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Update: this offer has concluded and the links removed. Refer a friend is still available at a lower offer level.
35,000 seems bigger than 30,000.
The publicly available Starwood American Express bonus was increased today by 5,000 points, now it is 10,000 after first purchase and 20,000 more after completing $5,000 in eligible spend in the first 6 months of cardmembership.
What about the extra 5,000? That comes from American Express Refer a Friend. If you know someone with an existing Starwood American Express card, direct them to the Refer a Friend page. They will see offers on certain cards they have and can send an email referral. These offers are often not the best available, even with the referral bonus, but in the case of Starwood, they have the same 30,000 bonus plus a 5,000 referral bonus upon card approval. This is available for both personal and business cards, but unlike some other Refer a Friend offers, it seems you can only refer personal to personal and business to business. So the hitch is that you do not receive the points yourself when following the program as intended but it can be a nice multi-year rotation among those spouses/family/friends that will reliably return the favor in some form.
Yes, I have the blogger referral link that pays me a commission, it is a nice link (apply here), shiny link (apply here), welcoming link (apply here). And the business card, too. Kidding attempt at brainwashing aside, the advice I give to family and friends is to use the Refer a Friend link where feasible, so I am not going to recommend to readers anything different.
If you want to instead support this blog or others, then the recipient will certainly appreciate the gesture.
But you should have the best info, the “straight dope” as my grandmother liked to say, and make the call for yourself.