Q: I don't quite understand the redemption of Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express Starpoints. If I spend $10,000 will get 10,000 miles for traveling everywhere except United and Continential?
A: The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express Starpoints awards program features different point payouts that depend on where you are spending your money. Instead of a 1-to-1 ratio that rewards one point for every dollar spent on the card, cardholders can reap the benefit of their tiered rewards. Users earn 4 to 5 Starpoints for every dollar spent at Starwood Preferred Guest Hotels and Resorts, a great perk for business travelers or those who frequently stay at Starwood hotels. In addition, cardholders earn 1 Starpoint for every eligible dollar spent everywhere else.
This means if you spend $150 at a Starwood hotel or resort you'll earn 4x to 5x as many points – or between 600 and 750 points – and not just the 150 points your question assumed. Once you've earned your points you can redeem them for free nights at over 1,000 hotels and resorts in nearly 100 countries and for free flights on over 350 airlines – including United and Continental.
There is a tiered system for redeeming your points, starting with a minimum 10,000 point redemption for flights. In your example, spending 10,000 points will get you an airline ticket of up to $150. If you spend 15,000 points you can buy a flight valued up to $215, and so on. Unfortunately, if you don't have enough points to buy the ticket you want you can't combine them with cash to complete the purchase. Instead you can buy up to 20,000 additional Starpoints a year through the program.
While researching our Travel Rewards Credit Card Analysis, we found the Starwood Preferred Guest card to have the highest hotel redemption value of any card in our study – an impressive $2.50 for every $100 spent. Although the flight value was a lesser $1.30 per $100 spent, it's still still higher than some airline rewards cards.
We think the Starwood Preferred Guest card is a great travel card, but if you're in the market for a more flexible travel card you might want to consider the Capital One® VentureSM Rewards Card. With the Venture Rewards card you can book your travel with ease – from any travel site, agent or airline. And once you've earned point and would like to redeem them you can so do for travel as well as cash, gift cards, brand-name merchandise, and more. Read more about this card and others in our Travel Card Review section.
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