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Best hotel credit card – Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

by on Sat September 5, 2015 • 53 Comments


What is Starwood Preferred Guest?

Starwood Preferred Guest is the points program from Starwood Hotels, which includes Sheraton, Westin, W, Four Points, Le Meridien, and St. Regis hotels. You don’t need to stay at one of their hotels to join or earn points, and can earn them via the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express.

We like the program because it lets you transfer your points into miles in over 30 top airline programs, in addition to using points for free hotel nights, giving you incredible flexibility with one card.

The credit card also offers these benefits:

  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on international purchases.
  • Receive free in-room, premium internet access. Booking requirements apply.
  • Enjoy complimentary, unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi on up to four devices at more than 1,000,000 Boingo hotspots worldwide. Enrollment required.
  • Earn free nights at over 1,200 hotels and resorts in nearly 100 countries with no blackout dates.
  • Some hotels may have mandatory service and resort charges.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms and limitations apply.

Click here for a secure application link to the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Top three reasons to choose

  1. starwoodairlinetransfernewCompatible with most airline mile programs. You can transfer your Starwood points almost always at 1:1 to over 30 top airline miles programs making it the most flexible card. Just note United transfers are diluted so that you need 2 Starwood points to get 1 United mile. Click here to learn more about airline transfer and to see a list of participating airlines.
  2. Easy hotel rewards. If a standard room is available for sale, you can book it with your Starwood points. Hotel rewards are much easier to use for family vacations than trying to find flight awards for a family of 4.
  3. Generous introductory offer good for free nights at many Sheraton, Westin, W, St. Regis, Four Points, and Le Meridien hotels, real airline miles, or gift cards.

Click here to review detailed benefits of the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

This is the best all-around reward card for many travelers. It’s great for people who fly just about every major airline, light hotel guests, and anyone who wants to stay at a Starwood hotel (Sheraton, Westin, W, Four Points, St. Regis, Le Meridien).

It offers better earning power for airline awards than most airline cards, and allows direct transfer to your airline accounts for redemption.

It’s also excellent for people who don’t travel frequently but want to earn points toward valuable hotel nights. Hotels are much easier to redeem for vacations – it’s much easier to get a family of four one or two free hotel rooms than find four awards seats on the same flight. The dollar value you get for each point you use is also often better than for for airline tickets. You need fewer points for free hotel nights with Starwood than for most free flights. And, with Starwood If there’s a standard room for sale, it’s available for points. They don’t charge double when demand is high like the airlines do.

How it works

Don’t worry about whether you want to use points for airlines or hotels. Decide when you plan your trip. You earn 1 Starwood point for every dollar spent…and can transfer those points online to your account with nearly every major airline …most 1 for 1…with quick turnaround. Moreover, you get a bonus of 5,000 miles for every 20,000 points you transfer to airline miles, effecitvely earning 1.25 miles per dollars spent when you transfer in 20,000 point increments.

Points are also good at all Sheraton, Westin, W, Sheraton, St. Regis, Le Meridien, and Four Points hotels with no capacity restrictions. If there’s a room to buy, you can book it with points. For many travelers, hotel stays are a better use of points than domestic airline tickets in any program. They are great because you don’t need many points for great values:

  • 3,000 points = 1 free night at “Category 1” hotels (midpriced, suburban locations)
  • 4,000 points = 1 free night at “Category 2” hotels (metropolitan and many resorts)
  • 7,000 points = 1 free night at “Category 3” hotels (large cities, premium resorts)
  • 10,000 points = 1 free night at “Category 4” hotels (high demand areas, luxury resorts)
  • 20,000 points = free roundtrip U.S. plane ticket when transferred to an airline mile program for redemption

In addition, Starwood’s ‘Cash and Points’ reward offers you even greater value for your points — with around 6,000 points and $110 you can stay at a hotel valued in many cases at $300 or more per night. You also have many other redemption options, including a $100 gift card at Amazon, Nordstrom, Starbucks, and other retailers for 9,500 points.

Click here to apply for the card at American Express’ secure site.


Starwood will enhance your points by offering 5,000 bonus miles for every 20,000 points you transfer to your airline program. You in effect earn 1.25 miles per dollar spent versus 1 for most airline cards. Details on how it stacks up versus other cards are in our PurchasePower rankings.This card lets you earn in a universal format (Starwood points) and convert the points into the airline miles of your choice. Just find out which airline has the availability you want, and transfer points to your airline account for redemption…usually without dilution. That way you can also add to your existing airline mile balances.

Moreover, you can transfer points online and not deal with telephone operators . Starwood hotel redemptions also have no capacity controls. If there’s a room available to purchase at one of their hotels, you can use your points to buy it online or over the telephone! This is often the best use of your points.

Click here to apply for the card at American Express’ secure site.

Annual Fee

No fee the first year, $95 thereafter. The low fee makes this road warrior proven card great for even light travelers looking to earn points just through purchases.

Point bonuses

5,000 mile bonus for every 20,000 points you transfer to an airline. This makes this card better than most standard airline cards for earning points on your favorite airline…and is why it’s the choice of some of the most seasoned travelers.

Dollars spent before your first reward

$1. With a 10,000 point bonus for your first purchase, you’ve earned two nights at any Category 1 or 2 Starwood hotel…with no restriction…or a $100 gift card from many top retailers. The additional 20,000 points (30,000 total) you get for spending $5,000 within 6 months more than doubles your options.

Click here to apply for the card at American Express’ secure site.


Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the company whose products are featured on this site. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or evaluations provided here are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the Advertiser. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser’s affiliate programs.

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Miles dont expireas long as card is open
Learn more

Partner Offer

50,000 bonus points

Intro Offer

$0 introductory annual fee, then $95

Annual Fee


Foreign Transaction Fee Waived


Points Can Transfer to Airline Miles ?

Still confused? Have a question?

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53 thoughts on Best hotel credit card – Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

  1. Nick

    On the scenario where you transfer your chase sapphire preferred points to BA to be able to get an AA flight… Lets say you transfer 40K points to BA and you previously had 60K AA points, can those be combined somehow to be able to get 100K miles on either BA or AA?


      @Nick – Unfortunately you can’t combine BA and AA points. You could book one way flights, so you can use BA points for one direction and AA points for another direction.

  2. Nick

    what other card other than the spg and citi aadvantage cards will allow me to transfer airmiles or points to American airlines and also has a big sign up bonus ,

  3. Jenny

    What’s up all, here every one is sharing these kinds of experience, therefore it’s good to read this blog, and
    I used to visit this weblog daily.

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  5. NewTraveler

    It looks like this deal is closed. When I apply on the link provided, it says the offer is no longer available. New deal shows 10,000 StarPoints after first purchase. The new deal looks significantly less appealing.

  6. sonya

    We have had an AMEX platinum for many years. Like it ok but have a hard time using the hard earned points and some strange thing is going on where I am not even getting 1 point for each $ spent. Thinking about trying the Starwood AMEX. It does not seem possible but is there any way to combine platinum services (airline club, great customer service etc.)with the Starwood AMEX? or do I need to keep both?

    1. MileCards

      @Sonya – Unfortunately you need to keep the Platinum Card to get the club, travel benefits of the Platinum Card. We carry Platinum Cards that we rarely use for spending…just for the benefits.

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  9. Dan

    Hi guys,

    I am young, 25 years old with no credit/spotty credit history. Just got a job making ~$150k+ that requires a lot of international travel, hotel stays, etc. that are going to be expensed.

    I want a card that will reward me for the large amount i’ll be spending.

    Can my dad(superstar credit) get onto a joint cardholder or multiple cardholder program to safeguard protect the card issuer and also allow me to get one of these bad boys?

    Thanks for the advice 🙂

    1. MileCards

      @Dan – Congrats on the job, sounds exciting. One way to do it would be for him to apply for the card, then add you as a secondary cardholder on the account. Your credit history isn’t part of it in that case, as he’s liable for all charges. You’d make sure to pay him for the account, or log in and do it for him. Then make sure he gives you the password to the Starwood points account to put all the points you earn to good use!

      Would also recommend going to and applying for a basic credit card that is appropriate for your credit score so you can start building a solid history of your own with some purchases each month.

    1. MileCards

      @Tracy – As long as the bill provider accepts credit cards for payment, yes you can. However it’s rare to find a mortgage provider that accepts credit cards.

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  17. heather

    What is the maximum amount of dollars you can spend on the card a year to acquire points? Is it calendar year or rolling year?

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  19. Bill

    quick question. Can you get extra points by purchasing stuff from Amex Rewards site. For example sometimes Amex will give you extra 3 points per dolar spent if you purchase from or other retailers.
    Will that work with this card?


    1. MileCards

      @Bill- Unfortunately that Amex Rewards site is for earning Membership Rewards points (Amex’s own point program). Starwood doesn’t have its own online shopping portal for bonus points.

    2. chris

      But you can always earn extra bonus points at American Airlines’ Aadvantage eshopping portal – with any card. 🙂

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  25. Abhi

    I applied for this card 1+ years ago and received 30k bonus. I then switched the card to Blue Cash card because of the annual fees. Can I reapply for this card and get the bonus again? Thanks.

    1. MileCards

      @Abhi – Probably not, but it’s worth calling Amex to ask what the bonus offer would be if you applied at 800 223 2670. Once had the Delta SkyMiles Platinum card — did it for the bonus, then cancelled. Several months later a new bonus offer came in the mail. Called to apply, and it went through with the bonus. So it’s possible, but wouldn’t count on it.

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  37. Hanah

    Can someone explain to me, please? I’m confused with all of these credit cards offer. One point = one dollar. In other word, I will have to spend 25,000 to get 25,000 points (excluded bonus points for hotels). So why not just pay for the a thousand or so dollar airline ticket out of your pocket money instead of spending 25,000 just to get a fourth of the portion back?

    1. MileCards

      Sure…you earn points for any kind of purchase you make. Not just hotel rooms and flights. The $25,000 you spend can be for things you would normally purchase….like groceries, clothes, or your phone bill. So instead of earning nothing extra for your normal spending, you’re earning points.

      Then you can use the points you earn for flights or hotel rooms.


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