Wednesday, February 22, 2017

SPG Amex Credit Card - 35,000 Starpoint sign-up bonus after $5k spend; highest bonus ever

American Express is offering a 35,000 point bonus for the SPG Amex personal credit card.  This is the highest bonus offer ever offered on this card.

MUST APPLY BY APRIL 5.


Breakdown

  • 35k Starpoints is the highest sign-up bonus ever offered on the SPG Amex personal card.  The same bonus level was offered almost a year ago, but typically the bonus on this card is 25k Starpoints.

How Good is This Deal?

  • Very good...the 40,000 points you'd have after making the $5k minimum spend and earning the sign-up bonus are worth around $1,000 of hotel stays or $700-$1,000 or more of airfare
  • It is feasible to get 8-12 free hotel nights from the 40k Starpoints
  • How about TWO ROUNDTRIP TICKETS TO HAWAII?!  Yes, if you can find the cheap award flights you can fly Delta from anywhere in the U.S. to Hawaii, two people, for 50,000 miles total.  (You must transfer 40k Starpoints into 50k Korean Air miles, then use those miles to book the flights on a Delta plane; booking the same flight using Delta miles will cost you more miles because Korean Air has a cheaper award chart than Delta.  I'd be happy to explain this over a root beer sometime...)

What are Starpoints?

  • Starpoints is the name of the hotel points currency for Starwood's loyalty program, which is called Starwood Preferred Guest, or SPG.
  • Starwood properties include several brands such as St Regis, Westin, W, Sheraton, and Four Points by Sheraton.

What are Starpoints Good For?

  • Free nights OR free flights
  • Starpoints can be used to book free nights ('award nights') at Starwood hotels.  Free nights start as low as 2,000 points per night.  Many fairly nice properties cost only 5,000-7,000 points per night.  (In comparison, decent Hilton hotels cost 20,000-50,000 points per night.  1 Starpoint is easily worth 5x more than 1 Hilton point.)
  • Free nights at Marriott hotels.  Marriott recently bought Starwood, and customers can freely and instantly transfer between Starpoints and Marriott points (you must set up an SPG and a Marriott account).  Transfer rate is 1 Starpoint :3 Marriott points
  • Starpoints also can be transferred from the SPG program into airline miles with 30+ partner airlines such as Delta, American, British Airways, Flying Blue, and Korean Air
  • Transfer rate to most airlines is 1:1
  • 5,000 bonus miles for every 20,000 Starpoints transferred!  Transfer in 20k increments, get 25k miles for each 20k Starpoints, i.e. 1:1.25 ratio
  • Point-for-point, Starpoints are one of the most valuable currencies in the miles and points world.

Get the Deal

  • Send me an email if you are interested!
  • If you allow me to send you a sign-up offer via email, I'll earn 5,000 Starpoints after you are approved for the card.  The bonus is the same - 35,000 Starpoints - whether you are referred or can sign up for the offer directly from Amex, so I'd definitely appreciate the chance to refer you!
  • You cannot get this bonus if you have ever gotten a bonus on the SPG Amex personal card product.  Amex bonuses are once per person, lifetime, for each different card product they offer.

Details

  • Apply by April 5, 2017
  • 35,000 bonus Starpoints after $5,000 purchases in first 6 months:  Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints after making $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months plus 10,000 bonus Starpoints after an additional $2,000 in purchases within the first 6 months
  • No annual fee first year, $95 per year thereafter
  • There is a Business version of this card, which is a separate product so you could get the same 35k bonus twice - once on each card.  However, the SPG Amex Business card requires $8,000 spend to earn the bonus, vs. $5,000 for the Personal card

Is this Card Worth Keeping Long-term?

  • It's worth considering.  The best way to look at this card is that it earns 1.25 airline miles per dollar on all spending.
  • This can be a great card to use for any and all spending on which you aren't eligible for category bonuses.
  • There are no category bonuses on SPG Amex card purchases, so you may want to use other cards for restaurant, gas, grocery, or other purchases where a different card gives you 2, 3, or more points per dollar.
  • The $95 annual fee is somewhat steep, but the card has decent travel-related benefits.

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