Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express

By: Kate Anderson | Updated: 12th November, 2019.

The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express rewards those who travel. Set up around the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) membership scheme (now Marriott Bonvoy), this card is generous for those who spend much and travel often.

Great for: Collecting hotel reward points
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This card unsurprisingly saves its top rewards for SPG members and those who use Starwood and Marriott hotels and resorts. Reward points can be earned on all spend, with even higher rewards earned through stays with the group. Top redemption opportunities come in the form of free stays at Marriott group hotels and free flights. All of this comes with the benefits attached to a high-end American Express card and a welcome offer of 30,000 bonus points when you spend £1,000 in the first three months (subject to eligibility). Just be aware of the £75 annual fee.

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CREDIT RATING req:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Welcome offer of 30,000 points based on spending £1,000 in first three months (subject to eligibility)
  • 3 reward points for every full £1 spent
  • Automatic upgrade to Gold Elite Status after £15,000 in spend during the year
  • Free night award after £25,000 in spend during the year
  • Travel accident and travel inconvenience insurance (subject to enrolment)

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative 39.7% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 22.9% p.a. (variable)
Assumed credit limit £1,200
Annual fee £75

* This is an offer from one of our affiliate partners. Click here to learn more about why and how we work with partners.

what we like

  • Welcome offer of 30,000 points based on spending £1,000 in first three months
  • 3 reward points for every full £1 spent
  • Automatic upgrade to Gold Elite Status after £15,000 in spend during the year
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £75
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    39.7%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    Welcome award of 30,000 bonus points based on spending £1,000 in the first 3 months (subject to eligibility)

KEY SCORES:

  • 5/5 Perks
  • 1/5Fees
  • 2/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Welcome offer of 30,000 points based on spending £1,000 in first three months (subject to eligibility)
  • 3 reward points for every full £1 spent
  • Automatic upgrade to Gold Elite Status after £15,000 in spend during the year
  • Free night award after £25,000 in spend during the year
  • Travel accident and travel inconvenience insurance (subject to enrolment)

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative 39.7% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 22.9% p.a. (variable)
Assumed credit limit £1,200
Annual fee £75

* This is an offer from one of our affiliate partners. Click here to learn more about why and how we work with partners.

Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express bottom line

This card unsurprisingly saves its top rewards for SPG members and those who use Starwood and Marriott hotels and resorts. Reward points can be earned on all spend, with even higher rewards earned through stays with the group. Top redemption opportunities come in the form of free stays at Marriott group hotels and free flights. All of this comes with the benefits attached to a high-end American Express card and a welcome offer of 30,000 bonus points when you spend £1,000 in the first three months (subject to eligibility). Just be aware of the £75 annual fee.

Credit Rating Requirement: Good/Excellent

What I like about the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express

This card rewards high spenders, with perks reserved for those who hit certain spend levels in a year.

  • Welcome bonus – This card offers a big welcome bonus for a comparatively low price. New cardmembers can earn 30,000 bonus points if they spend £1,000 in the first three months of card membership. Considering the minimum spend attached to some of the other offers on this card, this is a generous introductory offer if you qualify.
  • Additional perks – The card offers several extra perks that depend upon a minimum annual spend. You can earn yourself an automatic upgrade to Gold Elite Status if you spend £15,000 on purchases on your card each year. Similarly, you receive a free-night award for each year when you spend £25,000 on the card.
  • Reward points – As it is part of the SPG scheme (now Marriott Bonvoy), this card has a two-tiered system for earning reward points. Cardholders earn 3 points for every full £1 spent on their card. It gets even better when that spend is at hotels in the Marriott family. The normal points that would be earned as an SPG (Bonvoy) member when staying at Starwood and Marriott hotels and resorts are stacked on top of the points earned on the card. But it gets better, because, until 31 December 2019, there’s a second points tier. American Express will award cardholders 6 points for each £1 spent at participating Starwood and Marriott properties. Essentially, you will be rewarded very generously any time you flash your plastic at one of the qualifying properties.
  • Reward redemption – Reward points are all well and good if you can earn yourself something useful with them. In the case of this card, points can be redeemed against stays at hotels within the group or on flights with over 150 airlines, with no blackout dates. Or if that doesn’t suit you, there is also the option to transfer your points to participating airline frequent flyer programmes. You can even exchange points for gift cards (best to avoid that though, as redemption rates are low!).
  • Travel offers – Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express is set up for those who like to travel. It’s therefore not surprising that travel insurance comes as part of the package. Cardholders need to enrol in these programmes (that is, it’s not automatic), but once enroled you can use the card to take advantage of cover of up to £150,000 on public transport and travel inconvenience insurance covering flight cancellations and delayed baggage.
  • Worth knowing – You are not eligible for the welcome award if you hold a personal American Express card or have held one in the past 24 months.

Why trust me


Kate Anderson
I worked on the front line of personal-finance best buys for over eight years at one of the world’s largest research companies, Nielsen. I reported daily on the developments of the 2008 financial crisis and beyond, keeping up with the changing financial landscape and providing insights to all the major banks in the UK. I know the key players in the market and the tactics behind how they behave. All of which I will apply to highlight the best deals and give honest reviews to help you in your search.

What could be improved?

Cardholders stand to gain a lot from a card like this, but it doesn’t come for free.

  • Annual fee – The card has an annual fee of £75. Considering it is a high-end credit card this isn’t surprising, and it’s not as high as some other higher-end cards, but it is worth factoring in this cost alongside the minimum spend requirements for some of the rewards.
  • Welcome award eligibility – This is the same across most American Express cards, but you will not be eligible for the welcome award if you hold a personal American Express card or have held one in the past 24 months. It is typical to have some sort of restriction for existing customers and welcome rewards, but two years is at the higher end.
  • Overseas usage – Strange considering the card is very much focused on travel benefits, but it carries a foreign transaction fee of 2.99%.

How does the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express offer stack up?

The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express is very much set up for those who are part of the SPG member (Marriott Bonvoy) scheme and who like to flash their cash. The annual fee of £75 is high. The top redemption opportunities are all tied to spending at Starwood and Marriott hotels and resorts, which is great if this is how and where you already spend your money, especially as you get an extra points boost until the end of 2019. But the rewards are not as competitive if you are not an SPG member and are after a more generalised reward programme. Added to that, there are minimum spend requirements for some of the rewards.

The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express credit score

American Express requires applicants to have no history of bad debt, be aged 18 or over and be UK residents. 

In more general terms, you’re going to need a good or excellent credit score to be approved for this card. If you’re not sure what a ‘good’ credit score is, we explain more about credit scores here. And you can learn more about checking your credit score here.

Another option if you’re unsure about whether you qualify is to look out for the ‘check your eligibility’ option on American Express’s page for the card. That eligibility check will give you a good idea of whether you’d qualify, and won’t hurt your credit if you don’t qualify.

How do you apply?

You can apply through the American Express website. The application will reportedly take less than 10 minutes, and you will receive a response in 60 seconds.

You will need to provide personal information, including your income and employment details.

Is the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express right for you?

If you are an SPG / Marriott Bonvoy member and travel a lot, then this card is primed to reward you generously. If you are happy with a £75 annual fee, then you look to gain from reward points, free nights, access to Gold Elite Status, travel cover and refund and purchase protection, as well as the ability to use your points against hotel accommodation and flights. However, if you are not an SPG or Marriott customer, this may not be the best fit and you could be better off considering an American Express card that offers more generalised rewards.

See the Best Reward Credit Cards


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