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SoBeyondTheNorm said: I'm wondering though, is it possible to earn the additional 6K points in the first year but just eating lunch at a Starwood hotel and that would count as a stay?
Lunch is not equal to a stay.

Don't forget that they are one of the only programs that I know of that will let you redeem a combination of cash & points towards a night stay. So you can 'save' a bit on your per night stays, even with a low amount of points accumulated.

See below:

-------------------------------------
Redeem Your Starpoints
CASH & POINTS*

Stretch your Starpoints! Starwood Preferred GuestŪ lets you redeem free nights using a combination of cash and StarpointsŪ. Please note that participating hotels outside the U.S. feature the same Starpoint values combined with the local currency equivalent at time of reservation.*

Minimum Starpoints Needed, by Hotel/Resort Category* per night:
Cat 1 Cash & Points 1,200 Starpoints + $25
Cat 2 1,600 Starpoints + $30
Cat 3 2,800 Starpoints + $45
Cat 4 4,000 Starpoints + $60
Cat 5 n/a
Cat 6 n/a

* Terms & Conditions:

Offer is valid for all Starwood Preferred Guests.
Offer is valid at promotion participating properties only.
Offer is based upon availability and on single or double occupancy; charge may apply for additional guests.
Guest is responsible for all taxes and service charges affiliated with the award reservation.
Local guarantee and cancellation policy applies.
Guest will not receive Starpoints or airline miles for their reservation; therefore, a Cash & Points stay does not qualify as an eligible stay toward earning elite level or toward any promotions requiring nights or stays.
Due to local currency fluctuations for hotels outside the U.S. the cash component of this award will be quoted at the time of the reservation and will remain static until the reservation is consumed.

Have any of you ever stay in a country for a period of time (more than 6 months) and using the SPG?

I'll be having a job rotation to a country(Asia) where they only have 3 type of AMEX cards and 2 of them are charge cards. I am wondering if it's a good decision to keep using my SPG (or any AMEX cards in general) in that country or just apply for new cards in that country?

PS: I'll be there for up to 2 years.

yes, i spent a year in europe using my AMEX spg regularly. they only gotcha is that AMEX puts a foreign currency conversion surcharge onto each charge (2%). if you can apply for a card issued in the country you'll be in, then i'd recommend going that route.

for more information on the starwood program, i woudl recommend checking out flyertalk

OP: The title confuses me a bit. One can double the Starwood reward points if one pays income tax with this card. The "2x points for taxes" may be modified to "double points for tax payment."

Great thread! Thanks OP!

Not all starwood hotels allow you to do that.
WVU said: Don't forget that they are one of the only programs that I know of that will let you redeem a combination of cash & points towards a night stay. So you can 'save' a bit on your per night stays, even with a low amount of points accumulated.

See below:

-------------------------------------
Redeem Your Starpoints
CASH & POINTS*

Stretch your Starpoints! Starwood Preferred GuestŪ lets you redeem free nights using a combination of cash and StarpointsŪ. Please note that participating hotels outside the U.S. feature the same Starpoint values combined with the local currency equivalent at time of reservation.*

Minimum Starpoints Needed, by Hotel/Resort Category* per night:
Cat 1 Cash & Points 1,200 Starpoints + $25
Cat 2 1,600 Starpoints + $30
Cat 3 2,800 Starpoints + $45
Cat 4 4,000 Starpoints + $60
Cat 5 n/a
Cat 6 n/a

* Terms & Conditions:

Offer is valid for all Starwood Preferred Guests.
Offer is valid at promotion participating properties only.
Offer is based upon availability and on single or double occupancy; charge may apply for additional guests.
Guest is responsible for all taxes and service charges affiliated with the award reservation.
Local guarantee and cancellation policy applies.
Guest will not receive Starpoints or airline miles for their reservation; therefore, a Cash & Points stay does not qualify as an eligible stay toward earning elite level or toward any promotions requiring nights or stays.
Due to local currency fluctuations for hotels outside the U.S. the cash component of this award will be quoted at the time of the reservation and will remain static until the reservation is consumed.

bozo007 said: SoBeyondTheNorm said: I'm wondering though, is it possible to earn the additional 6K points in the first year but just eating lunch at a Starwood hotel and that would count as a stay?
Lunch is not equal to a stay.


Actually, some people have reported success buying things at the hotel. The trick is it needs to appear on your credit card as being billed by the Hotel, not the resturant. Often the resturant will allow you to pay your bill at the front desk if you ask, so give it a try.

FFGuru said: You cannot transfer points to miles until you have reached the 20,000 point threshold.
FFGuru, thanks for putting this together. A few points:
1. I don't believe this statement is true. The minimum number of points in a transfer is 2,500 for regular members, 1,500 for gold members, and no minimum for platinum. You can see this in the SPG T&C here (under EARNING AND USING STARPOINTS WITH PROGRAM PARTNERS).
2. One thing you should point out about the hotel awards is that they are not capacity controlled (as cryptopunk noted earlier). Meaning if there is a room you can reserve using cash, you can also use points to reserve the room. This is a huge benefit.
3. Normally SPG accounts will expire if there is you are not an "active" member. SPG updated their T&C within the last year to indicate that earning points with the AMEX SPG card makes someone active. But if you cancel your AMEX SPG card, you need to keep your account active by earning points "as a result of activities at participating Starwood Properties" or use your points within a year from the last time you earned any. They are very strict about this.

Link goes to paypal.

Great thread.

I have had my SPG card for 5 years. I was able to get the $30 fee waived the first 3 years. THey would not waive the 4th year, but as others have pointed out, it is well worth the $30.

Thanks OP for all these detailed info!

bugpowder said: Link goes to paypal.
Because OP used a http tag for a https link.

StarHusker said: bugpowder said: Link goes to paypal.
Because OP used a http tag for a https link.


fixed... sorry

ss315 said: Great thread.

I have had my SPG card for 5 years. I was able to get the $30 fee waived the first 3 years. THey would not waive the 4th year, but as others have pointed out, it is well worth the $30.


Did you threaten to cancel for the first three years?

Does anyone know how many days it takes to transfer the starwood points into one of those mileage programs?

FFGuru said:
* Double Points for paying off your taxes Thru April 17
Don't overlook the 2.49% "convenience" fee charged by the payment service provider. That negates most, if not all, of the benefit of double points.

TheGrayMan said: FFGuru said:
* Double Points for paying off your taxes Thru April 17
Don't overlook the 2.49% "convenience" fee charged by the payment service provider. That negates most, if not all, of the benefit of double points.


Good point, TheGrayMan, thus the "double points for taxes" may not qualify to be a "striking feature" of this card (highlighted in thread title).

Good point. Thanks!

76hhma said: ss315 said: Great thread.

I have had my SPG card for 5 years. I was able to get the $30 fee waived the first 3 years. THey would not waive the 4th year, but as others have pointed out, it is well worth the $30.


Did you threaten to cancel for the first three years?


OK, I tried (this is my second year) to get my annual fee ($30) waived today. After some conversation with the retention dept., I got a statement credit for $15; FYI. ss315 must be very good at negotiating to have annual fee waived for three years.

the perks aren't great (upgrades for golds are almost non-existent)

I dont agree with that.. I've been SPG Gold for 3 years now and have ALWAYS been upgraded at various SPG properties worldwide.

Great post OP

ps. Anyone travelling to Amsterdam should book their stay at the SPG property call the Pulitzer Hotel. It was featured in the movie Oceans 12. Just returned and it was great (and free!)

This card has a bunch of nice features like BVG and free extra warranty time (matching up to a year). Great for that new De11 600m lappy...

As snipped from AMEX's web site [My notes are in italics]:

Buyer's Assurance [Double a 1 yr warranty]
With the Buyer's Assurance Plan, you can shop worry-free knowing that the terms of the original manufacturer's warranty will be matched up to one additional year, on warranties of five years or less that are eligible in the U.S.

Online Fraud Protection Guarantee
Use the American Express Card online, and you won't be responsible for any fraudulent charges. Period. No fine print, no deductible - just pure protection, so you can shop with confidence anywhere on the Internet.

Purchase Protection Plan
Shop with confidence and the Purchase Protection Plan, which protects eligible purchases made with the Card against accidental damage and theft for up to 90 days from the date of purchase.

Return Protection
If you try to return a designated item within 90 days from the date of purchase and the merchant won't take it back, American Express will refund the full purchase price, up to $300 per item, excluding shipping and handling.

Best Value Guarantee [ a.k.a. BVG, necessary on some FW deals ]
Getting the lowest price is easy. If you see an identical covered item advertised in print at a lower price than you paid, within 60 days of the purchase date, we will reimburse you for the difference, up to $250 per item excluding taxes, shipping and handling, and up to $1,000 annually per Card Account. For more details, or to file a claim, call 1-800-557-8317.

I think someone else mentioned this in the thread, but if you want to get the additional 6K pts, you may not need to stay at the hotel. You can try to buy a Coke at the cafe or something. As long as the charge comes from "Starwoods" and not "Tom's Diner," you may be able to get the 1K bonus. Some guys on Flyertalk have had this happen (seems like a 50/50 shot). Doesn't hurt to try.

FFGuru said: Rewards- Hotel points (3/$ @ Starwood, 1/$ elsewhere) or Real Airline Miles (up to 1.25/$)

This is good card, but this statement is not very accurate, this card is flat 1 point/dollar card. the extra 2 points when staying at Starwood is coming from SPG program, you will get it if you are SPG member and use whatever card.

76hhma said: 76hhma said: ss315 said: Great thread.

I have had my SPG card for 5 years. I was able to get the $30 fee waived the first 3 years. THey would not waive the 4th year, but as others have pointed out, it is well worth the $30.


Did you threaten to cancel for the first three years?


OK, I tried (this is my second year) to get my annual fee ($30) waived today. After some conversation with the retention dept., I got a statement credit for $15; FYI. ss315 must be very good at negotiating to have annual fee waived for three years.


Just a bit of persistence. And yes, I did threaten to cancel if they did not waive the fee.

Cbass98 said: I think someone else mentioned this in the thread, but if you want to get the additional 6K pts, you may not need to stay at the hotel. You can try to buy a Coke at the cafe or something. As long as the charge comes from "Starwoods" and not "Tom's Diner," you may be able to get the 1K bonus. Some guys on Flyertalk have had this happen (seems like a 50/50 shot). Doesn't hurt to try.

This may work, but it is a big YMMV. Basically if the hotel hotel restaurant bill can be charged to your room (no you don't have to be staying there) it may work. Some Starwoods retaurants are independent of the hotel they are in. Kinda like McDonalds in Wally World...

I have had the card for 4 years and have been very pleased with it due to the $30 fee and all of the features. Thanks for the thread OP ... I will have to try the trick with the buying a coke at a Starwood hotel.

cryptopunk said: they only gotcha is that AMEX puts a foreign currency conversion surcharge onto each charge (2%). if you can apply for a card issued in the country you'll be in, then i'd recommend going that routeOr just use any Capital One CC.

this card is GREAAAAAAAAAT
me and husband always go on one-night mini-honeymoons for free at various hotels in tri-state area
its a blast when its free
you can get upgraded to gold for free, (there was a thread abt this on FW), and then you get 3 pts for every dollar that you spend in the hotel, on say, movies, drinks, etc
plus you get the reg 1 pt per dollar for using the card, so technically you get 4 pts for every dollar you spend in the starwood hotel
i SWEAR by this card, worth e/ penny of the $30

DBTZ said: this card is GREAAAAAAAAAT......
you can get upgraded to gold for free, (there was a thread abt this on FW)


I remember that thread too, but I can't seem to find it anywhere. Do you remember where you saw it? I know you can get upgraded to Gold automatically by joining Ameniti (United Airlines' premier travel club) That may be an option, and when combined with the free companion travel, it may make it worth the steep Ameniti membership. For more info on Ameniti click here. Have they stopped giving out tremendous bonus miles for signing up?

How else can one upgrade to Starwood gold for the free upgrades?

FFGuru said: DBTZ said: this card is GREAAAAAAAAAT......
you can get upgraded to gold for free, (there was a thread abt this on FW)


I remember that thread too, but I can't seem to find it anywhere. Do you remember where you saw it? I know you can get upgraded to Gold automatically by joining Ameniti (United Airlines' premier travel club) That may be an option, and when combined with the free companion travel, it may make it worth the steep Ameniti membership. For more info on Ameniti click here. Have they stopped giving out tremendous bonus miles for signing up?

How else can one upgrade to Starwood gold for the free upgrades?


your right, i cant seem to find that thread anymore
glad i got in

Dynastar454 said: bozo007 said: SoBeyondTheNorm said: I'm wondering though, is it possible to earn the additional 6K points in the first year but just eating lunch at a Starwood hotel and that would count as a stay?
Lunch is not equal to a stay.


Actually, some people have reported success buying things at the hotel. The trick is it needs to appear on your credit card as being billed by the Hotel, not the resturant. Often the resturant will allow you to pay your bill at the front desk if you ask, so give it a try.


this is true i just parked at a Sheraton once for 10 bucks and when my statement came i got an extra 1000 points for my first "stay" pretty sweet

How does this card compare to Fidelity AMEX Gold? Gold's annual fee is picked up by Fidelity (w/ 5k assets) but costs 35 for rewards network so i guess a rub in cost.

FFGuru

double (or) triple GREEN for you !

i have not seen this type of detail in the threads.
thx you very much for the efforts! this ffb thing is complicated,
yet you have given to much details which we truly appreciate.

nice to have rewards just for shopping.
thx you. will post when i getmy first reward.

Bummer, I applied for the card last week (through the AMEX website) and forgot to use cbass98's application link to get the sweet 6,000 bonus miles. I called AMEX to try and change it and the CSR said they cannot give me the cbass98 card offer.

Anybody know of a way to get my card offer changed to the one linked in this thread? I am thinking I should call the application department and maybe someboby there can help me out.

thrusty said: Bummer, I applied for the card last week (through the AMEX website) and forgot to use cbass98's application link to get the sweet 6,000 bonus miles. I called AMEX to try and change it and the CSR said they cannot give me the cbass98 card offer.

Anybody know of a way to get my card offer changed to the one linked in this thread? I am thinking I should call the application department and maybe someboby there can help me out.


Call higher-up manager... usually they will accept a faxed copy of the offer or even a reference to that web page. Good luck!

76hhma said: thrusty said: Bummer, I applied for the card last week (through the AMEX website) and forgot to use cbass98's application link to get the sweet 6,000 bonus miles. I called AMEX to try and change it and the CSR said they cannot give me the cbass98 card offer.

Anybody know of a way to get my card offer changed to the one linked in this thread? I am thinking I should call the application department and maybe someboby there can help me out.


Call higher-up manager... usually they will accept a faxed copy of the offer or even a reference to that web page. Good luck!


Yeah, that's probably what I should do. Get past the CSR and find somebody with more power, thanks for your help!

thrusty said: 76hhma said: thrusty said: Bummer, I applied for the card last week (through the AMEX website) and forgot to use cbass98's application link to get the sweet 6,000 bonus miles. I called AMEX to try and change it and the CSR said they cannot give me the cbass98 card offer.

Anybody know of a way to get my card offer changed to the one linked in this thread? I am thinking I should call the application department and maybe someboby there can help me out.


Call higher-up manager... usually they will accept a faxed copy of the offer or even a reference to that web page. Good luck!


Yeah, that's probably what I should do. Get past the CSR and find somebody with more power, thanks for your help!


when i started the card in late 2004, they werent offering any bonus points.
abt 6 months later they began offering 4,000 points so i called up and told them that i just started the card and they shouldve offered me the points. took a good hlaf hour on the phone, but i did get my points credited (like 12 weeks later or whatever)
good luck to you
dont give up!!

It worked they gave it to me! Thanks for the advice.

DBTZ said: FFGuru said: DBTZ said: this card is GREAAAAAAAAAT......
you can get upgraded to gold for free, (there was a thread abt this on FW)


I remember that thread too, but I can't seem to find it anywhere. Do you remember where you saw it? I know you can get upgraded to Gold automatically by joining Ameniti (United Airlines' premier travel club) That may be an option, and when combined with the free companion travel, it may make it worth the steep Ameniti membership. For more info on Ameniti click here. Have they stopped giving out tremendous bonus miles for signing up?

How else can one upgrade to Starwood gold for the free upgrades?


your right, i cant seem to find that thread anymore
glad i got in


I got complementary Gold SPG status by having an AMEX Platinum Card. (It has the be the regular AMEX Platinum Card)

I know some of you have various cards, and if you call SPG and tell them you have the Platinum Card, they will upgrade you to Gold....

I don't know if thats just for the first year of if it's indefinately. I became Platinum with SPG shortly after that.

Thanks for all the useful information and the link for the 6000 bonus points!



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