The American Express SPG (Starwood) Credit Card

It’s no secret that I am a big fan of the MBNA spg credit card.  With SPG and MBNA parting ways, I have been waiting in eager anticipation what the new replacement would feature.  It was speculated that American Express would take over the Canadian portion of the program as they have a similar program in the US.  It appears that our suspicians were correct, and American Express is now an SPG partner.

For the unveiling of the new card, an American Express representative contacted me to attend the formal dinner to give feedback on the new offering.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it, but I did manage to grab the details from their website to share with you.

If you’ve never heard of SPG (Starwood Preferred Guest), it’s a popular hotel rewards program (Sheraton/Westin/Four Points etc) that gives you great bang for your buck.  In fact, the old MBNA card could potentially give you a 6% return on your spending depending on how you use the points.

Here are the features of the new American Express SPG credit card:

  • Receive 10,000 bonus Starpoints® — enough for up to three free nights.
  • Earn 1 Starpoint for every CDN$1 in purchases charged to the Card.
  • Receive a Free Weekend Night Award when you reach CDN$40,000 in purchases on the Card each year.
  • Earn Gold Preferred Guest status when you reach CDN$30,000 in purchases on the Card each year.
  • Extended Warranty, Purchase Assurance, Baggage Lost/Delay Insurance, Car Rental Damage Waiver, Flight Delay Insurance, and Hotel Burglary insurance.
  • Take advantage of many American Express Card membership benefits, including Front Of The Line®* access to some of the hottest events.
  • Enjoy the flexibility to pay balances in full or over time.
  • CDN$120 annual fee.*

The Good

I like how the card gives 1 starwood  point for every dollar spent from the get go.  The old card gave 1 point for every $2 spent, but gave bonuses when reaching spending thresholds.  Another attractive feature is the automatic Gold Status upgrade when reaching $30k in spending.  Gold Status potentially gives you upgrades and late checkout during SPG hotel stays.

As a fan of credit card included insurances, it doesn’t get much better than the offering on this credit card (except perhaps the Visa Infinite Cards).  Flight/baggage delay is a nice addition to the common credit card insurances offered.

The Bad

Unfortunately, there are significant set backs to this new card as well.  As someone who doesn’t believe in paying an annual fee for a credit card, the $120 annual fee on this credit card is relatively high.  As well, even if we try to put every expense through the card, AMEX just isn’t accepted everywhere which lowers the return.  That is unless you do a lot of shopping at Costco.

Final Thoughts

I was really hoping the continuation of a no fee SPG credit card to continue my loyalty to the SPG program.  However, with the $120 annual fee and the reduced AMEX acceptance, I don’t think I’ll be signing up for this card.  I’m going to wait to see what MBNA does with their replacement card, then go over my credit card options from there.

Edit:  I have signed up for this card to continue collecting SPG points and take advantage of the

For those of you already collecting points, note that your SPG points will expire 1 year from your last activity.  For me, I have a substantial amount of points accumulated, so if I don’t collect any SPG points (via hotel stays/dinners) before Feb 2011, I will be transferring them to Aeroplan (20k SPG points = 25k Aeroplan).

For you SPG fans out there, what are your thoughts on the new card offering?

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FT is the founder and editor of Million Dollar Journey (est. 2006). Through various financial strategies outlined on this site, he grew his net worth from $200,000 in 2006 to $1,000,000 by 2014. You can read more about him here.
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Dixie
9 years ago

I only pay an annual fee for one credit card BMO airmiles. I was looking at AMEX spg I will not pay the fee the hotel nights are tempting. I will look around there are many reward travel miles to be had.

Chris
9 years ago

I have had my SPG card now for a year, and intended to cancel the card to avoid paying the fee after first year free.
I was told by the person at AMEX that I called that if I cancelled, I would lose all the Starwood points gathered on the card……it was such a weird thing to hear, that I got a bit confused, didnt know what to say, and ended the call. But I have just read all the fine print and I see nothing about this cancellation policy.
ANyone have any idea it its true

Ray
10 years ago

Hi all – now that the AMEX SPG free period is coming up to expiry, I’m interested in my options. While it was free my wife and I both got one and loaded up on the points. Now that they will start charging I would like to minimize my costs…

What options do I have? Can I just cancel hers and add her as an authorized user to my account? And if so, do we get separate bills and/or itemization?

If not an authorized user, can we get some sort of family account where we have our own card numbers?

I don’t even want to pay this fee once, nevermind twice.

R Arora
10 years ago

MBNA travel elite offered to SPG customers without the fee is great. you can book any travel related thing-not restricted to SPG properties, so it gives more choice as well. Their site is also pretty easy to use. we already used 2 nights to stay in beautiful Stowe in Vermont and had no problem at all.

WIll be cancelling SPG Amex when the waived off fee period is over. Too bad.

Kal
10 years ago

Amex is being thrown out by Canadian businesses. Ikea has severed relations with them and are not accepting any more.most small and medium retailers don,t accept it. I will be canceling it. They have to come to senses and bring it par to other cards for traders to accept and for cardholders to be able to use same.

EdM
10 years ago

I don’t understand how American Express in Canada can offer us only 10,000 bonus points when in the U.S. they have a promotion for the same card for 30,000 bonus points. As well the annual fee is only $45 versus $120 here in Canada. All these Canadian businesses and our government rob us blind here!
I recently got the card. But now I’m thinking of canceling it considering what a cheesy deal this is compared to our US counterpart.

Here is the offer links:

Canada’s offer:

http://www.americanexpress.com/canad…=GS12_01_SP_01

U.S. Offer
https://www143.americanexpress.com/a…canexpress.com

Also found another U.S. offer that beats our hands down:

http://www201.americanexpress.com/ge…EqkhhlGECbAPnA

coachdave
10 years ago

Rollande,

I’m a fan of SPG. My family and I just took a trip last summer to Southern California, Arizona using points and the points+cash options available to SPG members. I received my Amex SPG card yesterday and will be racking up as many points as I can over the next year (the first year is free). There is no question, SPG has a great card, however, I think Dave is right: $45 per year is much more reasonable of an annual fee for a card that many of us have enjoyed for years for FREE. For this reason, I’ll probably cancel my account after collecting the bonus and enjoying the one free year unless Amex drops the fee or cancels it outright. There are too many other deals out there to stick with a product that’s no longer competitive.

American Express Business Gold Rewards Card – 25,000 bonus points and the first year free for example.