We love our Starwood Preferred Guest American Express. It’s second only behind the Chase Sapphire Preferred card for me. But you can count on this: Unless it’s dining out or travel (which I use my Sapphire for to earn bonus points), I almost always use my Starwood Amex. There aren’t many cards I would consider keeping in my wallet every single year, but the Starwood Amex makes the cut.

And so this is my favorite time of year: The Starwood signup bonus for this great card increases temporarily. Usually you get 25,000 points after spending $3,000 in 3 months with the card. But Starwood has introduced a limited time offer of earning 30,000 Starpoints for spending $3,000 in 3 months. But here’s the thing, it’s a limited time offer, so if you want the card, you’ve got to act quick. Why get the SPG Amex? I am glad you asked!

The Starwood American Express is going through some changes. The annual fee increased to $95 (waived the first year), but with the increase came a few benefits:

1. No foreign transaction fees.

This is a modest benefit. The truth of the matter is American Express isn’t as widely accepted outside of the United States as MasterCard or Visa. But still, having one more card in your wallet that won’t slap you with foreign transaction fees, it’s always a good thing.

2. Free premium in room wifi at SPG properties.

On the surface this might not seem that great. But if you ever stay in any SPG property (Sheraton, Aloft, Westin, etc…) this guarantees you’ll have HIGH SPEED internet access, free. And SPG properties aren’t bad at all. We recently stayed at a Sheraton in Hong Kong and as you can see, we weren’t hurting to find beauty!

View from the pool at the Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel and Towers

3. Free ShopRunner membership

I love this one. Think two-day shipping, free, at several top stores online. If you shop online a decent amount, this alone can make the card worth it, to both dodge shipping fees and get your items faster! Just make sure to link your card once you receive it, by going to this website!

4. Free Boingo Wifi Plan!

And this one is the kicker. While free wifi is more and more becoming the norm, I can’t tell you how many times having a Boingo membership has provided me valuable access to the internet when I wouldn’t have otherwise have had it. Certain airports, locations abroad, and even random locations like cafes here in the United States have allowed me to connect to the internet when I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to.

What’s more- the Boingo plan provides you free access for up to four devices! So Laura and I split this benefit! Just make sure to link the card to your Boingo account (or create your Boingo account) once you get the card!

5. Amex Offers

I just got $10 off a diaper order from diapers.com and $15 off a stroller I bought at walmart.com. The reason: American Express has something called “Amex Offers” and while it’s not unique to my SPG card, I do find the best offers appear on that card. I’ve gotten discounts off purchases at COSTCO, local restaurants and more because of my Amex!

6. Valuable Airline Transfer Partners and more!

One of the reasons we love our Chase Sapphire Preferred is because the points we earn go into something called Ultimate Rewards. Ultimate Rewards points can transfer to hotel partners like Hyatt, but they can also transfer to airline partners like United and British Airways to name a couple.

But I think Starwood has an even more lucrative transfer setup. For one thing, we can transfer miles to American, our preferred airline of choice. But that’s just one of ~30 options. Alaska is also on the list. We consider Alaska and American to have the best frequent flyer programs. But the list goes on. United, Delta, Singapore, Aeroplan, and more are all in the mix. And here’s the most important part:

If you transfer 20,000 points, you get a 5,000 point bonus on the transfer. That means 20,000 Starpoints are good for 25,000 AAdvantage miles for example. That’s huge!

What’s more- SPG points are versatile. I even used them recently to get two tickets in a suite to watch the Cubs play the Dodgers!

SPG points gave me great seats with unlimited food and drink!

7. Elite status for big spenders

If you spend a lot on your card, this card provides Gold status with SPG. Spend $30,000 a year, get gold status. By just having the card you get 5 nights and 2 stays credited toward your pursuit of elite status as well. So the card helps those who actually stay at SPG properties earn elite status more quickly!

Final Thoughts

We love this card. When people reach out to us about our favorite cards, we talk at length about the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Starwood American Express, especially for beginners in the miles and points game. And Starwood only increases the offer from 25,000 to 30,000 points once a year usually. That means, if you were debating getting the card, now until 9/14/15 is the time to do it!

Note: Laura and I do receive a small commission when you choose to get a product through one of our links. You of course don’t have to but if you found the information useful, we’re always grateful when you do! 

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