starwood

Tag Archives for starwood.

Why I’m Switching Spend to SPG Cards the Next 2 Months (And a Useful Tip!)

Welp, the Marriott-Starwood merger looms nigh. On August 1st, 2018, we’ll all wake up and have a new program – with excellent deals through the end of 2018.

Also on that day is an event I’ve dubbed in my mind as “The Triplin’” – because everyone’s Starwood balance will increase by 3X!

So now’s the time to earn as much as possible to take advantage of redemption opportunities later this year.

spg card spending

Marriott’s award chart as of August 1st

In 2019, the new program will be dead to me. I’ve never liked Marriott hotels, and occasionally stay with Starwood. At that point, I’ll go back into my Hilton/Hyatt hole for as long as the water’s nice.

Ah, to be a fairweather traveler free agent.

5 months of great deals – under 2 months to earn with SPG card spending!

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Updated: What’s FoundersCard Membership Worth in 2018?

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I wrote my first post about FoundersCard 4 years ago (!). And have been a member ever since.

I renew my membership every year to get discounts and many of the same ancillary benefits offered on co-branded credit cards. So it’s high time for an update about what FoundersCard gets you in 2018.

founderscard review 2018

A lot has changed but many perks have stuck around

If anything, it’s gotten better. Though benefits have shifted, it’s still worthwhile if you can make the most of a few good deals.

What’s FoundersCard about?

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3 Excellent Amex Small Business Card Welcome Offers – Which Is Best for You?

Update: The Starwood small business Amex 35,000 point offer expired as of 3/28/18. It is NO LONGER available. 

Amex is bringing it with their small business cards. There are notable welcome offer increases on a few of them right now.

And they are definitely NOT created equal.

amex business card offers

#spgamex is gonna go the way of the #dodo

Here’s what to consider about each one.

Big welcome offers on Amex small business cards

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The Best 2X Card for Non-Bonus Spending Now Has a 10,000 Point Welcome Offer

To start, the Blue Business Plus Amex is a small business card. But Amex is known to be generous with small business card approvals, so long as you have a for-profit venture, or are aiming to make a profit.

This card got instant “workhorse” classification. And it’s been a stalwart companion in my wallet since the day I got it.

amex blue business plus 10,000

MVP status, this one

When it launched in Summer 2017, there was a brief welcome offer for 20,000 Amex Membership Rewards points. But when that faded, it went to nothing.

Now a welcome offer of 10,000 Amex Membership Rewards points is available. But I think this card is good enough to get even without a bonus!

About the Blue Business Plus Amex Read More

Booking BAP: A $5,000 Trip to Europe for $238 & Points!

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In a few weeks, I’ll be in Brussels, Amsterdam, and Prague for the first time. I am calling this trip “BAP” (after the 3 cities).

This is the trip I booked waaay back in August 2016 for biz class seats with Etihad miles. At the time, I paid ~37,000 miles for round-trip seats from New York to Brussels on Brussels Airlines. Etihad has since raised the price to 88,000 miles – which can still be a good deal to Europe in Business.

That was about 9 months ago – the furthest out I’ve ever planned a trip. At the time, I figured I’d fill it in when the time came. Which is now.

brussels amsterdam prague

I’m coming for ya, Brussy

Here’s how I put together a $5,00+ week-long trip to Europe for $238 out of pocket.

Booking BAP (Brussels, Amsterdam, Prague)

1. To New York and back

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I’m Over Cashback Cards and Into Starwood Points

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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

Update: The Starwood small business AMEX 35,000 point offer expired as of 3/28/18. It is NO LONGER available.

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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

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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

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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

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

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)

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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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