Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Credit Card From American Express Review

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Annual Fees
Purchase Interest Rate
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Card type: credit card.
Earn up to $250 in statement credits!
New Starwood Preferred Guest®* Credit Card from American Express. Cardmembers, earn a statement credit of $100 after you charge $1500 in purchases to your Card in the first 3 months of Cardmembership.* You can also earn a $150 statement credit after you charge $200 or more in purchases to your Card at participating Starwood or Marriott properties in your first 6 months of Cardmembership.* Conditions apply.

The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express may look like any other travel card, but peel back a layer, dig a little deeper, and it really is one of the more valuable travel cards in the Canadian market – for hotels and flights.

We did the math and made a discovery: the SPG card has one of the highest earn rates in Canada. Moreover, while it’s certainly a hotel credit card, its vast airline partnership program, makes it one of the premier travel cards in Canada – offering more value and flexibility than most.

With Marriott’s recent acquisition of Starwood, you can transfer your SPG points to Marriott and vice versa free of charge offering more redemption opportunities than any other hotel credit card in the world.

But here’s the cool thing, 1 Starpoint is worth 3 Marriott points. So the 20,000 SPG points are worth 60,000 Marriott points. Conditions apply.

Starwood Credit Card Benefits

  • Welcome Bonus: Get a $100 statement credit for charging $1500 to the card in the first 3 months. Another $150 statement credit for spending $200 at Marriott or SPG hotels in the first 6 months.
  • Earnings: Earn 2 Starpoints for every $1 spent using the card directly at hotels participating in SPG and Marriott Rewards globally. This accelerated rate expires July 31st, 2018. Earn 1 Starpoint for every $1 in purchases charged to the Card outside purchases in this special accelerated category.
  • Free Night Incentive: Receive a Free Weekend Night Award when you reach $40,000 in purchases each year.
  • Upgrades: Enjoy an automatic upgrade to Starwood Gold Preferred Guest membership when you reach $30,000 in purchases each year.
  • Referral Bonus: For each approved referral you could earn a statement credit of $25.
  • No Black Out Dates: Redeem Starpoints for Free Nights with no blackout dates at over 1,200 hotels and resorts in nearly 100 countries
  • Redeem For Flights: Redeem Starpoints for flights with no blackout dates on more than 150 airlines.
  • Transfer Points to Miles: Transfer Starpoints to frequent flyer miles with nearly 30 airlines, usually on a 1:1 basis, including Aerplan!
  • Transfer Bonus: Receive a 5,000 Starpoint bonus from the Starwood Preferred Guest program when you transfer 20,000 Starpoints to a frequent flyer program, including Aeroplan!

Starwood Credit Card Earn Rate for Hotel Redemptions

On first glance, there’s nothing spectacular about the Starwood Preferred Guest card. You earn 2 points per dollar spent at SPG hotels and 1 point everywhere else. Ho-hum. Now take out your abacus and calculate the value of each Starpoint and you’ll see the wheat separating from the chaff.

To calculate the value of a point, when redeeming for a hotel night, we surveyed the cost and points required for over 53 hotel night stays, during the week and on the weekend. We determined that the average SPG point is worth around $0.0223 when redeeming for hotel nights. In some cases, you can get even more value depending on the property, timing or promotion. We’ve seen values as high as 5%. The breakdown by category of hotel and day of the week is as follows:

Compare Starwood’s cash value per dollar spent of 2.223% to Aeroplan and you see why the Starwood card is so rich.

We put the Aeroplan credit cards under a similar test, comparing 15 flights, both domestic and international, high and low season, and we saw average point redemption value at 1.4% (we excluded taxes, fees, and fuel surcharges which are not covered by the Aeroplan redemption grid). One thing to note is that the Aeroplan cards offered by Amex, TD and CIBC tend to have higher accumulation rates than the Starwood Amex card, because they offer 1.5 Aeroplan points per dollar spent on gas, groceries and pharmacy spend.

But even if we assume that 25% of Aeroplan credit card purchases will be eligible to receive 1.5 points per dollar spent, we get to an earn rate of 1.575% per dollar spent on an Aeroplan credit card, significantly lower than that 2.2% earn rate on the Starwood Preferred Guest credit card from American Express.

Starwood Credit Card Earn Rate for Flight Redemptions

Aside from redeeming for hotel stays, cardholders can also redeem points for flights with over 30 airlines. In fact, one of the lesser known features of the program to most Canadians is that a Starpoint can be exchanged 1:1 for over 30 airline loyalty programs.

In Canada, cardholders can transfer Starpoints to Aeroplan at a rate of 1:1, and for every 20,000 Starpoints transferred, you’ll earn an additional 5,000 bonus points. Said another way, when you transfer 20,000 SPG points to Aeroplan, you actually get a 25% bonus, essentially earning 1.25 Aeroplan points for every dollar spent on your SPG Amex card.

That compares favorably to the current TD Aeroplan Infinite offer which earns 1 Aeroplan point per dollar spent on all purchases and 1.5 points on gas, grocery & drug store spend. The SPG card will allow you to earn 1.25 Aeroplan points per dollar spent on ALL credit card spend. Use our credit card optimizing engine to see how much either of the two cards will earn you in point equivalent cash based on your individual spend inputs.

Beyond Aeroplan, you can also exchange points 1:1 to fly on American Airlines, Delta, US Airways, Virgin and a host of other airlines – making this both a hotel card and a frequent flyer card. But more importantly, it makes it one of Canada’s most flexible cards – get great value staying at one of SPG’s many hotels (Sheraton, Westin, Aloft, Four Points, The W, and more) or transfer your points 1:1 or 1:1.25 on 30 of the worlds largest airlines.

Aeroplan/Air Canada 1:1
Air Berlin1:1
Air New Zealand Air Points65:1
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan1:1
Alitalia MilleMiglia1:1
All Nippon Airways (ANA) Mileage Club 1:1
American Airlines AAdvantage1:1
Asia Miles1:1
Asiana Airlines 1:1
British Airways Executive Club1:1
China Eastern Airlines1:1
China Southern Airlines’ Sky Pearl Club1:1
Delta Air Lines SkyMiles1:1
Emirates Skywards1:1
Etihad Airways 1:1
Flying Blue1:1
Hawaiian Airlines1:1
Japan Airlines (JAL) Mileage Bank1:1
Miles and More1:1
Qatar Airways1:1
Saudi Arabian Airlines Alfursan1:1
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer1:1
Thai Airways1:1
US Airways Dividend Miles1:1
United Mileage Plus2:1
VARIG Smiles2:1
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club1:1

What Makes the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card Stand Out

There are several reasons to love the SPG card from Amex. Here are just a few:

  • It has an unbelievable earn rate
  • You can transfer points to and from Marriott, allowing you to redeem your rewards with the largest network of hotels in the world
  • You can transfer your points to a vast network of Airlines loyalty programs, including Aeroplan, at a 1:1 rate, making it an unbelievably flexible travel card
  • Get a 5,000 point bonus when transferring 20,000 SPG points to airline frequent flyer programs, like Aeroplan
  • There are no black out dates for any hotel nights – weekdays, weekends, New Year or Spring Break, you’re covered.
  • Points do not expire for active members. Anyone who has earned a point in the last 12 months is considered an active member.

Card Type and Interest Rates

The Starwood Preferred Guest Card is classified by Amex as a ‘credit card,’ rather than a charge card (which has higher interest rates). The card comes with a 19.99% interest rate on purchases and 22.99% on cash advances.*

Purchase interest rates can increase to 23.99% and/or 26.99% in the event that multiple payment dates are missed. Be sure to read through the card’s other relevant interest rates before you apply.

Starwood Preferred Guest Card Fees

Annual Fee$120
Supplementary Card Fee$0 each
Late Fee$25
Foreign Transaction Fee2.5%
Funds Advanced$2.75 each
Dishonoured Payment$25
Starpoint Reinstatement$20/$30
Statement Reprint$3
Balance Transfer/Amex Cheque3% each
Installment Program8%

Eligibility Requirements

Eligibility requires Canadian residency, a Canadian credit file and age of majority in the province or territory where you live.

*American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website. For full details and current product information click the Apply now link.

Article comments

Jason Chan says:

Hi there,

I’ve had this card for a year now and have enjoyed using it and have made transfer to airline programs. What factors should I look towards when considering whether its worth $120 annual fee for my upcoming year. Please let me know. Thanks !

GreedyRates says:

Hey Jason, thanks for the awesome question! If you’re looking to figure out whether the $120 annual fee is worth your continuing use of the SPG card, you should first understand how the card is changing. Starwood, Marriott, and Ritz-Carlton just merged all their rewards programs into one recently, and until they iron out a plan, they’ll be reducing the benefits on this card temporarily.

You can read about all the changes being made in this article, but we’ll highlight the most important ones. First, they’re coming up with a tier system whereby points at a Tier 1 hotel will cost less and Tier 8 hotels will cost more, at 7,500 and 85,000 points respectively (just to give you an idea). This is actually less expensive than it used to be, and offers more hotels where you can redeem points. Gold and Platinum Status with SPG also count towards Marriott and Ritz-Carlton now.

For now, the changes mean that the SPG card no longer has its introductory bonus of 20,000 SPG points. The referral bonus is also being reduced from 5,000 SPG points (a $110 value) to a $25 statement credit. While the immediate and introductory benefits are being reduced temporarily, they’ll likely be improved as the three rewards programs organize operations. Moreover, since you’re already a cardholder, you won’t be impacted as much. Check out the article below and thanks again for the comment.

GreedyRates Staff

Robert Woodcock says:

If I sign-up and get the bonus points (after the 3-month spending period) are the points transferred to and protected in my Marriotts account whereby if I cancel the American Express card sometime before next annual renewal they are not taken back from me?

GreedyRates says:

Hey Robert, thanks for your inquiry. If you’ve signed up for the Starwood Preferred Guest card and earned the bonus points as advertised, then they’re credited to your Starwood rewards account, and are not held contingent in any way upon your credit card status. You can easily cancel the card and retain all of your rewards points, without fear of them taking the points back. This is how it happens with most rewards cards, and it would be pretty illegal of them to encourage you to meet spending goals and then take away your rewards!

GreedyRates Staff

Joseph Allan says:

I have had a Marriott Rewards Visa Card for the last 3 or 4 years. I was advised recently that this card was being eliminated as of March 15 and that i should consider applying for the Starwood Credit Card. If I do apply for the Starwood Card, will I be eligible to receive the 20,000 Welcome Bonus Starpoints and the five free hotel nights?

GreedyRates says:

Hey Joseph, thanks for the comment and for coming to GreedyRates. Unfortunately, it’s true. The Marriott card that we all know and love is being taken from us in March! However, the Starwood Preferred Guest card is also a great travel card. We see no reason why you wouldn’t be eligible for the 20,000-point bonus, as the only thing that would otherwise keep you from receiving it is prior membership to the SPG card. In short, enjoy!

GreedyRates Staff

S Hassan says:

you should be able to received 25,000 points, exclusive offer for Marriott card members. go to american before April 18, 2018

K Steeves says:

I see the following note on the SPG Amex page:
“Earn 2 Starpoints for every dollar of eligible purchases charged to the Card at participating SPG®* and Marriott Rewards®* hotels from November 15, 2016 through February 15, 2018.”

Any word on what the SPG/Marriott earn rate will be afterwards (2 days from now)?

GreedyRates says:

Hi K. You no longer have to worry about the expiration of the accelerated rewards, as American Express recently extended the promotion to July 31st, 2018.

GreedyRates Staff

david LloydHughes says:

just got mine through your sight! thanks how do i refer my friends n family to earn 10,000 points?

GreedyRates says:

Hey David, thanks for your inquiry.

It’s no wonder you want to refer your friends to such a great card, and to do so all you have to do is login to American Express and go through their referral portal. By using their system, friends that are approved for the card from links you’ve sent will automatically earn you the 10,000 points.

If you want more specifics, or need help finding where the page is online, we recommend calling Amex customer support. Best of luck!

GreedyRates Staff

Shakyl says:

I got the AMEX SPG credit card, my account statement says, I have certain points, but I still don’t know what is my SPG number as it doesn’t show anywhere on the statement.

Please help where I can I find the my SPG account number

GreedyRates says:

Hey Shakyl!

Great questions – we can help you out in finding your Starwood Preferred Guest account number. It should have been given to you upon initial signup, but if you missed it then no worries. Your membership number should be shown on the very last page of your paper account statement from American Express near where it’s written how many points are in the account itself.

If it isn’t, or if half of the account number’s digits are X, then you should also soon be receiving a mailer from SPG with the correct information in it via the traditional postal service. If your statement doesn’t have the SPG number on it, we recommend connecting with American Express customer service via phone or live chat. A helpful representative will be able to look up your account information and give it to you in a matter of minutes.

Good luck!

GreedyRates Staff

Nathan says:

Hi, if you signed up for this card and got the sign up bonus but then cancelled the card, can you sign up again a few years later and get the bonus again? Thanks.

GreedyRates says:

Hey Nathan! Thanks for your great question.

While some card issuers make no fuss about allowing customers who previously held the card to apply and get the bonus more than once (like the Amex Gold Rewards card), unfortunately this isn’t the case for the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Card. American Express states in the benefit terms on their website that the welcome bonus offer is “not available to applicants who have or have had this product.” We assume that regardless of how many years have passed, you won’t be eligible.

However, you can always try contacting customer service and inquiring further. Good luck!

GreedyRates Staff

Tim says:

As a current Amex Gold member (25K aeroplan miles), am I eligible for the 20K bonus miles as a first time applicant for SPG Amex card?

GreedyRates says:

Hi Tim!

Great question, and fortunately the answer is a good one. Having a current membership with American Express will not stop you from getting the 20,000 bonus miles as an applicant for this Starwood Preferred Guest card. American Express states that current and former cardholders of the SPG card can get approved, but will not be eligible for the bonus. You, however are not a current or former cardholder (as far as we know), and the American Express Gold card does not count against you. Enjoy your bonus miles!

GreedyRates Staff

GMK says:

20,000 points won’t even get you one night in London UK in a 3 star hotel. Plus, only 1 room type was available when I went to redeem.

GreedyRates says:


London happens to be one of the most expensive cities in the world. Fortunately, there are plenty of other opportunities to redeem your 20,000 points for a free hotel night elsewhere in the world. For example you can stay in the Philadelphia Sheraton Downtown hotel for 10,000 SPG points a night…

Hope that helps,

GreedyRates Staff

chocobaby says:

Just wondering, do you know how long does it take for those bonus points to reflect in your spy reward account? Let say i were to spend $1500 within the first month, would I be getting those points in the second month?


GreedyRates says:

Hi Chocobaby,

American Express’ official response is 8-10 weeks from the time you meet the minimum threshold, however it usually gets applied to your account the next month.

Hope that helps!

GreedyRates Staff

Sherry says:

If I close my SPG Amex card a year ago but still have starpoints in my account, when I sign up again, will I be eligible for the welcome bonus? It seems my friend did that and received the bonus again.

GreedyRates says:

Hi Sherry,

Officially Amex will allow you to apply for another SPG card, but will not grant you the welcome bonus. Not sure how your friend did it (kudos to him/her). We called to verify and we checked their terms:

“For current or former Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express Cardmembers, we may approve your application, but you will not be eligible for the welcome bonus.”

Perhaps your friend has a technique he or she can share with the rest of us!

GreedyRates Staff

Kooritsuki says:

Does this card ever have FYF promotions?

GreedyRates says:

Hi Kooritsuki,

No regular pattern, and none now, unfortunately.

GreedyRates Staff

Alex says:

At some point in the review, you state that “You earn 5 points per dollar spent at SPG hotels and 1 point everywhere else.”

I believe only the US version of the card offers 5 SPG points/$

The Canadian version only offers 1 SPG/$ spent at SPG properties.

GreedyRates says:

Hi Alex,

You are correct! We reviewed the offer and only the US Starwood card offers 5 points per dollar spent at SPG hotels at this time. We’ve edited the article. Thanks for letting us know!


GreedyRates Staff