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

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

Million Mile SecretsChanges Coming to AMEX Starwood Card (No Foreign Transaction Fees, Boingo Wi-Fi, & More!)Million Mile Secrets Team

Update:   One or more card offers in this post are no longer available.  Check our 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 Credit Card – 2 free nights at any Hyatt hotel when spend $2,000 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.

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.

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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15 comments

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Is the lounge access for awards stay also ? thanks!

@ 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.

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

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?

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.

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