Review: Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Are you looking for an incredible travel rewards credit card that allows you to earn free nights at high-end hotels and resorts AND can be used towards airline miles programs?

How about a card that, besides rewards, comes with additional travel benefits, purchase protections, and more?

Then look no further than the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express.

Starpoint® Rewards Program

When you make purchases with your card you earn Starpoints rewards towards stays at Starwoods Resorts (makes sense, right?).

You get 1 Starpoint for every eligible dollar you spend.

When you use your card to purchase stays at Starwood hotels and resorts you can earn up to 5 Starpoints.  That’s 2 Starpoints for putting the stay on your card and 2 Starpoints for being a Starwood Preferred Guest member.  If you are a Gold or Platinum level member then you get an additional point.

Oh yeah, with your card you are automatically a Starwood Preferred Guest member. (See our review of the Starwood Preferred Guest program for more details like the levels of membership).

Your Starpoints can be redeemed for over 1,100 hotels and resorts in over 100 countries in the Starwood Preferred Guest program.

The Starwood Preferred Guest program contains nine distinctive brands to meet your travel needs:

  • Sheraton® Hotels and Resorts
  • Four Points® by Sheraton
  • W® Hotels
  • Aloft (SM)
  • The Luxury Collection®
  • Le Méridien®
  • Westin Hotels & Resorts®
  • Element (SM)
  • St. Regis®

Your Starpoints can be used any day of the year, with no blackout dates.

Every year you receive credit for five nights toward elite status in SPG.  Twenty more nights yields you Gold status while 45 more nights gets you Platinum status.  With elite status you can earn upgrades to enhances rooms, when available, and you get 4pm checkout (where available).  And you also earn Starpoints faster with elite status!

Your Starpoints can be used for flights too!

Redeem your Starpoints in over 350 airlines with no blackout dates.  You can transfer your Starpoints to more than 30 airline frequent flyer programs on a one-to-one, Starpoint for airline mile basis for most.

In fact, if you transfer 20,000 Starpoints to any one frequent flyer program you can earn a bonus 5,000 points!

Sheraton Hotels and Resorts Bonus

There’s a new promotion going on where if you stay 2 consecutive nights at participating Sheraton Hotels and Resorts you get the third night free!

American Express Benefits

One great aspect of having an American Express card is their slew of benefits they give such as Travel benefits (things like Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance coverage at no extra cost and 24/7 access to the Global Assist® Hotline for emergencies when you are traveling more than 100 miles from home), Purchase protection (such as fraud protection, extended manufacturer’s warranties, and return protection) and Entertainment benefits.

And of course you get American Express’ excellent customer service.

Annual Fee

The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card has an introductory $0 annual fee for the first year then $65 every year after.

Is that a lot?  Not really.  These days more cards are coming with annual fees.  So long as you use your benefits, like free nights, then the annual fee is well worth it.

Is the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card a good credit card?

If you stay at Starwoods Preferred hotels or resorts, even every so often, then this card can pay off big for you.

You can earn free stays at some incredible hotels and resorts that can be redeemed any day without blackout dates.  If you’d rather, you have the option to redeem your points for flights (you aren’t tied to any particular airline carrier).  To top it off you get American Express’ customer support and benefits.

The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card makes for a great, flexible travel rewards credit card, giving you nice rewards options and benefits.

But understand this — if you tend to carry a balance every month then the benefits you get from the card start to get wiped out by the interest you pay on your balance.  In order to really get the most out of a credit card you have to match the card to how you use it as well as pay off your balance in full every month.

“Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by American Express. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of American Express, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express. This site may be compensated through American Express Affiliate Program.”

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Published or updated March 2, 2014.


  1. I’ve been thinking about getting this. All good info to know!

  2. I’ve been tempted by this card as well, thanks for the thorough review!

  3. This is quite tempting. But just like all credit cards, a lot of responsibility. Thanks for the review. Helped a lot.

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