By: Frank –@dugup46 – The Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) program is often regarded as the best customer-centric hotel loyalty program. For a limited time (until 3/30/16) American Express has raised the sign up bonus on their SPG credit card to 35,000 Starwood points! This is the highest offer the card has ever seen. Whether you’re transferring points to airlines with a 20 percent bonus or booking one of the beautiful Starwood properties around the world, you can utilize the program’s points in many different ways. In this article, I want to explain not only what makes the SPG program so special, but why you need to jump in now!
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The American Express Starwood Preferred Guest credit card is one of favorite credit cards among travel enthusiasts. The standard card offer is 25,000 SPG points for $3,000 spent in the first 3 months; however, Amex just announced the highest offer ever for this card – 35,000 points! The card still requires a $3,000 minimum spend in 3 months, and the annual fee is waived the first year. Let’s quickly address the top 3 reasons you need to earn (and use) SPG points now.
1) This is the highest offer ever for this card!
I wanted to start with the #3 reason and work my way down; however, with a #1 like this… it needs to be dropped first. This is the highest offer ever for the American Express SPG credit card. The offer typically sits at 25,000 points and, for about a month of the year, it goes up to 30,000 points. Amex offering up 35,000 points is unheard of! There really is no better time to sign up for the card.
There is also the fact that Marriott recently purchased Starwood. While nobody can say with any certainty what is going to happen to the Starwood program, the general consensus is it will remain available through 2017. So, not only do I recommend signing up for the credit card to get the 35,000 SPG points, I recommend planning a trip to use those points sooner rather than later! Starwood points are very valuable, and they may lose some of that value when they are eventually merged into Marriott’s program.
2) Starwood Points Can Be Shared Between Members of the Same House
The SPG program is one of the most flexible reward programs. Starwood even allows members that share the same address to share SPG points with no fees! This makes an already amazing program that much better. If you and your significant other sign up for the American Express’s SPG credit card, you can merge your points for a total of 70,000 points even before any spending! Adding in the SPG Business card applications and you’re over 146,000 SPG points after meeting your minimum spending requirements. That’s enough for 5 nights at any SPG property in the world (excluding suite-only resorts)!
Starwood points can be sent to airlines at a rate of 1:1.25 when transferred in groups of 20,000 (Starwood gives you an extra 5,000 miles when transferring 20k miles). That makes the SPG card a better airline mile earner than most airline cards. This makes the current card worth as much as 50,000 airline miles to just about any airline loyalty program with only $5,000 needed in spend!
Starwood offers a 5th night free on all properties over a category 2. This is an incredible deal. A good friend of mine (quick shout out to Nate) recently booked the Le Méridien in Arlington, VA to see the Washington D.C. fireworks over the 4th of July. He and his lady plan to spend five nights there for only 40,000 points total! Another great place to use 40,000 points would be the Disney Dolphin in Florida for five full nights.
3) Marriott Bought Starwood – May Change Brands
Starwood has some excellent brands under it’s name. Some people may have never heard of Starwood, but I can guarantee you have heard of the Westin, Sheraton, W Hotels, Aloft, Le Méridien, The Luxury Collection, or St. Regis. The problem, as you see, is that Starwood has a lot of brands (and we only went over the most popular ones). Marriott is likely going to combine some hotel brands and drop some others when they merge over to a single company.
The only source I have within Starwood has made it sound pretty hopeful the W brand will be saved. Marriott has had extensive conversations with Starwood regarding their loyalty program and hotel brands like the W due to their appeal to the young, hip audience. Other than that, if you enjoy one of Starwood’s many brands… you’ll want to book your stays now.
Closing Remarks & Full Disclosure
The links to the SPG card above are referral links; however, in no situation would I ever push a card just for personal gain. I truly feel that now is the perfect time for you and your significant other to jump in. When an offer this great appears, it’s a prime opportunity for new comers to get their feet wet.
What remains true is that the Starwood Preferred Guest program is one of the best hotel loyalty programs ever developed. Marriott has vowed to maintain the integrity of the loyalty program after it’s merged over, citing the SPG program as one of the main reasons they decided to buy Starwood. Whether that holds true or not is only speculation. Right now the only thing we can do is cross our fingers, hope for the best, and gather up as many SPG points as possible!