**Update – August 21st New Offer on Amex SPG Card is 50,000 Rewards Points, not Starpoints. I will be creating an entirely new blog post which you can view here which will reflect the changes to the card. In the meantime, you can still apply for the Amex SPG Card at the following link and receive a $30 cash-back bonus from Great Canadian Rebates.
The SPG Card is a hotel branded American Express credit card. As the name suggests, the hotel brand in question is Starwood Preferred Guest (think St. Regis, Westin, Four Points, etc). This is one of two cards that is offered by American Express, the other being the Business SPG Card. The SPG card is one card that gets mentioned frequently when people are looking for an everyday spending card as the Earning and Redemption power of this card is extremely flexible and valuable. Read all about the SPG Program and all it has to offer by clicking here.
Welcome Bonus: 20,000 Starpoints after spending $1,500 within the first three months.
Annual Fee: $120 (No annual fee waiver)
Referral Power: 5,000 Starpoints per successfully approved referral (up to a Max. 75,000 Starpoints Points/Calendar Year)
Earning Power: 2 Starpoints per dollar spent at SPG and Marriott properties. 1 Starpoint for all other purchases
Receive a Free Weekend Night Award (Category 1-4) at resorts and hotels around the world when you reach $40,000 in purchases on the Card each year
Bells & Whistles:
The SPG Card offers a Welcome Bonus of 20,000 Starpoints after you spend $1,500 within the first three as well as 5,000 Starpoints for referrals. **The Welcome and Referral bonus used to be 25,000 and 10,000 Starpoints, respectively in 2017.
Starpoints are extremely valuable and flexible as they can be transferred and used across many different programs and platforms. For instance, 20,000 Starpoints can get you a couple of free nights at a hotel close to the airport and in some instances with points left over! (Retail value approx. $200-$400) Fancy a stay by the falls in Niagara? You can redeem points for 5 nights for only 16,000 Starpoints and the 5th night is free! (Retail value approx. $600) You can also transfer points over to the Marriott Rewards program at a rate of 1:3 and turn those 20,000 Starpoints into 60,000 Marriott Reward Points. 60,000 Marriott Reward Points can get you a night at The Ritz Carlton on Maui which retails for $600-800. Lastly, Starpoints can also be transferred (mostly at a 1:1 ratio) to airline partners and redeemed for flights and the best part about that is SPG will dish out a 5,000 bonus when you transfer in chunks of 20,000 Starpoints. This effectively bumps up your transfer ratio to 1:1.25! For example, 20,000 Starpoints transfers into 25,000 Aeroplan points.
Earning Power on the SPG Card is 2 Starpoints per dollar spent on purchases made at SPG and Marriott Properties. This can include not only room charges, but incidentals as well such as room service or any other food and beverage charge. On all other purchases you will earn 1 Starpoint per dollar.
The Travel benefits aren’t as strong as the Gold Rewards or the Platinum Card but they are still good nonetheless. If you are in possession of the 2 aforementioned cards, it would be best to use those for your travel purchases.
For Travel Expenses charged to your card you will obtain the following:
Travel Accident Insurance: up to $500,000
Lost or Stolen Baggage Insurance
You’ll also have coverage for flight delay, hotel burglary and car rental theft and damage.
Baggage Delay Insurance: up to $500 coverage (aggregate max. with Flight Delay Insurance)
With the flexibility of the SPG program, there is no reason not to have this card in your arsenal. You can see how achievable it is to extract 3-5 times the value from this card despite the $120 Annual Fee. It’s also worth mentioning that with the recent merger between SPG and Marriott, no one knows what changes, if any, will come in 2018. Whether they decide to keep the SPG branded credit cards is a definite worry. Case in point, we saw the removal of future applications to the Chase Marriott Visa in 2017 which was a huge hit as they offered 50,000 Marriott Reward Points after your first purchase as well as No FX Fees. My advice would be to apply for both the SPG cards sooner rather than later to avoid disappointment.
Applying for the SPG card through a referral link will get you 20,000 Starpoints. I’m hoping you enjoy what you’ve been reading so far and if you are I would love it if you applied for the SPG Card using my referral link below.
If you have any questions, you know the drill – either shoot me an comment below or an email!