The Starwood card has upped its signup offer to 30,000 Starpoints from 25,000. However, the deal lasts only a month, running from July 26th until August 22nd, so you’d better jump on it while you can. Those 30,000 points are enough for 3 free nights at a Category 4 hotel. We crunched the numbers and found that Starpoints are worth on average 2.3 cents each, and can be valued at up to 5 cents each. On average, then, the new bonus offer is worth $690, topping even the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s 50,000-point deal.
The offer that Starwood and AmEx typically float around the internet is for 25,000 points – 10k on first purchase and an additional 15k after spending $15,000 in the first 6 months. But for the next month, the offer has been sweetened quite a bit – 10k on first purchase, and 20k after spending only $4,500 in the next 3 months. With a much lower hurdle to clear, the benefits of being a Starwood Preferred Guest member and cardholder are that much easier to enjoy.
We believe that if you’re a frequent guest of the Starwood hotels, you can’t do better than the American Express Starwood. In addition to the 30,000-point signup bonus, you get 1 Starpoint per $1 spent anywhere and up to 5 Starpoints at SPG hotels and resorts (2 for being a preferred guest + 2 for holding the Starwood AmEx + 1 for having elite status), a 5-night credit towards elite status, and a standing offer of the 3rd night free when you stay at the Sheraton.
Why we like Starpoints so much
We talk a lot about how awesome Starpoints are. That’s because they’re worth, on the low end, 1.5 cents apiece and can be worth up to 5.
You can trade 20k Starwood points for 25,000 miles on Delta, American, US Airways and Virgin Atlantic, bumping the value up 25% from the industry standard. This benefit makes the Starwood card not only a great hotel card, but a great all-around travel card, and is one of the reasons this card repeatedly wins SmarterTravel’s award for “Best Travel Rewards Card.”
With the Nights & Flights deal, you can (for example) trade in 60k Starpoints for 50k airline miles and 5 free nights at the Westin, Four Points or Sheraton. Starpoints are, by our estimate, worth around 2 cents when redeemed for Nights & Flights.
And, of course, you can redeem for hotel stays. In general, Category 2 and 3 hotel stays give the best value and can go as high as 5 cents a point. Since you redeem a flat number of points for all rooms in a certain category hotel, go for the highest-priced rooms you can in order to get the best value.
The details and the rest of the deal
We’ve covered the Starwood AmEx fairly extensively in our blog, but just to recap: there’s a $65 annual fee, waived in the first year, and the card helps you along to elite status. In addition to the 5-night elite status credit, which means you need only stay 20 nights for Gold status and 45 for Platinum, you automatically qualify for Gold status if you spend $30k a year.
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