Changes Coming to AMEX Starwood Card (No Foreign Transaction Fees, Boingo Wi-Fi, & More!)

It'd mean a lot to Emily and me if y’all would take 10 seconds to vote for us as your favorite miles & points blog! Thank you!

P.S. You can vote every day. :)

Disclosure: We get a commission for links on the blog. You don’t have to use our links, but we’re very grateful when you do. American Express, Barclaycard, Chase, and US Bank are Million Mile Secrets advertising partners. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or endorsed by our partners. Here’s our Advertiser Disclosure.

Update:   The Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve credit card offer and the Starwood card offers in this post is no longer available, but check Hot Deals for the latest offers!

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.

Changes Coming To AMEX Starwood Card No Foreign Transaction Fees Boingo Wi-Fi More

Soon You Can Use the AMEX Starwood Preferred Card at Places Like the Sheraton Fiji Resort Without Having to Pay Foreign Transaction Fees, but the Annual Fee Is Increasing!

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:

Changes Coming To AMEX Starwood Card No Foreign Transaction Fees Boingo Wi-Fi More

Use Your Starwood Points for Free Stays at Starwood Hotels or Transfer Them to Airlines and Earn 5,000 Bonus Miles When You Transfer in 20,000 Point Increments!

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.

What’s Changing?

Starting August 11, 2015, the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest cards will also include:

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 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.

Changes Coming To AMEX Starwood Card No Foreign Transaction Fees Boingo Wi-Fi More

The AMEX Starwood Business Card Now Gives You Access to Free Breakfast in the Sheraton Club Lounge

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.

Bottom Line

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:

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.

* If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 25,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

Editorial Disclaimer: Neither the responses below nor the editorial content on this page are provided or commissioned by the bank advertisers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertisers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers’ responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

15 responses to “Changes Coming to AMEX Starwood Card (No Foreign Transaction Fees, Boingo Wi-Fi, & More!)

  1. as SPG Gold, the lounge access is worth $30/year to me.

  2. what about award stay booked with spg points? you get the new benefit?

  3. Am I correct in that the American Express Starwood card does NOT provide you Gold (nor Platinum) status? I feel like I am missing something – why would the card not offer a status “step-up”, like American Express Hilton cards do? Is SPG status that much more valuable than Hilton or Marriott status? Anyone who has comments/opinions on this, please share. Even with the new benefits coming, it seems like this card is lacking in benefits (given the annual fee) yet seems to be fairly popular.

  4. Horriable change to me. I usually spend $30K-50K every year on SPG card for non-hotel expense.

    no-FX fee is useless to me, since I usually use Chase CSP.
    Boingo is also useless, since I have data plan that I never run out and hotspot is enough.
    Free internet at SPG and club access is also useless, since I rarely stay at SPG hotels.

    So I don’t see the extra annual fee justify the benefit, unless Amex offers others, i.e. extra 10000 points when spend $30K.

    I will probably cancel the card, and stick to Chase CSP or Citi Prestige for all my regular spending.

  5. Just so no one gets confused, the lounge access benefit being added is only for the business version of this card, not the personal. Also, the premium wifi is a personal card change not included on the business version. Per the Amex website’s FAQs on the coming changes to each version of the card…

  6. It was just the other day I was defending Amex Membership Rewards, but with Amex making changes, the Amex SPG credit card is looking more attractive to me.

  7. I am using this card mainly because I do alot of shopping at Costco and it is (until next year) the only credit card they take, so that I could get points for my Costco spending.

    So with Costco dropping their AMEX relationship and annual fee increase on this card looks like I will need to cancel this card. The added benifits do nothing for me (same reasons as Jerry above).

    I already have several cards with no-FX fees, so bye bye AMEX.

  8. Like Jim, I’d like to know if the lounge access is valid on award nights. Any idea?

  9. Any idea if they will still be offering the 30k signup bonus after all these changes or is a reduced min spending requirement all we’re going to get?

  10. This was the first card I got when I started into the points thing, because of the flexibility you get with all the partners. Someone should tell all the newbies though that this flexibility is really only valuable to people booking complex trips or using obscure ailrines. Everyones first rewards trip is through one of the big airlines. So now, I’ll cancel this next year and just have a chunchunk of SPG points.

  11. Is Robert Correct that lounge access is only with Business SPG Amex? And premium Wifi is only with Person SPG Amex? Post seems to indicate that is not the case?

  12. Pingback: PreCheck Changes, A350 Route to the US, #AvGeek stuff, Manufactured Spending, Hyatt Diamond Status Challenge, and Travel Hacking – Tagging Miles

  13. when is the spg amex signup bonus going up to 30k?

  14. @ Dave: flexibility is good, but obscure airlines? The list of partner airlines is most of the heavy hitters

    @ Dan: I saw a 30000 point signup bonus offer after I registered with the SPG program online

    If I get approved for this card in its current form (65$ annual), will all the changes that come with the new 99$/year version automatically apply to the current card? Or should I just wait till the new card comes out? I have plenty of spending coming up and might as well make good use of it, preferably through the SPG card, Chase Sapphire Preferred, or Amex HHonors.

  15. Is the lounge access for awards stay also ? thanks!