Who Is the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Card Good For?
If you’re a small business owner or an independent contractor looking for a co-branded hotel rewards card that has very flexible redemption options, you should consider getting the Starwood Preferred Guest Business card from American Express. The SPG Business Amex comes with some nice perks that you won’t get with the personal SPG credit card.
One of those benefits is complimentary access to Sheraton Club Lounges while staying at Sheraton hotels. The lounge offers free breakfast and afternoon hors d’oeuvres, as well as a comfortable space for relaxing and a business area with computers and printers. Without the SPG Business card, you’ll either need to have Platinum SPG status or pay for access to visit the lounge.
The business card also comes with the option of getting either a five percent discount or two additional bonus Starpoints per dollar spent when you shop with American Express’s OPEN Savings partners. Those partners include FedEx, Hertz, HP, 1-800Flowers.com and Barnes & Noble.
Other card benefits—including up to five points per dollar spent at SPG properties, a 25,000-point sign-up bonus, bonus points for transfers to airlines, free internet and credits toward SPG elite status—are the same with both the personal and business card. The only drawback to the SPG Business card is that the minimum spend is higher. You’ll have to make $5,000 worth of purchases within three months, instead of the $3,000 that’s required with the personal card.
$95 (first year waived)
15.49%, 17.49% or 19.49% based on creditworthiness
You’ll get 25,000 Starpoints after spending $5,000 within the first three months of having the card.
- Up to 5 points spent at SPG properties (2 points from Amex plus 2 to 3 points from SPG, depending on elite status)
- 1 point per dollar for all other purchases
What Do Your Points Get You?
Starpoints are good for getting free stays and upgrades at Starwood properties. A room costs between 3,000 and 35,000 Starpoints per night, depending on the property and the day of the week. Starwood is one of the biggest hotel companies in the world with over 1,200 properties and 11 brands, including:
- The Luxury Collection
- Four Points
- W Hotels
- Le Meridien
- Tribute Portfolio
- Design Hotels
While redeeming for hotel stays may seem like the best use for a co-branded hotel credit card, the greatest strength of the SPG Amex is that you can transfer Starpoints to an incredible 35 different frequent flyer programs. That includes some great partners, such as American, Delta, Alaska Airlines, Emirates, Etihad, Singapore Airlines, Air France KLM and Virgin America, to name a few.
- 5,000 bonus points for transferring 20,000 to a partner airline
- Complimentary Sheraton Club Lounge access
- Free in-room internet and Boingo Wi-Fi worldwide
- Annual credit for five nights and two stays toward SPG Elite status
- 5 percent off or 2 additional points per dollar at Amex Open Savings partners
- SPG Gold status if you spend $30,000 in a year
- No foreign transaction fees
- Points transfer at a rate of 2:1 for United and Gol
- Standard SPG members must transfer at least 2,500 points
- Cannot transfer points to a frequent flyer account in someone else’s name
- Only one transfer permitted per day
How Far Do Your Points Go?
If you plan to transfer your points to a frequent flyer program, be sure to do it in 20,000-point increments. You’ll get a 5,000-point bonus, which translates to 1.25 miles for every Starpoint.
That bonus kicks in for every 20,000 points you transfer, too. You’re limited a maximum of 79,999 points per transfer, so you won’t want to move more than 60,000 points at one time. SPG also limits you to one transfer a day.
While neither of those limitations should cause you too much trouble, the speed that SPG transfers might. It can take anywhere from a day to two weeks for transfers to go through, which means that you shouldn’t count on Starpoints for last minute flights or for picking up quick bargains.
Points transfer at a 1:1 ratio for nearly all airline partners, with the exception of United, Gol, Air New Zealand and LATAM Airlines. While you’ll want to avoid using your points for United and Gol since they offer only 1 mile for every 2 Starpoints, LATAM actually gives you a slight bonus of 1.5 miles per Starpoint. You’ll get one Air New Zealand Airpoints Dollar for 65 Starpoints, which is due to the carrier’s unusual redemption rates and currency.
Additional Cardholder Benefits
- Purchase protection
- Car rental loss and damage insurance
- Baggage insurance
- Global Assist Hotline
- Roadside assistance
- Travel accident insurance
- Extended warranty
- Dispute resolution
- Personal business account manager