Great Perks for Starwood Loyalists
The Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) card offers some useful benefits to frequent travelers, all for a relatively low annual fee. The most visible benefit is an additional Starpoint per dollar spent on stays at Starwood hotels. This applies to all dollars spent - I have sometimes even received this bonus when simply dining at a restaurant affiliated with a Starwood hotel. If you are a Platinum Preferred Guest in the SPG program, this raises your total points per dollar to a whopping five. The points stack up fast, and are much more valuable than AmEx Membership Rewards points, particularly if you are using them for a Starwood stay.
You also get a two-stay and five-night credit that applies toward the elite level qualification requirements. There have been a couple years where I have been a little short of qualifying, and this benefit saved my status. It would be nice if the card itself came with automatic status, as do some other travel cards - however, this would likely mean a higher annual fee. It would also be nice if the card waived foreign transaction fees - unlike some competitors, it does not. This is surprising, given the global portfolio of Starwood hotels. Nevertheless, this card is a good value if you are loyal to the Starwood portfolio.