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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.
In This Post
Why this card?
Sorry, where was I?
Oh, yeah. SPG AMEX. Right. Wake up, Harlan.
I’ve never understood the allure of Starpoints. I mean, I kinda do but I still just… don’t.
Here’s the raw deal.
You get 5,000 bonus miles when you transfer 20,000 Starpoints to airlines.
Which means this card earns 1.25 miles of many airline currencies on non-bonused spending.
But to get 20,000 Starpoints, you’d have to run $20,000 through this card. That’s a lot of money!
And then at the end of it, you get 25,000 American/United/whatever miles?
I guess that’s cool… Although I’d rather just open up an American Airlines credit card and get 50K-75K miles and be done with it. Or find another way to earn the miles that doesn’t involve $20K in spend, or Starwood hotel stays. Unless you just really like Starwood hotels, which a lot of people do.
Even the Starwood award chart.
So with this 30,000 Starpoints bonus, I may or may not get 1 night at a Starwood Category 7 hotel.
I can totes blow the whole thing on 1 night at a Starwood Category 6 hotel. Easy.
The best Starwood hotel award for the bonus
It seems to me the sweet spot is staying 5 nights at an expensive Starwood Category 3 hotel, like THE WESTIN RESORT & SPA, CANCUN, where nights routinely go for ~$200 a night or more depending on the season.
Why 5 nights? Because the 5th one’s free!
It’s actually not a “free” 5th night, but rather, the cost is averaged across all 5 nights.
There are many, many fabulous Starwood Category 3 hotels all over the world. So please look through the list. I’m sure you’ll find at least a few that you can get interested in.
Here’s my shortlist with a quick glance (in no particular order):
- The Westin Resort & Spa, Puerto Vallarta (fare deal heaven)
- Sheraton Prague Charles Square Hotel (been wanting to visit Prague for a while now)
- Le Méridien Budapest (what an amazing city)
- Sheraton Bratislava Hotel (ditto)
- Le Méridien Dallas by the Galleria (Dallas is becoming popular, especially for business travel)
- Sheraton Myrtle Beach Convention Center Hotel (simply a great town with great food and people)
- Element Bozeman (Montana <3)
- Four Points by Sheraton San Diego Downtown (a nice enough place)
- Aloft Tempe (believe it or not, there IS stuff to do in Phoenix)
- The Westin Nova Scotian (I went to college in Nova Scotia)
- THE WESTIN RESORT & SPA, CANCUN (fare deal/spring break)
- THE WESTIN GRANDE SUKHUMVIT, BANGKOK (some people love it, some people hate it)
- Sheraton Salta Hotel (interesting location)
If any of these places are $200 a night, and you redeem 28,000 Starpoints for them – BOOM! Your sign-up bonus was worth $1,000.
You can wring similar value from Starwood Category 4 hotels, but obviously, you’ll need at least 40,000 Starpoints to play, which isn’t a huge increase.
Or is it?
Starwood points are damn hard to earn
That’s what makes them so valuable.
Unlike other currencies, they aren’t printing Starpoints left and right.
Although I personally predict a Starwood deval in the near future, Starpoints are generally earned through:
- Staying at Starwood hotels
- At a rate of 1 point per $1 spent on the card WITH NO CATEGORY BONUSES
Interestingly, Starwood has some surprising partners:
The gist is: if you have elite status with either program, you’ll earn 1 point per dollar spent of the other’s currency.
Interesting because Starpoints are so hard to earn and Delta SkyMiles are… not.
In fact, it’s like a marriage of a high and low. Because you really can use Starpoints for valuable stays and Delta SkyMiles… yeah, no.
To continue the high/low theme, here’s Starwood again, this time partnering with… Caesar’s in Las Vegas?
But not as weird as their partnership with Emirates.
In fact, the only one that makes sense as brand-for-brand is the one with Uber.
But the hitch is you can ONLY earn Starpoints when you’re staying at a Starwood hotel AND riding with Uber. So you don’t get Starpoints on those late-night Uber rides home from the bar. Oops.
Other than these one-off partnerships, good luck trying to find other ways to earn Starpoints (although there are a few for really specific situations that most people won’t find useful).
I have some?
Even a scallywag like me wound up with a few Starpoints despite my active disdain for them. It took a while, but I have ~1,200 or so from random flights and activities.
Even if they don’t know my gender. Why would you assume I’m married, Starwood? Hmmm…? That’s sexist!
And 1,200 Starpoints gets me…
dun dun dun…
And there are multiple ways to earn Hilton, Hyatt, and IHG points. Even (gasp!) category bonuses.
Would it kill ya, SPG AMEX, to add a bonus category? Congrats on that no foreign transaction fee thing though. #bouttime
As one of the few hotel chains with 5th night free on award stays, though, I have to give them credit where it’s due because that’s really cool.
All this to say…
It’s clearly a personal decision here. And there ARE ways to get huge value from Starpoints.
So with that in mind, if you know someone who’s thinking of opening this card, you can refer them until late 2016.
You’ll earn 5,000 Starpoints per approval, and up to 55,000 Starpoints in a calendar year.
So get crackin’!
Because Starpoints are so hard to earn, this is a tremendous way to earn bonus points if you know someone who’s in the market for the card.
Best of all, it looks like they’ll receive the current offer of 30,000 Starwood points, which is 5,000 more than the usual sign-up bonus. And you’ll get 5,000 Starpoints, too.
I get absolutely nothing if you refer the card in this manner, and you have 5,000 Starpoints to gain.
And of course, if you want to pick one up, feel free to use my links. Click through, and then click “Travel & Rewards –> Hotels” or “Card Type –> Name of Bank.”
BUT, only if you can’t help someone else get 5,000 bonus Starpoints.
If you already have the personal OR business card, feel free to post your email to give or receive a referral in the comments below.
Keep in mind that the spending requirement on the business version of the card is $5,000 in the 1st 3 months (instead of $3,000 like on the personal version)!
I won’t talk your ear off about the various benefits of the cards and all that (that’s obviously well-covered), but just know there’s an offer to refer others to the SPG AMEX personal and business cards. You’ll earn 5,000 Starpoints per referral, up to 55,000 Starpoints per calendar year.
And the offer is good through November 2016.
If you have or need a referral to the card, feel free to post your email below if you’re comfortable doing so.
You can always apply via my links and I am grateful when you do!
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