Consider This: American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card

I have the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Credit Card.  It's consistently ranked as one of the best travel credit cards, but for some reason I'm kind of ashamed that I pay the $65 annual fee every year to keep it.*  However, this month, I've finally accepted that this card is worth keeping and I'm ready to admit it.  Here's why :

  • Valuable Starwood Points**: Each dollar charged earns 1 Starwood point, while charges at a Starwood property earn 2 points per dollar.  I just redeemed 36,000 Starwood points for 3 nights at the W French Quarter in New Orleans.  If I paid cash for a discounted room rate there, it would have cost me $1,197.41.  In this case, each Starwood point is worth 3.32 cents.  That's some good value! 
  • Starwood Gold Status After Charging $30,000 Per Year: Basically, every year I stop using the card once I hit the $30,000 threshold to earn SPG Gold Status.  This year, after charging enough to reach Gold again, Starwood gave me a bonus gift of either double points for a month or 25% off a rewards stay.  I took the second option and applied it to my upcoming New Orleans stay.  So, that aforementioned stay is now only costing me 27,000 points, upping the value to 4.43 cents per point.
  • Special "Offers for You": When you log into your American Express account, there are a bunch of special offers that you can apply to your credit card with a click of the mouse.  I just used a $10 off $50 at Lowes, which I applied to my account about a month ago and forgot about.  About 15 minutes after I placed my Lowes order this morning, American Express sent me an email confirming that I used the offer.  I don't think I'll use the $5 off $25 at Forever 21, but it can't hurt to save the offer to my card just in case.
  • Twitter Specials: If you follow me on twitter (@OurTipsAndTrick), you'll know I don't really know how to tweet.  However, even I was able to figure out how to take advantage of an AmEx twitter deal to earn a $5 statement credit each time I charge $25 or over at a BP gas station.  First, go to and sync your AmEx with your twitter account.  Second, tweet #AmexBP.  If you receive a reply from @AmexSync, you did it.  Deal expires December 31.  I'll probably save at least $20 with this.  
I Did It!!!
  • Small Business Saturday: Each year, American Express sponsors Small Business Saturday, which provides credit card users statement credits for shopping at a small business.  This year, users who register will receive a one-time $10 statement credit after spending $10 or more at a qualifying small business on November 30.  Last year the amount was $25, but free money is free money.  You can register every AmEx you have and will receive one $10 statement credit per card.  Registration starts November 24.  All I know is I'll be getting myself an essentially free Pork and Fries from Earl's.  
If you don't have this card already, I'm not advocating that you rush out and grab it.  Wait until they offer a 30,000 point sign-up bonus, which if memory serves me, happens at least once a year during the late spring / early summer time frame.  Furthermore, I still can't recommend this as a primary credit card, as I continue to prefer the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Barclay Arrival as a principal card to earn travel rewards.  

If you do have this card or another AmEx, be sure to take advantage of some of the benefits posted above, as they're not all unique to the SPG AmEx.  

* First year annual fee was waived, second year they gave me a $40 statement credit to keep the card, and the last couple years they called my bluff and wouldn't waive or decrease the annual fee.

** Until the next devaluation.  You can also turn 20,000 Starwood points  into 25,000 airline miles, but it can take up to a couple weeks for the transfer to go through.  

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