It’s Back: 35,000 Points With Both Amex Starwood Cards

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Well would ya lookit that. I wasn’t expecting to *ever* see a limited-time offer on the Amex Starwood cards again. But now, you can earn 35,000 Starwood points on the personal and small business cards after meeting tiered minimum spending requirements through April 5th, 2017.

spg amex 35000

It’s back, like a heart attack

Marriott has agreed to leave SPG alone until 2018, but then get ready for a butchering. Realistically, Marriott has no incentive to keep the program as it currently is. But, I’m pleased Amex is giving peeps one more stab at this terrific offer.

I broke the seal with the business version of the card last time this offer came ’round in March 2016. Before it ended, I had both versions.

Little did I know I’d hoard the points like a squirrel or ferret until such a time as I’d use them for a Southwest Companion Pass. The hammer drops on that method on March 31st, 2017. But if you applied like *now* and met the minimum spending in short order before the statement closes, you could probably squeak by.

The huge caveat is the bonus on both cards is once per person, per lifetime (AKA 7 years). But if you’ve never had it… I highly doubt this offer will ever come back.

The short

Highest-ever offer returns. If you’ve never had the card, this is probably your last chance to get it.

The long

If you’re in the lucky position to pick either, I’d go with the small business version of the card. Because you get everything that comes with the personal version for the same price, plus:

However, it has a higher minimum spending requirement. You’ll earn 25,000 Starwood points after you make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.  And an extra 10,000 Starwood points after you make an additional $3,000 in purchases within the first 6 months. For a total of $8,000 in spending.

You can use the card to pay bills like mortgages, rent, and student loans with Plastiq. Or, pay your tax bill (’tis the season), ugh.

The personal version requires $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months to earn 25,000 Starwood points.  And $2,000 more within the first 6 months to earn 10,000 more Starwood points. For a total of $5,000 in spending.

With both cards, the $95 annual fee is waived the 1st year.

How to use the points

35,000 Starwood points plus the minimum spending is 40,00 points (or more, if you get the business card). Considering you get 5,000 bonus miles when you transfer to airlines with a 1:1 transfer ratio, that’s easily 50,000 Alaska, American, Asiana (and many other airlines’) miles.

Or you could use them for:

Of course, you can also use them to stay at Starwood (or Marriott!) hotels, too. 😉

And even if you don’t want the Southwest Companion Pass, Marriott Hotel + Air packages  (login required) are still a fantastic deal with other airlines.

I want my 35,000 Starpoints to be worth at least 4 cents each, or $1,400. At that rate, its worth signing up for. And, it’s easy to get that kind of value from any of the methods above.

If you’ve never had the card, now is the time to apply. This is probably Amex’s last big push to get the card into new hands before they lose the portfolio to Chase. Or else both issuers get the card and have to compete with each other. In which case, game on. I love it when banks compete!

Grade: A

As it stands, Starwood points are difficult to earn aside from stays at Starwood hotels (which is why I still sorta can’t stand them). Even then, the return is paltry. The best way, by far, to quickly get more is with these cards.

For ongoing spending, it’s easy to get 4% back assuming each point is worth about 4 cents. (More on that in a later post.)

So it ticks off the boxes for sign-up bonuses, regular spending, and ongoing perks assuming you use the Sheraton lounge access with the business version of the card.

Even if you go for the personal version, it’s $0 for the first year so there’s little risk.

But again, don’t even bother if you’ve had either card before.

Keep or DTMFA: Keep.

Keep it at least until we see the future of the combined Marriott/Starwood program. And if Amex gets to keep their card portfolio, there might be some nice spending incentives.

I’m curious to see how this will play out. And that curiosity is enough to keep these cards for a while still… But ask me again in 2018 and I may have a different answer…  I do think the small business version of the card is worth keeping long-term for Sheraton Club Room access – if you use it.

If you’ve never had either card, definitely consider them. Remember, the small business version will NOT count against your Chase 5/24 status because it won’t show up on your personal credit report. And, it IS possible to have both of them at the same time (I have both).

Glad to see Amex is stepping it up one last time!

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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About Harlan

Just a dude living in Dallas.

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