Good Deals Don’t Last Forever! Hotel Card Bonus Slashed!

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Good Deals Don’t Last Forever! Hotel Card Bonus Slashed!

Million Mile SecretsGood Deals Don’t Last Forever! Hotel Card Bonus Slashed!Million Mile Secrets Team

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Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.

We recently learned there will be (mostly) positive changes coming to the unified Marriott and Starwood loyalty program in August 2018.  So it’s a great time to boost your Starwood and Marriott points balances to save on future travel.

But now AMEX has made a huge change to the welcome bonus on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express.  Instead of earning points as an intro bonus, you’re only eligible to earn a small statement credit.

Folks who apply for the card will still continue to earn flexible points, which can help save money on hotel stays, flights, and much more!

New American Express Starwood Card Offers

Link:   Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

 

When you apply for the AMEX Starwood card (personal or small business version), you’ll earn a $100 statement credit after you make $1,000 in purchases on the card within your first 3 months of account opening.  Plus, earn an additional $100 statement credit after your first purchase on the card at a participating Starwood or Marriott hotel within your first 6 months of account opening.

This offer is WAY less valuable than the previous 25,000-point (or 35,000 point) welcome bonuses.

With the AMEX Starwood personal and small business card, you’ll get:

  • From now through July 31, 2018, earn 2 Starwood points per $1 for every eligible purchase on the card at participating Starwood and Marriott hotels.
  • Earn 1 Starwood points per $1 for all other eligible purchases
  • Effective August 1, 2018: earn 6 points per $1 of eligible purchases on the card at participating Starwood and Marriott hotels
  • Effective August 1, 2018, earn 2 points per $1 for all other eligible purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees 
  • Terms Apply
2018s Best Credit Cards For Restaurants
Starting August 1, 2018, AMEX Starwood Cardholders Will Earn 4 Points per $1 at US Restaurants

And the small business version also includes:

  • Effective August 1, 2018, earn 4 points per $1 at US restaurants, US gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from US service providers, and on US purchases for shipping
  • Complimentary access to Sheraton Club Lounges before August 1, 2018

Note:   On August 1, 2018, Starwood will convert every 1 Starwood point in a loyalty member account to 3 points

Cardholders will also enjoy these benefits:

Both versions of the AMEX Starwood card have a $95 annual fee that’s waived for the first year.

Note:   You’re only eligible to earn AMEX welcome bonuses once per card per lifetime.

Lots of Loyalty Program Changes Starting in August 2018

Link:   BIG Marriott Starwood Merger Update!

Starting in August 2018, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and Starwood will combine loyalty programs.  One loyalty program will make it easier to search for award stays, as you can see all 6,000+ Starwood and Marriott hotels in one place.

And on August 1, 2018, your balance of Starwood points will be converted to Marriott points at a ratio of 1:3 (1 Starwood point = 3 Marriott points).  You can already do this yourself any time.

Marriott is launching a new award chart with 8 categories, which will make it easier to figure out how many points it costs for a free night at Starwood and Marriott hotels.

BIG Marriott Starwood Merger Update 2 New Cards 1 Loyalty Program More
Marriott Is Launching an 8 Category Award Chart in August 2018 With Off-Peak and Peak Award Night Pricing Beginning in 2019.

The chain is expected to announce the categories of every hotel within ~6 weeks.

Right now, top-tier Starwood hotels cost 30,000 to 35,000 Starwood points per night.  That’s the equivalent of 90,000 to 105,000 Marriott points based on the 1:3 conversion ratio.  But under the new award chart, a standard award night at top-tier hotels will cost 85,000 points.

Until the loyalty programs officially merge, you can use Starwood points for:

Some folks might prefer to use fewer points and pay a little cash to make points last longer.

American Express Starwood Business Card Review
Book Cash + Points Stays in Fun Destinations Like London!

But one of my favorite ways to use Starwood points is to transfer them to airlines.  Besides having lots of fantastic Starwood airline partners (like American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Delta, and many others), you get a 5,000 mile bonus for every 20,000 Starwood points you transfer to airlines with a 1:1 transfer ratio!

Once the loyalty programs merge in August, you’ll be able to transfer 3 Marriott points to 1 airline mile.  And you’ll get a 15,000 point bonus for every 60,000 points you transfer.  That’s equivalent to 5,000 bonus airline miles, so this popular perk is NOT going away.

For example, you can currently transfer 20,000 Starwood points to Singapore Airlines.  With the transfer bonus, you’ll have 25,000 Singapore Airlines miles.  If you book a flight on partner Alaska Airlines, you’ll have more than enough miles book a round-trip coach award flight to Hawaii from West Coast cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle.

American Express Starwood Business Card Review
Converting Your Starwood Points to Airline Miles Is One of My Favorite Ways to Use These Flexible Hotel Points!

You’re Better Off Applying for a Chase Marriott Card

Link:   Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Link:   Marriott Rewards Premier Business Credit Card

The Chase Marriott cards (personal and small business) are still offering valuable intro bonuses.  So if you’re looking to boost your Marriott or Starwood points balances, you can do better applying for one of these cards instead of the reduced AMEX Starwood offers.

With the Chase Marriott personal credit card offer, you’ll earn 75,000 Marriott points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.  And the $85 annual fee is waived the first year.

With the Chase Marriott small business card offer, you’ll earn 75,000 Marriott points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.  And the $99 annual fee.

Because of the 3:1 transfer ratio, these offers are like earning 25,000 Starwood points!  That’s enough for a free night at hotels like the Westin Grand Cayman.

Starwood Business Credit Card American Express 35000 Point Offer Review
You Can Book a Free Night at the Westin Grand Cayman by Converting Points From the Chase Marriott Small Business Card!

Bottom Line

The new offers for the AMEX Starwood card (personal or small business version) is a small statement credit instead of valuable Starwood points like we’ve seen in the past.

With this card, you’ll still earn flexible Starwood points for everyday purchases.  And after the Marriott and Starwood loyalty programs officially merge in August 2018, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to book fantastic deals!

That said, you’ll almost certainly get more value from the Chase Marriott cards (personal and small business) instead.  These cards are still offering valuable points welcome bonuses, which means you can boost your balance!

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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! :)