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Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express – Review

Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express – Review

The Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express is a hotel rewards card and business credit card with a $95 annual fee that’s waived during the first year. Its generous rewards program centers on the combined Starwood and Marriott hotel family, whose brands include Sheraton, Westin, W, Marriott, and more.

Every Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card purchase earns Starpoints®, Starwood’s loyalty program currency. Once you accumulate enough Starpoints, you can redeem for free nights and room upgrades at around 6,700 participating SPG® and Marriott Rewards® properties worldwide, or transfer to more than 30 frequent flyer programs covering about 150 total airlines.

The Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card directly competes with other popular business travel rewards cards, including CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World MasterCard, Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card, and The Business Platinum Credit Card from American Express.

If you don’t own your own business, you’d likely be a better fit for the consumer credit card version of this card, known simply as the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express.

Earn 75,000 bonus points after you use your new card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of card membership.

All eligible purchases made at participating SPG & Marriott hotels earn 6 points per $1 spent. All eligible purchases made at U.S. restaurants, gas stations, shipping providers, and on wireless telephone services purchases directly from U.S. service providers earn 4 points per $1 spent. All other eligible purchases earn 2 points per $1 spent.

Starpoints are redeemable for free hotel nights and room upgrades at participating SPG Marriott Rewards properties worldwide.

Free night redemption minimums start at 2,000 points for Category 1 hotels, which are budget-friendly and less luxurious, and rise to 35,000 points for super high-end Category 7 hotels. Note, however, that exact point requirements vary based on season and demand.

Room upgrade redemption minimums start at 1,000 points for Category 1 properties and rise to 2,750 points for Category 7, though the same variables apply.

If you don’t have enough points for a full night, you can use Starwood’s Cash & Points feature to combine cash and Starpoints and earn a free room. You need 1,500 points and $30 to earn a free Category 1 night, or up to 15,000 points and $275 for a free Category 7 night.

Starpoint redemption values can vary based on season, demand, and the cash price of the room or upgrade. However, they regularly range as high as $0.025, and may go even higher in some cases.

Note that some SPG & Marriott hotels and resorts may have mandatory service charges.

The Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card allows you to transfer (or convert) your accumulated Starpoints to more than 30 airline frequent flyer programs, covering around 150 airlines – including Delta, American, and other popular U.S.-based airlines.

In most cases, 1 Starpoint equals 1 airline mile, though a handful of programs require 2 or more Starpoints for 1 mile. When you transfer at least 20,000 points to a participating frequent flyer program, you get a 25% bonus of  5,000 points.

As long as your account remains open and in good standing, you enjoy complimentary Silver Elite Status in the SPG loyalty program.

When you spend at least $30,000 in eligible purchases on your card in a calendar year, you earn an upgrade to Gold Elite Status through the end of the following calendar year. Beginning 1/1/19, the required annual spend rises to $35,000.

Every year your account remains open and in good standing, you earn 1 complimentary award night at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards properties after your account anniversary. Some hotels have resort fees, and your award is limited to properties with redemption levels at or below 35,000 points.

As long as your account remains open, you get complimentary access to about 350 Sheraton Club Lounge locations in Sheraton-branded hotels.

As long as your account remains open, you get free premium in-room WiFi at all participating properties.

The Starwood Preferred Guest Business Card has a host of travel benefits that apply regardless of whether the cardholder is staying at an SPG Marriott Rewards property:

This card has a number of non-travel benefits for purchases made with the card:

The Starwood Preferred Guest Business Card has some business-friendly benefits:

This card’s $95 annual fee is waived the first year, and it never carries any foreign transaction fees. Late and returned payments both cost up to $38. Cash advances cost the greater of $5 or 3%. There are no fees for additional employee cards. Terms and conditions apply – see rates and fees.

This card requires good to excellent credit.

The Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express is a very solid business travel rewards card. Its points offer high value at redemption, it offers a competitive welcome offer, and it matches up nicely with more than 100 frequent flyer programs.

However, it’s not for everyone – even those who travel often. If you don’t routinely visit vacation destinations or business hubs with SPG & Marriott Rewards hotels, you simply won’t rack up the points fast enough to make this card worth it. Before you apply for a hotel- or airline-specific travel rewards card of any sort, make sure you can get good use out of it without literally going out of your way.

The Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express is a very good fit for business owners who routinely stay at Starwood-branded properties, accumulating rewards quickly enough to offset the card’s $95 annual fee. It’s also great for business travelers who want to be able to convert their accumulated points into frequent flyer miles. On the other hand, this card is not optimal for business owners who prefer more versatile rewards programs, nor for business owners who don’t need to travel much.

Very good fringe benefits (including Sheraton Club Lounge access), strong welcome offer, generous frequent flyer transfer program, and high point values at redemption are all great benefits. The annual fee and limited ability to redeem for non-travel items are drawbacks. Overall, this is a great card for business travelers who frequent Starwood properties.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Categories: American Express Business, Credit and Debt, Credit Cards, Reviews, Small Business

Brian Martucci writes about frugal living, entrepreneurship, and innovative ideas. When he’s not interviewing small business owners or investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, he’s probably out exploring a new trail or sampling a novel cuisine. Find him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

Comments Disclosure: The below responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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