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The Starwood Preferred Guest American Express 30,000 point sign-up offer is back after completing the minimum spending!
This is a limited time offer which ends on June 30, 2014.
In the past, this offer has come out once a year for ~1 month, but usually later in the summer. So it’s a nice surprise to see it early!
Is This a Good Deal?
Link: Starwood Preferred Guest American Express (Personal)
Link: Starwood Preferred Guest American Express (Business)
The sign-up bonus on the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express card is usually 25,000 points after you spend $5,000 in the 1st 6 months. But in the past several years, American Express has increased the bonus by 5,000 points (with the same minimum spending) once per year.
To get the increased bonus, you have to apply before June 30, 2014. With this card, you get:
- 10,000 points after your 1st purchase
- 20,000 points after you spend $5,000 in the 1st 6 months
- 2 points per $1 you spend at Starwood hotels (includes Aloft, Element, Four Points, Le Meredien, Sheraton, St Regis, The Luxury Collection, Westin and W brand hotels)
- 1 point per $1 you spend on everything else
- 2 stay or 5 night credit toward Starwood Elite Status
- $65 annual fee, waived for the 1st year
- Terms & Conditions apply
However, there is a 2.7% foreign currency fee, so don’t use this card outside the US. It would be great if AMEX removed this fee because I really want to use the card outside the US!
You have 6 months to meet the minimum spending requirement of $5,000. And here are 40+ ways to meet credit card minimum spending requirements!
You can get a lot of Big Travel with Small Money with the 30,000 point sign-up bonus. Have a look at my series on how to get the most out of your Starwood points.
Note that you can also refer others to the card for 5,000 Starwood hotel points!
Note: American Express now limits sign-up bonuses to 1 bonus per card, per person, per lifetime. According to the card terms and conditions:
Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have or have had this product
That said, the Starwood Preferred Guest AMEX personal card and business card are considered 2 different products, so if you’ve had 1 version in the past, you should still be able to get the bonus on the other version.
What Can You Do With up to 30,000 Starwood Points?
1. Hotel Award Nights
Starwood Preferred Guest hotels include Aloft, Element, Four Points, Le Meredien, Sheraton, St Regis, The Luxury Collection, Westin and W brand hotels. There are over 1,100 hotels and resorts in over 100 countries to choose from.
One thing I like about the Starwood award chart is that you can get hotel award nights for very few points (and even less on weekends).
For example, you can get a Category 1 hotel for only 3,000 points a night (2,000 on weekends). And there are some quite nice Category 1 hotels on the list! With the 30,000 point sign-up bonus, you could get 10 free weekday nights or 15 free weekend nights at a Category 1 hotel!
The Sheraton Luxor Resort in Egypt can be booked for 2,000 points on the weekends. I checked the cash rate on a Saturday in September and it was $59 plus taxes per night.
You’ll have even more choices with Starwood Category 2 hotels, which cost 4,000 points during the week or 3,000 points on weekends. So with the 30,000 point sign-up bonus, you could get ~7 weekday nights or 10 weekend nights at a Category 2 hotel.
A paid night on a weekend in August costs $143 plus taxes or 3,000 points. This is a great value!
And if you want to splurge, you could spend your sign-up bonus on a night at a Category 7 hotel, which costs 30,000 to 35,000 points per night. But these are hotels that normally cost upwards of $700 plus taxes per night!
2. Cash & Points
You can stretch your Starwood points even further by redeeming them for Cash and Points award nights. That’s because these awards are half the cost in points (compared to the regular award chart), and the amount you pay in cash tends to be much less than the value of the points you are saving.
That said, I don’t think the upgraded rooms or suites are a great cash and points value.
You could get a room at the Sheraton Kauai for 6,000 points and $110 per night. Normally, this room costs 12,000 points, or $199 plus taxes per night.
3. Transfer to Airlines and Earn Bonus Points
You can transfer Starwood points to 30 airline partners like American Airlines, British Airways, and Alaska Airlines. Most of the transfers are in a 1:1 ratio.
You’ll get a 5,000 mile bonus when you transfer 20,000 Starwood points. So 20,000 Starwood points becomes 25,000 airline miles.
You will get 85,000 air miles if you apply for both the business and personal card, complete the minimum spending, and transfer the points to airlines.
This means that you earn 1.25 miles per $1 for regular spending (assuming you’re not taking advantage of category bonuses on other cards) if you spend enough to transfer 20,000 Starwood points to airlines.
4. Nights & Flights
5 free hotel nights AND 50,000 airline miles cost:
This is a really great deal if you’re staying 5 nights or more. 50,000 airline miles is enough for 2 round-trip domestic coach tickets, and you’ll get a 5 night hotel stay!
5. Flight Awards and Gift Cards
You can redeem Starwood points for paid flights on many airlines with no blackout dates. While you’re not getting the most value of your points, you get the flexibility of taking any flight and earning miles for those flights.
30,000 points gets you $345 to $410 in airfare with NO blackout dates.
You can also redeem Starwood points for gift cards, so 30,000 points will get you $300 in Amazon (or other) gift cards. This isn’t a great value, but if you’re not interested in traveling it’s another way to redeem your points.
American Express has increased the sign-up bonus on the Starwood personal & business card up to 30,000 points after you spend $5,000 in the 1st 6 months. But only until June 30, 2014.
Usually, the sign-up bonus is up to 25,000 points after the same minimum spending. So this is a good deal!
Starwood points can be used for free hotel nights, airline miles, cash & points redemptions, gift cards, and paid airline tickets without blackout dates. They’re a great way to have flexibility in your travel redemptions!
What’s your favorite way to use Starwood points?