Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express Review

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"Great Travel Partners and Unlimited WiFi"

The card offers great partnerships and excellent value, which makes it one of the favorites in the points world. This card makes it much easier to earn big!

Apply Now (at Amex's secure site)

It’s time for vacation again, and you’ve begun making your list: potential destinations, different modes of transportation, and finally lodging options. Once you’ve nailed down your location and transportation, it’s time for lodging.

But where to stay?

Marriott has over 6,000 properties across 100+ countries.

Perhaps you could look into using this card to pay for your trip, which will earn you complimentary nights and a ton of great bonus points to get you closer to an elite status!

Card Snapshot

The Ideal Cardholder

Couple Entering Hotel
When you’re ready for vacation, you want to have all the resources in place to take it. Prepare yourself for your trips throughout the year by utilizing this Starwood rewards card.

Introductory Bonus Points, Earning Categories and More

The current welcome bonus for the product can be found in our summary table at the top of the page.

From August 1, 2018, you earn 6 points for every dollar of eligible purchases at participating Marriott hotels.

All other purchases earn 2 points per dollar spent.

This card is $0 for the first year, but after that it will cost you $95 per year. Read on to see if this could be worth it to you!

Bottom Line: For now, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express earns 2x Starpoints at Starwood and Marriott hotels and 1x points everywhere else.

Other Card Benefits: Making Travel a Bit Sweeter

There are quite a few other benefits with the SPG credit card, too. First, Amex has added Boingo hotspot Wi-Fi for all cardmembers.

This gives you access to Boingo hotspots all around the world; they have over a million! That’s a pretty awesome value, since a Global membership for Boingo typically runs about $60 per month.

Comparatively, a North America membership is only ~$5-10 per month. With this program, you get up to 4 Wi-Fi devices to use internationally wherever you go.

International travel is better, because the card has no foreign transaction fees. Though most cards have gone this direction, it makes this card much more useful so you can avoid additional fees.

At Marriott (as with most hotels), getting access to the in-room internet typically costs extra. Depending on your elite status level, you can get complimentary basic internet access, or sometimes premium access at higher levels.

For being a member of the Amex SPG card, you get complimentary premium internet no matter your status!

The caveat is you must book through the Marriott website or mobile app, and there are more specific restrictions like not using a group rate code or third party booking.

Bottom Line: Get Boingo Wi-Fi, premium in-room internet, and enjoy no foreign transaction fees when you use the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express.

Final Thoughts

The card gives you plenty of options for earning, redeeming, and transferring Marriott points.

Enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi plus internet in your room while you greatly expand your ability to earn Marriott points with the card.

It takes a little work to make sure you have the details down, but once you do you’ll have plenty of travel on the horizon. This is a very valuable American Express card!

Bottom Line: The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express is a valuable American Express card, and Marriott is one of the most popular loyalty programs for travelers.

Great Card If

  • You’ve already got status in Marriott and want to earn points more quickly
  • You’re often on the go and would make use of Boingo hotspots around the world
  • You don’t have a particular airline, but like the flexibility of being able to transfer points to the different loyalty programs

Don't Get If

Card Fees

  • Annual Fee
    • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Foreign Transaction Fees
    None
  • Interest Rates
    • 17.74%-26.74% Variable
  • Late fees
    • 29.99% Variable
  • Balance Transfers
    • 17.74%-26.74% Variable
    • Fee: Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Cash Advance APR
    • 27.24% Variable
    • Fee: Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater.

Best Way to Maximize Points

There are quite a few tricks to maximize your points earning with this valuable rewards card.

We’ve detailed the best methods below, so take a look! Even just a few points here and there can add up.

Tip #1: Always book your rooms with the card, and book directly through the hotel in order to earn your points.

Tip #2: Earn elite status if possible so you’ll earn more points on your stays

Tip #3: As we recommend with all hotel properties, put everything on your room bill so you have a good chance of it all counting toward your points.

Tip #4: Earn points for car rentals if you use their discount code. You can earn 50 points through AVIS, and 250 for SIXT.

Tip #5: Earn up to 500 Marriott points each day you decline housekeeping service, which is part of their Green Choice program. You have to stay more than 1 night, as it can’t be used on the night of checkout.*

Tip #6: Earn Marriott points for referring your friends to the card.

Tip #7: Host a meeting or event (like a wedding) at an Marriott property to earn meeting planner points and elite night credits.

*At participating hotels within the portfolio

Best Way To Redeem Marriott Points

Redeeming points is always challenging if you want to get the maximum value. It involves checking around and comparing deals at any given time and knowing where the highest value for your points can be found.

Here are some of the ways we’ve found to get the highest value for redemptions with Marriott.

Tip #1: You can redeem your Marriott points for hotel nights at a pretty good value of over $0.008 per point for most stays. The highest value is typically international stays and weekday nights.

Tip #3: Redeem nights in multiples of 5 to stretch them further: For every 5-night booking, you’ll get a discount of 1 night, so it will only cost the equivalent of 4 nights.

Tip #4: Look into the option to use cash and points at a discount for both for redemptions. These will vary in value.

Tip #5: The redemption options for airline transfers: 60,000 points converts to 20,000 airline miles with a 5,000-mile bonus at 42 airlines.

Bottom Line: Complimentary nights and partner transfers are typically the highest value redemptions. Don’t use points earned on this card for the other options unless you have a solid justification for your valuation!

Partners in the Marriott Program include their hotel portfolio, airlines, and other shopping partners.

Hotel and Airline Partners

Marriott Hotels Portfolio: Fairfield Inn by Marriott, Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Autograph Collection, Renaissance Hotels, SpringHill Suites by Marriott, Courtyard by Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, JW Marriott, AC, Delta Hotels, EDITION, BULGARI Hotels and Resorts, MOXY Hotels, Protea Hotels, St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, W Hotels, Westin, Sheraton, La Meridien, Tribune Portfolio, Design Hotels, aloft, Four Points, and element.

Here is the list of airline partnerships and their transfer rates:

Marriott Transfer Partner (Airline)Transfer RatioBonus Airline Miles for 60,000+ Marriott Points Transferred in a Single TransferTransfer Time (based on pre-merger reports)
Aegean Airlines Miles+Bonus3:15,00010 days
Aeroflot Bonus3:15,000unknown
AeroMexico Club Premier3:15,0002 days
Air Canada Aeroplan3:15,0005 days
Air China PhoenixMiles3:15,0005 days
Air France / KLM Flying Blue3:15,0001 day
Air New Zealand AirpointsTBATBA2 days
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan3:15,0002 days
Alitalia MilleMiglia3:15,000unknown
ANA Mileage Club3:15,0007 days
American Airlines AAdvantage3:15,0002 days
Asiana Club3:15,00010 days
Avianca Airlines LifeMiles3:15,000unknown
British Airways Executive Club3:15,0001 days
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles3:15,00010 days
China Eastern Airlines3:15,000unknown
China Southern Sky Pearl Club3:15,0003 days
Copa ConnectMiles3:15,000unknown
Delta Air Lines SkyMiles3:15,0002 days
El Al MatmidTBATBAunknown
Emirates Skywards3:15,0006 days
Etihad Guest3:15,0005 days
Frontier MyFrontier3:15,000unknown
Gol Smiles3:15,000unknown
Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings3:15,000unknown
Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles3:15,0002 days
Iberia Plus3:15,0006 days
Japan Airlines (JAL) Mileage Bank3:15,0007 days
Jet Airways JetPrivilege3:15,000unknown
JetBlue TrueBlueTBATBA1 day
Korean Air SkyPass3:15,0007 days
LATAM Pass3:15,0002 days
Lufthansa Miles and More3:15,0006 days
Qantas Frequent Flyer3:15,0006 days
Qatar Airways Privilege Club3:15,0006 days
Saudi Arabian Airlines Alfursan3:15,000unknown
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer3:15,0006 days
South African Airways Voyager3:15,000unknown
Southwest Rapid Rewards3:15,0002 days
TAP Portugal Victoria3:15,000unknown
Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus3:15,00010 days
Turkish Airline Miles&Smiles3:15,000unknown
United MileagePlus3:15,0002 days
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club3:15,0001 day
Virgin Australia Velocity3:15,0002 days

Additional Partners: Shopping, Entertainment and More

  • Merchandise (iTunes, Amazon.com, Nordstrom, Banana Republic, and more)
  • Audience Rewards and Live Nation
  • Avis and Sixt
  • Charity (Red Cross, UN Children’s Fund)
  • Diners Club (transfer points from your Diners Club account to your Marriott account, but not the other way)

The Gritty Details: Everything Else You Need To Know

With this card, we don’t have many details to bring up that haven’t already been covered. Hopefully we explained everything you need to know in the Amex SPG review above.

All the benefits are pretty clearly described below, and there isn’t a lot of fine print to explain. You’ll get your bonus miles deposited in your account 8-12 weeks after they are earned.

Other Amex cardholders have reported that if you are already an American Express cardmember, you may not be able to get another Amex welcome offer — make sure to confirm before applying.

Other Unique Features

Here’s the complete list of benefits you will get by owning a Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express.

Premium internet – You must be staying under an eligible Marriott rate and not have booked through a third party service. Each SPG room offers basic or high-speed premium internet, and this benefit refers to the latter.

If you have reserved multiple rooms, the internet access is only available to your room. For hotels that already give internet, you don’t get a replacement benefit except at all-inclusive resorts.

Complimentary Boingo American Express Wi-Fi – Cardmembers get unlimited complimentary access to every Boingo hotspot all over the world. This is a pretty excellent benefit if you’re a traveler, as there are over 1 million Boingo hotspots!

If you use this a lot, it could easily make up for the annual fee since you can pay well over $95 a year to get this access otherwise.

Note: if you already have a Boingo account, you will actually need to cancel your existing account to avoid being charged. Here are the hotspots. Your limit is up to 4 devices connected per month.

Airline loyalty transfer – For most airlines, you will be given a 3:1 transfer ratio on your miles. Then, for every 60,000+ Marriott points transfer, you’ll get a 5,000-mile bonus.

You must transfer these miles to an account that is also in your name.

Roadside assistance – This benefit gets you a personal assistant to help in case of a roadside emergency. You can call for tows, locksmithing, and more.

Note that you will be responsible for any charges incurred by these services as they are not complimentary.

Car rental loss and damage insurance – Get covered for up to $50,000 (and a host of other stipulations) for getting in an accident during your rental. To obtain this benefit, you must decline the rental agency’s insurance.

Global assist hotline – When you are 100+ miles from home, this benefit gives you access to an assistant who can help you out of a pickle. Lost cards, interrupted travel, or even in need of a lawyer…the hotline will help!

The actual person you talk to is on the house, but you have to pay for any of the services they enact for you.

Travel accident insurance – For the terrible scenario of a potential travel accident, you can get coverage for up to $100,000 in damages and costs. This is restricted to accidents on common carriers (air, water, and land vehicles for hire; not rental cars, etc.)

Entertainment access – With this benefit, you can purchase VIP or regular tickets to events. Amex actually pre-purchases these tickets and then makes them available to their cardmembers. There are some potentially good deals here, especially if you can’t find tickets elsewhere.

Extended warranty – Extend the warranties on items with a manufacturer warranty of 5 years or less. A maximum of 1 year, or double the warranty, is added to your current warranty. You’re allowed $10,000 per item and $50,000 per year.

Purchase protection – For up to $1,000 per item, you can get reimbursement (or repair/replacement) for any items that are damaged or stolen within the first 90 days after your purchase.

Be sure to keep track of your purchase information and check the rules. There is a $50,000 per year maximum.

Return protection – Similar to the above, for any items you aren’t able to return to the vendor, you can get coverage at $300 per item.

This has to be within 90 days of the purchase (which is good, because typical return periods are only 30 days), you may have to send the item back, and you’ll need to meet their criteria.

The yearly maximum is only $1,000 for this benefit.

Photo Credits/Credit/Copyright Attribution:
Couple Entering Hotel: Gergely Zsolnai/Shutterstock
Guy Boarding Plane: View Apart/Shutterstock
Hotel Conference Setup: Pavel L Photo and Video/Shutterstock
International Travel: Romolo Tavani/Shutterstock

FAQ

What do people mean when they refer to the "SPG Amex"?

“SPG Amex” has become the colloquial term for the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express.

There is also a business version of the card, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express.

Is the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express worth it?

The card is very good for those who travel often or who like to transfer points from Starwood Preferred Guest accounts to other partners.

You earn a good introductory bonus and 1x-2x points per dollar (the higher is earned when spending at Starwood or Marriott hotels). In addition to the points earned, you also get unlimited access to Boingo Hotspots all over the world.

This alone pays for the annual fee of the card (which is $95) if you will use it. In addition, the card offers in-room internet and more fringe benefits.

Because SPG Starpoints tend to have a high worth, this card is often seen as a very valuable card. It will be up to you to decide if it is worth it for your spending and travel patterns.

Are there other credit cards that can earn SPG points?

Starwood Preferred Guest is a transfer partner from American Express Membership Rewards. The transfer ratio is 3:1, meaning you’ll get 1 Starpoint for every 3 Membership Rewards points (roughly).

When do Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express points post to your account?

It can take up to 8-12 weeks for your points to deposit into your account from spending. This is calculated from the end of the month.

Is the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express 0% APR?

No. The APR on the credit card is mentioned in the card summary table at the top of this review.

What are the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express airline partners?

There are multiple airlines that your card gets you access to. These are all available through the SPG program, and the full list is here.

Some of most popular SPG airlines include Air Berlin, Air China, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, Delta Air Lines, Emirates, Hawaiian Airlines, Japan Airlines, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, and United Airlines.

What are the benefits of this card?

You earn 1x points per dollar on regular spending and 2x points during stays at Starwood and Marriott hotels. You’ll also get complimentary global access to Boingo Wi-Fi Hotspots, in-room premium internet, and SPG Flights access.

Being an SPG member allows you access to all the different airline partners as well as merchandise and other partners. Finally, the card comes with a variety of travel insurances and services, as well as purchase, return and warranty protection.

Do I get access to Boingo Wi-Fi with the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express?

Yes, the Wi-Fi benefit includes access to all Boingo Hotspots worldwide.

To access them, you will get a membership when you apply for the card, and you simply utilize this whenever you need the Wi-Fi.

How do I transfer Amex Membership Rewards points to my SPG account?

Amex Membership Rewards members can transfer points to SPG using this link. Scroll down to find the “Travel with Points” option and you’ll find the transfer option in there.

What is the annual fee of this card?

The card fee is waived for the first year, and is $95 per year after.

What is the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express login?

Like other American Express cards, you can log in to your account here. However, if you want to access your SPG points and benefits, you need to log in separately to the Starwood Preferred Guest page.

What's the difference between the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred Card?

Both cards earn points at 1-2x per dollar. However, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earns 2x points on any hotel, restaurant, airline or other travel related expense (except gas).

The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express only earns 2x points at Starwood and Marriott hotels.

Points on the SPG Amex accumulate in your SPG account, whereas the Chase Sapphire Preferred points accumulate in Chase Ultimate Rewards. They both offer a variety of redemption options for shopping, travel, and transferring to loyalty partners.

While SPG points tend to be a little higher value, the Chase points are easier to acquire.

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Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

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