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Starwood Boosts Sign-Up Bonus for SPG Credit Card

The standard sign-up bonus for Starwood’s justifiably popular credit card is 25,000 points after spending $3,000 in three months. Although that’s a decidedly modest bonus by the standards of current credit card enrollment promotions, the card remains a top-seller. And when the bonus is increased, as happens periodically, a good deal gets even better.

Offer Details

Through September 14, new customers for the Starwood Preferred Guest credit card can earn 30,000 bonus points after charging at least $3,000 to the card within three months.

Deal or No Deal

The Starwood card has been called the Swiss Army knife of travel-rewards credit cards, because it isn’t just a hotel-points generator.

In addition to being redeemable for free hotel nights, either alone or in combination with cash, Starwood points can be converted into miles in 27 airline programs, including those of Aeroplan, Alaska, American, British Airways, Delta, Hawaiian, and United. Points generally transfer 1:1 for airline miles, although it’s a disappointing 2:1 conversion rate for United miles.

Adding value to that flexibility, there’s a 5,000-point bonus when transferring 20,000 points. So transferring 20,000 Starwood points to American, for example, nets 25,000 AAdvantage miles. With the bonus, then, one dollar charged to the Starwood card is worth 1.25 miles in many airline programs. That’s more than the one-mile-per-dollar earning rate for charges on the airlines’ own co-branded cards. And miles earned with airline cards can’t be readily converted into other programs.

Earlier this month, the card benefits were expanded to include the following:

  • No foreign transactions fees
  • Complimentary unlimited access to Boingo WiFi
  • Complimentary premium WiFi access at Starwood hotels
  • Access to Sheraton Club lounges (business card only)

There’s a price to be paid for those new perks: The annual fee rose from $65 to $95, but it’s still waived for the first year.

Adding to the reasons to apply for the Starwood card is the current stay promotion for cardholders: a one-time 1,000-point bonus after staying two eligible nights, through August 31. That bonus in turn is combinable with Starwood’s “Make It Count” summer promotion: 1,000 bonus points for every stay of two or more consecutive nights that includes a weekend night, also in effect through the end of August.

As travel-rewards credit cards go, Starwood’s is one of the best. And given the history of the card’s sign-up promotions, a 30,000-point bonus is likely to be as good as it’s going to get. ‘Nuf said.

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