American Express issues two Starwood Preferred Guests (SPG) cards: a personal version and a business version. The standard public offer for these cards is 25K points but we’ve seen offers for 30K and 35K offered at different times. Well, the 35K offer for the business version of this card is back once again, albeit with heightened spend requirements.
- Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints after you make $6,000 in purchases within the first 3 months and an extra 10,000 bonus Starpoints after you make an additional $4,000 in purchases within the first 6 months (this is increased by a total of $2,000 from prior offers)
- $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95
- 2X points on purchases at SPG or Marriott properties
- Free in-room, premium internet access at SPG properties
- Credit for 5 nights and 2 stays each year toward SPG Elite status
- No foreign exchange fees
- Boingo Wifi
- Enjoy complimentary access to the Sheraton Club lounge (benefit not offered to the personal version of the credit card)
- The offer expires November 1, 2017
What can you do with SPG points?
The question is really what can’t you do with SPG points?
That’s because you can use them for free nights at SPG properties, transfer them at a 1:3 ratio to Marriott, transfer them out to over 30 airlines (mostly) at a 1:1.25 ratio, and utilize them in a number of other different ways, such as SPG Moments. If I were also getting the personal version of this card I would consider a Marriott hotel and air package since the bonuses you’d receive from these two cards would put you in close contention of being able to redeem for one of these packages.
SPG points often offer great value for hotel redemptions
Many people value SPG points around 2.0 to 2.5 cents per point which is among the most valuable rates for hotels programs. However, it’s not very hard to get even more than that in value when making SPG hotel bookings. This is especially true if you can take advantage of the 5th night free benefit or cash and points redemptions.
Why I value SPG points so much
While I’ve used SPG points to redeem for hotels, like the Westin in Cape Town, I put more value in SPG points for their transferability to so many different airline partners. This comes in handy in two major ways.
You can’t beat the flexibility of SPG points. This flexibility really comes in handy when you need to top-off your miles accounts for certain airlines. It’s often the case that you may find yourself thousands of points short for redemptions, especially if you’re ever planning a complex itinerary or round the world trip. In those situations, the flexibility of SPG points can be just what you need to complete an itinerary.
2. Sweet spots
There are a number of airlines that offer exceptional redemption rates to given destinations but they are only transfer partners with SPG and not any of the other major programs like Chase, American Express, and Citi. Airlines like Alaska, Asiana, and JAL are prime examples.
Consider that I could fly from IAH to SCL in business class one way for only 35,000 Asiana miles or 70,000 round trip. The same roundtrip flight to SCL on United would require 110,000 United miles, so that’s a savings of 40,000 miles! You can find those sweet spots going to just about anywhere. For example, JAL offers roundtrip business class redemptions to Europe for 63,000 miles from the East Coast and both Asiana and JAL offer roundtrip business class redemptions to Europe for 80,000 miles from other parts of the country.
And don’t forget, SPG transfers to airlines come with that 25% bonus, so you’d only need 65,000 SPG points to take advantage of a 80,000 mile sweet spot. Thus, you could easily be saving close to 50,000 miles or more by using SPG points for your redemptions. Pretty incredible and that’s why I put a lot of value in this card.
SPG points are extremely valuable and since this is the highest public offer for the business version, I think you should give it a look. Just remember to read up on the American Express Application Rules, before you apply.
H/T: Miles to Memories