Hotel Rewards for Business Owners: American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card
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Like the consumer version, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card provides the rewards program that American Express and SPG are well-known for, along with some great hotel perks for more comfortable stays. If you are a small business owner and fan of Starwood Preferred properties, this card can become a valuable tool for your business. (See also: The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses)
How This Card Works
Earn up to five Starpoints for each dollar spent at Starwood and Marriott Rewards hotels, standalone Starwood retail establishments, and online Starwood stores owned by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. and its affiliates, depending on your SPG membership level. For example, you earn at least four points for Starwood purchases -- two points from American Express and two from SPG, but if you are a Gold or Platinum Starwood Preferred Guest, you earn three points from SPG rather than two, totaling five points. All other purchases earn one point for each dollar spent. There is a $95 annual fee that is waived for the first year. Terms apply.
Bonus offer: New cardholders can earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints after you use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. For a limited time, earn an extra 10,000 bonus points after spending an additional $3,000 within the first 6 months. (Offer ends 4/5/17.) (See also: 5 Best Credit Cards with Sign-Up Bonuses for Hotel Stays)
Redeem your points for award nights at Starwood properties for as few as 3,000 points at a Category 1 property, up to 30,000-35,000 points for an award night at a Category 7 property. You can also transfer points to over 30 airline programs such as Delta Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Japan Airlines, often at a ratio of 1:1. (See also: 5 Best Credit Cards that Transfer Points to Airline Miles)
In addition, for every 20,000 points you transfer to an airline program, you'll receive a bonus of 5,000 points. You can also redeem points for room upgrades at 1,000 points, and there are various opportunities to redeem points for car rentals and special events. (See also: The Best Credit Cards for Hotel Deals and Rewards)
Free in-room internet. One of the newest features of this card is its free in-room Internet access. You'll also receive complimentary unlimited access to Boingo Wi-Fi for up to four devices at over 1,000,000 Boingo hotspots worldwide. Enrollment required.
Complimentary access to Sheraton Club lounge. As a cardmember, you and a guest staying in the same room will receive access to Sheraton Club lounges for the duration of your stay. Sheraton Club lounges include perks such as personalized service, complimentary breakfast, all-day snacks and beverages, and free Wi-Fi. For non-cardholders, these perks usually require an upgrade fee or SPG Platinum status.
SPG Elite status. The SPG program includes Elite statuses starting with Preferred Guest and then leading to Gold Preferred Guest, Platinum Preferred Guest, and the newest level, SPG Pro. Each level requires a certain number of nights or stays and provides additional hotel perks. The Preferred Guest level is the default level, but it includes benefits such as in-room Internet and as much as a 30% discount at over 1,000 restaurants and bars in Starwood hotels. As a cardmember, you earn credit for five nights and two stays toward SPG elite status each year.
Reach Gold status faster. If you make $30,000 in purchases with your card during a calendar year, you'll earn Gold Preferred Guest status, which usually requires 10 stays or 25 nights per year. Gold status includes benefits such as a 50% bonus of Starpoints, late checkout, upgrades at check-in, and your choice of welcome gifts, which can be bonus points, premium in-room internet, or beverages.
OPEN Savings. This card includes access to its OPEN Savings network of business retailers offering special discounts. You can also earn additional points when you shop online through OPEN Savings with retailers such as FedEx and HP.
Extended warranty. The purchases you make with your card are eligible for extended warranty which extends original manufacturer's warranties that are one to five years, for up to one additional year.
Purchase Protection. Purchases on the card are also protected up to 90 days against theft and damage.
ReceiptMatch. Take photos of your receipts with a smart phone and then label and save them for record keeping. You can also sync your card account with QuickBooks to make managing and organizing your spending easier at tax time.
Important Note: Exclusions and restrictions apply on benefits.
- $95 Annual Fee (waived for the first year)
- 15.99% - 19.99% Variable APR
- No Balance Transfer Option
- 0% Foreign Transaction Fee
Annual fee. Although you won't pay it for the first year, many cardholders won't be able to justify the annual fee of $95 in the years after. It is crucial that you examine your business spending and how frequently you stay in SPG Hotels to determine if you will earn enough points and take advantage of enough of the benefits for the annual fee to be worth paying. There are business cards that offer rewards on purchases without charging an annual fee. (See also: The 5 Best Credit Cards with No Annual Fees)
CitiBusiness® AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®: The CitiBusiness® AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® from our partner Citi, is a business airline rewards credit card rather than a hotel rewards card, and can still be valuable for business owners who travel. This card awards small business owners two miles for each dollar spent on American Airlines purchases, telecommunications, car rentals, and gas, and one mile for each dollar spent everywhere else. It also provides travel benefit such as first checked bag free, preferred boarding, a companion certificate each year you spend $30,000 with your card and a mileage discount of 7,500 miles on award flights. New cardholders can earn 30,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 within the first three months of account opening. The annual fee of $95 is waived the first year.
Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business: If your travel arrangements vary, you might prefer a general rewards card for small business owners such as the Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business Credit Card. This card awards a flat rate of 1.5 miles for each dollar you spend, which you can redeem for a variety of travel purchases such as airfare, hotels, taxi fare, car rentals, and others, made in the past 90 days. New cardholders can earn a one-time bonus of 20,000 miles, which is equal to $200 in travel, after spending $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of approval. There is no foreign transaction fee, no balane transfer fee, and no annual fee for this card.
Who This Card Is Best For
Because of the many hotel and business benefits, the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express is ideal for small business owners who frequently travel and stay in Starwood Preferred Guest Hotels, or for those who only stay in SPG Hotels occasionally but can transfer points to airline miles. It is also best for those who spend and earn enough to cover the annual fee after the first free year. Those looking to get the most out of the card should spend at least $30,000 per year with the card to reach the extra benefits of elite statuses.