There a handful of travel credit cards that are on my list of favorites because they have quickly and easily allowed my family to see and do wonderful things for nearly free.

Two of these are the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Cards from American Express. These SPG hotels credit cards have enabled my family to have ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME experiences like watching the Cubs play at Wrigley Field in the SPG Hotels Luxury Suite to enjoying “School of Rock” on Broadway in second-row seats. SPG rewards are truly amazing!

Le Meridien-Chicago-Oakbrook

Le Meridien Chicago-Oakbrook is one of many really cool properties from Starwood Hotels. Credit Le Meridien Chicago-Oakbrook

SPG offers two credit cards — one personal and one business — and right now they are offering a 25,000-point sign-up bonus each. The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express (personal) requires a $3000 minimum spend in three months, while the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express requires a $5000 minimum spend in three months.

I signed up for both of these last year and used the points to book our Cubs tickets for four and tickets to “School of Rock” on Broadway. Remember, with AMEX cards, you can only earn the bonus points once in a lifetime per card and these will also count toward Chase’s limit of five new credit cards within 24 months in order to be approved for any Chase cards.

Note: To apply for the credit cards included in this post, please start at TRAVEL CREDIT CARDS on the main menu above or click on the purple buttons within the post. This allows me to earn a commission — at not cost to you — so that I can pay the blogging bills and continue to bring you great content FREE! I sincerely appreciate you taking this step! To find the AMEX business card, click on Small Business on the left once you are on the Travel Credit Cards page.


Here is a list of 10 of the best reasons you should add these two cards to your wallet that range from free hotel stays and upgrades to car rental vouchers and airline miles.

10 Reasons to Add Starwood Preferred Guest Cards to Your Wallet

 1.  Get FREE Hotel Nights

Le Meridien Delfina Santa Monica

Stay at Le Meridien Delfina Santa Monica using your Starpoints!

You’re reading Go to Travel Gal, because you want to learn how to travel nearly free, right? Well, part of that is scoring not only free flights (with my favorite way, of course, the Southwest Companion Pass), but also figuring out free places to stay on those trips. Signing up for the Starwood credit cards will currently net you 58,000 Starpoints! That is A LOT OF FREE hotel nights. Plus, when you redeem points for 4 hotel nights, Starwood throws in your 5th night FREE!

Starwood brands include Le Meridien, Aloft, W Hotels, Element, Westin and Sheraton. SPG Rewards members, which is the company’s loyalty program, also get keyless entry using your phone along with free WiFi.

Starwood hotel categories and points required to book them are:

Category 1 – 3000 points per night

Category 2 – 4000 points per night

Category 3 – 7000 points per night

Category 4 – 10,000 points per night

Category 5 – 12,000-16,000 points per night

Category 6 – 20,000-25,000 points per night

Category 7 – 30,000-35,000 points per night

If you earned ALL 58,000 points, that would number 19 room nights at Category 1 properties, 14 room nights at Category 2 properties, 8 room nights for Category 3 properties and almost 2 nights for the most luxurious Category 7 properties all around the world. You choose! Plus, if you stay at least 4 nights at one property, they throw in your 5th night, which just adds to these totals.

All of this just by using these cards for everyday expenses to meet the minimum spend!

2.   Upgrade Your SPG Hotel Room

Starting at just 1000 Starpoints, you can also use SPG points in your account to upgrade to a larger room, suite, room with a better view or even Sheraton Club rooms at any Starwood property.

3.   Redeem Starpoints for Amenities at SPG Hotels

10 Reasons to Sign up for Starwood Preferred Guest AMEX

Via their “Instant Awards” program, SPG Rewards offers luxury benefits. For example, you can redeem points for amenities like meals, massages and more at select hotels.

4.   Save HALF on Your Next SPG Hotel Stay

Starwood allows you to redeem just 1000 Starpoints and save HALF off the FULL PRICE rate when you book a one- to five-night stay at an SPG hotel! That’s a great deal!

5.  Enjoy Life-Changing Experiences Through SPG Moments

SPG Moments Chicago Cubs

Through the SPG Moments program, you can either bid on or purchase tickets to experiences like MLB games, concerts, music festivals, live tapings of TV shows, NBA games, singing the National Anthem at a Cubs game, and much more! Here are 9 incredible SPG Moments you can enjoy. Check back often, as they are always adding new Moments to the list.

6.  Get More Marriott Rewards Points

Enjoy staying at Marriott? Marriott purchased Starwood Hotels in 2016, and as a result, you can now transfer points between the two programs. 1 SPG Starpoint will convert to 3 Marriott Rewards points. So by signing up for these cards, you could net yourself ~250,000 Marriott points — all for just meeting the minimum spend!

7.  Earn Money Toward a Rental Car

Car Rental SPG Starpoints

You can trade 3500 Starpoints for a $50 Avis voucher good toward your next rental car!

8.  Earn Miles for Free Flights

Transfer Starpoints for free flights

You can transfer Starpoints to 36 different airlines, including Delta, United, Alaska, British Airways, Jet Blue and Singapore Airlines, nearly all at a 1:1 ratio. This can be a great way to boost your airline miles beyond airline credit card bonuses. Plus, Starwood throws in a bonus 5000 miles for every 20,000 points you transfer. We used this option to boost our points needed to fly to Europe this summer by transferring Starpoints to British Airways Avios.

9.   Take the Train

Always wanted to take a train? Starwood allows members to transfer Starpoints at a 1:1 ratio to Amtrak Guest Rewards.

10.  Buy Broadway Tickets

School of Rock with SPG Moments

Second-row seats for “School of Rock” on Broadway, 2016

Through Starwood’s partnership with Audience Rewards, SPG Reward members redeem Starpoints or Starpoints + Cash to see Broadway shows. Here’s how I got 4 tickets for the price of 1 using Starpoints.


Have I convinced you yet? There are plenty of uses for Starpoints to help you save on all aspects of travel from train trips to flights to hotel rooms and incredible experiences. You won’t regret adding these cards. They are definitely in my top 7!

One point to keep in mind: Chase is picky about who they do and don’t approve (see note about about their 5 cards in 24 months rule in order to be approved), so I would advise making sure you have the cards you need to earn the Southwest Companion Pass first, THEN applying for these additional cards to round out your portfolio.

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