Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
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The Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express is beloved by points and miles maximizers for good reason. Since the merger of Starwood’s SPG and Marriott Rewards the offering remains one of the most competitive travel credit cards available. The rewards structure is generous, the choice is unparalleled with over 6,700 properties across 29 brands to redeem points, and the points are easily transferable to one of the dozens of airlines with which SPG has an alliance.
This ranks among the most well reviewed business credit cards on Bankrate.
The top reasons to get a hotel-branded credit card are because you:
• Are a frequent guest at properties within that hotel’s portfolio.
• Want to earn free stays.
The Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express goes further than most hotel cards, though, because of its generous redemption options. Not only can you redeem points for free hotel stays, you can book free airline travel, as well.
What’s more, this card boasts one of the most generous rewards rates of any travel card we’ve reviewed.
You’ll earn 6 points per dollar spent using this card on eligible purchases at over 6,700 participating SPG Marriott Rewards hotels across 29 brands, and 4 points per dollar at U.S. restaurants and gas stations, on wireless telephone services and U.S. shipping. On everything else, you will earn 2 points per dollar.
This card, paired with a free Marriott Rewards loyalty program, can fast-track you to free nights or free flights, depending on how you choose to use your earnings. The Starwood-Marriott-Ritz-Carlton brand powerhouse offers plenty of luxury options in its portfolio to use up the pile of points you’ll be amassing.
There’s also a sizeable welcome bonus of 75,000 bonus points after you use the card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
Who should get this card
Frequent business travelers who can stay within the SPG Marriott Rewards portfolio stand to benefit the most from owning this card.
The card is also good for those who want hotel perks like free Wi-Fi, and if you have Gold and Platinum status, free upgrades, late check-in, and increased points earnings for your stays.
Fees and APR
• Annual fee is $95, waived the first year.
• Pay no foreign transaction fees when making purchases outside the U.S.
• A variable penalty APR will apply for at least 12 billing cycles if you miss a payment or pay your bill late and you may have to pay a late fee of up to $38.
• See Rates & Fees.
Extras, perks and using points
Additional employee cards are free and earn points at the same rate. This card comes with American Express OPEN benefits, the most significant of which is the 5% discount at FedEx, Hertz, Hewlett Packard and 1-800 Flowers.
Complimentary Silver Elite status. You can earn Gold Elite status if you spend $30,000 or more in eligible purchases on the card within the first year. Note: effective January 1,2019, the spend threshold will increase to $35,000.
Cardholders receive a free night award each year on the anniversary of opening the card with up to 35,000 redemption value. Starting in 2019 you will also receive 15 elite night credits, which will be limited to once per member.
With this card, you get free Wi-Fi at over a million Boingo hotspots worldwide and free in-room Wi-Fi at participating SPG properties. You also get roadside assistance, travel accident insurance, access to a global assistance hotline, extended purchase warranty protection and mobile phone damage and theft insurance.
Points can be redeemed for free nights and upgrades.
You can also redeem points for travel on more than 150 airlines with no blackout dates. The exchange rate is 1:1 on most airlines.
How this card compares
Of course, this card is only a great choice if your spending habits align with the rewards categories of this card. If most of your spending is on office supplies or gas, for example, you may be better off with a different business credit card.
The only reasons to shy away from this card would be if your work requires significant overseas travel or if your biggest expenses don’t match up with the bigger cash-back savings categories.