Earn up to $200 in statement credits with the Starwood Preferred Guest cards from AmEx

Starwood Preferred Guest cards from American Express

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On the heels of Marriott International’s news that the Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) and Ritz-Carlton loyalty programs will unify in August 2018, American Express has announced several changes to the Starwood Preferred Guest consumer card and the Starwood Preferred Guest Business card.

Here are the card updates at a glance:

  • Updated welcome bonus – Instead of offering 25,000 bonus points, the cards now offer a $100 statement credit when you spend $1,000 in the first three months and an additional $100 statement credit when you make a purchase at participating SPG and Marriott hotels in the first six months.
  • Increased rewards rate – Effective Aug. 1, 2018, cardholders will earn 6 points per dollar at SPG and Marriott Rewards hotels, 4 points per dollar at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. shipping purchases and 2 points per dollar on general purchases.
  • Redemption changes – Effective Aug. 1, 2018, SPG will convert each Starpoint in a loyalty member account to three points. For more details on redemption changes, visit members.marriott.com.

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 introductory bonus, rewards rate 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
Introductory bonus
  • $100 statement credit when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Additional $100 statement credit when you make a purchase at a participating SPG or Marriott hotel in the first 6 months
  • Terms apply
  • $100 statement credit when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Additional $100 statement credit when you make a purchase at a participating SPG or Marriott hotel in the first 6 months
  • Terms apply
Annual fee
$95, waived first year $95, waived first year
Estimated value in first year ($15,900 spend) $362 $362

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 welcome bonuses that range from 25,000 to 35,000 points. However, American Express has recently opted to remove the points-bonuses in lieu of statement credits. See the most recent introductory bonus updates below.

Starwood Preferred Guest card introductory bonus history

Change date Introductory bonus
April 19, 2018
  • $100 statement credit if you spend $1,000 in first 3 months
  • Additional $100 statement credit if you make a purchase at a participating SPG or Marriott hotel in first 6 months
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 Introductory bonus
April 19, 2018
  • $100 statement credit if you spend $1,000 in first 3 months
  • Additional $100 statement credit if you make a purchase at a participating SPG or Marriott hotel in first 6 months
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

The welcome bonus of $200 is not nearly as valuable as the previous bonus of 25,000 points. Because Starpoints are so valuable – worth 2.4 cents on average by our estimates – the cards’ previous bonus had more than twice the value of the updated bonus. However, the statement credit does come with a much lower spend requirement. The Starwood Business card, for example, required cardholders to spend $5,000 in the first three months to earn 25,000 bonus points. By contrast, the new bonus requires cardholders to spend $1,000 in the first three months and to make a purchase at an SPG or Marriott hotel in the first six months to receive the $200-bonus.  

What can you get with your Starpoints?

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.

Starwood Preferred Guest redemption options

Redemption option Average point value
Starwood hotel stay 2.4 cents
Marriott transfer (1:3 ratio) 2.4 cents
SPG Moments Varies
Cash + Points 1.84 cents
Room upgrades 1.6 cents
Sixt rental car certificates 1.4 cents
SPG Flights 1.3 cents
Gift cards 1 cent
Broadway tickets 1.2 cents
Charity donation 1.3 cents

Who is eligible for the Starwood introductory bonus?

The Starwood Preferred Guest cards’ 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?

Because the Starwood cards have offered introductory bonuses of 35,000 points in the past – if you can hold off for a while – you may get the chance to earn a higher bonus later this year. Additionally, you can earn a substantially higher rewards rate on purchases if you sign up for either Starwood Preferred Guest card after July 31, 2018.

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: 07-21-2018