Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

LAST DAY to apply for the Starwood Amex with 20,000 points (if you were targetted)

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I forgot this offer was closing today or I would have run it as a main article instead of slotting it in at 11.30am!

Back in early December, many of you have received an email from Starwood offering a sign-up bonus of 20,000 Starwood Preferred Guest points if you sign up for the SPG American Express card.

The offer closes today, January 6th.

This deal should be a no-brainer as long as you can spend the required £2,000 within three months.

As long as you received the email (and still have it so you can use the special link) – and meet the £30,000 household income requirement – you can get the bonus.   It doesn’t matter if you already have a British Airways American Express, Amex Gold, Amex Platinum etc.  You still qualify for the bonus.

The Amex homepage for the card is here.  This does not show the 20,000 points bonus however.  For complete clarity, if you did not get the email from American Express then you cannot get the higher bonus.

(I did approach Amex to see if they would let me open the offer out to Head for Points readers but I had no joy, unfortunately.)

I am obliged to tell you that the representative APR is 39.7% variable, including the annual fee, based on a notional £1200 credit limit.  The APR on purchases is 22.9% variable.

SPG Amex

Who are SPG / Starwood Hotels?

Starwood Hotels is the chain behind Sheraton, Westin, W, St Regis, aloft and The Luxury Collection.  Their loyalty scheme is called Starwood Preferred Guest.

The company is currently in the process of being taken over by Marriott which makes this sign-up bonus even more bizarre.  We have not seen an offer this generous since November 2013.

Why is this credit card offer so attractive?

The obvious thing to do with your Starwood points is to use them for free nights at Sheraton, Westin, W, aloft etc hotels. Here is the SPG reward chart if you want to see how far 20,000 points will get you – there are also some examples on the Amex website if you scroll down this page. 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.

However, you can also convert your 20,000 SPG points into 25,000 airline miles – including 25,000 Avios.

Starwood points convert into airline miles at the rate of 1:1, which is exceedingly generous for a hotel loyalty programme.  The even better news is that when you convert 20,000 points at once, you receive an additional 5,000 airline miles as a bonus!

Your 20,000 SPG points sign-up bonus would therefore get you 25,000 Avios!

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 American Airlines miles
  • 25,000 miles with Air Canada, airberlin, Air China, Alaska, Alitalia, ANA, 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. 

What are the terms and conditions of the card?

The most important thing to know is that there is no restriction on getting the SPG Amex if you already have a British Airways, Amex Platinum, Amex Gold or any other American Express card.  You are OK to apply.

The only people who cannot apply are those who have cancelled the SPG Amex in the last six months.

Here are the facts on the card:

  • You receive 20,000 SPG points when you spend £2,000 within 3 months
  • You earn 1 SPG point per £1 spent going forward
  • There is a £75 annual fee
  • There is a pro-rata fee refund if you cancel the card
  • £30,000 household income requirement (note household income, not personal)

What else do I need to know?

There are some other interesting benefits to bear in mind:

You receive Preferred Guest Plus status in the SPG programme, which offers you some extra benefits when you stay at any of their hotels

If you spend over £25,000 in a year, you receive a voucher for a free night in a Starwood Category 1-4 hotel.  This is not terribly exciting, to be honest, as Category 1-4 hotels are generally not the greatest.

If you spend over £15,000 in a year, you will receive Gold status in the Starwood Preferred Guest programme.  This is the mid-tier status level, and gives you bonus points on each stay plus other benefits.  (You do not receive free breakfast or free internet, however.)

Starwood points can be transferred – for free – between two members who live at the same address. If you were both targetted, you can 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

You MUST use the link in the email sent to you by American Express back in early December.  This is the only way to receive the 20,000 points.

Do yourself a favour.  Open a Starwood Preferred Guest account before you apply.  Do not wait for American Express to open one for you, as it generally leads to complications.  Open one now and then put the number on the application form for the credit card.

Remember that the offer closes at midnight tonight.

Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history.  By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker.  Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (29)

  • Danny says:

    Thanks for the reminder Rob, but have applied, spent the required amount, got the points transferred over and just about to cancel the card…. 🙂

    • Globetrotter7 says:

      Wow! You done mess about Danny, do you? Nice one

    • Aziz says:

      Hi Danny also burned through this one but the points aren’t showing yet. Do you remember if they transfer straight to your spg account or do you see the star points in your amex account first?

      • Danny says:

        The Starpoints collected showed on the Amex first and they got transferred over and in my SPG account within 2 days. They transfer the points over 5-6 days before the Amex statement date.

        • Aziz says:

          Thanks Danny I’ll keep my eyes peeled and if they don’t show up soon I’ll put a call into Amex to hurry things along.

      • Bill says:

        Did your online account show your status/ progress to the required 2k bonus points spend? I vaguely remember this on my amex gold account withe the 20k bonus.

  • Rob says:

    As Amex emailed you, I reckon it is worth a punt

  • PJK says:

    Thanks for the reminder … I applied at 6.30am this morning when my “if you haven’t done this yet…” reminder arrived!

  • Gavin says:

    Was targeted but after lengthy thought decided it’s not the right time to be opening up a new card so not biting.

    Expect to change my mind in a few hours though

    • Graeme says:

      Surely it’s always time for 25,000 Avios for minimal effort?!?

      • Gavin says:

        I have decided to go for it – I will just buy a shedload of M&S vouchers gradually from Tesco and that will take care of my food shopping.

        Buying a ticket to Seoul to meet the future in-laws in the next few months as well so that should cover the rest of the minimum spend

        • ET says:

          Does tesco sells marks and Spencer’s gift card?! I haven’t seen that before… It would be great though as I do most of my weekly shopping from there.

          • Genghis says:

            Yes. They appeared in November time when you could get 350 CC points per £50 spend (when using the Tesco winter magazine coupons). Still there in my most frequented Tesco Metro

          • Gavin says:

            Yes they do at the Tesco in Taplow near my office anyway. What’s the most gift cards I can buy in one go? Thinking of clearing the rack to be honest!

  • jb says:

    I wonder if Amex will make this offer open to everyone !

  • nick says:

    Did I read somewhere that you can use AA miles to upgrade CX flights? I’ve got a return flight in J with CX to HKG…. I can’t find it now but I thought I read that 12,500 AA miles got me an upgrade to F. Am I making that up? If not, I might as well transfer the SPG points to AA and prey for F availability!

  • Mark B says:

    I received the 20k point targeted email (and so applied) but my wife didn’t. I know that if she applies via the standard offer she will receive 10k of points, does anyone know what bonus she and I will receive if I refer her?

    • Danny says:

      This is from Amex website:

      “You’ll receive 5,000 Starpoints for each approved friend for The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express.

      They earn 11,000 Starpoints if they spend £1,000 in the first three months of Cardmembership.*”

      • Mark B says:

        Thanks Danny, overall it’s just 4K of points off the targeted offer then. In my circumstances I think it might be worth doing.

  • Graeme says:

    I spent 20,000 Starwood points on two nights in a nice hotel in Mexico City this week – this is a great offer, even better than the Hilton Visa for me.