Starpoints, the currency of Starwood Preferred Guest, remain some of my favorite points to earn. For a limited time, Starwood and American Express have increased the referral bonus for their co-branded credit card to 10,000 points.
That means if you’re an existing Starwood Preferred Guest member, you can earn 10,000 points for each person you refer who applies for and receives the SPG AMEX, up to a maximum of 55,000 points per year. For clarity, the maximum includes any referrals you’ve made so far this year.
Even though the merger of Marriott and Starwood has me a bit nervous about holding Starpoints long-term, I still think it’s a great currency to earn and burn:
- SPG maintains the best transfer ratio to airlines, at a ratio of 1:1 (with a 25% bonus when transferring in chunks of 20,000). That means 2 referrals earns you enough for a 25,000 mile airline ticket on literally dozens of airlines.
- 10,000 points is the equivalent of a Category 4 redemption. We’ve stayed at some really good ones. Westin Harbour Castle Toronto is a good value, as is the Westin Playa Bonita. There are over 300 hotels that your 10,000 points could be redeemed for.
And, lastly, SPG has some really great auctions. My favorite redemption of all time is the tennis lesson with Andre Agassi I won for my wife.
I wouldn’t be holding Starpoints right now for a redemption far off in the future, but since there’s no plan to merge SGP and Marriott until at least late 2017, I’d say you’re safe through at least the end of 2016 from a big devaluation. Others will tell you that you’re safe through the end of 2017, but I wouldn’t be betting on that, as Marriott may ultimately have sway on award category changes in the early parts of 2017.
While the SPG Amex doesn’t have any bonus categories, Starpoints are generally harder to earn than other loyalty points. So, I generally put all my “non-bonused” spend on this card. Both the personal and business version of the credit card have perks like a head start to elite status, though I think the business version has some extra perks that can easily pay for the annual fee.
I haven’t maxed out my referrals this year, so I’m obviously happy to refer someone to the SPG Amex and get 10,000 points. I’m also happy to have others post their desire to refer someone here and have us each take turns for anyone looking for a referral.
New cardmembers get the same offer via a member referral as they do on their own, but it’s always nice to help fellow travelers pad their point balance.
I don’t recall a referral bonus this big in the past. My guess is that American Express is trying to increase the size of their card portfolio as much as possible right now in anticipation of changes when Marriott and SPG merge. It’s a great time to score some extra Starpoints!
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