Should You Have Both the AMEX Starwood and AMEX Platinum Cards?

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Million Mile Secrets reader, Jason, commented:

Does it make sense to keep the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express if I have The Platinum Card® from American Express as well?

Jason knows that both the AMEX Starwood small business card and AMEX Platinum card come with valuable Starwood perks.

If you value Starwood or Marriott elite status, or find yourself spending at these hotels, both cards are good to have!  But they aren’t worth having only for these reasons, so evaluate the other perks of each card before making a decision.
Should You Have Both The AMEX Starwood And AMEX Platinum Cards
Marriott and Starwood Have Amazing Hotels in Every Region of the World, From the Bottom of South Africa to the Top of the Swiss Alps!

I’ll explain the value of holding both cards, and help you decide if it’s the right choice for you!

If You Stay With Starwood or Marriott, These Cards Can Be a Powerful Combination!

The Marriott-Starwood merger has made big news in the miles & points community!  And folks are continually figuring out new ways to make the most of it.

Right now, you’ll get an instant status match between Marriott and Starwood programs.  And you can transfer your points between your Marriott and Starwood accounts at a ratio of 3:1.

Should You Have Both The AMEX Starwood And AMEX Platinum Cards
Transfer your Starwood Points to Marriott at a 3:1 Ratio, or to Partner Airlines at a 1:1 Ratio (With a Bonus 5,000 Miles for Each Increment of 20,000 You Transfer!)

The perks of both the AMEX Starwood card and AMEX Platinum card complement each other, giving you a great opportunity to earn lots of Starwood and Marriott points!  I’ll explain the hotel benefits you’ll get with each card.

1.   Starwood Gold Status With the AMEX Platinum Card

Link:   The Platinum Card® from American Express

Link:   American Express® Mercedes-Benz Platinum

Link:   The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

With the AMEX Platinum cards, you’ll receive Starwood Gold elite status by enrolling online in your AMEX account.  Starwood Gold elite status comes with advantages like 3 Starwood points per $1 spent at Starwood hotels (a 50% bonus), and late checkouts and upgrades when available.

And because of the Marriott-Starwood merger, Marriott will instantly match your Starwood Gold elite status to Marriott Gold elite status.  With Marriott Gold elite status, you’ll earn 25% more base points when you stay with Marriott (12.5 points per $1).

Should You Have Both The AMEX Starwood And AMEX Platinum Cards
With Marriott Gold Status, You’ll Receive Perks Like Guaranteed Late Checkout, Room Upgrades (Based on Availability), and Complimentary Hertz #1 Gold Membership

The AMEX Platinum personal and small business cards come with a $450 annual fee.  And the AMEX Platinum Mercedes-Benz card has a $475 annual fee.

So it’s not worth keeping just for Starwood Gold elite status.  Check out my reviews of the AMEX Platinum personal and small business card offers to decide if the other benefits are worth the annual fee (especially the small business version of the card, as it’s a great deal!).

Note:   If you can achieve Marriott or Starwood Gold elite status with hotel stays, the AMEX Platinum card won’t really benefit you.  The AMEX Platinum gives you Starwood Gold elite status, but it doesn’t give you elite qualifying stays or nights.  In other words, it doesn’t get you any closer to Starwood Platinum elite status, which is the next level up.

2.   Spending Bonuses and Stay Credits With the AMEX Starwood Card

Link:   Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Link:   Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

The AMEX Starwood personal and small business cards come with benefits, like:

  • 2 Starwood points per $1 spent at Starwood and Marriott hotels
  • 1 Starwood point per $1 spent everywhere else
  • Credit for 5 nights and 2 stays each year toward Starwood elite status
  • Complimentary access to the Sheraton Club lounge (small business card only)

Remember, every 1 Starwood point you earn is equivalent to 3 Marriott points!  So earning 2 Starwood points per $1 at Marriott hotels is like earning 6 Marriott points per $1.  That’s a better earning rate than the Chase Marriott cards!

What Will I Earn With Both Cards?

If you have Starwood Gold elite status, and use your AMEX Starwood card at Starwood hotels, you’ll earn 5 Starwood points per $1, or 15 Marriott points per $1 (5 Starwood points X 3 Marriott points per 1 Starwood point = 15 Marriott points per $1).

And if you have Marriott Gold elite status and use your AMEX Starwood card at Marriott hotels, you’ll earn 18.5 Marriott points per $1 or ~6.1 Starwood points per $1 (10 Marriott points per $1 + 25% Marriott Gold Status bonus + 2 Starwood points per $1 transferred to Marriott = 18.5 Marriott points per $1 / 3 = ~6.1 Starwood points per $1)!

Should You Have Both The AMEX Starwood And AMEX Platinum Cards
Staying With Marriott Is the New Fastest Way to Earn Starwood Points!

Plus, AMEX has had some great promotions lately, like a bonus 5,000 Starwood points for spending $5,000, 2X points spent through Plastiq, and a huge 50% targeted bonus when buying Starwood points!  And we’ll likely see even more worthwhile promotions as the merger develops!

Bottom Line

If you value elite status and like higher points earning with Starwood and Marriott, you might want to keep both the AMEX Starwood and AMEX Platinum cards.

That’s because when you have the AMEX Starwood and AMEX Platinum, you’ll get Gold elite status with both Starwood and Marriott.  And you have the potential to earn up to 5 Starwood points (or 15 Marriott points) per $1 when you stay with Starwood.  And 18.5 Marriott points (or ~6.1 Starwood points) per $1 when you stay with Marriott!

But the AMEX Platinum comes with a $450 annual fee (or $475 for the Mercedes-Benz version, so it’s not worth having just for Gold elite status.

Read my review of the card to decide if the other benefits of the card, like lounge access and a $200 annual travel credit, are worth the annual fee for you.

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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