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Regular readers know I use credit cards to travel in style. And the best way to do this is by getting a credit card that earns flexible rewards.
While there are several cards that do this, one of the best is the Starwood Preferred Guest card from American Express. And from now until next Tuesday, there’s an enhanced sign-up bonus.
How to earn 30,000 free points…
From now until next Tuesday, Sept. 4, new cardholders can earn up to 30,000 points as a sign-up bonus. Here are the terms:
- You get 10,000 Starpoints after your first purchase.
- You get another 20,000 after spending $5,000 within the first six months of card membership.
- The $65 annual fee is waived the first year.
Why the Starwood Preferred Guest program?
I’ve held a Starwood Preferred Guest card from American Express for several years now. Here’s why:
- Easy free night redemptions. Starpoints can be redeemed for a free night in a standard room at any Starwood property. There are no blackout dates or capacity restrictions. If the room is available, you can use your points. There are no booking fees or taxes, although a few properties charge a resort fee on awards. Better yet, awards start at 3,000 points. You can even redeem a free night at check-in with no reservation. I’ve done that before.
- Great property selection. Some hotel loyalty programs offer awards for only a few points – but their “budget” properties are meager. Not so with Starwood. I’ve used my Starpoints to stay at Sheratons in Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Seattle, Milan, and even in Kampala, Uganda. I also use their Aloft chain, usually located near airports. On the high end, they offer Westin, St. Regis, Meridien, and W Hotels.
- Airline transfers. Starpoints not only work at hotels, you can also transfer points to more than 30 different airlines. When you consider that each of those airline’s frequent flier programs allow you to redeem their miles for flights with other airlines, that gives you a dizzying array of options. Better yet is the 5,000-point bonus when redeeming 20,000 points for miles.
- Other redemption options. You can also redeem Starpoints for gift cards, experience awards, train trips, or even transfer them to another member of your household. This is the most versatile loyalty point program I’ve found so far.
How to win 30,000 Starpoints
In addition to offering 30,000 Starpoints to everyone as a sign-up bonus, American Express is offering another 30,000 points to a Money Talks News reader as part of their “Stretch Your Summer” promotion. Here are the rules:
- Submit a comment below on which Starwood hotel you would stay in to Stretch Your Summer. You must comment on this post.
- Do not submit more than one comment per day. Winners with multiple entries per day will be disqualified.
- Money Talks News will choose a winner using a random number generator on Monday, Sept. 3, at 6 p.m. Eastern time. If the selected winner doesn’t reply within seven days, we’ll select another winner.
- Winners must complete an IRS W4 form and create a Starwood Preferred Guest account to be awarded the points. The retail value of the points awarded is $750.
Of course, anyone can earn the 30,000 points by signing up for a Starwood Preferred Guest card from American Express.
Disclosure: As part of this giveaway, the writer is also compensated with Starpoints.