Earn 25,000 bonus points with the Starwood Preferred Guest cards from AmEx

Starwood Preferred Guest cards from American Express

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The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date. Please see the bank’s website for the most current version of card offers.

Update: This offer is no longer available through our site as of April 19, 2018.

If you’re partial to Starwood-branded hotels and resorts and looking for a way to earn free hotel stays and flights, the Starwood Preferred Guest cards from American Express may be your answer – thanks to their 25,000-point sign-up bonuses. Currently, the Starwood Preferred Guest consumer card offers new cardholders 25,000 bonus Starpoints after spending $3,000 in the first three months, while the business version of the card offers 25,000 bonus Starpoints after spending $5,000 in the first three months.

Comparing Starwood Preferred Guest cards

The Starwood Preferred Guest cards are very similar – the main difference being that one is designed for consumers and the other is designed for business owners. In addition to sharing the same rewards rates and annual fee, the cards both offer the following perks:

  • 5,000 bonus points after transferring 20,000 points to a participating frequent flyer program
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Free in-room premium internet
  • Complimentary Boingo Wi-Fi on up to 4 devices
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance
  • Credit for five nights and two stays toward SPG Elite status each year

See how these cards compare in the table below.

Starwood Preferred Guest vs. Starwood Preferred Guest Business

  Starwood Preferred Guest card
Starwood Preferred Guest card
Starwood Preferred Guest Business card
Starwood Preferred Guest Business card
Rewards rate
  • 2 points per dollar on eligible purchases at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards hotels
  • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases
  • Terms apply
  • 2 points per dollar on eligible purchases at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards hotels
  • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases
  • Terms apply
Sign-up bonus
  • 25,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • Terms apply
  • 25,000 points when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months
  • Terms apply
Annual fee
$95, waived first year $95, waived first year
Estimated value in first year $526 $1,323

Starwood Preferred Guest cardholders who are also members of the SPG loyalty program can earn even more rewards points for each dollar spent at participating Starwood hotels.

Along with the two Starpoints per dollar that Starwood Preferred Guest cardholders earn on Starwood purchases, they earn two or three Starpoints per dollar as members of the SPG loyalty program. This means that SPG members earn up to five Starpoints for each dollar spent at participating Starwood hotels using their Starwood Preferred Guest credit card.

Recent changes to the Starwood Preferred Guest cards

The Starwood Preferred Guest cards typically offer sign-up bonuses that range from 25,000 points to 35,000 points. See the most recent sign-up bonus updates below.

Starwood Preferred Guest card sign-up bonus history

Change date Sign-up bonus
April 6, 2017
  • 25,000 points if you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months
Feb. 21, 2017
  • 25,000 points if you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • 10,000 additional points if you spend an extra $2,000 in the first 6 months

Starwood Preferred Guest Business card sign-up bonus history

Change date Sign-up bonus
March 29, 2018
  • 25,000 points if you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months
March 1, 2018
  • 35,000 points if you spend $7,000 in the first 3 months
Nov. 2, 2017
  • 25,000 points if you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months
Oct. 5, 2017
  • 25,000 points if you spend $6,000 in the first 3 months
  • 10,000 additional points if you spend an extra $4,000 in the first 6 months
April 6, 2017
  • 25,000 points if you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months
Feb. 22, 2017
  • 25,000 points if you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months
  • 10,000 additional points if you spend an extra $3,000 in the first 6 months

Although 25,000 bonus points is not the highest sign-up bonus offered by either card, it requires a lower spend threshold than the 35,000-point sign-up bonuses. The Starwood Business card, for example, required cardholders to spend $7,000 in the first three months to earn the 35,000-point sign-up bonus, while the consumer version of the card required cardholders to spend a total of $5,000 in the first six months to receive the 35,000-point bonus.

What can you get with 25,000 Starpoints?

Compared to the 50,000- to 80,000-point offers available on many competing rewards cards, the Starwood Preferred Guest cards’ 25,000-point bonuses may not seem impressive, but don’t let looks deceive you: The bonus is worth more than twice its face value.

Starpoints are one of the most valuable and versatile rewards currencies in existence. You can redeem them for nights at Starwood hotels for a value of 2.4 cents per point. You can also transfer them to one of Starwood’s 30+ airline partners -- mostly at a 1:1 ratio – for a great value.

As you can see from the chart below, you have many options for redeeming Starpoints, but Starwood hotel stays are generally the best use of points:

Starwood Preferred Guest redemption options

Redemption option Average point value Value of 25,000-point sign-up bonus
Starwood hotel stay 2.4 cents $600
Marriott transfer (1:3 ratio) 2.4 cents $68
SPG Moments Varies --
Cash + Points 1.84 cents $460
Room upgrades 1.6 cents $400
Sixt rental car certificates 1.4 cents $350
SPG Flights 1.3 cents $325
Gift cards 1 cent $250
Broadway tickets 1.2 cents $300
Charity donation 1.3 cents $325

Here are some of the best ways to spend your bonus:

Stay up to eight nights at a category two or three hotel

The Starwood program uses a chart to price its awards nights. Some of the best redemptions are found in the category two and three level of the chart, where points tend to have the highest values and you can really stretch your points:

Starwood redemption tiers

Category Points/weekday night Points/weekend night
1 3,000 2,000
2 4,000 3,000
3 7,000 7,000
4 10,000 10,000
5 12,000-16,000 12,000-16,000
6 20,000-25,000 20,000-25,000
7 30,000-35,000 30,000-35,000

25,000 Starpoints can get you three nights at a category three Starwood hotel and from six to eight nights at a category two hotel (depending on whether they are weekday or weekend nights). Moreover, Starwood gives you a free fifth night anytime you book a rewards stay of five nights or longer, allowing you to stretch your points even further.

Get more than $600 in airfare with American Airlines

You can also find some great deals by transferring your points to a Starwood Airline partner. Not only can you transfer points at 1:1 ration to most partners, but Starwood awards you a 5,000-point bonus anytime you transfer at least 20,000 points.

While many of Starwood’s partners offer very high point values, American Airlines is one of the best transfer options. Not only do you have a huge variety of destinations to choose from, but the value of AAdvantage miles is high -- we value them at 2 cents per point. The 5,000-point transfer bonus boosts that value to 2.5 cents per point, which means you could get $625 or more worth of airfare with American Airlines depending on how many points you transfer and how you redeem them.

Here’s a sample of your transfer options:

Airline Transfer ratio Average point value (including transfer ratio & 5,000-point bonus) Value of 25,000-point sign-up bonus
Singapore Airlines 1:1 2.95 cents $738
British Airways 1:1 2.83 cents $708
American Airlines 1:1 2.5 cents $625
Alaska Airlines 1:1 2 cents $500
Delta Air Lines 1:1 2 cents $500

Who is eligible for the Starwood sign-up bonus?

The Starwood Preferred Guest cards’ 25,000-point sign-up bonuses are available to individuals who currently do not have or who have not had either card in the past. The business version of the card is limited to business owners.

Should you apply now?

A 25,000-point sign-up bonus is a great way to earn an influx of points to use toward free travel and hotel stays. However, if you can hold off for a while, you may get the chance to earn a higher sign-up bonus later this year. The Starwood Preferred Guest Business card, for example, just ended a limited time promotion that offered 35,000 points after spending $7,000 in the first three months on March 28, 2018. In 2017, in addition to an initial sign-up bonus of 25,000 points, the Starwood consumer card offered an additional 10,000 points for spending an additional $2,000 in the first six months – for a total of 35,000 bonus points.

See related: American Express rewards guide: The best ways to earn and use Membership Rewards pointsAmerican Express transfer partners

The editorial content below is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. However, we do receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners. Learn more about our advertising policy



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Updated: 04-23-2018