UPDATE – FEBRUARY 2024: This article is now out of date, but don’t worry. We produce a monthly directory of the top UK travel credit card offers – please click HERE or use the ‘Credit Cards’ menu above. Thank you.
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To be honest, I feel a little bit silly writing about this again. After running a big “apply now, it’s about to go away!” post in late July, this impressive deal is still alive.
It is not a mistake, either, since it still shows on both the American Express website and the Starwood Preferred Guest home page. I have absolutely no idea when it is going to be pulled, although I believe that some SPG members were emailed to say that there would be a modest extension.
Anyway, in case you missed out and still want to apply, here is a repeat of my rationale for getting the card. If you have already read this a couple of times, feel free to skip to the next post and accept my apologies!
The SPG Amex card
The Starwood American Express card is currently offering 20,000 SPG points (=25,000 Avios) as a sign-up bonus.
Based on historic patterns, I would expect the bonus to drop back to 10,000 points (= 10,000 Avios) in the next few days.
The key point with this card is that you can apply for it whatever other Amex cards you have. There are no restrictions. The only people who cannot apply (assuming you meet the income requirement) are people who have already had this card and cancelled less than 6 months ago.
The sign-up bonus of 20,000 SPG points is a good deal if you redeem for hotel stays at Sheraton, Westin, W, St Regis, Luxury Collection etc. You can also convert 20,000 SPG points into airline miles. The great news here is that 20,000 SPG points is the trigger required to get a 5,000 mile bonus. Whilst the standard bonus of 10,000 SPG points only gets you 10,000 airline miles, when you convert 20,000 you get 20,000 airline miles plus 5,000 extra!
Your 20,000 SPG points sign-up bonus would therefore get you 25,000 airline miles! You can convert to Avios, of course, but also to a lot of other airlines. There are over 30 airline partners in total.
Now, here are the facts on the card:
- 20,000 SPG points when you spend £1,000 within 3 months (£1,000 is a very modest target for such a good deal)
- 1 SPG point per £1 spent going forward
- £75 annual fee, refunded pro-rate if you cancel
- £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 as 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 points
- 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
- 37,500 LAN LANPASS miles
- 385 Air New Zealand points
The card is especially valuable if you want to generate some miles in one of the airline partner programmes apart from Avios. There aren’t that many easy ways to earn, for example, 25,000 Miles & More or Aeroplan miles from the UK.
If you recently applied for the American Airlines card with the 35,000 miles sign-up bonus, you could use this card to get an additional 25,000 American Airlines miles. You need 50,000 AA miles for a Business Class one-way ticket from the UK to US, for example, so this is a good way to get the extra.
You also have the option of using your SPG points to book a cash flight. I wrote about the SPG Flights redemptions here. 25,000 SPG points would get you a flight selling for up to £210.
There are two other perks to the Starwood card which are not clearly mentioned on the application form:
- If you cancel, you get a pro-rata refund of your £75 fee
- 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
How to apply
The application page for the SPG Amex is here.
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (February 2024)
There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.
You can apply here.
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.
Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card? It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Premium and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points indirectly:
- American Express Gold (20,000 bonus Amex points)
- American Express Rewards Credit Card (10,000 bonus Amex points)
and for small business owners:
- American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus Amex points)
- American Express Business Platinum (40,000 bonus Amex points)
The conversion rate from American Express to Marriott Bonvoy points is 2:3.
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)