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

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express Review

Pros & Cons

  • Current generous signup offer gives 25,000 bonus Starpoints® after using your new card to make $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months
  • Starwood's Starpoints are a higher value than the one-cent-per point industry average
  • Winner of a 2016 CardRating's Editor's Choice award for being a top pick for a travel rewards.
  • Portfolio of hotels is smaller than other chains, which may mean your travel destination won't have a Starwood property (but if you're a Starwood fanatic, you may likely not have wanted to stay at those other properties anyway!)

Top Features

Points or Miles
Earn up to 5 Starpoints on purchases at participating SPG hotels.
Bonus Miles or Points
Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints®
after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
Purchase APR
15.49%-19.49% 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 Essentials

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express (American Express is a CardRatings.com advertiser) was just awarded a 2016 CardRating's Editor's Choice award for being one of the best travel 2016 CardRating's Editor's Choice Awardcredit cards on the market.

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. Even more, you'll be rewarded to the tune of 25,000 Starpoints if you spend $3,000 on your card within the first three months of account opening.

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
  • Earn 25,000 bonus points when you make $3,000 in purchases in the first three months
  • Perks include unlimited complimentary Boingo WiFi, free in-room Internet and access to discounts and presale tickets for live events
  • Earn points through Uber rides

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 or 40% of the points earned in the signup bonus. 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 bonus points to one of these programs.

Starwood Preferred Guest® also lets you earn additional points for using Uber’s rideshare service, a convenient service for travelers without a rental car. Register for the Starwood Preferred Guest® program and earn 1 point for every dollar whenever you use Uber and 2 points for every dollar when you use the service during your stay at a participating Starwood hotel.

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 IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card, for example, offers 60,000 bonus points when you make $1,000 in purchases within the first three months. (IHG® also offers an anniversary free night on your account anniversary each year). 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 1,200 hotels and resorts in its portfolio.  

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 a better sign-up offer, at 50,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months. Every Marriott Rewards® Premier cardholder gets 5 points for every dollar spent at one of Marriott’s 4,000 hotels, 2 points for every dollar for airline tickets, car rentals and dining, and 1 point for all other purchases. Both cards have no foreign transaction fee and a $0 introductory annual fee, but it’s only $85 for Marriott Rewards® Premier compared to $95 for Starwood Preferred Guest® after the intro period. Marriott Rewards® Premier also gives cardholders a free night stay on their anniversary, which may put it a notch above Starwood Preferred Guest® for both points and perks.

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card vs. Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card

There’s no sign-up point incentive with Citi® Hilton HHonors Reserve Credit Card, but you do get two weekend night stays at a Hilton hotel after you make $2,500 purchases within the first four months. Unlike Starwood Preferred Guest®, Hilton® HHonors doesn’t have an introductory $0 annual fee, so you’ll have to pay a $95 annual fee when you get the card — and every year thereafter. But you get more points with Hilton® HHonors. The card gives you 10 bonus points for every dollar you spend at a Hilton hotel, 5 points on airline and rental car purchases and 3 bonus points on all other purchases. Every cardmember also gets automatic Gold status with Hilton® HHonors. If variety and choice are important to you, Hilton will be the better option because of its wider portfolio, but if want to avoid an annual fee — at least for a year — then choose Starwood Preferred Guest®.

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 card compared to other hotel cards

Points or Miles
Earn up to 5 Starpoints on purchases at participating SPG hotels.
Get 7X Hilton HHonors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a participating hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio. Get 5X Hilton HHonors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. supermarkets, and at U.S. gas stations.
1-5 points/$1
Bonus Miles or Points
Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints®
after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
Get 40,000 Hilton HHonorsâ„¢ Bonus Points after you spend $750 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
60,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
Purchase APR
15.49%-19.49% Variable
15.49%-19.49% Variable 
16.24% Variable 
Annual fees
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
$0
$0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $49
CardRatings.com Editorial Staff

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express details

Points or Miles
Earn up to 5 Starpoints on purchases at participating SPG hotels.
Bonus Miles or Points
Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints®
after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
Purchase Intro
APR:
N/A
Purchase APR
15.49%-19.49% 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.
  • New: No Foreign Transaction Fees on international purchases.
  • New: Receive free in-room, premium internet access. Booking requirements apply.
  • New: Enjoy complimentary, unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi on up to four devices at more than 1,000,000 Boingo hotspots worldwide. Enrollment required.
  • Earn free nights at over 1,200 hotels and resorts in nearly 100 countries with no blackout dates.
  • Some hotels may have mandatory service and resort charges.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms and limitations 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
Earn 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 Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express®

Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express®

  • Receive 25,000 Membership Rewards(R) Points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • 3X points for flights booked directly with airlines. 2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and US supermarkets. 1X points on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
  • No matter where you're traveling, when you use your Premier Rewards Gold Card there are no foreign transaction fees from American Express.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit. Up to $100 a year in baggage fees and more at one airline.
  • With The Hotel Collection, you can get up to a $75 hotel credit on qualifying charges, plus a room upgrade at check-in if it's available, when you book a stay of at least two consecutive nights.
  • There is a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $195.
  • Terms and limitations apply.
Credit Needed:
Excellent
Apply online for BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card

BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card

  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire
  • 20,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days - that can be a $200 statement credit toward travel purchases
  • Use your card to book your trip how and where you want - you're not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions
  • Redeem points for a statement credit to pay for flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars, or baggage fees
  • Now with chip technology for enhanced security and protection at chip-enabled terminals
  • 0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases, then 15.24% - 23.24% Variable APR
  • Get an additional 10% customer points bonus on every purchase when you have an active Bank of America(R) checking or savings account
  • If you're a Preferred Rewards client, you can increase that bonus to 25% or more. Click "Apply Now" to learn more about Preferred Rewards.
Credit Needed:
Excellent/Good