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Apply online for Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American ExpressSponsored card
About Our Ratings
Credit Needed
Excellent, Good

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express Review

Pros & Cons

  • Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints® after you use your new card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Starwood's Starpoints are a higher value than the one-cent-per point industry average
  • Our 2017 Editor's Choice pick for Best Hotel Rewards Credit Card.
  • Portfolio of hotels is smaller than other chains even though it now includes Starwood and some Marriott properties. Obviously, if you don't prefer those brands, you'll want to look elsewhere for a rewards card.
Terms and Limitations Apply

Top Features

Points or Miles
Get up to 5 Starpoints® for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating SPG® hotels - that's 2 Starpoints for which you may be eligible as a Card Member in addition to the 2 or 3 Starpoints for which you may be eligible as an SPG member. Terms Apply.
Bonus Points or Miles
25,000 bonus Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
Purchase APR
16.24%-20.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Full Review

Curtis Arnold Editor-in-chief

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express Essentials

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express (American Express is a CardRatings.com advertiser) was just awarded a 2017 CardRating's Editor's Choice award for Best Hotel Rewards credit card.

As a frequent traveler, it’s nice to have a reliable home away from home. Pinpointing a hotel chain or airline that you love is a great way to find comfortable consistency, and helps eliminate hidden surprises that make travel unnecessarily stressful.

If your hotels of choice include properties like Four Points by Sheraton and the W, then consider getting rewarded for your loyalty with the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express.

The Starwood Preferred Guest® Program is divided into three tiers: Preferred Guest, Gold Preferred and Platinum Preferred. Preferred members get 2 points for every dollar spent at participating Starwood hotels, while Gold and Platinum members earn 3 points. That’s on top of the 2 points for every dollar American Express® automatically gives cardmembers for eligible purchases.Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express offers more value than other hotel cards, making it easy for business travelers to amass rewards and free nights. Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card’s best features:

  • Earn up to 5 points for every dollar you spend at Starwood hotels
  • Earn 1 point on all other purchases
  • No annual fee for the first year
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Perks include unlimited complimentary Boingo WiFi, free in-room Internet and access to discounts and presale tickets for live events

What Our Editors Like Most About the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card

With the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, earn up to 5 points for every dollar you spend at one of Starwood’s 11 hotel brands. Get 2 points for eligible purchases as a cardmember and up to 3 points as a member of the Starwood Preferred Guest® program. Points don’t expire, which makes it easy to build up enough points for a fantastic splurge, or redeem them — sensibly— as they come.

According to our research, the minimum points required for a stay in one of Starwood®’s standard properties (Four Points® by Sheraton, for example) is 10,000 points. You’d have to spend an average of $208 a month at Starwood hotels to earn enough points for this stay — fairly easy to do if you’re a frequent business traveler and a Preferred Guest member.

One of the best benefits of the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express is that you get more value for your points. If you’re a Preferred Guest member, you earn 4 points for every dollar you spend at participating hotels, providing a value of more than 2 cents per point when you redeem them for free nights — exceeding the one-cent-per-point industry average for other travel rewards credit cards.

You can redeem flights on more than 150 airlines with no blackout dates. Starwood® also has partnerships with nearly 30 frequent flier programs. As a cardmember, you receive 5,000 bonus points when you transfer 20,000 points to one of these programs.

Potential Downsides of the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card

The two biggest drawbacks of the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express are the $95 annual fee after the first year and that the sign-up bonus isn’t as generous as other hotel cards. The $95 annual fee is also a higher than other cards in this category, which can be as low as $49.

One last thing to consider: Starwood doesn’t have as broad a portfolio as its competitors, so you have to really love its hotels to commit to this card. If you’re looking for more hotel options in more cities, a bigger brand might be better: Hilton, for example, has over 4,200 hotels in 93 countries in its portfolio; Starwood only has 1,300 hotels and resorts in its portfolio, though many Marriott hotels are also now participating in the Starpoints® program.

How the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card Compares to Other Hotel Credit Cards

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card vs. Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card

The Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card has an excellent signup offer at 80,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months. Beyond that, every Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card cardholder gets five points for every dollar spent at participating Marriott Rewards and SPG hotels; two points for every dollar spent on airfare directly from the airline, car rentals and dining; and 1 point for all other purchases. Neither card charges foreign transaction fees and both come with a $0 introductory annual fee, but that fee jumps to only $85 for the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card as compared to $95 for Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card after the intro period. Marriott Rewards® Premier also gives cardholders a free night stay after their anniversary, which may put it a notch above Starwood Preferred Guest® for both points and perks.

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express vs. IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card

The IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card’s intro offer gets you 80,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first three months; that’s more points for less spending than the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card’s introductory offer.

While both cards are void of foreign transaction fees and waive annual fees in the first year, the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card does have a slightly lower annual fee the following year of $49. But the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card allows cardholders to redeem Starpoints® for free flights on more than 150 airlines, including Delta and other major carriers, plus offers 5,000 bonus points when you transfer 20,000 points to one of nearly 30 participating frequent flyer programs.

The key here likely comes down to where your loyalties lie, whether with Starwood or IHG properties.

Who Should Get The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card?

The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express is clearly attractive for business travelers, especially for business travelers who have the luxury of using a personal card for business expenses, then get reimbursed later. With its high value per point, even a one-night stay every month can net you enough points for a free night by the end of the year. Use this card for everyday purchases as well as business travel to maximize your rewards.

This page was last updated on July 07, 2017

This card compared to other hotel cards

Points or Miles
Get up to 5 Starpoints® for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating SPG® hotels - that's 2 Starpoints for which you may be eligible as a Card Member in addition to the 2 or 3 Starpoints for which you may be eligible as an SPG member. Terms Apply.
Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a participating hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio. Earn 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations. Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card. Terms and limitations apply.
Earn 5 points per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel. Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants.
Bonus Points or Miles
25,000 bonus Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
Earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening
Purchase APR
16.24%-20.24% Variable
16.24%-20.24% Variable 
16.99% - 23.99% Variable 
Annual fees
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
$75
$0 intro for the first year, then $49
CardRatings.com Editorial Staff

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express details

Balance Transfer Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfer Intro Period
N/A
Purchase Intro
APR:
N/A
Purchase APR
16.24%-20.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.

What American Express says about this card

  • Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 2 Starpoints® for each dollar of eligible purchases spent on the Card at participating SPG® & Marriott Rewards® hotels. Earn 1 Starpoint for all other purchases.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on International purchases.
  • Redeem Starpoints® at over 1,300 participating hotels and resorts in over 100 countries and for flights on more than 150 airlines with SPG flights, all with no blackout dates.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms Apply.

Credit Card Consumer Average Ratings:

Overall Ratings
Reward Program
Card Benefit
Customer Service

Credit Card Consumer Reviews:

  1. Overall Ratings:
    Reward Program:
    Card Benefit:
    Customer Service:
    Rewards Seeker ( May 15, 2012 at 8:52 am)

    After years of preferring cash-back cards to travel / points cards I finally decided to try out a travel card to help save up for vacations. I have had this card since August 2011 and have been very impressed so far. The points go a long way when you redeem for hotel stays--especially since they allow you to redeem for points and cash. I have gotten some awesome deals on stays and have loved all the Starwood properties we've stayed at so far. Overall this is a sweet deal for those who will redeem for hotel stays--high value on points, nothing but top notch service from Amex and Starwood, beautiful hotels, and I have never had any trouble redeeming or finding a hotel in any major city. However, if you redeem for anything other than hotel stays the points are devalued. So, if you are looking for anything other than cheap and/or free stays and upgrades at swanky hotels, then this isn't the card for you.


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Featured offers
Currently available on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
25,000 bonus Starpoints®
After you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.

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Apply online for Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express

Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express

  • Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a participating hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio.
  • Earn 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.
  • Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card. Terms and limitations apply.
  • As a Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card Member you'll receive Hilton Honors Gold status.
  • Spend $40,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn Hilton Honors Diamond status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • Terms Apply.
Terms and Limitations Apply
Credit Needed:
Excellent, Good
Apply online for IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card

IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card

  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening
  • Enjoy a Free Night after each account anniversary year at over 5,200 hotels worldwide
  • Earn 5 points per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants
  • IHG Rewards Club Bonus points are redeemable at hotels such as InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn®
  • Platinum Elite status as long as you're a Select credit cardmember
  • Automatic 10% points rebate on redemptions
  • $0 Introductory Annual Fee for the first year, then $49 a year
Credit Needed:
Excellent/Good