SPG American Express card
I recently applied for the SPG American Express Card. I was between airline reward credit card cycles and seeking a quick win. One of my readers has been hounding me for some time about the benefits of Starwood in the UK, a reward scheme I’ve largely ignored due to perceived limited property choice. They’ve now merged with Marriott and you can transfer points seamlessly between the two, so I decided to bite the bullet.
I asked Craig to send me a referral code and I’m now on a mission to understand exactly why Craig loves this reward scheme and credit card so much. Keep your eyes peeled for future posts on SPG, but for now, let’s take a look at the credit card.
Sign up bonus
You will need to spend £1,000 in the first three months of card membership to earn 10,000 Starpoints. Even better, use this referral code, and earn an extra 1,000 points on sign up. This is enough for a complimentary three night stay in a category one hotel. We used ours to book the Nest Hotel at Incheon airport, Seoul.
Refer a friend bonus
Assuming you like the card, refer your friends and once they meet the minimum spend requirement, you will earn an extra 5,000 points per referral. I’ve earned a bunch of points in this way on my airmiles cards so am now hoping I might be able to bag some free hotel nights as a result. After all, you only need 3,000 points for a Category 1 hotel and whilst these may be more basic, who needs luxury if your main aim when visiting a city is to sightsee?
Additional card benefits
As with any American Express card, membership comes with a raft of benefits. I’ve previously found the insurance to be invaluable, paying out when my standard travel insurance wouldn’t. Here’s a summary of the key benefits
- Travel and shopping Protection
- Upgrade to SPG Gold Preferred status if you spend £15,000 on your Card each year. I normally would aim to earn as many airmiles as possible, but if your airmiles coffer is overflowing, this could be hugely valuable. Gold status bags you all these benefits. Now, I am starting to understand why Craig likes this program so much. Only ten nights to get to Gold, when Marriott wants 50!!! Result!
- Take away a loved one, or even your bestie for a Free Weekend Night Award every year you spend £25,000 on the Card.
- Earn 1 Starpoint for every £1 spent in addition to the Starpoints you earn at Starwood Preferred Guest hotels and resorts as an SPG member. Take note, however that if you reach Gold, you will earn three Starpoints instead of one.
- Earn 2 Starpoints for every £1 of eligible purchases charged to your Card at participating SPG & Marriott Rewards until 15 November 2017.
- No blackout dates
- Transfer your Starpoints to over 30 major airline frequent flyer programmes. Before you do this, it would be wise to do some number crunching, to ensure this is good use of your Starpoints. Don’t worry, I will cover this in my review of the programme, coming soon. Just to be sure to sign up to my newsletter if you want to be notified when that post goes live.
Where can you go with your Starpoints?
So once, you have applied for the card, spent the money and earned your points, where can you go?
- 7,000 gets you a view like this from the Nest Hotel, Incheon (Category 3)
- Fancy a special destination for a romantic night – maybe even a proposal? How about a night in the Westin Grand Berlin for 10,000 points (category 4).
- 40,000 bags you a four night stay on the tropical island of Fiji, at the Westin Denarau Island Resort and Spa. I’m pretty sure I was lusting after that place when I visited in the late nineties.
- If you can ramp up the spend through business and referrals however, you can really splurge on five nights at a category 6 hotel, such as the W New York in Times Square. Cripes, that hotel is definitely enough to seduce me into returning to New York.
I was accepted immediately for the card and Craig received his referral points around a week later. It only took me a few weeks to make the minimum spend, due to work expenses and I bagged 12,500 points in my first month. Normally I would consider cancelling a card after meeting the minimum spend, but I’m going to hold on to this given how quickly I can achieve Gold status.
It also helps that I have already benefited given how quickly the points were applied to my account. The Nest Hotel was one of the first Starwood properties I have stayed in for a long time. It is pretty darn cool!