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The American Express Starwood Preferred Guest business and personal cards will have new benefits starting August 11, 2015.
But the annual fee is also increasing by $30.
Find out what other changes are coming to the AMEX Starwood card!
What’s the AMEX Starwood Card?
Link: AMEX Starwood Preferred Guest Personal Card
Link: Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card From American Express OPEN
With the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card and the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express OPEN you get:
- 25,000 Starwood points when you complete the minimum spending
- 2 Starwood points per $1 spent at Starwood hotels which include Aloft, Element, Four Points, Le Meridien, Sheraton, St Regis, The Luxury Collection, Westin and W brand hotels
- 2 stay credits or 5 night credits toward Starwood Elite Status
- Terms & limitations apply
The current $65 annual fee is waived. And you’ll have to pay 2.7% in foreign transaction fees when you use this card abroad.
Starting August 11, 2015, the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest cards will also include:
- No foreign transaction fees
- Unlimited use of Boingo Wi-Fi hotspots
- Premium in-room internet access at Starwood hotels – Available for 1 room per cardholder per stay (3rd-party bookings are excluded). And hotels that charge resort fees which include internet access will provide a replacement benefit.
- Access to Sheraton Club lounges (free breakfast and hors d’oeuvres) – Good for the cardholder and 1 guest staying in the same room (3rd party bookings are excluded). This benefit is available for Business cardholders only.
Note: The free unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi excludes in-flight internet access.
However, these new benefits aren’t exactly free. That’s because the annual fee is increasing from $65 to $95. So you’ll have to do the math to decide whether these new perks are worth paying the extra $30 per year.
But the annual fee is waived for the 1st year, so you’ll have ~10 months to make your decision.
If you have a lot of Starwood stays abroad, or currently pay for Boingo Wi-Fi or premium Starwood internet access, it’s definitely worth paying the increased annual fee! You’ll more than make up for it in savings.
There aren’t a lot of ways to earn Starwood points and they are valuable because they’re flexible. So it’s great to see the foreign transaction fees removed. You can now earn bonus Starwood points by using your card overseas without worrying about paying extra fees.
However, I’d like to see the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest cards offer free nights to cardholders the way other hotel cards do, such as:
- Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve – 2 weekend nights at almost any Hilton hotel when you spend $2,500 on purchases within the 1st 4 months of opening your account. Plus, another weekend night each year when you spend $10,000 on your card.
- Chase Hyatt – 2 free nights at any Hyatt hotel when spend $1,000 on purchases in the 1st 3 months of opening your account. And a free night in a category 1 to 4 Hyatt each year on your card anniversary.
- Chase IHG Rewards – 1 free night at any IHG hotel each year on your cardmember anniversary.
There are changes coming to the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest card and the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express OPEN.
In addition to the 25,000 Starwood point sign-up bonus when you complete the minimum spending, and 2 Starwood points per $1 spent, starting August 11, 2015, you also get:
- No foreign transaction fees
- Unlimited access to Boingo Wi-Fi hotspots (in-flight excluded)
- Premium in-room internet
- Access to Sheraton Club Lounges (Business cardholders only)
- Terms and limitations apply
However, the annual fee is going up from $65 to $95. This fee is still waived for the 1st year, but if you have a lot of Starwood stays overseas or usually pay for Boingo Wi-Fi or Starwood premium internet, it’s worth the extra $30.
And remember, the minimum spending requirement has been lowered on the AMEX Starwood personal card, making it easier to earn the sign-up bonus.