Great Card For Earning Free Travel on Business Expenses

Review
The card comes with an introductory free credit, earns valuable Starpoints® at a reasonable rate, and provides a few pleasant perks for SPG clients. All things considered, more than a fair value for its annual fee and a quick way to accumulate free travel.
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Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express overview

  • 100,000 point bonus;
  • Free Night Award;
  • Silver Elite Status;
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • annual fee.

How to get the intro bonus

You will receive a 100,000 point bonus if you manage to charge $5,000 of eligible expenses within the first three months of card membership.

What are eligible purchases? Everything but fees, taxes, bets, withdrawals, and other cash transactions. Statistically, only about one third of one’s living expenses end up being eligible purchases.

How to earn points

The card earns 6X points on charges within the SPG and Marriott networks. There is also a higher rewards rate for daily expenses such as gas and dining and business expenses such as wireless telephone services and shipping, all which will earn you 4 points per dollar spent, but only within the United States. All other eligible expenses earn 2 points per dollar spent.

6X
at SPG® and Marriott Rewards® hotels

 

4X
on dining, gas, wireless telephone services, and shipping

 

2X
on everything else


How to get more benefits

The Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card offers a few hotel-related benefits and one extremely valuable perk.

   Free Night Award

The card comes with an annual free-night award delivered on the anniversary of opening your card account. The award comes in the form of a coupon that can be used for a free one-night stay at the redemption level of 35,000 points or below. Considering that the value of a point is about 1 cent, this perk is worth up to $350 annually.

   Complimentary Silver Elite status

Once approved for the card, you automatically gain Silver Elite status in the joint SPG/Marriott loyalty program. The status comes with a few hotel-related perks, including a 10% bonus on points earned at hotels, late checkout, and free Wi-Fi.

   Elite Night credit

In order to progress through Elite Status level with Marriott/SPG, you have to collect Elite Night credits. Basically, each night you stay earns you one credit. With this card, 15 credits are added to your account each calendar year, making it easier to progress to higher status levels.

How to spend points

Book a stay at SPG/Marriott

Through the now-joint program, you can use points to book both Marriott and SPG stays and access over 6,700 properties worldwide. The redemption table is undergoing some postmerger changes, but at present you can book a room for as little as 7,500 points.

Keep in mind that the best redemption values are normally found on the extreme ends of property quality, meaning either budget rooms or luxury suites.

Book a stay of five nights

Both Marriott and Starwood offer a fifth night free. To enjoy this benefit, use points to book five consecutive nights at a single hotel, and the fifth night will not be charged.

Transfer to travel partners

You get a bonus of 15,000 points every time you transfer 60,000 points to a frequent flyer program. SPG and Marriott  partner with over 40 frequent flyer programs, so together, those partners give you access to over 150 associated airlines. Keep in mind that the exchange rate is usually 3 points to 1 mile, which is not the best rate. With the bonus, though, you have a good chance of recovering the value lost in the transfer.

How to use this card

Use this as a catch-all card for your business expenses and especially for your hotel stays. As for redemption, going for hotel stays are clearly the best option. An even better option is to hold on to your points until you have a longer trip coming up. Then you can redeem your points for the fifth night free reward.

The bottom line

For a moderate annual fee, you get a business card that earns points at a rate that’s fair, if not remarkable. Of course, you have to be a somewhat frequent Marriott/SPG guest in order to take the most advantage of both the card’s rewards rate and the hotel-related perks that it offers.
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