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Million Mile Secrets reader Jason emails:
I have 1 Starwood Preferred Guest Business Card in my name and social security number for a sole proprietorship.
Would it be possible for me to get a 2nd Starwood Business Card for my LLC (separate Employer Identification Number), and still get the bonus? And would I be able to link it to the same Starwood Preferred Guest account or would it have to be a different account?
In my experience, American Express will NOT let folks get the same business card again, even if they apply using a different EIN. This is in contrast to Chase who usually lets folks get the business for different businesses.
But there are workarounds if Jason wants to get more than 1 of the same business card! I’ll explain.
Getting the Same Business Card Again
American Express typically will NOT give you the bonus for a 2nd business card of the same type, even if you have separate businesses. They will approve your application, but the bonus will usually not post to your account.
When you apply for a business card, you can either:
- Apply as a sole proprietor using your social security number (SSN)
- Apply as a registered business using your company’s Employer Identification Number (EIN)
Even though Jason can NOT get a 2nd American Express Starwood Preferred Guest card (and 25,000 point sign-up bonus) for his businesses, there are ways to get more than 1 bonus on business cards!
1. Re-Apply in 12 Months
American Express changed its rules for personal cards earlier this year, so you can’t get more than 1 sign-up bonus per person, per lifetime.
But the new rules do NOT apply to business cards!
Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have or have had this product within the last 12 months.
So if Jason closes his card, waits a year, then re-applies, he should be able to get the 25,000 point sign-up bonus again!
2. Have a Spouse or Partner Apply for a Card
If Jason’s spouse or partner has a business, they could apply for the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest business card and get the 25,000 point sign-up bonus.
Then, once the sign-up bonus posts to his spouse or partner’s account, Jason can transfer the points to his own SPG account. That’s because Starwood allows folks living in the same household to transfer points between their accounts for free.
Note: Starwood checks that the addresses match between both parties transferring points. And the addresses have to be the same for at least the last 30 days.
3. Apply for a Different AMEX Business Card
While American Express won’t let you get the same type of card for separate businesses, Jason could apply for a different American Express business card.
And he can still get Starwood points if he applies for a card that earns American Express Membership Rewards:
- The Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN – 40,000 points after you spend $5,000 in the 1st 3 months
That’s because you can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Starwood Preferred Guest.
But the transfer ratio isn’t very good! You’ll get 333 Starwood points for every 1,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points you transfer. But sometimes there are transfer bonuses.
Unless Jason really needs Starwood points, he would be better off transferring his AMEX Membership Rewards points to other travel partners, like Delta or British Airways (which has a 40% transfer bonus until January 31, 2015). The transfer ratios are better!
4. Consider Chase Business Cards Instead
Chase WILL allow you to get more than 1 of the same type of business card if you apply as a sole proprietor and/or using separate EIN’s.
So Jason might consider cards like:
- Chase Ink Plus – 50,000 points after you spend $5,000 in the 1st 3 months
- Chase Ink Cash – 30,000 points ($300 cash back) after you spend $3,000 in the 1st 3 months
If Jason wants points for hotel stays, he can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to partners like Hyatt, Marriott, IHG, and Ritz-Carlton.
And for flights, transfer partners include United Airlines, Southwest, Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, and Singapore Airlines.
Note: Points earned from the Chase Ink Cash card can only be transferred to airlines and hotels if you also have the Chase Ink Plus, Chase Sapphire Preferred, or Chase Ink Bold (no longer available) card.
If you already have an American Express business card, like the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest, you can NOT get a 2nd card of the same type, even if you apply under a separate business.
But because American Express lets you get the sign-up bonus again on business cards (not personal), you can cancel a card and re-apply after 12 months. Or apply for a different American Express business card.
Or if someone in your household owns a business, they could apply for the Starwood Preferred Guest card and transfer the points to your account for free. This will NOT work for cards that earn American Express Membership Rewards.
Chase rules are different. You can get a 2nd card for a separate business.
Thanks for the question, Jason!