Update: This limited time offer has expired. All links revert to the 25,000 point offer.
American Express has increased the offer to 30,000 points on their Starwood Preferred Guest card and added some pretty interesting benefits. This limited time offer ends September 14 and represents a 20% increase over the standard offer. Read the full details below.
- 30,000 SPG points after spending $3,000 in 3 months (personal), $5,000 in 3 months (business)
- $95 annual fee (waived first year)
- Up to 5 points per $1 spent at SPG properties, 1 point per $1 spent everywhere else
- Automatically earn 5 nights and 2 stays toward elite status
- Free in-room premium internet
- Free Boingo WiFi on up to four devices
- American Express benefits (car rental coverage, extended warranty, etc.)
- No foreign transaction fees
- Approval difficulty: Moderate (~675+ credit score with decent income)
- Churn status: Awful (once per lifetime of applicant)
First, let’s focus on the changes. 30,000 SPG points is about as good as it gets from Amex – I don’t think I’ve ever seen a higher offer. So there’s that. And adding free in-room premium internet and Boingo WiFi (with 1 million hotspots worldwide) is also above industry standards. Then there’s always the existing partnership with Uber – an attractive combination with good earning potential.
This all adds a positive layer to an already excellent SPG program. Category 7 hotels are available from 30,000 to 35,000 per night, which means this offer gets one free night at an amazing property.
This isn’t on the same level as the two free top-tier nights offered by Hyatt and Hilton, but it is still premier value at the lower category levels. Plus Starwood is consistently offering transfer bonuses to major airlines – so you can think beyond hotel stays.
Two changes that aren't getting as much press: adding no foreign transaction fees and the annual fee increasing from $65 to $95. The former isn't mentioned because nearly every reward card offers it, while the latter is a little strange. I'm not sure if internet and no foreign fees justifies an extra $30 a year. And while it wouldn't be a big deal for churners – until you remember that Amex bonuses are once a lifetime.
I also mentioned the comparison to the Hyatt and Hilton cards above. I think both of those are superior in terms of initial bonus. Beyond the Uber agreement, I personally would prefer earning a Hyatt point over an SPG point.
The Final Word
36,000 SPG points allowed me to book three nights at the Sheraton on the Park in Sydney, Australia earlier this year. The rate of the hotel was over $1,000 USD per night. That is fantastic redemption value and this card gets you this close to the necessary total.
So if you haven’t gotten this card before, I recommend it – the bonus is at it's peak offer, the points have exceptional value and are even transferable if you don’t want a hotel stay. Keep the card for a year and then, when the annual fee is due, revisit it's value.
Application links and other useful information is below: