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Deciding which cards to keep and which cards to cancel is an important piece of your credit card strategy. And figuring out what works best for your particular situation can be tricky!
Million Mile Secrets reader Will commented:
“I’ve had the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express card for some time now. And I recently picked up the welcome bonus from the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express. Since the benefits of the personal and business version of the card are almost identical, is there any reason to keep both cards open and pay 2 annual fees?”
Thanks for the great question, Will!
The Benefits of Keeping Both Cards
The AMEX Starwood personal and small business cards offer a very similar set of benefits, so it can be hard to justify paying 2 annual fees. But there are a few instances where keeping both cards might be beneficial!
1. Keeping Expenses Separate
If you’re a small business owner, having both the personal and business version of the AMEX Starwood card is a great way to keep your business expenses separate from personal expenses. And to earn more miles and points!
2. Cumulative Elite Status Credits
Each card also provides a credit of 2 stays and 5 nights toward Starwood elite status. And because the credits from both cards can be combined, it makes it much easier to earn or keep Starwood elite status.
Starwood elite status comes with perks like bonus points on stays, late checkout, room upgrades, and more! But Gold status requires either 10 eligible stays or 25 eligible nights in a calendar year. And Platinum elite status requires 25 stays or 50 nights per calendar year. So earning a number of elite status credits from the AMEX Starwood cards can really make a difference!
The credits can also come in handy if you find yourself just a few stays or nights short of the elite credits you need. In which case paying 2 annual fees could be LESS expensive than paying for additional hotel stays.
Plus, you can use your Starwood status to get an automatic match with Marriott. 😉
Why the Business Version Is the Better Choice (If You Have to Choose)
It may not make sense for everyone to pay 2 annual fees on cards that are very similar. So if you have both the AMEX Starwood personal and small business card and are deciding which one to close, I’d suggest keeping the business card. Because it comes with Sheraton Club Lounge access, something the personal version does NOT offer.
Additional Money Saving Perk
The Sheraton lounge perk is useful for folks looking to save money on meals while traveling. Million Mile Secrets team member Meghan often books at Sheraton brand hotels, so she can eat a hot breakfast and enjoy the hotel’s evening hors d’oeuvres.
Sheraton Club Lounge access is typically reserved for Platinum members. And while the lounges vary depending on the location, you can generally expect options for a continental breakfast, drinks, and snacks throughout the day. The lounges can also be a nice quiet area for you to work or relax.
Limited-Time (Increased!) AMEX Starwood Small Business Card Offer
When you apply for the AMEX Starwood small business card, you’ll earn 35,000 Starwood points after spending $7,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. This is a limited-time offer that’s only available if you apply by March 28, 2018.
This deal is much better than the usual offer, which is a 25,000 Starwood points welcome bonus.
AMEX Starwood small business cardholders also enjoy these perks:
- 2 Starwood points per $1 you spend at Starwood hotels (includes Aloft, Design Hotels, Element, Four Points, Le Meridien, Sheraton, St Regis, The Luxury Collection, Tribute Portfolio, Westin and W brand hotels) and Marriott hotels
- 1 Starwood point per $1 you spend on everything else
- 2 stay credits or 5 night credits toward Starwood Elite Status
- Free in-room internet at participating Starwood hotels
- Automatic Starwood Gold elite status after spending $30,000 or more in a calendar year
- Access to AMEX Offers, which can save you money on purchases you’re already planning
- Access to Sheraton Club Room lounges
- Complimentary ShopRunner membership for free 2-day shipping at 140+ online retailers
- Free Boingo Wi-Fi access (excluding flights)
- Purchase protections, including extended warranty benefits
- No foreign transaction fees
- Terms & limitations apply
Having both versions of the AMEX Starwood card can be a great way to keep your personal and business expenses separate. And combining the elite status credits from both cards gives you a head start on earning elite status.
But if you’re having a hard time justifying paying 2 annual fees, I’d suggest keeping the business version of the AMEX Starwood card. Because it comes with Sheraton Club Lounge access, something the personal card does NOT offer.
And if you don’t yet have both versions of the card, remember that through March 28, 2018, the AMEX Starwood business card has an increased welcome bonus of 35,000 Starwood points after meeting minimum spend requirements!