variable
0% for the first 9 billing cycles (then 13.24% to 23.24% variable)
$0
$200 statement credit bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first 60 days of your account opening.
14.99% to 24.99% variable
0% for the first 15 statement closing dates (then 14.99% to 24.99% variable)
$0
Enjoy a 0% intro balance transfer APR for the first 15 statement closing dates, then 14.99% to 24.99% variable.
16.99% to 24.99% variable
$0
10,000 MyCruise® bonus points offer. Good for onboard credits, stateroom upgrades, discounts, cruises and more.
Asiana Visa Signature® Credit Card
Asiana Visa Signature® Credit Card
16.99% to 24.99% variable
$99
No matter where you're travelling, feel free to use your Asiana Visa Signature® credit card without incurring foreign transaction fees when making purchases.
16.99% to 24.99% variable
$75
Buy one ticket, get one for just the taxes and fees ($0 fare plus taxes and fees from just $22) after you make $1,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of your account opening. There are no blackout dates.

Compare up to 4 providers

What should I know before I apply?

Before applying for the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card, check the eligibility requirements and make sure you have the required information.

Eligibility requirements

  • You’re 18 years of age or older.
  • You’re a US resident.

Required documents and information

  • Your name, email address and phone number.
  • Your Social Security number and date of birth.
  • Your home address.
  • Your total annual income and income source.

What credit score do I need

For better odds of approval, consider applying with a good to excellent credit score of 740 or higher. Remember that when you apply with a better score, you’re more likely to receive a lower APR, which can be handy if you’re planning on carrying a balance.

What do customers say about the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card?

The Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card is a new product, but its sister cards — Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express — are often highly regarded by customers. The business version in particular is much improved over its previous incarnation, offering elevated points in new categories.

The American Express Company is accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), earning an A+ rating from the agency. It currently has over 3,000 complaints. However, according to the BBB, most of the complaints have been answered by the company or resolved to customers’ satisfaction.

How to apply for the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card

  1. Visit the American Express website and click Apply now.
  2. Fill out the application form with details like your name, contact information, Social Security number and total annual income.
  3. Review your application and submit it.

How long will it take to get my Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card?

Applications are generally processed automatically, meaning you can get a decision within just a few minutes. In some cases you may need to provide additional information, which can delay getting an answer by anywhere from a few business days to a few weeks. Once you’re approved for the card, you’ll likely receive it and any welcome materials in the mail within seven to 10 days.

I got the card. Now what?

  • Enroll in autopay. You can set up automatic payments at the American Express website. These can be highly convenient, as they’ll help you avoid late payments.
  • Avoid late and returned payments. Both come with fees as high as $38. They’ll also put you at risk of a penalty APR, which is 29.99% variable. This rate may be indefinitely applied to all of your balances.
  • Contact customer service. To reach customer service, call the number on the back of your card. Alternatively, you can call 1-800-528-4800.

How to choose Amex hotel cards

Bottom line

The Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card is priced at a premium, but it packs tremendous value for its cost. If you frequent SPG and Marriott Rewards properties and love traveling in style, this card could be an automatic winner.

If you’re not sure the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card is for you, compare other great travel cards before you decide.

Frequently asked questions

Disclaimer

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.

Images: AmericanExpress.com

Kevin Joey Chen

Kevin Chen is a world-travelin', copy-writin', Game of Thrones-watchin' credit cards writer for finder.com. When he's not crunching the numbers on bonus points and comparing APRs, you can find him flying around the world in search of the perfect beer.

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

US Credit Card Offers

Important Information*
Deserve® Classic Card
Deserve® Classic Card

APR

24.49
variable

Annual fee

0 For the first year
More info
Luxury Card Mastercard® Gold Card™
Luxury Card Mastercard® Gold Card™

APR

16.74
variable

Annual fee

995 For the first year
More info
First Access Visa Card®
First Access Visa Card®

APR

29.99
variable

Annual fee

75 For the first year
More info
Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® Credit Card
Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® Credit Card

APR

23.9
variable

Annual fee

75 For the first year
More info

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.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site