Current bonus – 10,000 SPG points
Annual fee – £75
The Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Credit Card issued by American Express is one of the best ways for people in the UK to earn points in the SPG loyalty scheme. The SPG hotels portfolio includes St Regis, LeMeridien and Sheraton hotels amongst others.
Although this warrants an article in itself, following the Marriott-Starwood merger last year, points can be freely exchanged between the Marriott Rewards and SPG loyalty programs. That means the points earned on this card can also be used at the likes of Ritz-Carlton, Autograph Collection and Marriott hotels.
This card currently offers 10,000 SPG points after spending £1000 in your first 3 months of card membership.
SPG points can be redeemed for free nights at Starwood hotels worldwide. They can also be converted at a 1:1 ratio to 30 different frequent flyer programmes including BA Avios and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles.
As explained above SPG points can also be exchanged for Marriott Rewards points and vice versa at a rate of:
1 SPG point = 3 Marriott points
This means that the sign-up bonus on this card is worth 30,000 Marriott points.
WHERE CAN THESE POINTS TAKE ME?
- FREE HOTEL NIGHTS – After taking in a concert at The 02 Arena in London, you could enjoy a free night at the nearby Aloft Excel.
You could also convert your points to Marriott Rewards points and enjoy a free night at JW Marriott Bangkok.
- AIRLINE MILES – Your 10,000 SPG points can be converted to 10,000 BA miles. That is enough for a return trip to Amsterdam.
DAY-TO-DAY EARNINGS RATE
The day-to-day earnings rate is 1 SPG point per £1 spent. This is a fairly respectable return when you consider that for many people in the UK this is the only way to earn miles in programs such as Air France’s Flying Blue via credit card spend.
You can also earn 2 Starpoints for every £1 of eligible purchases charged to your Card at participating SPG & Marriott Rewards® hotel, until 15 November 2017.
BEST STRATEGY TO MAXIMISE VALUE
Starwood allows free points transfers between household members.
If you and your partner/parent/sibling both take out the SPG card, you would earn a total of 20,000 SPG points. This opens up a number of lucrative possibilities:
- Transfers to airline miles – As well as having 30 different airline partners, when you transfer 20,000 SPG points to most airlines, Starwood will sweeten the deal and give you a bonus 5,000 miles.
For example, transferring those 20,000 SPG points to BA will secure you 25,000 miles.
That is enough for a return business class trip to Rome, Amsterdam, Zurich or Paris.
- Aspirational redemptions – With 20,000 SPG points in the bank, you could enjoy a free night in The Park Tower Knightsbridge or even the fabulous St Regis in Rome. Alternatively, you could transfer your points to Marriott and those 60,000 points would be enough for a free night at the Ritz-Carlton Los Angeles.
- SPG Moments – This lets you use your SPG points to snap up tickets to a variety of sporting, musical and cultural events worldwide. In the UK, SPG has a hospitality suite at The O2 Arena in London. You could, therefore, use your combined 20,000 SPG points for 2 tickets to see the likes of Rod Stewart or Justin Bieber. These tickets include access to complimentary buffet catering in the suite.
(I will take a more detailed look at the SPG Moments scheme in a future article)
ANY OTHER PERKS?
- SPG GOLD STATUS AFTER SPENDING £15,000 IN A YEAR – You will be upgraded to SPG Gold status which ordinarily requires 10 stays or 25 nights at SPG hotels. The benefits of Gold status include 4 pm late checkout and an upgrade to an enhanced room at check-in (subject to availability).
- FREE WEEKEND NIGHT VOUCHER AFTER SPENDING £25,000 – This is restricted to hotels in Category 1-4 of the Starwood portfolio. It still can be used at hotels such as the Westin Beach Resort Lauderdale, Florida or closer to ‘home’ at the Aloft London Excel.
This card carries a £75 annual fee although that will be refunded pro-rata should you choose to cancel at any point during your card membership year.
Representative 36.2% APR variable. Based on annual fee of £75 and assumed credit limit of £1,200. Interest rate for purchases: 19.9% p.a. variable.
AM I ELIGIBLE FOR THE BONUS?
Your ability to receive this bonus is NOT impacted if you hold any other cards issued directly by American Express such as the co-branded British Airways (BA) cards, Preferred Rewards Gold card.
If you already hold any Barclays, MBNA, Lloyds or TSB-issued American Express cards this also WON’T affect your chances of being accepted for this card.
In summary, as long as you have not held the SPG card in the last 6 months you WILL be eligible for this sign-up bonus.
Personally, I view my SPG points as my most valuable loyalty points currency simply becasue of their sheer versatility.
This sign-up bonus is an excellent way to earn a sizeable chunk of SPG points. This card is also a good way of earning Marriott points as you are effectively earning 3 Marriott points per £1 spent.
Disclaimer: The above information is intended solely as a helpful guide to the relevant card products on the market and their various features. You should, of course, always conduct your own research as the recommendations provided within may not be suitable for your personal financial circumstances.