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Million Mile Secrets reader, Toshio, commented:
I am interested in applying for the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express. But I’m not sure of the difference in perks between the personal and small business versions. Can you compare both cards?
Both versions of the AMEX Starwood Preferred Guest card come with a 35,000 Starwood point sign-up bonus through April 5, 2017.
That’s because it comes with a few added perks and benefits that are NOT available on the personal version.
I’ll explain the differences between both. And help you decide which card is right for you!
AMEX Starwood Personal or Small Business?
With the personal AMEX Starwood card, you’ll earn 25,000 Starwood points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. And 10,000 more Starwood points for spending another $2,000 on purchases within the first 6 months.
And with the AMEX Starwood small business card, you’ll earn 25,000 Starwood points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. And 10,000 more Starwood points for spending another $3,000 on purchases within the first 6 months.
Remember, you’re only eligible to earn AMEX sign-up bonuses ONCE per card, per lifetime.
With both versions, you get:
- 2 Starwood points per $1 you spend at Starwood, Marriott, and Ritz-Carlton hotels
- 2 stay credits or 5 night credits toward Starwood elite Status
- Access to AMEX offers, which can save you money on everyday purchases
- Free in-room internet at participating Starwood hotels
- No foreign transaction fees
The $95 annual fee is waived the 1st year on both versions.
If you qualify for both, I recommend getting AMEX Starwood small business card. Because there are a few advantages compared to the personal version, including:
- Access to Sheraton Club Room lounges
- Eligible for AMEX OPEN discounts for small businesses
- Won’t count against you for Chase’s “5/24” rule
These extra perks make the small business version worth the larger minimum spending requirement!
It’s Possible to Get Both
The personal and small business versions are considered different card products. So you can actually get both cards.
And Starwood points are hard to earn, so earning the sign-up bonus from both cards is the easiest way to boost your points balance. If you get both cards, you’ll earn 70,000 Starwood points, plus the points you earn from meeting the $13,000 in total spending requirements.
Folks looking to earn the Southwest Companion Pass using hotel points might consider getting both cards.
There are lots of other ways to use 70,000 Starwood points, including:
- Free nights at Starwood hotels like Aloft, El
ement, Four Points, Le Meridien, Sheraton, St Regis, The Luxury Collection, Westin and W brand hotels
- Free nights at Marriott or Ritz-Carlton hotels
- Transfer to Starwood airline partners for award flights
Because now that Starwood and Marriott are one company, it’s possible at some point they only offer one co-branded card. And Marriott already has a relationship with Chase.
To earn the full sign-up bonus on the AMEX Starwood personal card, you’ll need to spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening to earn 25,000 Starwood points. And earn 10,000 more Starwood points for spending another $2,000 on purchases within the first 6 months.
With the AMEX Starwood small business card, you’ll earn 25,000 Starwood points when you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. And another $3,000 on purchases within the first 6 months will earn you 10,000 more Starwood points.
The small business version has a higher minimum spending requirement, but it comes with added perks like Sheraton Club Room lounge access and AMEX OPEN small business discounts. Plus, the card won’t appear on your personal credit report, so it doesn’t count towards Chase’s card limits.