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35,000 point Starwood American Express bonus – get in before the merger?

by on Thu March 3, 2016 • No Comment
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Update – this offer is no longer active – you can see the latest offer here.

If you’re hoping to stay in a Starwood hotel in the next year, and haven’t yet snagged The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, read on.

Until March 30, 2016, you can earn 35,000 bonus Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.

starwoodbusiness170That’s up from the usual offer of up to 25,000 bonus Starpoints® and 5,000 points higher than the highest prior offer we’ve seen of 30,000 points.

Both the Personal and Business versions of the cards are in on the offer, though the Business version has a higher $5,000 spending requirement.

The Starwood Amex is our favorite hotel credit card, with lots of flexibility you can read about below.

Just note the terms of both offers state you won’t be eligible for the bonus if you’ve had the card before. So if you’ve had the Personal card before you can’t get that bonus again, even if you no longer have the card. But you can get the Business card’s bonus if you haven’t yet had the Business version of the card.

If you already have these cards, you can still get in on a deal by referring a friend to apply for the 35,000 point offer and getting 5,000 points for yourself if your friend opens and activates an account. You can earn a maximum of 55,000 points this way.

The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express offers:

    • No Foreign Transaction Fees on international purchases.
    • Receive free in-room, premium Internet access. Booking requirements apply.
    • Free, unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi at more than 1,000,000 Boingo hotspots worldwide. Enrollment required.
    • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.

The Business version of the card also offers complimentary access to the Sheraton® Club lounge, though booking requirements apply. Basically, if your stay is eligible to earn Starpoints, you can use the lounge benefit.

What can you do with the points?

Starwood points are some of the most family friendly around, and you can think of them as twice as valuable as hotel points from other chains. They’re worth about 2 cents each for many hotel redemptions.

35,000 Starwood points can get you…

Almost 3 nights at the low key Sheraton in Kauai, saving over $600

sheratonkauai

3 nights at the Sheraton Park Anaheim, within walking distance to Disneyland

sheraton anaheim photo

Up to 3 nights at the Walt Disney World Swan or Dolphin, both right on the property at Walt Disney World

disneyswandolphin

Almost 3 nights at the boutique town hall hotel in London

townhalllondon

You can see a full list of hotels by point price using this tool at SPG.com to get a sense of the value you could get from the points.

If you like airline miles, you can move your Starwood points into your airline frequent flier accounts with over 20 airline mile programs anytime, including American AAdvantage and Delta SkyMiles. Most airlines have a better than even exchange rate, so your Starwood points are just as valuable as the miles in your airline account.

Unfortunately Southwest Rapid Rewards isn’t an exchange option and transfers to United MileagePlus have a bad exchange rate. It’s also a one-way street. Once you transfer points into an airline program, you can’t send them back to Starwood.

Here’s a list of all the airline mile programs you can transfer your Starwood points into:

starwood airline transfer partners

How does this compare to other hotel offers?

This is a slightly more attractive offer than the limited time 80,000 point offer for the Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Visa. The value for hotels is about the same, since while the Marriott offer can get you over twice as many points, Starwood hotels tend to cost about half as much as comparable Marriott hotels when you use points.

The key is the Starwood points give you the option to turn your points into real airline miles at an attractive conversion rate.

Isn’t Starwood going away?

Starwood is merging with Marriott, and the future of Starwood Preferred Guest is uncertain.

What is clear is that it will be a while before the Marriott and Starwood points programs actually combine, though it’s possible they remain separate.

Our sense is Starwood will remain independent as a points program for the rest of this year and well into 2017.

Marriott has said Starwood points are ‘safe,’ so at worst your points will get converted into Marriott Rewards points if the programs merge, and if they do that, they’ll probably do some kind of adjustment to account for the different value of the points.

marriott starwood logos

In a best case scenario, Starwood Preferred Guest stays on its own, and you can continue to use points at attractive Starwood rates after the merger, and maybe even at Marriott hotels.

It’s even possible the Starwood American Express stays around in some form.

But that’s all speculation at this point. The key is American Express is really eager to get new Starwood members in the door with an attractive offer before the merger is finished, and if you can make use of 35,000 points over the course of the next year it’s a great opportunity to take advantage of the value of Starwood points.

As long is a ‘standard’ room is available, you can book it with points, and there are no change fees with hotel points, so it’s easy to to use them.

Just beware that Starwood points expire after 12 months if you don’t have any activity in your account.

It’s not hard to keep your account active, since earning or using points in any way will reset the clock another 12 months, but that expiration policy is part of why Starwood is able to offer such attractive point prices and airline transfer options.

 

 

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

$0

Foreign Transaction Fee Waived

Yes

Points Can Transfer to Airline Miles ?

Still confused? Have a question?

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"These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered."

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