Update 9/5/12: This promotion is now over and the SPG cards are back to their usual 25K sign up bonus.
Twice a year Amex runs a promotion where you can get 30,000 Starwood Preferred Guest points instead of the usual 25,000 points. This is really as good as it gets for these cards and this offer is only for the next month until September 3 and then it goes back to the usual amount. This applies for both the SPG Amex and the SPG Business Amex. When I first started, I didn’t have this card, but I do now and anyone who is into points and miles usually has this card in their arsenal. I’ll show you in a minute how the sign up bonus alone saved me over $1,500 on rooms in both Detroit and Santiago, Chile. The details:
- 10,000 SPG points after the first purchase
- 20,000 SPG points after spending $5,000 in the card in the first 6 months
- No fee for the first year, then $65
- Instant Preferred Plus status which can give you free room upgrades, 4 PM Checkout and more
- 5 nights or 2 stays worth of credit towards your gold or platinum status qualification.
- Up to 5 points per $ spent at SPG properties (2 starpoints per dollar spent on the card plus the starpoints you get as a SPG member), 1 point per $ everywhere else
SPG Points are some of the most valuable because of their flexibility. The best use of them most of the time is obviously at SPG properties such as Westin, Sheraton, W, St. Regis, Le Meridien and others. Some really nice luxury hotel brands! But they also offer the ability to transfer your points to several airlines and they give you a bonus of 5000 miles whenever you transfer 20,000 points to an airline program.
I recently got the SPG Business Amex back in November which was the last time they offered the 30,000 point bonus. Here is how I used some of my sign up bonus points to save me a bunch on hotel rooms:
The first example was when I went on my Machu Picchu / Easter Island / Santiago trip in April. I stayed in a hostel on Easter Island but decided to use some SPG points in Santiago at the Sheraton using their Cash+Points option. The nightly rate was $270 on the dates I was there and I was staying 3 nights. But the cash and points option was available for $45+2800 points. This gave me an incredible redemption value per night of over 8 cents per point ($270 – $45) /2800. If I used the whole signup bonus like that, it would be worth $2410 in hotel rooms, wow!
Another example is when I planned a last minute trip to a music festival called DEMF in Detroit over Memorial Day. I had stayed at the Westin in previous years and it is a great property as well as being close to all the action of the festival. But since I was planning it last minute, the rates were through the roof at $393 a night! But if there are normal rooms available you can get an award night using points. Cash and points were only available for the first night, again at $45+2800 points for a whopping savings of $348 and a value per point of 12 cents per point. The other two nights of my stay I used the 7000 point option to have the room completely covered. Since the room would have cost $393 if I paid for this, this gives a value of 5.6 center per points which is still pretty great! And to top it all off, due to my Preferred Plus status due to having this card, they upgraded me to a corner suite for free!
Between these two examples I redeemed 18,200 points and it saved me $1809 in room costs. And I haven’t even used all of my bonus yet! Are you starting to see why people get excited about this card and bonus? If you are feeling saucy you can apply for both cards at once (for a huge 60,000 points) or you can do I like I did and tackle one at a time. Click here for the SPG Amex and here for the SPG Business Amex. As always, feel free to comment below with any questions and I will try to answer them for you!