February 1st is the last day to apply for the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express credit card and pick up the 20,000 SPG points bonus.
The headline details are:
- 20,000 SPG points when you spend £1,000 within 3 months
- 1 SPG point per £1 spent going forward
- £75 annual fee, offset by £40 Quidco cashback
- £30,000 household income requirement
- No problem getting the bonus even if you have a BA, Platinum, Gold or any other Amex
Now, the obvious thing to do with Starwood points is to use them for Sheraton, Westin, W, aloft etc hotel stays. Here is the reward chart if you want to see how far 20,000 points will get you. When my wife got this bonus, I redeemed them for a hotel in Greece that got me £370 of value for my sign-up bonus – see here for that story.
For many people, though, they are more valuable at airline miles. This is especially true when you have 20,000 of them – as you will – since Starwood gives you a 5,000 mile bonus when you convert 20,000.
SPG has a huge number of airline partners. 20,000 SPG points will get you:
- 25,000 Avios
- 25,000 Virgin Flying Club miles
- 25,000 Miles & More miles
- 25,000 miles with Air Canada, airberlin, Air China, Alaska, Alitalia, ANA, American, Asia Miles, Asiana, China Eastern, China Southern, Delta, Emirates, Etihad, Flying Blue, Hawaiian, Japan Airlines, Qatar, Saudi Arabian, Singapore, Thai, US
- 12,500 United miles
- 50,000 LAN LANPASS miles
- 385 Air New Zealand points
There are two other perks to this card which are not clearly mentioned on the application form:
- If you cancel, you get a pro-rata refund of your £75 fee. This means that, given the £40 Quidco cashback, you will make a small profit on the fee if you cancel within 6 months!
- Starwood points can be transferred – for free – between two members who live at the same address. You can therefore get a card in the name of your partner, move the points to your SPG account and then redeem them into your airline account
Based on 2011 and 2012, the bonus will drop back to 10,000 SPG points after February 1st and will not go back to 20,000 until the Autumn.