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The Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Card: Is It A Must Have?

Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card
This card is not available through ValuePenguin.
Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card
This card is not available through ValuePenguin.

The Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Card: Is It A Must Have?

An excellent card for those who often visit Starwood and Marriott hotels.
Editor's Rating: 4.5/5.0
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Editor's Rating

{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

4.5/5.0

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication. This site may be compensated through a credit card partnership.

Note: As of February 13, 2019, the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card is now the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card. The Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card is no longer accepting applications.

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The Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card will be worth more than its $450 annual fee for those who can use its $300 hotel credit (good for Starwood or Marriott purchases) as well as the free annual hotel night, which can be redeemed for a stay worth up to $500. However, if you're after a card that will give you ultimate flexibility, then we recommend a card in the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

Review: Our Thoughts on the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card

The Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card's most attractive feature is its high rewards earnings on all purchases, which is fairly uncommon among co-branded credit cards. The Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card allows you to earn 6 points on Starwood and Marriott direct purchases, a 3 points per dollar at U.S. restaurants and flights booked directly with airlines, and 2 points per dollar for all other purchases. The points are best used on Marriott and SPG bookings. However, you can also transfer them to a variety of airline programs. Combined, these features give this card utility both as a specialty-use card for Starwood and Marriott purchases and as an everyday-use card.

The Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card is also great for those looking for general travel benefits. The $300 Starwood and Marriott hotel credit, airport lounge access, and Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® statement credit are on par with what's offered by some of the best premium travel cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Additionally, the perks that come with automatic Gold Elite status—which include late checkout and enhanced room upgrades (based on availability)—can be valuable to those who often stay at Starwood and Marriott hotels.

The old Starwood cards were renowned for their versatility, and while the new ones are just as versatile, they make you spend more to get there. For every $1 charged to the old SPG cards, on general purchases, you'd earn 1 Starpoint or 1 mile with any of the 30 participating airline programs. With the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card, you have to spend a little bit more than a $1 per mile.

Bottom Line: The Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card is a great hotel card that will be worth its $450 annual fee for frequent Starwood and Marriott guests. However, it's worth checking out a few other options before you apply.

Benefits and Features

With the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card, cardholders can earn 6 points per dollar spent at Starwood and Marriott, 3 points per dollar spent at U.S. restaurants and flights (when booked directly through the airline), and 2 points per dollar spent on all other purchases. If you spend $5000 in purchases in the first three months after account opening, you'll be rewarded with a 100,000 point welcome bonus.

Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card
This card is not available through ValuePenguin.
Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card
This card is not available through ValuePenguin.

Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card

Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card
This card is not available through ValuePenguin.
Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card
This card is not available through ValuePenguin.
Annual Fee
$450
*Rates and Fees
APR
17.24% to 26.24% Variable
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
N/A
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

This card will launch under a revamped loyalty program with combined points with Marriott, Ritz-Carlton and Starwood hotels. This means that the points the earned with the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card will not be the Starpoints we have previously valued at 2.4 cents each. Currently, we estimate that a single point under the new program will be worth 1 cent each, but this may change as we get closer to August.

The points earned with the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card can be redeemed for hotel nights at Marriott, Ritz-Carlton and Starwood hotels. They can also be transferred to a number of airline loyalty programs at a rate of 3:1. And for every 60,000 points that are transferred to miles, cardholders will receive an additional 15,000 bonus points, resulting in a total of 25,000 miles (60,000 points + 15,000 bonus points = 75,000 points * ⅓ transfer ratio = 25,000 miles).

Hotel Statement Credit

To help make up for the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card's $450 annual fee, it also comes with a $300 credit for purchases made directly with Starwood or Marriott. Cardholders receive this benefit every year on the anniversary of their account opening. This is similar to what other premium hotel and travel cards—such as The Platinum Card® from American Express and the Citi Prestige® Card—offer.

Comparing the Starwood Preferred Guest Luxury Credit Card's $300 Hotel Credit to Other Card Offers'

Free Nights

One of the most sought-after rewards for hotel credit cards is free hotel nights—which the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card features. Cardholders can earn an annual free night each year when they renew their accounts. However, these free night awards are restricted to Starwood and Marriott stays with redemption rates of 50,000 points or less.

Additional Benefits

Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®. Like many premium travel and hotel cards, the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card gives users a statement credit to cover the application cost for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®. These programs give travelers the convenience of shorter security lines and expedited clearance when traveling into the U.S. (in the case of Global Entry). The Global Entry program includes access to TSA Precheck and has a higher application cost of $100—compared to $85 for TSA Pre✓®. For this reason, we recommend cardholders apply for Global Entry over TSA Pre✓®. Cardholders can receive this benefit every four years.

Priority Pass™ Select. Travelers with the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card can also receive free enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select, which gives you access to more than 1,000 airport lounges. When you're enrolled in this program you and two guests (when permitted) may enter these lounges for free, but any additional guests you bring must pay $27 per visit. This benefit is fairly common among elite travel and hotel cards.

Gold Elite Status. The Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card also grants cardholders a number of Starwood- and Marriott-specific rewards that can be very valuable for frequent guests. One of these benefits is automatic Gold Elite status, which would normally require you to stay 25 nights at Starwood hotels within a calendar year. This grants travelers a 25% point bonus (for points earned through the loyalty program, not with their Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card), late checkout and enhanced room upgrades (based on availability), as well as other benefits.

15 Elite Qualifying Nights. Starting in 2019, Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card cardholders can receive 15 nights toward the next tier of status in the Marriott Rewards program every calendar year their account is open. This puts users well on their way to achieving Platinum Elite status, which requires users to stay 50 nights per year.

How Does the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card Compare to Other Credit Cards?

Comparing offers is an important part of shopping for credit cards because it gives you a better sense of the card's strengths and weaknesses. Below we have compared the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card to some of the top travel and hotel cards currently available.

Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card vs Chase Sapphire Reserve®

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a fantastic general travel card and will be better than the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card for those looking to earn a lot of rewards for a greater variety of travel purchases. For example the Chase Sapphire Reserve® lets users earn 3 points per $1 spent on all travel purchases (3 points on travel after you earn the $300 travel credit)—meaning car rentals, taxis and Airbnb purchases have a 4.5% rewards rate. This is much better, in terms of value, than you would earn with the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card on those same purchases. Also, you can transfer the points you earn through the Chase Sapphire Reserve® to a number of airline and hotel programs, adding to its versatility.

Highlights:

  • Receive 3 points per dollar spent on travel and dining and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases (3 points on travel after you earn the $300 travel credit).
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Get a $300 annual travel credit.
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve® Review

Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card vs The Platinum Card® from American Express

If you're looking for a card that will give you lots of premium travel benefits, then it's hard to do better than The Platinum Card® from American Express. While a lot of the value of the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card lies in its ability to earn points, The Platinum Card® from American Express focuses on giving cardholders a number of luxury and cost-saving travel perks. If you are a frequent traveler and can take advantage of the $200 annual Uber credit, the $200 annual airline fee credit and Hilton HHonors™ Gold Status, then The Platinum Card® from American Express is better for you. However, if you won't use these benefits or are more interested in earning free hotel nights, then you should go with the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card.

Highlights:

For rates and fees of the The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card vs Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
This card is not available through ValuePenguin.
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
This card is not available through ValuePenguin.

While the difference in annual fee may seem striking—$450 compared to $95 (waived for the first year)(See Rates & Fees) for the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express—Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card cardholders who use the $300 travel credit will actually be looking at a much smaller difference. The main differentiating factor between the two cards is the bonus points you earn on U.S. restaurant spending and flights booked directly with airlines with the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card. If you consider yourself to be a heavy spender when it comes to travel or dining, you should opt for the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card. If you won't be able to use the hotel statement credit, then you should go with the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express.

Highlights:

The information related to the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express has been collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. This offer and/or promotion may have since changed, expired, or is no longer available.

Comments and Questions

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Info about the following cards: American Express® Gold Card, Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express, Hilton Honors Surpass® Credit Card, American Express® Blue Sky, American Express® Green Card, The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, The Plenti® Credit Card from Amex, Blue from American Express®, Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz, Bluebird, Centurion® Card from American Express, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, and Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card has been collected independently by ValuePenguin. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).

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