The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express

Class Standard
Type American Express
Issuer American Express
Annual Fee $120
Interest Rate 19.99%
Min. Income $15,000
Reward Type Travel Points
Reward 1 point / $1 spent
Reward Return 2-6%
Sign Up Bonus 20,000 25,000 points
Grace Period 21 days
Apply Sign Up!

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The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express is one of the only ways for Canadians to earn Starwood Preferred Guest starpoints quickly and easily. Back when the no annual fee MBNA Starwood Preferred Guest Mastercard was still available, it was chosen as the primary credit card by hundreds, if not thousands, of deal savvy consumers over at Redflagdeals. The reason being that the Starwood Preferred Guest rewards program is an incredibly flexible rewards program with a multitude of travel redemption options that offers an incredible reward return value for your points of up to 5% or more! Now that the MBNA Starwood card has been replaced by this $120 annual fee card by American Express, it isn’t quite as popular but it is still an extremely good card especially for high spenders. Many people who used to use the MBNA Starwood card religiously, have also transferred over to, and now use, this card, including myself.

So what exactly can you do with Starpoints? Lots of things really! You can transfer them in 20,000 point increments to airline miles in over 25 airline mile rewards programs including Aeroplan at an effective rate of 1.25 miles for 1 point due to the 5,000 bonus miles you receive for doing the transfer. You can redeem them directly for free hotel nights at Starwood Hotels, which provide exceptionally good value especially in Europe. You can opt for a Nights & Flights reward which gives you 50,000 airline miles and 5 free nights at a Starwood hotel for less points than booking the hotel and flights separately would cost. You can even redeem for hotel nights with a combination of points and cash, buy valuable upgrades at participating hotels with sometimes as few as 1,000 points, or get 50% off the rack rate of participating hotels for only 1,000 points!

There are actually even more redemption options available then those ones, which is the number one reason why many people choose to shy away from Starwood Preferred Guest affiliated credit cards, the complexity. It can actually be quite difficult to figure out the bonuses, redemption options, and how to get the best overall value for your starpoints. However, even more people recognize the incredible value that this rewards program offers and take the time to figure out how to best use it to their advantage. If that sounds like you, then you can visit our Starwood Preferred Guest rewards program section to get a complete understanding of how it all works along with valuable tips on how to get the most out of your starpoints.

Positives:

  • 20,000 25,000 starpoint sign up bonus, worth approximately $625 $781 when transferring points to miles.
    • This bonus applies after you spend a minimum of $1,500 on the card in the first 3 months of Cardmembership.
  • Free Starwood Preferred Guest Plus status, which is almost as good as gold status.
  • Free Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status when you reach $30,000 spending in a year.
  • Free weekend hotel night at any Starwood hotel with a category of 1 to 4 when you reach $40,000 spending in a year.
  • Can earn a free flight anywhere in North America on almost any airline with only $20,000 in spending.
    • Most airline reward credit cards require at least $25,000 in spending to achieve this.
  • Option to convert starpoints to almost any major airline reward miles program 1:1.
    • Receive an additional 5000 bonus miles when transferring 20,000 starpoints to airline miles all at once.
    • Effective transfer rate of 1.25 miles per starpoint when factoring in this bonus.
  • Redeeming for free nights at some Starwood hotels or resorts can yield returns as high as 6% or more.
  • Yearly Starwood Preferred Guest transfer promotion with British Airlines Executive Club that gives a 30% bonus when converting starpoints to Executive Club miles.
    • This is in addition to the standard 5,000 bonus miles mentioned above.
    • Both bonuses combined yield an effective earning rate of 1.625 miles per dollar spent.
  • No annual maximum on the amount of starpoints that can be earned.
  • Good insurance package on par with most platinum cards.
  • American Express Front Of The Line access.

Negatives:

  • Starwood Preferred Guest is a complicated rewards program that can be hard to figure out.
  • American Express is accepted at fewer locations than Visa and Mastercard making it harder to use as a primary card.
  • Bad international currency conversion rates due to the Amex policy of converting all funds to USD first and then Canadian dollars.
  • $50 annual fee for supplementary cards.

Insurance Package:

  • Extended Warranty - up to 1 year.
  • Purchase Protection – 90 days.
  • Travel Accident - $500,000.
  • Flight Delay & Baggage Delay - $500 combined.
  • Lost Or Stolen Baggage - $500.
  • Hotel & Motel Burglary - $500.
  • Car Rental Theft & Damage (CDW & LDW).

Minor Perks:

  • Call centre assistance for many unexpected problems while traveling:
    • Pre-trip planning information (entry requirements, vaccinations, etc).
    • Find a legal advisor or medical help (costs paid by you).
    • Emergency card replacement.

Starwood Preferred Guest Official Site

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