starwood

Tag Archives for starwood.

I’m Over Cashback Cards and Into Starwood Points

I like you now and I'll be sad when you leave

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There, I said it.

In 2013, I famously said (typed), “I don’t care about Starpoints.” At the time, my grievances were:

  • 1 point per $1 spent was too low of an earn rate
  • You have to spend so much to earn a meaningful reward
  • The earn rate with other hotel programs is better, so why bother with Starwood?
Starwood Points vs cashback

I like you now and I’ll be sad when you leave

But a lot has changed since then. The merger with Marriott opened a few cool new opportunities, like:

Nothing's fine I'm torn

Nothing’s fine I’m torn

And, I’ve been putting a non-bonused spend on my Amex Starwood card, to the chagrin of my previously beloved Fidelity Visa. (Although I still use the mess out of my Discover it card cuz I want that sweet Dublin!)

In fact, I think I’m…. over cashback cards. For now, at least.

Drinking the Starpoints Kool-Aid

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

It's back, like a heart attack

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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

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My Experience Getting the Southwest Companion Pass With Starwood Points

Yessa!

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It is here! My coveted Southwest Companion Pass.

After a disappointing New Year’s Day announcement that hotel transfers would no longer count toward the Companion Pass, to a reversal a few days later after much criticism, the beginning of 2017 was a wild ride for Southwest.

Southwest Companion Pass

Back n forth on January 1st

I wasn’t surprised by the announcement – I predicted it would happen a year ago – but it was underhanded and calculating for them to “close the loophole” on January 1st with absolutely no forewarning.

It was sleazy and the opposite of transparent. And for those few days, I was kind of happy to not have the Companion Pass. Because why would I want to commit to a company that makes those sort of changes without warning?

Made it official on January 5th

Made it official on January 5th

But they did the right thing, and added a generous 3-month deadline. So that turned me around. Although they have devalued their revenue-based points system without notice twice in recent memory. So I still have that thought in the back of my mind.

My experience getting the Southwest Companion Pass

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I’m Switching to Alaska and Southwest (With Companion Pass) Next Week

2016-12-25_11-47-22

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American who? Delta what? Beginning 2017, I’m exclusively flying and crediting everything to Alaska or Southwest.

If I have to fly American, that’ll be credited to Alaska. Thanks to Alaska’s merger with Virgin America, I might not see the inside of DFW much next year. DAL is gonna become my new jam – and it’s only 10 minutes up the street.

Switching to Alaska and Southwest

I’ll be at DAL a lot more than DFW in 2017

I’m also going to transfer 90,000 Starwood points to Marriott to get:

I easily value that at least $5,000.

Bring on the Alaska and Southwest “Love”

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One Month Left: 3X SPG Points on Plastiq Payments With Starwood Amex Biz Card

New Orleans, here I come?

Y’all know I love a good opportunity to stack!

Well shiver me timbers and ’tis the season, but I’ve been putting most of my spending these days on… Amex cards?! Yup, even though I recently product changed to the precious Chase Sapphire Reserve.

For regular spending, I’m meeting the minimum requirement on the Hilton Amex (no fee version). And for everything else, I’ve been using my Starwood Amex business card to run payments through Plastiq. It’s just too good of a deal right now.

Here’s why.

Get 3X SPG points on Plastiq payments

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Honest Review: Amex Starwood Business Card 2 Free Nights Offer

There are a few instances where this deal might be worth it, like 2 nights at the new Westin Nashville, but you'll have to be selective

Note: The offer for 2 free nights expires October 19th, 2016, but is valid at the time of publication. 

Well color me surprised. I wasn’t expecting to see any type of limited-time offer on the Amex Starwood cards again. But now we have one, although it’s only on the business version of the card.

And, it’s dumb. Geez, Amex, it’s like you’re on the Titanic, and about halfway across the Atlantic right now…

The short

The most restrictive offer ever on an otherwise so-so card. Either Amex is desperate or thinks we’re stupid… or both. Not worth it for most. 

The long

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Last Chance for AMEX SPG 35,000 Point Offers (and Why I Got Both Cards)

asd

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OMG, cringe. Did I just write that headline? Me, Mr. “I Don’t Care About Starpoints?”

I did. A lot has changed since that proclamation nearly 3 years ago. Devaluations, tougher approval rules, and a vastly different landscape for points and miles.

In particular, you can only get an AMEX sign-up bonus once per lifetime on all their cards.

This is the highest bonus there’s ever been – and likely will ever be – on the AMEX SPG cards. I took the bait.

Last days to lock in the bonus

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I Got the SPG AMEX with 35,000 SPG Points – Here’s Why

Wah

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Yep, I caved. Because I figured now or never.

I wrote about how I didn’t care about SPG points. But I also used to love Club Carlson. And cozied up to Hyatt.

I also used to be “meh” about Hilton, but I’m enjoying being Hilton Diamond this year.

So, things change. And if anything’s changing, it’s definitely the loyalty industry. And it is an industry.

Why now?

I navigated over to the application page, and looked at it for a little while. (How’s that for an image?)

asd

Hook, line, and sinker

And then, I thought, well, 40,000 Starpoints is worth at least 50,000 Alaska Airlines or American Airlines miles.

It’s true. You get 5,000 bonus miles for every 20,000 Starpoints you transfer (if the airline has a 1:1 transfer ratio with SPG).

I figured I’ll have at least 40,000 Starpoints after meeting the minimum spending requirements. Plus, I have to pay taxes this year and, fortunately or unfortunately (depending on how you look at it), I can complete it in one go.

That’s worth it for 50,000 Alaska Airlines miles.

Although, Cash & Points is looking mad attractive the more I dig into it.

Plus, you get the 5th night free on award stays at Category 3 and up hotels.

Nights & Flights looks pretty interesting, too.

Suffice it to say: there are a lot of ways to start using 40,000 Starwood points.

Getting the SPG AMEX

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Refer Your Friends to the SPG AMEX and Earn Up to 55,000 Bonus Starpoints Per Year

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UPDATE: This offer is no longer available, but you can earn even more SPG points – 35,000 of them – through March 30, 2016! You can find the offer via my links. Click through, then select “Card Type” and “AMEX” and you will see the offer. Of course, you can still leave your links in the comments, too. Thank you!

It’s that time of year when there’s non-stop pumping of links for the SPG AMEX.

Now until September 14th, we have to survive on little points news other than 5,000 extra Starpoints on the SPG AMEX.

*yawn*

Why this card?

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Details about FoundersCard benefits (Cathy Pacific, Avis, hotel discounts)

I recently got a thoughtful email from a reader with a few questions about FoundersCard benefits (HT: Kevin).

I’ve written before about the many benefits FoundersCard offers.

Also see:

I thought I’d turn my reply into a blog post as others might have similar questions before deciding to sign up for the card.

His email:

Let me get your advice…

1.  I am already BA Gold (Emerald) but could use a bit of VS Silver and CX Silver headstarts… and definitely could use the 10% off on US-originating BA flights to the UK (and the rest of Europe?).

2.  I’m already Avis Presidents’ Club so not sure about the Car Rental benefits.

3.  Especially keen on the hotel discounts, eg Park Hyatt Tokyo, SLS in Los Angeles.   Would you be able to share with me as a prospect what the rates are at these properties if you have the FoundersCard?

Awesome questions! I’ll go in order.

#1

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Why I Don’t Care About SPG Starpoints

Don't give a!

Don’t give a!

I fully admit I’m a rookie at best with miles and points collecting, but I’ve never understood the allure of Starpoints.

In theory, they are like a rare, valuable currency that can get one access to a variety of different airlines and hotel locations. But in practice, are they worth it?

Starcrap

The best signup bonus I’ve ever seen for the SPG Card is 30,000 Starpoints, which translates to 35,000 miles of a whole lot of different airlines. The signup bonus is great, and so is the flexibility. But there are a couple of things about the card that have also irked me. Read More

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