Why Starwood Cards Beat American Airlines & British Airways Cards for Regular Spending

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UPDATE: The Starwood American Express credit card offers in this post are no longer available, but check Hot Deals for the latest offers!

If you want to earn American Airlines miles or British Airways Avios points for regular spending, you’d think their own credit cards would earn the most miles and points, right?

Why Starwood Cards Beat American Airlines British Airways Cards For Regular Spending

Want to Use American Airlines Miles or British Airways for a Family Beach Vacation? Get the Best Rate for Regular Spending With the AMEX Starwood Cards!

The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card® from American Express (personal or ) is actually a better option for many purchases!

I’ll explain why!


Earn Starwood Points With AMEX Starwood Cards

Link:   Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Link:   Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

Link:   My Review of the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Link:   How to Fill Out an American Express Business Credit Card Application

 

Until September 14, 2015, there’s an increased sign-up bonus on the AMEX Starwood cards.  You’ll get:

  • 30,000 Starwood points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the 1st 3 months of opening your account (personal card), or
  • 30,000 Starwood points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the 1st 3 months of opening your account (small business card)
  • 2X Starwood points per $1 you spend at Starwood hotels (includes Aloft, Element, Four Points, Le Meridien, Sheraton, St Regis, The Luxury Collection, Westin and W brand hotels)
  • 1X Starwood point per $1 you spend on everything else
  • Unlimited use of Boingo Wi-Fi hotspots (excluding in-flight)
  • For small business cardholders, access to Sheraton Club lounges (free breakfast and hors d’oeuvres) for cardholder and 1 guest staying in the same room (3rd-party bookings are excluded).
  • 2 stay credits or 5 night credits toward Starwood Elite Status
  • $95 annual fee, waived for the 1st year
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Terms & limitations apply

With the sign-up bonus of 30,000 Starwood points, you can get Starwood hotel stays or transfer them to ~30 airline partners.

Get Bonus Miles When You Transfer Starwood Points to Airlines

Link:   Redeem Starwood Points for Travel

For every 20,000 Starwood points you transfer to airline partners (with a 1:1 transfer ratio), you’ll earn 5,000 bonus miles.

That means every $1 spent on the AMEX Starwood cards are worth up to 1.25 airline miles!

Why Starwood Cards Beat American Airlines British Airways Cards For Regular Spending

Chase the Miles! You’ll Earn 25% More American Airlines Miles or British Airways Avios Points When You Transfer 20,000 Starwood Points and Get 5,000 Bonus Miles

You’ll earn 25% more American Airlines miles or British Airways Avios points for regular spending on the AMEX Starwood cards than on their own credit cards!

For example, the Citi American Airlines Platinum Select  and Chase British Airways cards both earn 1 mile or point per $1 spent on regular purchases that are NOT in a bonus category.  And both of them have the same $95 annual fee as the AMEX Starwood cards.

Plus with Starwood points, you’ll have the flexibility of redeeming your Starwood points for award stays at Starwood hotels, or transferring them to ~30 airline partners.

Or stretch your points by booking Nights & Flights or Cash & Points awards! 

Great Ways to Use Starwood Points for Flights

American Airlines

Link:   American Airlines Award Chart

Link:   American Airlines oneworld and Partner Award Chart

Link:   My Series on Booking American Airlines Award Flights Like a Pro

You can use American Airlines miles for flights on American Airlines, oneworld partner airlines (like Cathay Pacific, Japan Air Lines, and Qantas), and other airline partners like Etihad.

Why Starwood Cards Beat American Airlines British Airways Cards For Regular Spending

Visit the Caribbean Off-Peak and Pay 12,500 American Airlines Miles Each Way. Get a Round-Trip Flight for 20,000 Starwood Points. Tropical Drinks Not Included ;)

American Airlines also has off-peak awards to:

  • Mexico and the Caribbean for 12,500 American Airlines miles each way
  • Central America and northern South America for 15,000 American Airlines miles each way
  • Hawaii for 17,500 American Airlines miles each way
  • Southern South America for 20,000 American Airlines miles each way
  • Parts of Asia for 25,000 American Airlines miles each way

Be sure to check out my series about how to book award flights with American Airlines miles!

British Airways

Link:   Wandering Aramean’s Avios Map

Link:   British Airways Award Flight Calculator

Link:   My Series on Booking British Airways Award Flights Like a Pro

British Airways Avios is a distance-based program, and any coach flight under 650 miles is only 4,500 points 1-way.

When you transfer 20,000 Starwood points to British Airways, you’ll get 25,000 British Airways Avios points, which is more than enough for 5 one-way award flights under 650 miles.

Why Starwood Cards Beat American Airlines British Airways Cards For Regular Spending

Fly to Ireland With British Airways Avios Points on Airline Partner Aer Lingus!

This is a great way to get to Europe or visit the Caribbean.  And folks on the West Coast can visit Hawaii for 12,500 British Airways Avios points each way!

You can book flights on airline partners Air Berlin or Aer Lingus to save miles – and money! – with British Airways Avios points.

Read my series about how to book award flights with British Airways Avios points for more ideas!

What’s Regular Spending?

Link:   Chase Sapphire Preferred

Link:   Chase Ink Plus

Link:   Chase Ink Cash

Some credit cards offer bonus points on purchases that fall within a certain category, like travel, restaurants, or office supplies.

For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred earns 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent on travel and dining.  The Chase Ink Plus earns 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent at office supply stores, and on cable and internet service (and the Chase Ink Cash offers 5% cash back on the same categories.)

Remember you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards directly to British Airways Avios points.  So if you can earn bonus points, you should!

But there are lots of ordinary purchases that do NOT earn bonus points.  Because they are not in a specific category, the most you’ll earn is 1 point per $1 spent.

Why Starwood Cards Beat American Airlines British Airways Cards For Regular Spending

Pet Store Purchases Are an Example of Regular Spending That Usually Don’t Earn Bonus Miles or Points. But It Earns Woofs and Meows (and 5,000 Bonus Miles When You Transfer 20,000 Starwood Points)!

Some everyday expenses that usually earn 1 mile or point per $1 spent are:

  • Art supplies
  • Child care
  • Dentist bills
  • Eye exams
  • Gym memberships
  • Haircuts
  • Hunting or fishing gear
  • Lawn care
  • License renewals
  • Manicures
  • Magazine subscriptions
  • Massages
  • Netflix subscriptions
  • Oil changes
  • Pet food and supplies
  • Yoga classes
  • And lots of other services and items!

So there are many opportunities to earn points.  Of course the best way to earn miles and points with everyday spending is to earn sign-up bonuses on new cards!

But if you’re between cards, or taking a break, the AMEX Starwood personal or small business cards are a great option.  Because you’ll earn 1.25 miles per $1 spent when you take the 5,000 bonus miles into account!

Or use your points to book Starwood hotel stays in great locations in the US, at top US beaches, the Caribbean and Mexico, Europe, Central and South America, or Asia and Australia.  5,000 points will get you a $200+ discount at the Starwood hotels with the Cash & Points program.

Bottom Line

You’ll earn 5,000 bonus airline miles every time you transfer 20,000 Starwood points to airline partners with a 1:1 transfer ratio.

That means with the AMEX Starwood personal or small business cards, you can earn American Airlines miles or British Airways Avios points at a rate of 1.25 miles or points per $1 spent – even more than with the airlines’ own credit cards!

When you’re not spending in a bonus category, or working toward meeting minimum spending requirements on new cards, the AMEX Starwood cards are a terrific way to earn more miles and points!

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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.

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