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Update: offer expired 9/3.
The American Express Starwood credit card 30,000 point sign-up offers are back. Like 2012, the offer is one month only and the highest offered for these cards. A way to support Rapid Travel Chai is to use my links for credit cards that you are applying for anyway.
Link: Starwood Preferred Guest Personal Credit Card – Limited Time 30,00 Point Bonus
Link: Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card – Limited Time 30,00 Point Bonus
Disclaimer: I receive a referral commission if you use my application links and are approved for these cards.
This is the part where bloggers dust off their prior posts on the wonder of these cards and Starwood Preferred Guest. Sorry, I don’t have any of those posts. Keep in mind that much of the benefits hyped are general to Starwood Preferred Guest itself and not specific to the credit cards, which are rather pedestrian in their benefits. The main appeal is for earning and for status chasers.
Here’s my quick Q&A:
Q: Is this bonus good?
A: 30,000 points (10,000 after first purchase, 20,000 after $5,000 in eligible spend in first six months) is the highest-ever offered on these cards.
Q: But 30,000 seems puny?
A: SPG points go a long way, the points pseudoscientists generally value them at 2-2.5 cents per point for Starwood redemptions and flexible uses such as transfer to airlines.
Q: When is the offer valid until?
A: Interestingly the terms state, “Offer expires 9/3/2013. If your application is approved after this date, you will not be eligible for the 20,000 Starpoint offer.” Amex frequently takes time to approve cards, especially in the case of multiple applications or business cards. I have had some take as much as two weeks. This is silly, since the applicant has little control over Amex’s processing time and has no way to know it in advance.
Q: Anything else worrying in the fine print?
A: There is also the vague bit about, “If you are identified as a current American Express® Cardmember, you may not be eligible for this welcome bonus offer.” That is followed by Amex’s standard, “This offer is also not available to applicants who have had this product within the last 12 months.” This is new territory if they actually deny bonuses for people that have entirely different Amex cards, seems unlikely. Does Amex have a new lawyer poking around everything?
Q: I am only seeing the 10,000 point offer?
A: Use a browser in private/incognito mode, clear cookies, etc. During application, do not log in with your existing Amex ID.
Q: What if I already have the cards or had them previously?
A: Each card is a separate product, to get either you cannot have had that card within the past 12 months. I have had both cards in the past 12 months so have to sit this one out. Those in a similar situation may consider starting their 12 month clock now in the prospective hope that the offer returns in 2014.
Q: Can I get both cards together?
A: Yes, subject to approval. Many, many people have.
Q: Is the refer-a-friend bonus still around?
A: Sorry, no. And it was a pain to get those to post, took two months of fighting with Amex on my last one.
Q: What are the pros of the cards?
A: Ability to earn SPG points and annual elite night/stay credits for status chasers. There are also lots of promotions tied to Amex cards like Small Business Saturday that can offset the relatively modest annual fee $65.
Q: What are the cons of the cards?
A: No complimentary elite status, no annual night certificate, no big spender bonus, and there is a foreign transaction fee. Last I checked, Starwood has some properties outside the US.
Q: Should I drop everything for this offer?
A: 5,000 points is nice but hard to justify upending regular credit card plans unless the timing works for you.
End of advertising, back later today to my regular programming from North Korea.