Review of the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card (SPG)

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If you haven’t considered adding the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) credit card to your wallet, you will want to pay attention. The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express is one of the better travel reward credit cards options out there. With the SPG Amex credit card, you can redeem points for hotels and flights through over 30 different frequent flyer programs. Plus, Marriott is acquiring Starwood, so the future of the card is likely to include more options to earn.

SLS Beverly Hills Hotel, part of Starwood’s Luxury Collection (Photo: SLS)

Starwood Guest Preferred Credit Card Offer

The Starwood Preferred Guest credit card offers:

  • Earn 75,000 Bonus Points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 6 points for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating SPG® and Marriott Rewards® hotels and 2 points on all other eligible purchases.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on International purchases.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 points) at a participating hotel. Select hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy complimentary, unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi on up to four devices at more than 1,000,000 Boingo hotspots worldwide. Enrollment required.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

Along with the bonus listed above, cardholders will receive 1 free night award annually on their card account anniversary. The award can be used for one night at a participating hotel. However, the redemption level must be at or under 35,000 points. Note that some hotels do have resort fees so you may want to check in advance.

Redeeming for SPG Hotels

SPG has seven hotel categories that require the following amount of points:

Category 13,000 points Weekdays / 2,000 points Weekends
Category 24,000 points Weekdays / 3,000 points Weekends
Category 37,000 points
Category 410,000 points
Category 512,000 – 16,000 points
Category 620,000 – 25,000 points
Category 730,000 – 35,000 points

Considering a trip to Disney? The Sheraton Lake Buena Vista Resort is a category 2 hotel. At only 4,000 points per weekday night and 3,000 points per weekend night, you would have enough points to book two rooms for five nights at 28,000 SPG points. That would otherwise cost $1,350. This would give you a value of 4.8 cents per point.

Starwood’s Nights & Flights Packages

Another redemption option available is Starwood’s Nights & Flights. With SPG Nights & Flights you can book a five-night hotel stay at a category 3 or 4 property and get 50,000 airline miles transferred to one of over 30 SPG airline transfer partners. You can redeem 60,000 SPG points for a category 3 property, saving 18,000 SPG points or 70,000 SPG points for a category 4 property, saving 20,000 SPG points.

Nights and Flights can only be booked by calling SPG and there must be a standard room available for the dates you choose. After booking, SPG will initiate the transfer of airline miles to your frequent flyer account. Nights & Flights bookings require 14 days advance transfer to US airlines and 30 days advance transfers for international airlines.

Converting SPG Points to Airline Miles

The main reason for SPG’s value is the flexibility to transfer them to one of over 30 frequent flyer programs that SPG partners with. For every one SPG point you transfer, you will have one mile in your account. For example, if you are short 3,000 miles for an American Airlines AAdvantage award, you can transfer just 3,000 points to your account and book your award flight.

And the deal gets better! For every 20,000 points you transfer at one time, Starwood will give you another 5,000 airline miles. This increases the exchange ratio to 1:1.25 for the majority of their transfer partners. SPG caps the number of points you can purchase in a 24 hour period to 79,999 points so to get the maximum bonus, it is best to transfer a maximum of 60,000 SPG points in a 24 hour period.

SPG’s airline transfer partners run at a 1:1 ratio:

Aegean AirlinesAeromexico Club PremierAeroplan/Air CanadaAir Berlin
Air China CompanionAlaska Airlines Mileage PlanAlitalia Mille MigliaAll Nippon Airways (ANA) Mileage Club
American Airlines AAdvantageAsia MilesAsiana AirlinesBritish Airways Executive Club
China Eastern AirlinesChina Southern Airlines Sky Pearl ClubDelta Air Lines SkyMilesEmirates Skywards
Etihad AirwaysFlying BlueHainan AirlinesHawaiian Airlines
Japan Airlines (JAL) Mileage BankJet AirwaysKorean AirLifeMiles of Avianca
Miles and MoreQatar AirwaysSaudi Arabian AirlinesSingapore Airlines KrisFlyer
Thai Airways International Royal Orchid PlusVirgin Atlantic Flying ClubVirgin Australia

SPG Transfer partners with ratios different than 1:1:

Air New Zealand Airpoints

65:1

Gol Smiles

2:1

LATAM Airlines LATAM Pass

1:1.5

United Mileage Plus

2:1

If you’re planning to make a transfer to your airline frequent flyer program of choice, the minimum number of points you can transfer per transaction is 2,500 SPG points. With SPG Gold Elite status, you can transfer a minimum of 1,500 SPG points per transaction and SPG Platinum Elite status members can transfer as few as 1 SPG point per transaction.

Unfortunately, the airline point transfers to airlines are not instant. It can take anywhere from two to fourteen days for SPG points to transfer. Make sure to plan ahead. Once the points transfer is initiated you cannot ‘reverse’ the transfer. When your SPG points leave your account, there is no going back.

Bottom Line: (SPG) Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card Review

The versatility of SPG points makes the Starwood Preferred Guest card one of the smartest credit cards you can carry in your wallet. You have the ability to redeem points for free nights, Nights & Flight packages and transfer your points to over 30 frequent flyer programs to meet your specific travel needs. No other card out there can do that. As a cardholder myself, I hoard SPG points like gold. If you don’t, consider applying for the card.

Apply today: Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Mary Renking

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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Review of the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card (SPG)
5 (100%) 4 votes

About the Author

Mary Renking
Mary writes about how to book travel with award miles & points, reviews top travel credit cards, and basic rewards news.

4 Comments on "Review of the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card (SPG)"

  1. How would you compare the value vs CSReserve? For daily activity, which would you prefer and why?

  2. I LOVE my Starwood Amex!!!

  3. SPG have NEVER applied my points – neither when I took out the card (in fact they never even sent me the card) and nor when I stay at the hotels. Despite numerous calls to CS, I haven’t received ANY points. What a useless program this is. Cancelled now.

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