Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express OPEN Review
By Megg Mueller
For businesses that depend on frequent travel to keep things running smoothly, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express offers some attractive perks. From its variety of point-redemption possibilities to its $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $65, this credit card can help make business travel a little more rewarding.
Starwood Hotels and Resorts includes over 1,100 properties worldwide, with brands such as Westin, Sheraton, W Hotels, Four Points, The Luxury Collection and St. Regis. Starpoints -- this card's unique term for reward points -- can also be used for flights on more than 350 airlines through SPG Flights, for gift cards and more. For business owners, these multiple redemption options can provide much-needed flexibility.
Piling on the points
If you haven't owned this card in the previous 12 months, as a new card member you can earn up to 25,000 Starpoints – here's the breakdown - receive 10,000 Starpoints after your first purchase, and another 15,000 bonus Starpoints when you spend $5,000 in the first 6 months of cardmembership.
As for everyday usage, you can receive one Starpoint for every dollar spent on eligible purchases. Eligible purchases don't include such items as fees, interest charges, cash advances and balance transfers. As a Starwood Preferred Guest program member you can receive two Starpoints from American Express and two Starpoints (or three Starpoints if you have Starwood Preferred Guest elite status) for every dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with hotels and resorts participating in the Starwood Preferred Guest program, for a total of up to 5 Starpoints.
So while the introductory offer on this card make it a strong initial choice for lots of business travelers, those who stay regularly at Starwood properties are the best candidates for getting the most long-term value from this card.
Calculating your rewards
Redeeming points for hotel stays will cost anywhere from 2,000 points a night to 35,000 points a night, depending on the hotel category and location. Points can also be redeemed for upgrades and free room nights at certain properties. Categories include:
- Four Points by Sheraton Tucson Airport is a Category 1 property; rooms are 3,000 points for a weekday night or 2,000 points for a weekend night.
- The Westin Grand, Vancouver is a Category 4 hotel; rooms are 10,000 points for a one-night stay.
- The Royal Hawaiian, Waikiki is a Category 6 hotel, which requires 20,000-25,000 Starpoints for each night's stay.
Some of Starwood's luxury properties don't have standard rooms, so the cost of a room night could be as high as 140,000 points a those locations.
When booking flights with your Starpoints through SPG Flights, there are no blackout dates.
Key rates and fees
The annual fee on this card is $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $65. Current variable APR for purchases is 15.24 percent to 19.24 percent depending on your credit score. Foreign transactions include a 2.7 percent charge of each transaction after conversion to U.S. dollars.
If you spend a lot of time on the road for your business and appreciate the hotels in the Starwood family, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express is likely worth a look. Terms & Restrictions Apply.
Megg Mueller is a journalist with almost two decades of experience. She has worked as a reporter and editor for the Reno Gazette-Journal and as an editor of health care and education manuals for Aspen Publishers, a subsidiary of Wolters Kluwer. She wrote a weekly column on the hotel industry during her tenure as assistant travel editor for USA TODAY.com. Mueller is the editor of a tourism-based website and also serves as a reporter for a weekly business newspaper.