Review: Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express
If you are a frequent traveler, and you enjoy the finer things in life, the Starwood Preferred Guest credit card from American Express might be just the card for you.
The Starwood Preferred Guest credit card features a fairly generous rewards program. That’s something that we don’t see a lot of Canada. As long as you are willing to use your card on travel, the Starwood Preferred Guest card can be a great option.
Rewards for Using the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card
Because the rewards program is generous for travelers, this card is ideal for frequent travelers. Those who do not travel as much might want to look elsewhere for a card. Here are some of the main points of the rewards program, which is attached to the Starwood Preferred Guest rewards program:
- One Starpoint for each dollar you spend on the card.
- 10,000 bonus Starpoints when you spend $1,000 in the first three months. This is enough for up to three free nights.
- Convert Starpoints to airline miles with partners. Many partners allow a one-to-one point conversion. On these airlines, it’s possible to earn 5,000 bonus Starpoints when you transfer 20,000 points at once to a frequent flyer program.
- Earn a Free Weekend Night Award when you have $40,000 in net purchases before the annual reset date.
There are more than 1,000 hotels and resorts, in 100 countries, that are eligible for redemption, and more than 350 airlines that participate as partners. The hotel/resort brands include St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, W Hotels, Westin, Sheraton, and Le Meridien, among others. You do need to pay attention in the rewards program, since properties are divided into “Categories.” A free night in different Categories will “cost” more or less in points, depending on the rating of the property, and there are also different “costs” associated with the time of the week and year you book your hotel.
Using The Starwood Preferred Guest Card from American Express to Best Effect
In order to get the most out of this card, you need to plan to make a large number of purchases. There is an annual fee of $120, and an interest rate of 19.99%. For best results, you will need to earn enough in rewards to offset the annual fee. Additionally, you will need to avoid carrying a balance, or the 19.99% interest rate will mean that you pay more in interest charges than the value of your rewards.
Your best strategy is to use the Starwood Preferred Guest card for most of your purchases. Use it for groceries, gas, and other purchases. Make sure these items are budgeted for, though. At the end of each month, pay off the balance with the money that you have let sit in your checking account. (Better yet, leave it in a high yield savings account until you need it, to earn some interest.) Just earning that one free weekend night with $40,000 in purchases each year can offset the annual fee. You’ll be surprised at how much you spend in the course of a year when you use your credit card instead of your checking account.
As long as you smart about how you use the card, and as long as you travel frequently, this card can be a decent choice.