Review: Starwood Preferred Guest Business Card From American Express

Photo (cc) by || UggBoy♥UggGirl || PHOTO || WORLD || TRAVEL ||

I review dozens of credit card offers each week to find the best deals. Check out more on our credit card page.

When you’re trying to earn a free trip with reward credit cards, roadblocks can get in the way of your travels. Too many reward credit card users have spent years earning points or miles in a single program, only to find out that the award they need is not available. The solution to this problem is to earn rewards in a flexible points system – which lets you transfer points into other programs.

The Starwood Preferred Guest Business card from American Express lets business users earn points with the Starwood Hotel chain. But in addition, these points can be redeemed for miles with more than 30 different carriers.

Advantages

  • Earn a sign-up bonus. You get 10,000 points after your first purchase and another 15,000 points after spending $5,000 within the first six months of opening an account. These points alone are good for several free nights. For example, when I visit Money Talks News headquarters in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., I stay at the Sheraton Suites Cypress Creek. I can spend three nights there for a mere 10,000 points.
  • Earn points for spending. Cardholders earn 1 point per dollar spent, and up to 5 points per dollar spent at Starwood hotels, which include Westin and Sheraton hotels.
  • Use points for hotel rooms. Starwood points can be redeemed for any available standard room with no blackout dates or capacity restrictions. And when you redeem four award nights, the fifth night is free.
  • Transfer points to airline miles. Starwood’s points are extremely valuable as you can transfer them to miles in the frequent flier programs of more than 30 different airlines. And when you transfer 20,000 points at once, you get a 5,000-point bonus.
  • Earn elite status. Those who use their card to spend $30,000 dollars in a calendar year get Gold status in Starwood’s program. This gives you free Internet, room upgrades, and late checkouts.
  • Participate in the OPEN Savings program. This program allows businesses to save up to 10 percent on purchases from vendors like FedEx, OfficeMax, and Hertz. You can see a list of participating vendors, along with discounts, here.

Disadvantages

  • No bonus categories of spending. Many reward cards now offer 2x-6x rewards for spending in certain merchant categories. This card only offers bonuses when you spend money at a Starwood property.
  • Annual fee. There is a $65 annual fee after the first year.
  • Foreign transaction fees. American Express continues to charge a 2.7 percent foreign transaction fee on all charges processed outside the United States. It is not cool to charge such a pointless fee, especially for a card being marketed toward travelers.

Bottom line

Get it if: You want to earn points in the most flexible travel rewards program there is.

Forget it if: You do a lot of international travel and need a card with no foreign transaction fees.

Note: While we attempt to be completely objective when reporting on credit cards, this site may be compensated by issuers when a reader applies for a credit card through the links within credit card stories or on our credit card search page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
5 Awesome Places You Can Retire Overseas on $2,000 a Month or Less
5 Awesome Places You Can Retire Overseas on $2,000 a Month or Less

In this week’s podcast: tips on retiring overseas — from someone who’s been helping American expats for decades.

The 5 Most Expensive U.S. States for Retirees
The 5 Most Expensive U.S. States for Retirees

If you have or expect to have a modest retirement income, you may want to avoid spending your golden years here.

How to Get the Best Possible Deal on Car Insurance
How to Get the Best Possible Deal on Car Insurance

This is the last article on understanding and shopping for car insurance that you’ll ever need.

3 Easy Ways to Get Laundry Soap for Nearly Nothing
3 Easy Ways to Get Laundry Soap for Nearly Nothing

Not using any of these methods for saving on laundry detergent? Then, you are washing money down the drain.

7 Things You Should Buy at Estate Sales
7 Things You Should Buy at Estate Sales

Here’s what an experienced estate sale shopper considers a great find.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
9 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Shopping on Amazon
9 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Shopping on Amazon

Are you losing money due to any of these missteps?

7 Changes Coming to Social Security and Medicare in 2021
7 Changes Coming to Social Security and Medicare in 2021

Recently, both Social Security and Medicare made some major announcements about benefits for 2021.

Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?
Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?

The rules are complicated when it comes to eligibility for survivors benefits.

Can a Twice-Divorced Woman Claim Social Security Survivors Benefits?
Can a Twice-Divorced Woman Claim Social Security Survivors Benefits?

Understanding survivors benefits rules is the key to getting the most from your benefit.

These Are the 10 Worst Cars for Depreciation
These Are the 10 Worst Cars for Depreciation

Two types of vehicles are especially likely to see steep plunges in value.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s
10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s

From snacks to sweets to side dishes, stock your cart with these time-tested favorites on your next TJ’s run.

Longer Trips to This Type of Store May Raise Coronavirus Risk
Longer Trips to This Type of Store May Raise Coronavirus Risk

An airborne-disease expert recommends exiting these stores within 30 minutes.

5 Ways Social Security Will Change in 2021
5 Ways Social Security Will Change in 2021

These adjustments will affect both workers and retirees in the new year.

11 ‘Disposable’ Items You Should Be Reusing
8 Things You Should Buy at Restaurant Supply Stores
8 Things You Should Buy at Restaurant Supply Stores

You don’t have to be a chef or a restaurant owner to shop here.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

There are easy high-paying majors available in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required. We’re here to help you find easy degrees that pay well.

Stop Buying These 19 Things Online
Stop Buying These 19 Things Online

The internet has changed how we shop. But for some things, you’re still better off buying the old-fashioned way.

Cut These 11 Expenses Now If You Hope to Retire Early
Cut These 11 Expenses Now If You Hope to Retire Early

Like the idea of financial independence? Part of the FIRE equation is cutting costs.

27 Things You Should Never Pay For — and How to Get Them for Free
27 Things You Should Never Pay For — and How to Get Them for Free

When you know the tricks, you can save big on all kinds of useful things that others pay for.

4 Tax Credits That Will Be More Generous in 2021
4 Tax Credits That Will Be More Generous in 2021

If you are eligible for these tax breaks, they will slash your federal income tax bill — dollar for dollar.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Food Supply
7 Tips for Building an Emergency Food Supply

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing emergency food supply. Is your pantry well-prepared for emergencies? Knowing what to stock up on for emergencies can be a difficult task and we’re here to help.

15 Things You Can Get for Free in December
15 Things You Can Get for Free in December

December is here, which means it’s your last chance to take advantage of fabulous freebies in 2020.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.