Credit Card Review: American Express Starwood Preferred Guest

Credit Card Review: American Express Starwood Preferred Guest

The Starwood Preferred Guest American Express credit card is probably one of the most lucrative credit cards for hotels and airfare. Frequently valued at well over 2-cents-per-point the rewards program offers some of the strongest redemption values we’ve ever seen from rewards cards. When I can’t earn bonuses such as 3X on dining or 5X on airfare my go to general spend card has got to be the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest credit card.

Starwood happened to be owned by Marriott International which together with Starwood owns the Ritz-Carlton properties making it the worlds largest hotel group. The strength of these points gets you into nice hotel rooms all around the world and has extremely strong transfer partners usually transferring at a 1-to-1 rate. Marriott International has 5700 properties in over 110 countries and territories around the world, giving you thousands of redemption options. Not only can you transfer your Starpoints to Marriott at a rate of 1-to-3 but you have many other options to use the points such as Moments which gets you into special events and more.

Click here to apply for the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card

If you’re not really sure about where you want to go or how you want to stay the Starwood Preferred Guest credit card allows you to accumulate points with possibly one of the best redemption rates out there and an extensive network to stay at. You can choose from long-term stay hotels all the way up to JW Marriotts or even Ritz-Carlton hotels with your points.

At the start of each year your card will give you two stays and five nights credited to your account towards reaching status with Starwood. Earning status with Starwood gives you guaranteed late check-out, upgraded wifi, Crossover Rewards (earn miles on Delta, Emirates, or China Eastern), and additional points on stays once you reach status.


  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95
  • Earn 2 Starpoints for every dollar at SPG/Marriott/Ritz-Carlton hotels
  • Earn 1 Starpoint for all other eligible purchases
  • Receive credit for 5 nights and 2 stays each year toward SPG elite status
  • Receive free in-room, premium Internet access while staying with SPG Participating Hotels
  • SPG Card Members enjoy international travel without foreign transaction fees
  • Transfer Starpoints to over 30 airline frequent flyer programs, mostly on a one-to-one basis
  • Receive a 5,000 Starpoint bonus when you transfer 20,000 Starpoints to a participating frequent flyer program
  • Add employee cards to your account at no additional cost

Transfer Partners

  • Aegean Airlines 1:1
  • Aeromexico Club Premier 1:1
  • Aeroplan/Air Canada 1:1
  • Air China Companion 1:1
  • Air New Zealand Airpoints 65:1
  • Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan 1:1
  • Alitalia MilleMiglia 1:1
  • All Nippon Airways (ANA) Mileage Club 1:1
  • American Airlines AAdvantage 1:1
  • Amtrak Guest Rewards 1:1
  • Asia Miles 1:1
  • Asiana Airlines 1:1
  • British Airways Executive Club 1:1
  • China Eastern Airlines 1:1
  • Delta Air Lines SkyMiles 1:1
  • Emirates Skywards 1:1
  • Etihad Airways 1:1
  • Flying Blue 1:1
  • Gol Smiles 2:1
  • Hainan Airlines 1:1
  • Hawaiian Airlines 1:1
  • Iberia Plus 1:1
  • Japan Airlines (JAL) Mileage Bank 1:1
  • Jet Airways 1:1
  • Korean Air 1:1
  • LATAM Airlines LATAM Pass 1:1.5
  • LifeMiles® of Avianca 1:1
  • Miles and More 1:1
  • Qatar Airways 1:1
  • Saudi Arabian Airlines Alfursan 1:1
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer 1:1
  • Thai Airways International Royal Orchid Plus 1:1
  • United Mileage Plus 2:1
  • Velocity Frequent Flyer 1:1
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club 1:1

Final Thoughts

If I’m not focusing on straight cash back or earning extra points with a better earning card, like 5X on travel with my American Express Business Platinum, all of my spend goes on to my Starwood Preferred Guest card. On the extremely conservative side this card is a 2% earning card and on top of transfer partners it makes this an extremely strong earning card. It’s tough to not recommend this card with how strong Starpoints are and how fast you can earn your way to a free night, this card actually beats out Marriott’s own credit card for earning which is quite impressive. This card frequently has increased sign-up bonuses so if you can snag yourself an increased offer you’re even closer to more free nights.

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