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Starwood Preferred Guest Luxury Card by Amex Review

Starwood Preferred Guest Luxury Card by Amex Review

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This article was last updated Aug 28, 2018, 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® Luxury Card from American Express has been collected by CompareCards and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.

The big news on the new, long-awaited Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card from American Express is its generous welcome offer — Earn 100,000 bonus points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Offer ends 10/31/2018. That comes with a hefty $450 annual fee, but the perks it comes with can easily balance that out.

The card targets those who have elite status under the newly merged Starwood, Marriott and Ritz-Carlton loyalty programs, and the perks that come with it reflect that, including statement credits, free elite status, airport lounge access and enrollment fees for Global Entry or TSA Precheck. It also offers more points per $1 earned in the top categories of hotels, airline travel, and dining.

Where the Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card from American Express stands out in its category

  • Great welcome offer. New cardmembers Earn 100,000 bonus points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Offer ends 10/31/2018. This is among the top welcome offers currently available. You can use your bonus points at 6,700 participating hotels across 29 brands worldwide. It’s enough to book two nights in the Royal Towers section of the Atlantis hotel in the Bahamas.
  • Better points per $1 spent. Cardmembers earn 6X points on eligible purchases at participating SPG® and Marriott Rewards® hotels, 3X points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines, 2X points on all other eligible purchases. Higher points cover participating Starwood properties, stand-alone Starwood retail establishments, and wholly-owned Starwood online stores. It also covers participating Marriott Rewards® hotels, stand-alone Marriott-branded retail establishments and Marriott-branded online stores. You also earn higher points in the popular supermarket and gas categories.
  • Plenty of redemption options. The points you earn on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card from American Express can be transferred — at 3 points per 1 mile — to more than 40 global airlines. When it’s time to make a move, the card adds 15,000 points for every 60,000 points you transfer to airline miles. You can also redeem your points for exclusive experiences, vacations, airport lounge access, merchandise or share with family, friends, and charities.
  • You get credits. The card gives you up to $300 in statement credits each membership year, which you can use at more than 6,700 participating SPG and Marriott Rewards hotels. You also get up to a $100 credit to cover Global Entry or TSA Precheck enrollment fees.
  • If you open your card before Dec. 31, 2018, you’ll get a maximum 15 elite night credits on your Marriott Rewards®, Starwood Preferred Guest® or The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® accounts by March 1, 2019. If you open your card on or after Jan. 1, 2019, the elite night credits will be credited to your Marriott Loyalty Program within 60 days.
  • Membership has its privileges. Cardmembers get one free award night, at or below 50,000 points, after every card anniversary. You get automatic gold elite status with a chance to earn platinum status after spending $75,000 on the Card in a calendar year. The Priority Pass Select membership gives you and two guests free access to more than 1,200 airport lounges worldwide. You also get free in-room premium internet access and free Boingo land-based Wi-Fi on up to four devices.
  • The perks match the fee. If you take full advantage of every perk offered by the card, you will come out ahead of the card’s $450 annual fee. If you paid to book a two-room stay at the Atlantis in the Bahamas, Nov. 9-11, 2018, it would cost you $688. There’s also the card’s $300 credit hotel credit, the $100 Global Entry/TSA credit, the $399 Priority Pass membership fee and the $468 for a year of global Boingo wi-fi service, which more than covers its annual fee.

Where the Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card from American Express falls short in its category

  • Strings attached. The larger bonus points welcome offer ends on Oct. 31, 2018, and you may not want to spend what it takes to get those bonus points. Spending $75,000 in a year to get platinum status may also be a reach for some.
  • Points restrictions. You won’t earn higher points for restaurants at nightclubs, convenience stores, grocery stores or supermarkets. This restriction also covers restaurants located inside another establishment like a hotel, casino or event venue.
  • Limits on lounge access. You get two free guests with Priority Pass but are charged $27 for each additional guest. And this doesn’t get you into the lounges of the major U.S. airlines.
  • Fewer travel perks. It’s surprising that a card offering travel accident and baggage insurance doesn’t also offer trip delay or cancellation insurance like other cards in this category.

Additional card benefits

  • Roadside assistance
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Baggage insurance plan that covers eligible lost, damaged, or stolen baggage
  • Premium Global Assist hotline
  • Extended warranty for two years
  • Return protection
  • Purchase protection
  • Access to ticket presales and cardmember-only events
  • Terms Apply

Alternatives to the Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card from American Express

  • 75,000 Bonus Points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.

  • 6 points for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating SPG® and Marriott Rewards® hotels and 2 points on all other eligible purchases.

  • No foreign transaction fees & free in-room internet access*

Highlights
  • Earn 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. 
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on International purchases. 
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 points) at a participating hotel. Select hotels have resort fees. 
  • Enjoy complimentary, unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi on up to four devices at more than 1,000,000 Boingo hotspots worldwide. Enrollment required. 
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95. 
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

See additional details for Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

More Info

Maybe you want to show your loyalty to the merged Marriott Rewards® program, but the Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card from American Express’s $450 annual fee may be a bit too rich for your blood. The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, which has many of the perks and benefits of the Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card from American Express, may be a lower-cost option, all at a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.

The card’s welcome offer allows cardmembers to earn 75,000 Bonus Points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Once you have the card, you earn 6 points for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating SPG® and Marriott Rewards® hotels and 2 points on all other eligible purchases. However, you won’t get higher points per $1 spent in the popular restaurant and airline categories.

But like the Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card from American Express, you can transfer your points to more than 40 global airlines or redeem them for exclusive experiences, vacations, airport lounges, merchandise or share with family, friends, and charities.

The card comes with silver elite status. but you can move up to gold if you spend $30,000 or more on the card in a calendar year. You also get free, premium in-room Wi-Fi at participating hotels.

The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express comes with travel and purchase perks, including roadside assistance, car rental loss and damage insurance, travel accident insurance, a baggage insurance plan, access to the Global Assist hotline, an extended warranty, return protection, purchase protection and access to ticket presales and cardmember-only events. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a trip delay or trip cancellation insurance.

But again, like the Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card from American Express, you get a free hotel award night every year after your card anniversary — though it can only be redeemed at hotels at the 35,000 points or underrate.

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.

  • $300 Annual Travel Credit, Airport Lounge Access, and Flexible Redemption Options

Highlights
  • Earn 50K bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named 'Best Premium Travel Credit Card' for 2018 by MONEY® Magazine
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®

See additional details for Chase Sapphire Reserve®

More Info

If the perks and higher points offered by luxury cards appeal to you, but you want more ways to redeem the points you earn, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a good alternative to the Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card from American Express, which also has a $450 annual fee. The card has a sign-up bonus where new cardmembers Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Because you receive 50% more value on the points you earn, that adds up to $750 that can be used for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises when redeemed at the Chase Ultimate Rewards® website.

You earn 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees. You’re earning lower points for hotel stays, but the same number of points for restaurants and travel.

You don’t get the higher points per $1 spent for travel until you spend the $300 annual travel credit that comes with this card. The fee covers things like airline tickets/fees, rideshares like Uber or Lyft, public transportation, tolls, car rentals, lodging and cruises. The card also comes with a free Priority Pass™ Select airport lounge membership and a credit of up to $100 every four years to cover the enrollment fee for Global Entry or TSA Precheck.

Your points can be transferred 1:1 toward  major airline and hotel loyalty programs — this includes Aer Lingus AerClub, British Airways Executive Club, Flying Blue/Air France and KLM, Iberia Plus, JetBlue TrueBlue, Singapore Airlines Kris Flyer, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, United Airlines MileagePlus, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, IHG Rewards Club, Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and World of Hyatt. There are no blackout dates or travel restrictions if you book through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® website.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® comes with much more robust travel and purchase perks including trip delay and cancellation insurance; travel accident insurance; lost luggage reimbursement; trip delay reimbursement; emergency evacuation & transportation; rental car insurance and discounts; purchase protection; return protection; extended warranty protection.

 

Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card from American Express Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Annual Fee $450 $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95. $450
Regular Purchase APR 17.49% - 26.49% Variable 17.74%-26.74% Variable 17.99% - 24.99% Variable
Rewards 6X points on eligible purchases at participating SPG® and Marriott Rewards® hotels, 3X points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines, 2X points on all other eligible purchases 6 points for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating SPG® and Marriott Rewards® hotels and 2 points on all other eligible purchases. 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
Welcome Offer/Sign-up Bonus Earn 100,000 bonus points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Offer ends 10/31/2018. 75,000 Bonus Points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Foreign Transaction Fee None None $0

 

The bottom line

A great welcome offer, higher points per $1 spent in the top categories and perks you’d expect from a luxury card makes the Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card from American Express one to consider. If you use all the benefits that come with the card, it more than covers the $450 annual fee.

If that fee is too high, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express is a good alternative, since it has many — but not all — of the benefits of the Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card from American Express.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® has a lower sign-up offer when compared with the welcome offers from the Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express. But cardmembers can get 50% more value on the points they earn if they spend them at the Chase Ultimate Rewards® website. And if travel and purchase perks are important to you, this card offers the best of the three outlined.

Weigh four things when deciding which card to choose — how much you’re willing to spend on an annual fee; how much you need to spend to get the sign-up/welcome offer bonus points; how many points per $1 spent you can earn; and what perks come with the card.


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