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 SPG Flights, and can even accelerate you to SPG Gold 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 Center
- 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
- 16.99% - 20.99% 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 Starwood 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.
Through July 31, 2018, you’ll earn 2 Starpoints® for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating SPG® Marriott Rewards® hotels. Earn 1 Starpoint® for all other purchases.
On August 1, 2018, SPG will convert every 1 Starpoint in a loyalty member account to 3 points. Amex also says that in general, we can expect a corresponding change in redemption rates as well.
Earnings rates will also change on August 1. Starting then, you’ll earn 6 points for every dollar of eligible purchases at participating SPG® and Marriott Rewards® hotels. Categories earning 4 points per dollar will 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 will 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 1,300 hotels & resorts in over 100 countries with no blackout dates
- SPG 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 SPG participating hotels
- Coming in 2019: 15 night credits toward Elite 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.
For someone who likes Marriott Hotels, you have the Chase Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card. You’ll get 1-5x points on Marriott hotel purchases, airfare, dining, and car rentals.
This card also comes with 1 free night at a Marriott property each year!
If you love Hilton hotels, you could utilize one of the many Hilton cards. You can see our reviews for the Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature Card or the Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express for details.
These cards earn between 2x-7x Honors points for each dollar spent in a variety of categories, provide boosts to get you closer to elite status, and offer a few unique benefits.
As an example, the Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature Card has a 10,000-point bonus for spending over $1,000 with Hilton in any given year, and $20k in total purchases during a year earns Gold status.
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 1,300 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 Starwood 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 Starwood hotels often
U.P. Pro Tips
Maximize your usage of the card by staying in Starwood 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 Starpoints — 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 SPG 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 Starpoints to participating frequent flyer programs, you can earn even more!
Tip #1: Be sure to use your card at participating SPG hotels! You can Starpoints for each dollar that you spend on eligible purchases, as well as bonus Starpoints for your stay from the hotel itself.
Tip #2: Plan your stays to earn an elite status. With status, you will earn additional bonus Starpoints 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 SPG Gold status.
Tip #3: When staying at a Starwood property, use their bars and restaurants to earn bonus points by using your card.
Tip #5: If you transfer 20,000 Starpoints to a participating frequent flyer program, you can receive 5,000 bonus Starpoints 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: SPG is one of the few ways to transfer points to American Airlines! Another is by using ThankYou points from Citi.
Tip #2: Redeeming for Starwood 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.
For instance, a Category 3 hotel room could be redeemed for 7,000 points. If the room costs $140 or more, you’ll be getting higher than a $0.02 value, which is the minimum recommended by us!
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.
SPG has lots of different airline partners, allowing you to fly on almost any airline in the world if you also consider each airline’s individual partner airlines!
Below is a list of partner airlines:
Aegean Airlines, AeroMexico, Air Canada, Air Berlin, Air China Companion, Air New Zealand, Alaska Airlines, Alitalia, ANA, American Airlines, Asia Miles, Asiana Airlines, British Airways, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Delta Airlines SkyMiles, Emirates Skywards, Etihad Airways, Flying Blue AirFrance/KLM, Gol Smiles, Hawaiian Airlines, Japan Airlines (JAL), Jet Airways, Korean Air, LAN Airlines, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, United, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia, Avianca Airlines.
Note that for hotels, you have access to all the different Starwood Brand Hotels.
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 in August)
(Coming in 2019)
(Coming in 2019)
|8 (Coming in 2019)||85,000||70,000||100,000|
(This is the current reward chart, which will be phased out during the summer of 2018):
|Current Starwood Points Redemption Rates (Through July 2018)|
|Category 1: 2,000 – 3,000|
|Category 2: 3,000 – 4,000|
|Category 3: 7,000|
|Category 4: 10,000|
|Category 5: 12,000 – 16,000|
|Category 6: 20,000 – 25,000|
|Category 7: 30,000 – 35,000|
You can also transfer your Starpoints to a number of different airlines’ frequent flier programs or to Marriott Rewards. In most cases, Starpoints may be converted on a 1:1 basis, but Marriott Rewards transfers at a 1:3.
In addition, when you transfer 20,000 Starpoints to an eligible program, you can receive an extra 5,000 points – meaning that you’re continuing to earn points as you’re transferring them.
This essentially keeps the point cycle churning.
Some Quick Card Calculations – Personal Spend
While the annual fee on this card is now $95 (a $30 increase from what it was in the past), it can still be well worth it considering the benefits: you get free premium internet, AMEX Boingo Wi-Fi access, and no foreign transaction fees.
It’s also important to note that your extra Starpoints from participating hotels can rack up fast!
Just how fast, though, will really depend on you and how much you travel throughout the year.
Let’s take a look at our 3 different families who have different annual spending habits in order to give you a better idea of the points and their accumulation.
(Note that the below examples are for the current Starpoints earning and redemption rates valid through July 31, 2018. We will update this section at that time to provide new math for you to consider!)
We will assume that the Kennedys are Preferred members, the Jetsons Gold, and the Hartnells Platinum. The below table shows how many points they could earn just using their card at Starwood hotels:
|The Kennedys||$1,800||7,200 (@ 4 pts/$1)|
|The Jetsons||$6,000||30,000 (@ 5 pts/$1)|
|The Hartnells||$10,500||52,500 (@ 5 pts/$1)|
*Total hotel spending and points earned from the families in one year’s time frame.
It’s easy to see how quickly the Starpoints can add up. With award nights starting at just 2,000 points, we can safely assume that the card’s annual fee will be well worth it for most members!
Even with just the basic examples above, the family with the least amount of points was still able to redeem points for 3 nights in a Starwood hotel.
But these calculations are assuming that you only redeem your points for a hotel stay. There are other items that you can choose, which could increase the value even more.
Airline tickets, merchandise, gift cards – the choice is all yours!
Using Your Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express in Your Business
Obviously, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express is tailored for the business owner to use on their expenses. Let’s take a look at what that could mean with your yearly expenses.
The following table represents a modest business that operates on ~$135k in expenses each year.
|Shipping||$4,000||Travel Expenses Related to Above||$2,000|
|Cell Phone||$2,400||Legal Fees||$10,000|
|Internet||$1,800||Web Expenses (Including Dev)||$12,100|
|Cable||$ –||Other Transportation||$500|
|Gas Station||$5,200||Accounting Fees||$10,000|
*Business spending totaling $135,800 per year in a variety of categories.
Calculating the Value of the Business Expenses
If we assume half of the travel expenses go toward hotels, then that would fall under the 2x point category if spent at SPG or Marriott hotels. Taking this into account, the following points are earned over a year:
|Reward Earning Category||Total Dollars Spent||Total Points Earned|
*Total points earned with the given business expenses with the card
At 136,800 points total, you could redeem for between 3-68 nights! The latter obviously assumes everything is in a Category 1, which may not make sense for you.
On top of this, you can consider the additional value of having lounge access, and perhaps even combine your points with your personal spending.
If you add in personal spending, you can get at least an additional 1-3 nights per year. Not a bad payout!
Card Math Conclusion
Earn at least 3 (and potentially many more!) free nights at Starwood Hotels when you utilize your card to earn points throughout the year.
If you value the rooms at a minimum of $100, then the card is worth at least $300-$1,000++ depending on your own preferences of travel and redemption.
Don’t forget you can also transfer to airline partners if you choose! At $0.02 per point, you could hit well over $2,000 in value.
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 an SPG 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 Starpoints in a couple of different ways. For example, you can currently earn up to 5 points for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating SPG hotels.
That’s 2 for being a cardmember plus another 2-3 for being an SPG member. You can also earn 2 Starpoints at Marriott hotels and 1 Starpoint for all other purchases that you make with the card.
Remember these rates will be changing in August 2018!
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 1,300 hotels & resorts around the world without having to worry about blackout dates.
Additional travel-related rewards associated with this card include:
SPG airline transfer program – You can receive a 5,000-Starpoint bonus when you transfer 20,000 Starpoints to a participating frequent flyer program.
SPG Gold status – You can attain SPG Gold 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 SPG 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 1,300 hotels & resorts in over 100 countries - with no blackout dates
- SPG Gold Status after spending a certain amount on the card
- Elite Status
- 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 SPG account, so the cancellation policy that applies will be per SPG.
The SPG expiration policy is 12 months of inactivity.