Lately there has been talk going around of American Express releasing a new and possibly increased welcome bonus on the Starwood Preferred Guest credit cards.
It looks like the new welcome bonus offers are live (OFFER EXPIRED)! You can check them out and apply for them here.
The new limited time offers are slated to last until October 19th, 2016. After that it’s predictable, but uncertain that the offer will revert back to the 25,000 point welcome bonus.
The bad news is that the new welcome bonuss are for two free nights at any SPG category 1-5 property.This makes the welcome bonus worth 24,000 to 32,000 points.
In my opinion this is much less exciting than last years all-time high 35,000 point welcome bonus that the cards offered. Plus, with the new bonus offer structure you lose the ability to transfer SPG points to airline programs.
The New Offers
The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express (OFFER EXPIRED)
The personal version of the card has a new offer for two free nights at SPG category 1-5 hotels & resorts worldwide after spending $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
The new offer appears to only be live through American Expresses mobile site and the previously existing 25,000 point offer is still available. This means you can choose between applying for the two free nights or 25,000 point offer and it will ultimately depend on how you plan to use your SPG points.
Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card
The business SPG Amex is offering two free nights at SPG category 1-5 hotels & resorts worldwide after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
What is the 2 Free Night Welcome Offer Worth?
Considering you can redeem the two free nights at any category 1-5 SPG hotel you’re going to get the most value redeeming at a expensive category 5 property.
You can find a full list of SPG category 5 properties here.
For reference, here is Starwood’s award chart for both redemptions on weekdays and weekends.
When you redeem the two free nights at a category 5 hotel you’ll get stay worth anywhere from 24,000 to 32,000 points.
More expensive SPG category 5 hotels run around $250 to $300 per night, which puts ths welcome bonus at a rough value of $500 to $600.
Apply Now or Wait?
The fact that the Marriott and Starwood merger is moving forward means that these card offers from Amex will only be around for a limited period. That means it’s likely a wise idea to earn the welcome bonus before it’s too late.
In the future Starwood credit cards will be issued by Chase and there are rumors speculating that a new card will be out in February, but time will tell until we hear or see anything official!
The Bottom Line
The new welcome bonus offer of two free nights at any category 1-5 hotel is worth up to 32,000 points when redeemed at a more expensive category 5 hotel.
The major drawback of this offer in my opinion is that due to that the bonus is awarded as free night certificates you lose the ability to transfer points to airline miles, which is one of the main aspects that make SPG points so valuable.
Obviously this is not as valuable as the straight 35,000 point offer that was available last summer, but it looks like this time around that offer won’t be coming out.
|Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®|
|Quick review: The Arrival Plus card is one of my favorite all-around 2X earning cards. The miles can be redeemed for any type to travel, making it a great beginner travel rewards credit card.|
Why we like it: The Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard earns 2X points per dollar spent on all purchases. You'll also get 5% of your miles back when you redeem your points, to use on your next redemption. The card has Chip+PIN technology, which can be useful for international travel. Especially when traveling in Europe. Lastly, the card comes with a complimentary online FICO® Credit Score and of course has no foreign transaction fees.