posted: Feb. 28, 2006 @ 12:53p
Why is this card so hot?! This card earns you free hotel nights, OR free flights.... and at a great rate too. You earn 1 hotel point for every dollar spent toward a free hotel room, or up to 1.25 real airline frequent flier miles. On top of its rewards, the card comes with premium card holder benefits. Starwood is the parent company of Sheraton, Westin, W Hotels, St. Regis, Le Meridien, and The Luxury Collection.
Annual fee- $30, generally waived for the first year, and worth the money any year.
Rewards- Hotel points (1/$) or Real Airline Miles (up to 1.25/$)
APR's- 2.9% Intro, then 17.49%
Bonus- 10,000 bonus points
Apply- Thru This Link Link fixed.
Current Limited-Time Offers
Please let me know if you are aware of any additional current offers for the card.
* [l=10,000 bonus points to sign up] https://www201.americanexpress.com/drivetoweb/DrivetoWebServlet?CardType=6&campaignId=610&request_type=verify[/s]
* 4,000 bonus points for staying at Four Points by Sheraton Register now and stay 4 nights for 4,000 bonus points by booking online or call 888-625-4988 and mention registration code NBE. (Thanks g10ny)
Sure, the rewards are great, but the card itself is excellent as well with a lot of premium credit card features for a low annual fee.
* Buyers Assurance Extended Warranty
* Purchase Protection
* Return Protection
* Best Value Guarantee (BVG)
What could be better.... no capacity restrictions, no blackouts! As AyresFan puts it, if you can get a Starwood room for cash, you can get it for points too. All point requirements are based on hotel category. The more basic hotels are category one, as you move up in quality or move to more sought after locations, you move up in category. Find Category Listings here.
Compare Hotel Rewards-Here's a chart of all of the various rewards options for which you can use Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) points. This include upgrades, free nights, discounts etc.
Free Nights- Okay, so you are ready for a free night? Here's the points it will take. Point requirements based on hotel category.
Points & Cash Rewards- Starts as low as 1,200 points plus $25.
Free Nights & Flights- This is potentially extremely valuable if you have enough points.
There are additional rewards options listed on the SPG website.
You can transfer Starwood points into 'real' frequent flier miles on a 1 to 1 ratio into twenty-six airline frequent flier programs. You can start transferring at just 2,500 miles. Then, the offer really gets great.... For every 20,000 SPG points you turn into miles, you will receive a 5,000 mile bonus. So you are essentially earning 1.25 miles per $ (thats more miles for general purchases than any airline card I know.) Read "Play the System" below in this OP before transferring.
Good Redeptions- Here are the airlines you can transfer 1 Starpoint=1 mile with. Then if you transfer 20,000 points to one of these programs, you'll get 5,000 additional miles. New- Click the linked airlines to view their mileage award charts. That way you'll have a good idea of which program requires the fewest miles for your free trip. As long as they have availability, that would be the airline to transfer miles to.
Air China, Air France/KLM Alaska Airlines,, Alitalia, All Nippon, America West, American, Asiana, British, Cathay, Continental, Delta, Emirates, Hawaiian, KLM/Air France, Lufthansa, Mexicana, Northwest, Qantas, Qatar, Saudi Arabian, Singapore, Swiss, Thai, US Airways Virgin Atlantic.
Poor Redemptions- And here's the programs which you should rule out transferring miles to.
United (2 Starpoints=1 mile), Varig (2=1), Air New Zealand (65=1), Jet Blue (N/A), Southwest (N/A)
Play the System-
With a traditional Airline Credit Card- You are stuck with a steep annual fee ($30-$70 more than this card) and a lackluster choice in rewards. If you have ABC Airline's Credit Card, have all the miles you need, and then realize that XYZ is having a mileage reward sale offering free trips to your destination for fewer miles, or with better schedules.... too bad. You are stuck with ABC.
With the Starwood Card- You can hand pick your rewards. With a bit of research (or advice from fellow FW'ers) you can transfer your points into an airline mileage program requiring the fewest miles and/or offering the best seats, schedules, or bonus offers. Don't forget, it's free and instant to sign up for a frequent flier account. So don't limit yourself to transferring miles into frequent flier programs you are a member of now.
So maybe you've never flown on Singapore Airlines or any of its partners in your life. With SPG, you can still sign up for their mileage program, transfer your points to their program, and travel on this fine airline or one of its partners for free your very first time.
Things to remember-
1) Signing up for a frequent flier program is free, instant, and easy. When you are ready to convert points into miles, don't just look into frequent flier programs you are already a member of. Find the best mileage offer, and if you aren't a member of that program, sign up!
2) Just because ABC airlines doesn't fly between your city and your 'goal destination,' it doesn't mean that they don't have an excellent reward on one of their partner airlines between those two cities. (ie, look at my example.... Cathay has the better offer to Europe, on BA, than BA has itself.
In the "Airline Rewards" section above, you can click on the linked airlines, and I've set up the link to take you directly to the airlines frequent flier redemption chart so that you can see exactly how many miles they require for a free trip to various destinations. I'll continue to add more links.
From what I've heard it can take a long time to transfer your SPG points into miles. Several weeks I think. Please reply to this post and let us know your experience. If thats the only bad part about this card.... no problem. Just keep in mind that when you transfer points into a program, they may have reward seat space available today, but they may not have it by the time your miles make it into the airline account, those seats may no longer be available. The best way to combat this (and get the most value of your miles in any situation) is to plan out your free trip well in advance.
Since you can transfer SPG points to so many airline frequent flier programs, I'd like to create a list of the SPG partner airlines offering the best awards to each destination. It's a work in progress, so the results may change over time (and I don't guarantee their accuracy.) Of course results may differ by your exact deparure city, departure time, routing etc. This list is primarily just 'saver' awards (those which require the fewest miles but often come with the greatest blackouts and capacity restrictions. For this list though, I'll just assume leaving from the Continental U.S. Hopefully this 'short list' will give you an idea of which airline to transfer your miles to in order stretch your points. Y=Coach, C=Business, F=First
Alaska.....Y....Alaska.....20,000..Other airlines usually 40,000
Europe.....C....Cathay.....50,000..Book on British using Cathay Miles (parners)
Mexico.....Y....American...25,000..Most airlines 35,000
* cbass98's Thread Discusses the 6,000 points bonus for signing up. (The standard bonus is 4,000)
* Travel Credit Cards An in depth discussion about which credit cards to use to get you on your next trip, and which ones to use once you're there. A good place to see how Starwood compares against other travel reward cards. Plus the OP has a formula to calculate the value of a mile.
* FlyerTalk SPG Thread Also a good resource.
More coming.... reply with any additional information.[/L]