Whether you already have the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express or have been considering getting it, hold on to your hat, because big changes to the card are now official.
Here’s the good news: Several positive perks have been added, including the benefit of one complimentary award night every year after your card anniversary (for properties with a redemption level at or under 35,000 points). Terms Apply. This benefit alone could easily outstrip the card’s introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $95.
And if you don’t already have the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, you may also be eligible for its new welcome offer: Earn 75,000 Bonus Points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.
The bad news?
With the Marriott-Starwood loyalty program merger, your Starwood-earned points will be worth the same as points earned in the Marriott Rewards program. Before this change, NerdWallet valued Marriott points at about one cent each and Starpoints at an average of 2.3 cents a piece. But with the merger, points in the combined program will be worth on average about one cent.
On Aug. 18, whatever Starpoints you have in your account will be converted to Marriott Rewards at triple the rate. So for every 1 Starpoint you have, it will be converted into 3 points under the new program.
Key changes to the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express include:
- Earn 6 points for every dollar of eligible purchases on the card at participating Marriott International hotels. Terms Apply. Previously it was 2 points for every dollar.
- Earn 2 points for every dollar of eligible purchases on the card. Terms Apply. Previously it was 1 point for every dollar.
- Get a complimentary night (up to 35,000 points) every year after your card anniversary. Terms Apply. The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express didn’t offer this before.
- Automatic Silver Elite Status, and the ability to earn Gold Elite Status after spending $30,000 on eligible purchases in a calendar year. Terms Apply. (Beginning Jan. 1, 2019, cardholders will earn Gold Elite Status after spending $35,000 on their card in a calendar year.)
The card still doesn’t carry any foreign transaction fees, so it remains a good choice for using internationally.
The business version, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express, has also undergone changes to its rewards structure and will offer new cardholders this welcome bonus: Earn 100,000 bonus points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.