*Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.
This article was last updated Sep 05, 2015, but some terms and conditions may have changed or are no longer available. For the most accurate and up to date information please consult the terms and conditions found on the issuer website.
The information related to the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express has been collected by CompareCards and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.
What is Starwood Preferred Guest?
Starwood Preferred Guest is the points program from Starwood Hotels, which includes Sheraton, Westin, W, Four Points, Le Meridien, and St. Regis hotels. You don’t need to stay at one of their hotels to join or earn points, and can earn them via the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express.
We like the program because it lets you transfer your points into miles in over 30 top airline programs, in addition to using points for free hotel nights, giving you incredible flexibility with one card.
The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express lets you earn Starpoints® from your everyday spending, and includes these features:
- 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..
- Theres a None Foreign Transaction Fees on international purchases.
- Redeem Starpoints® at more than 1,300 participating hotels and resorts in over 100 countries and for flights on more than 150 airlines with SPG flights, all with no blackout dates.
- $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95..
- Planning a road trip? Rent your car, fill up your tank, book your hotel, and pay for it with your Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees
Here are the top three reasons we like this card:
- Compatible with most airline mile programs. You can transfer your Starwood points almost always at 1:1 to over 30 top airline miles programs making it the most flexible card. Just note United transfers are diluted so that you need 2 Starwood points to get 1 United mile. Click here to learn more about airline transfer and to see a list of participating airlines.
- Easy hotel rewards. If a standard room is available for sale, you can book it with your Starwood points. Hotel rewards are much easier to use for family vacations than trying to find flight awards for a family of 4.
- Generous introductory offer good for free nights at many Sheraton, Westin, W, St. Regis, Four Points, and Le Meridien hotels, real airline miles, or gift cards.
This is the best all-around reward card for many travelers. It’s great for people who fly just about every major airline, light hotel guests, and anyone who wants to stay at a Starwood hotel (Sheraton, Westin, W, Four Points, St. Regis, Le Meridien).
It offers better earning power for airline awards than most airline cards, and allows direct transfer to your airline accounts for redemption.
It’s also excellent for people who don’t travel frequently but want to earn points toward valuable hotel nights. Hotels are much easier to redeem for vacations – it’s much easier to get a family of four one or two free hotel rooms than find four awards seats on the same flight. The dollar value you get for each point you use is also often better than for for airline tickets.
You need fewer points for free hotel nights with Starwood than for most free flights. And, with Starwood If there’s a standard room for sale, it’s available for points. They don’t charge double when demand is high like the airlines do.
How it works
Don’t worry about whether you want to use points for airlines or hotels. Decide when you plan your trip. You earn 1 Starpoint® for every dollar spent…and can transfer those points online to your account with nearly every major airline …most 1 for 1…with quick turnaround. Moreover, you get a bonus of 5,000 miles for every 20,000 points you transfer to airline miles, effecitvely earning 1.25 miles per dollars spent when you transfer in 20,000 point increments.
Points are also good at all Sheraton, Westin, W, Sheraton, St. Regis, Le Meridien, and Four Points hotels with no capacity restrictions. If there’s a room to buy, you can book it with points. For many travelers, hotel stays are a better use of points than domestic airline tickets in any program. They are great because you don’t need many points for great values:
- 3,000 points = 1 free night at “Category 1” hotels (midpriced, suburban locations)
- 4,000 points = 1 free night at “Category 2” hotels (metropolitan and many resorts)
- 7,000 points = 1 free night at “Category 3” hotels (large cities, premium resorts)
- 10,000 points = 1 free night at “Category 4” hotels (high demand areas, luxury resorts)
- 20,000 points = free roundtrip U.S. plane ticket when transferred to an airline mile program for redemption
In addition, Starwood’s ‘Cash and Points’ reward offers you even greater value for your points — with around 6,000 points and $110 you can stay at a hotel valued in many cases at $300 or more per night. You also have many other redemption options, including a $100 gift card at Amazon, Nordstrom, Starbucks, and other retailers for 9,500 points.
Starwood will enhance your points by offering 5,000 bonus miles for every 20,000 points you transfer to your airline program. You in effect earn 1.25 miles per dollar spent versus 1 for most airline cards. Details on how it stacks up versus other cards are in our PurchasePower rankings.This card lets you earn in a universal format (Starpoints®) and convert the points into the airline miles of your choice. Just find out which airline has the availability you want, and transfer points to your airline account for redemption…usually without dilution. That way you can also add to your existing airline mile balances.
Moreover, you can transfer points online and not deal with telephone operators . Starwood hotel redemptions also have no capacity controls. If there’s a room available to purchase at one of their hotels, you can use your points to buy it online or over the telephone! This is often the best use of your points.
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95. The low fee makes this road warrior proven card great for even light travelers looking to earn points just through purchases.
5,000 mile bonus for every 20,000 points you transfer to an airline. This makes this card better than most standard airline cards for earning points on your favorite airline…and is why it’s the choice of some of the most seasoned travelers.
Dollars spent before your first reward
$1. With a 10,000 point bonus for your first purchase, you’ve earned two nights at any Category 1 or 2 Starwood hotel…with no restriction…or a $100 gift card from many top retailers. The additional 20,000 points (30,000 total) you get for spending $5,000 within 6 months more than doubles your options.