Last year, when the sign-up bonus for the venerable Starwood Preferred Guest credit card rose to its highest-ever level, at 35,000 points, I suggested it might be the last chance for consumers to take advantage of such a points windfall for one of the best-ever rewards cards. After all, at the time the Marriott-Starwood merger was pending, and the future of the Starwood card was very much in doubt.
I was wrong.
Here we are almost a year later, and while the merger is a done deal, the Marriott and Starwood programs continue to exist and operate independently, with their respective co-branded credit cards. And today, Starwood announced it was reprising its 35,000-point offer for new card customers.
Through April 5, new customers for the Starwood Preferred Guest credit card can earn a 25,000-point bonus after charging $3,000 to the card within the first three months, plus another 10,000 bonus points after an additional $2,000 in purchases within the first six months.
Deal or No Deal
While hardly eye-popping compared to sign-up bonuses for other rewards cards, which often spike into the 50,000 – 100,000 points range, it is the most lucrative bonus ever offered for the SPG card. And the card itself is well worth having on its own merits.
- Annual fee: $95, waived the first year
- Annual percentage rate: adjustable, currently 15.74% to 19.74%, based on creditworthiness
- Earn up to 5 Starpoints per $1 at Starwood hotels, 1 Starpoint for other purchases
- No foreign transaction fees
- Annual credit for 5 nights/2 stays toward elite status
- Starpoints transferable to 30-plus airline frequent flyer programs, mostly on a 1:1 basis
- 5,000 bonus points when transferring 20,000 points to a participating airline program
- Complimentary in-room premium WiFi at Starwood hotels
- Complimentary, unlimited WiFi at Boingo hotspots
That’s a lot of value, and a lot of utility, for a card with no annual fee in the first year.
Although the card itself may be discontinued when the Marriott and Starwood programs are combined, there’s no danger of SPG members’ points disappearing; they’ll simply be shifted into the new program. Until then, the SPG card remains among the best rewards cards available.
Reader Reality Check
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After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.