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There have been rumors swarming about the new Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Card since April, but up until now, the full suite of benefits and bonuses have yet to be seen. Well, the wait is over. The newest addition to the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) and American Express co-branded travel credit card line is here. It comes with some impressive upgrades and bonuses compared to the original Starwood Preferred Guest consumer and business credit cards from American Express.
The Original Starwood Preferred Guest Consumer and Business Credit Cards from AmEx
These cards are frequently on top ten lists for the best travel cards, and for good reason. You may redeem points for free nights at over 6,500 participating SPG and Marriott Rewards hotels across 29 brands. Alternatively, you can use them to redeem perks on car rentals or flights which can be transferred to over 40 airline partners. Both cards got an upgrade earlier this month that made them more valuable.
Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express
With the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, you can earn 75,000 SPG points after spending $3,000 in the first three months of card membership. The $95 annual fee is also waived the first year. On top of that, you can earn up to 6X points per dollar at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards hotels (as opposed to the previous 2X points) and 2X points (as compared to the old 1X points) on all other eligible purchases.
Complimentary Silver Elite status now comes automatically with the card. Plus, you can earn Gold Elite status after spending $30,000 or more in eligible purchases in a calendar year. Cardholders can now receive credit for 15 nights to apply towards the next level of elite status. A free night on your account anniversary is also included.
Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express
The current Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express includes 6x points on purchases made at select Marriott and SPG hotels, 4X points at U.S. restaurants and gas stations, on wireless telephone services, and on shipping purchases. All other purchases earn 2x points.
It currently comes with a 100,000-point welcome bonus after you spend $5,000 in the first three months (offer ends 10/31/2018). This is for the same $95 annual fee, also waived the first year.
The New Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Card Benefits
While the new card looks almost exactly like the current consumer and business cards, it comes with a few extra benefits. The annual fee for the new Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Card is $450. The generous welcome bonus will be enough to lure some: 100,000 SPG points after $5,000 in spending in the first three months.
That’s enough for up to four free nights at SPG hotels depending on the property. According to AmEx, other benefits include:
- Up to $300 in statement credits each year of Card Membership for eligible purchases at more than 6,700 participating SPG and Marriott Rewards hotels
- An annual free night award (redemption level at or under 50,000 points) every year after Card account anniversary
- Complimentary Gold Elite Status with the ability to earn Platinum Elite Status after spending $75,000 on the Card in a calendar year
- Priority Pass Select membership
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit (worth $100)
- For each dollar of eligible purchases charged to the Card, Card Members can earn:
- 6X points at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards hotels
- 3X points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines
- 2X points on other eligible purchases
A Comparison of SPG Cards
As you can see, one or two things remain the same between the two existing cards and the new Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Card: the free night award (though at a 50,000-point per night property instead of 35,000-point per night property) and the bulk of the earning structure is similar, though points per dollar for restaurants and flights is a bit different.
Right now, even the welcome bonus is the same as the business card. Those spending more on business-related purchases as opposed to restaurants and flights may not be so fond of the point-earning differences between the business and luxury cards. But travelers after Gold Elite status and who stay at SPG hotels often enough to make use of the annual $300 statement credit will find value in the new Luxury card.
Add a Global Entry credit and a Priority Pass Select membership (worth between $99-$399 if you were to purchase it yourself), and the card has the potential to pay for itself.
The Bottom Line
The new Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Card is a welcome addition to the Marriott/SPG line of reward cards. But whether it’s worth the high annual fee will depend on how cardholders use it. Those who stay at SPG hotels frequently will reap the most benefits.
If trying to decide between one card or another, do some research to ensure you’re getting the card that will offer the most bang for your buck. But for loyal AmEx and SPG customers, this new card may just be the upgrade they’ve been waiting for.
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