My Mom Was Going to Cancel Her American Express Starwood Card – Instead She Earned 30,000+ Points by Stacking Deals!

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My Mom Was Going to Cancel Her American Express Starwood Card – Instead She Earned 30,000+ Points by Stacking Deals!

JasonMy Mom Was Going to Cancel Her American Express Starwood Card – Instead She Earned 30,000+ Points by Stacking Deals!Million Mile Secrets Team

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Last year my parents were collecting points to use for a dream cross-country Amtrak trip.  One of the cards they opened was the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express because at the time you could transfer Starwood points to Amtrak.

Unfortunately, that transfer is no longer possible.  And recently, the $95 annual fee was coming due and they were planning to cancel the card because they didn’t think they’d be able to easily make the most out of the card’s perks, like the annual free night award for hotels costing up to 35,000 Marriott points.  But when my mom called to cancel she was offered a decent retention offer for keeping the card.  And then later that week she decided to pay the annual fee because they were targeted for another bonus on top of the other retention offer!

American Express seems to be especially generous with targeted spending offers near the due date for your annual fee.  So it’s often possible to be targeted for multiple bonuses, which are in addition to your card’s normal perks.  Check out this post to learn more about these types of offers.

My Folks Got the American Express Starwood Card for a Cross-Country Train Trip, and They’re Keeping It for the Annual Free Night and Bonus Point Offers They Received!

AMEX Spending & Retention Bonuses

Whenever your credit card annual fee comes due, I always suggest calling the bank to see if they’ll give you a bonus or statement credit for keeping the card.  These offers can easily be worth as much as your annual fee, and that’s before you even consider a card’s other benefits.

In my folks’ case, they were offered a retention deal to earn 20,000 Marriott points after spending $2,000 within the next 3 months.  In addition, they were emailed a targeted AMEX spending offer to earn up to 10,000 Marriott points after spending $3,000 in 1 month.  The spending offer was a tiered bonus, so they earned 6,000 Marriott points after spending $2,000 in 1 month and an additional 4,000 Marriott points for spending another $1,000 in the same timeframe.

The best part is they were able to stack the deals!  Including the points they earned from spending, they earned an extra 33,000 Marriott points (20,000 Marriott points + 10,000 Marriott points + 3,000 Marriotts points from spending).  This was ideal because with the points they already had in their account, they now have over 35,000 Marriott points.

With their Marriott points and their annual free night award they get for keeping the card, they can book a weekend trip to any Marriott that costs less than 35,000 points a night!  Not bad for a $95 annual fee.  In addition, the card will also get them free premium internet access at Marriott hotels (which now include all Starwood brands).

What’s best retention offer you’ve ever gotten?  Share your experience in the comments below!

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Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

  • Earn 75,000 Bonus Points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 6 points for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating SPG® and Marriott Rewards® hotels and 2 points on all other eligible purchases.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on International purchases.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 points) at a participating hotel. Select hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy complimentary, unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi on up to four devices at more than 1,000,000 Boingo hotspots worldwide. Enrollment required.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Terms Apply | Rates & Fees

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Fascinating timing…. given the appalling news that hit about the same time regarding this very chain & card.

So while your mom & familey was out whooping it up, SPG/Marriott was secretly concealing from them that they had a massive data breach on their hands, that all their valuable personal financial and legal data was now very much at risk…. Whatever happened to the mother-in-law rule at MMS?

Has MMS ever once dared to be critical of this hospitality industry that has such a chronic cavalier attitude towards data security? (say as Doc would?) Or are you worried about biting the hands that feed you?

I did it years ago with another bank, got the same sign up bonus when I called for cancellation, but tried again the following year and wasn’t offered it again.

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Yeah, I never expect these offers, but it’s always nice when you can get them.