If you’re a business owner who is regularly criss-crossing the country – or even the globe – then having a credit card that rewards you for doing so is a must.
The Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express could just be that card. Being away from home can be exhausting, but if you’re able to earn rewards it can be well worth the effort!
Carrying this card can earn you free nights, free flights with airline transfers, and can even accelerate you to elite status!
See just how rewarding your business travel can be with a Starwood credit card.
Card Summary Table
- Card Bonus & Info (Partner Content)
- Card Provider
- Card Type(s):
- Card Focus:
- Annual Fee
- $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
- Rewards CenterMarriott Loyalty Program
- Foreign Transaction FeesNone
- Typical UsersBusiness Owners, Frequent Travelers, International Travelers
- Customer Service Number
- Login Link
- PartnersAmerican Express works with a wide variety of shopping venues, airlines, and hotels to help you collect points. Often, you can transfer your points to participating hotels and airline mileage programs.
- Interest Rates
- 17.49% - 26.49% Variable
- Late fees
- See Rates & Fees
- Balance Transfers
- Cash Advance APR
- 26.99% Variable
The Ideal Cardholder
Introductory Bonus and Earning Categories
After you apply to get the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express, you will be eligible to receive the current welcome bonus after you have used your new card to make the appropriate spend in purchases within the allotted time.
For frequent travelers who stay in Marriott hotels, this hotel card could be the ideal partner for you. That’s because you could start to see your points rack up right away.
You earn 6 points for every dollar of eligible purchases at participating Marriott hotels.
Categories earning 4 points per dollar include:
- U.S. restaurants
- U.S. gas stations
- Wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers
- U.S. purchases for shipping
All other purchases earn 2 points per dollar spent.
During the first year, you won’t have an annual fee, so you’ll have the opportunity to see how you like using the card at absolutely no cost. After that, the annual fee is just $95.
Benefits of Being a Card Member
The Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express isn’t just a way to earn Starpoints, though. There are plenty of additional benefits, too, such as (Terms and Conditions Apply):
- Free nights at more than 6,000 hotels & resorts in over 100 countries with no blackout dates
- Marriott Gold status after spending $30,000 or more in eligible purchases ($35,000 after 1/1/2019)
- Premium on-property internet access plus Boingo Wi-Fi while you’re staying at Marriott participating hotels
- Coming in 2019: 15 elite night credits toward status (one credit allowed per loyalty account member)
Additional Card Perks
Additional perks with the card can provide you with peace of mind while you’re on the road, as well as when you make important purchases.
Like many other travel rewards credit cards, you’ll get a baggage insurance plan. Checked bags are covered up to $500 and carry-on bags for up to $1,250 when you book your flight with your Amex card.
You also get travel accident insurance, a global assist hotline, and more.
Your card also offers other nice perks such as purchase protection, car rental loss and damage insurance, roadside assistance, and extended warranty.
Even More Convenience By Carrying This Card in Your Wallet
There are even more benefits offered with the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express. That’s because you’ll have the perks that are provided with every business card from American Express OPEN.
You’ll have access to ReceiptMatch. This is a feature that helps you to manage expenses on your card by adding receipts, tags, and notes to your transactions, both through a desktop computer and a mobile device.
Other advantages that are automatically included with your card include:
- Account alerts
- Account Manager program
- Mobile and tablet apps
- Dispute resolution
- Online statements
- OPEN Forum
Just a Few Things To Consider With Your Card
Even though there are countless benefits to carrying the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express with you on your adventures, there are also some things to consider before you apply for this particular card.
This is especially important since you have many different credit cards that are available to choose from in the marketplace!
First, this card – like many of the other rewards cards – does have an annual fee. Though the fee is waived for the first year, this particular card charges $95.
That means you’ll have a full 365 days to check out the card and see how you like it before you will be charged the fee.
Also, the bulk of the points you can earn on the card will come from travel. So if you aren’t a frequent traveler, there may be other credit cards out there that could serve you better for accumulating points.
Alternatives to the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
Try to stay aware of alternative cards if you want to continue to keep your rewards maximized. There are a few other hotel cards available, and you may be better off with one of them.
If you love Hilton hotels, you could utilize one of the many Hilton cards. You can see our reviews for the Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express for details.
For those searching for an alternative business card with rewards, you can review The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN, or The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN.
Final Thoughts: A Card Summary
If you are a business owner who also travels frequently overnight, then you should consider carrying the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express.
Doing so can provide you with rewards on travel while offering protection and peace of mind.
This card can definitely ensure that you are treated like royalty when you stay in a participating SPG hotel, of which there are many: more than 6,000 hotels & resorts in over 100 countries around the world!
You will also be offered insurance in several ways, whether you’re in the air or on the road. It can also ensure the purchases you make will be covered even after the original manufacturer’s warranty has expired.
In addition to benefits that are specific to the card, you will be automatically eligible for all the features included through American Express OPEN.
If you still aren’t sure whether this is the card for you, try it out for 1 full year. Because the annual fee is waived in the first year, you have the opportunity to use the card without having to worry about the fee until the following year.
Great Card If
- You are a business owner or entrepreneur
- You travel frequently, especially overnight in any Marriott brand
- You are a frequent internet user while traveling
Don't Get If
- You are not a business owner or entrepreneur
- You are not a frequent traveler
- You do not stay in Marriott hotels often
U.P. Pro Tips
Maximize your usage of the card by staying in Marriott brands and spending at least $30,000 on this card per year ($35,000 after 1/1/2019)!
By doing this, you’ll not only earn extra Marriott points — you’ll be on track to earn Gold Elite status to reap even more benefits!
Gold Elite status will get you a further 25% bonus on points earned, as well as a room upgrade and late checkout if available.
How to Use the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express: The Upgraded Way
Best Way to Maximize Points
The Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express is mostly geared towards those who travel frequently and who stay at participating Marriott hotels.
If this describes you, then you may have found your ideal travel partner!
Now you can you start to rack up points when you or your employees are on the road. By transferring Marriott rpoints to participating frequent flyer programs, you can earn even more!
Tip #1: Be sure to use your card at participating Marriott hotels! You can earn Marriott points for each dollar that you spend on eligible purchases, as well as bonus points for your stay from the hotel itself.
Tip #2: Plan your stays to earn an elite status. With status, you will earn additional bonus Marriott points for your stay.
Alternatively, after you’ve spent $30,000 or more in eligible purchases on your card in a calendar year ($35,000 after 1/1/2019), you can get Marriott Gold status.
Tip #3: When staying at a Marriottproperty, use their bars and restaurants to earn bonus points by using your card.
Tip #4: If you transfer 60,000 Marriott points to a participating frequent flyer program, you can receive 5,000 bonus miles for a total of 25,000 miles.
Best Way to Redeem Points
While there are many credit card rewards programs that will have you spending your points on gift cards and merchandise you might never use, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express is different.
This card is geared toward those who stay in hotels regularly, and it rewards you handsomely for doing so.
Hot Tip: Marriott is one of the few ways to transfer points to American Airlines!
Tip #2: Redeeming for Marriott rooms can get you as good or better a point value than transferring to airlines. There are multiple options and it will depend on each category, so be sure to do your research.
Tip #3: If using your points for free nights, try to maximize your redemptions by using the 5th Night Free option. For every 5 nights, you’ll get the equivalent of one night’s worth of points in discount.
Tip #4: The Cash and Points option can also be valuable in some instances; look into this as a hybrid of booking an awards flight.
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 Ratio||Bonus Airline Miles for 60,000+ Marriott Points Transferred in a Single Transfer||Transfer Time (based on pre-merger reports)|
|Aegean Airlines Miles+Bonus||3:1||5,000||10 days|
|AeroMexico Club Premier||3:1||5,000||2 days|
|Air Canada Aeroplan||3:1||5,000||5 days|
|Air China PhoenixMiles||3:1||5,000||5 days|
|Air France / KLM Flying Blue||3:1||5,000||1 day|
|Air New Zealand Airpoints||TBA||TBA||2 days|
|Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan||3:1||5,000||2 days|
|ANA Mileage Club||3:1||5,000||7 days|
|American Airlines AAdvantage||3:1||5,000||2 days|
|Asiana Club||3:1||5,000||10 days|
|Avianca Airlines LifeMiles||3:1||5,000||unknown|
|British Airways Executive Club||3:1||5,000||1 days|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles||3:1||5,000||10 days|
|China Eastern Airlines||3:1||5,000||unknown|
|China Southern Sky Pearl Club||3:1||5,000||3 days|
|Delta Air Lines SkyMiles||3:1||5,000||2 days|
|El Al Matmid||TBA||TBA||unknown|
|Emirates Skywards||3:1||5,000||6 days|
|Etihad Guest||3:1||5,000||5 days|
|Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings||3:1||5,000||unknown|
|Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles||3:1||5,000||2 days|
|Iberia Plus||3:1||5,000||6 days|
|Japan Airlines (JAL) Mileage Bank||3:1||5,000||7 days|
|Jet Airways JetPrivilege||3:1||5,000||unknown|
|JetBlue TrueBlue||TBA||TBA||1 day|
|Korean Air SkyPass||3:1||5,000||7 days|
|LATAM Pass||3:1||5,000||2 days|
|Lufthansa Miles and More||3:1||5,000||6 days|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer||3:1||5,000||6 days|
|Qatar Airways Privilege Club||3:1||5,000||6 days|
|Saudi Arabian Airlines Alfursan||3:1||5,000||unknown|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||3:1||5,000||6 days|
|South African Airways Voyager||3:1||5,000||unknown|
|Southwest Rapid Rewards||3:1||5,000||2 days|
|TAP Portugal Victoria||3:1||5,000||unknown|
|Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus||3:1||5,000||10 days|
|Turkish Airline Miles&Smiles||3:1||5,000||unknown|
|United MileagePlus||3:1||5,000||2 days|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||3:1||5,000||1 day|
|Virgin Australia Velocity||3:1||5,000||2 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)
If you like the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express, then it can be extremely helpful to review some examples of how this card can work for you from a financial standpoint.
The main goal here is not to get too in-depth, but rather to determine whether or not this particular credit card will benefit you when comparing its $95 annual fee to the rewards you can earn using it.
Because the card is predominantly for business travelers, it can help to sketch out a plan of action about how you may use the card to ensure you’ll get the most benefit from it.
For example, here’s what the new award chart will look like, including the features that will be launched in early 2019. Points values listed are for 1 free night at a property at that level.
(Effective August 2018)
(Coming in 2019)
(Coming in 2019)
|8 (Coming in 2019)||85,000||70,000||100,000|
You can also transfer your Marriott points to a number of different airlines’ frequent flier programs or at a 3:1 ratio.
In addition, when you transfer 60,000 Marriott points to an eligible program, you can receive an extra 5,000 miles – meaning that you’re continuing to earn points as you’re transferring them.
This essentially keeps the point cycle churning.
The Gritty Details: Everything Else You Need To Know
As with most everything else in life, you should know the “nitty gritty” details before you go head first into making a financial decision – no matter how great the benefits may seem!
This includes getting a Marriott business card.
With that in mind, you should (at the very least!) read over the cardmember agreement so you’ll know which spending will count for accumulating points and which will not.
That way, there won’t be any surprises later on…though Amex does reserve the right to change the program at any time.
With this card, you earn Marriott points in a couple of different ways. For example, you can currently earn 6 points for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating Marriott hotels.
As a business owner, you can get additional employee cards with no annual fee, and you can earn points at the same rate for every eligible purchase that is charged.
Understanding Your Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express Rewards
When it comes to rewards, there are several areas where these can be found on the card.
For starters, you’re able to redeem points for free nights at more than 6,000 hotels & resorts around the world without having to worry about blackout dates.
Additional travel-related rewards associated with this card include:
Marriott airline transfer program – You can receive a 5,000-miles bonus when you transfer 60,000 Marriott points to a participating frequent flyer program.
Marriott Gold Elite status – You can attain Marriott Gold Elite status after you have spent $30,000 or more in eligible purchases with your card during a calendar year ($35,000 after 1/1/2019).
Premium on-property internet access + Boingo Wi-Fi – Enjoy complimentary in-room, premium internet access while you stay at participating Marriott hotels. In addition, receive free access to unlimited Wi-Fi on up to 4 devices at more than 1 million hotspots worldwide.
Additional Member Advantages and Protection
While you’re on the go, it’s nice to know that you’ve got protection. With the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express, you’ll have additional coverage, such as:
Car rental loss and damage insurance – When you’ve used your card to reserve and pay for your rental car, you can be covered if the car has been stolen or damaged.
Baggage insurance plan – What’s more frustrating than lost or stolen bags when you’re traveling? When you pay for your trip with your card, you’re covered for luggage that is lost, stolen, or even damaged, both carry-on and checked.
Global assist hotline – If you’ve traveled more than 100 miles from home and you need emergency assistance, the global assist hotline is there for you. For legal, medical, financial, or other needs, your card has you covered.
Roadside assistance hotline – As a cardmember, if your car breaks down, you can rely on roadside assistance for towing and other emergency services.
Travel accident insurance – Your Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express can also provide accidental death and dismemberment coverage when the fare has been charged to the card. This coverage can offer financial security when it is needed most.
Purchase protection – If you pay for an item on your card, this can help protect your purchase for up to 90 days if it is stolen or accidentally damaged.
Extended warranty – The extended warranty can provide up to 1 year of additional coverage to the original manufacturer’s protection on a product you’ve purchased with your card.
The Business Benefits of Being a Member
It’s true that membership certainly does have its advantages. By carrying the card, you’ll also have access to benefits from American Express OPEN, including:
ReceiptMatch – With ReceiptMatch, you can manage your card expenses by simply adding receipts, tags, and notes to your transactions. This can easily be done via a desktop computer or mobile device.
Account alerts – You can have alerts set up to help avoid any late payments, as well as be notified if there is any irregular activity occurring on your account. Alerts may be set up for monitoring employee card spending as well.
Account Manager – With Account Manager, you can assign a trusted employee or business partner to handle various tasks such as reviewing statements and making payments, so you are free to focus on other activities.
Mobile and tablet apps – By having access to mobile and tablet apps, you can pay bills, check your balance, view your benefits, and more from just about anywhere.
Dispute resolution – Should there be any fraudulent activity and/or an incorrect charge on your account, American Express will work with you to help resolve the issue.
Online statements – With online statements, you can view your purchase history, prepare reports to invoice customers, and budget your expenses.
OPEN Forum – OPEN Forum provides you with access to information that can help you keep your business moving and growing.
Photo Credits/Credit/Copyright Attribution:
Young Man Relaxing in Hotel: pio3/Shutterstock
Business Workers Checking Into Hotel: Lucky Business/Shutterstock
Bunch of Thumbs Up: fotogestoeber/Shutterstock
Business Woman Relaxing on Bed: Alliance/Shutterstock
Is the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express worth it?
If you are a business owner (especially if you frequently travel overnight), then yes, this card can be well worth it.
For starters, the card has a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, and then only costs $95 per year thereafter.
But paying that annual fee gets you the following benefits (Terms and Conditions Apply for all benefits):
- Free in-room premium internet access
- Unlimited complimentary Boingo Wi-Fi on up to 4 devices at more than 1 million Boingo hotspots worldwide
- $0 annual fee for each employee card
- Employee Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Cards from American Express OPEN earn Starpoints at the same rate
The card also includes a multitude of travel-related rewards, such as:
- Free nights at more than 6,000 hotels & resorts in over 100 countries – with no blackout dates
- Marriott Silver Elite Status for having the card
- Marriott Gold Status after spending a certain amount on the card
- Premium on-property internet access + Boingo Wi-Fi
There are additional perks like:
- Purchase protection
- Car rental loss and damage insurance
- Global assist hotline
- Roadside assistance hotline
- Travel accident insurance
Plus, you also receive all of the benefits that members of American Express Open get, which include:
- RecepitMatch, dispute resolution, account alerts, Account Manager, online statements, mobile and tablet apps, OPEN Forum
Is there an annual fee on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express?
Yes; the annual fee is $95. However, the annual fee for the card is waived for the first year.
Will the points on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express ever expire or go away?
Your points are tied directly to your Marriott account, so the cancellation policy that applies will be per Marriott.
The Marriott expiration policy is 24 months of inactivity.