***Update, now only 25,000 points***
I haven’t posted many credit card offers in the past few weeks. This SPG offer is forcing me to break that funk. I would venture to say this is one of the strongest offers you will find for the first half of this year.
What’s the deal?
• You will receive 35,000 SPG points (Starwood Preferred Guest)
• You must spend $3,000 within three months (read below how easy this is to do)
• The annual fee is waived for the first year, then goes to $95 in the second year
• You receive a free Boingo hotspot subscription
• You receive a free subscription to Shop Runner for free 2-day shipping (similar to Amazon Prime)
What do the points get me?
Free nights at SPG hotels start as low as 2,000 points per night. Yes, you can stay at a category 1 hotel for ‘free’ using only 2,000 points. That means your 35,000 points could be stretched to give you over 17 free hotel nights. Now, category 1 hotels for 2,000 points per night are not going to be luxury hotels in downtown Manhattan, but they are still nice properties. You will also earn 3,000 points when you are spending your $3,000 minimum spend, which will net you a total of 38,000 SPG points!
You can stay at the Four Points in Tucson for as little as 2,000 points per night. Remember, you do not pay any taxes on free nights, so they are truly FREE.
Those points are nice, but how am I going to spend $3,000 in three months?
The minimum spend can be daunting if you don’t know some easy ways to tackle it. You can use Plastiq.com to pay almost any bill using a credit card. Do you have a car payment, rent for a home or apartment, a mortgage, student loans? These are just a few of the common areas where you can pay bills to meet your minimum spend. You will be charged anywhere from 2-3% when using your credit card to make bill payments on Plastiq. Keep this in mind, you earn 1 point per dollar even as your are spending the required $3,000. That means you will have at least 38,000 points (35k bonus + 3k after you spend $3k) when you are finished with your minimum spend. Your 38,000 SPG points are valued at $950 (1 point is worth 2.5 cents)! If you have to spend $50 or so dollars in Plastiq fees to earn $950 in hotels, it is a easy trade-off. These points are worth 2.5 cents each which means your 2.5% fees on Plastiq are going to wash out with your 2.5% return on each dollar you spend.
If your friends or family have large bills, offer to pay them with your card and just have the write you a check ,this will speed things up. As soon as your credit card statement closes, and you have spent your $3,000, you will see the points in your Starwood account!
Are there any tropical destinations that allow me to use these points?
That is the great thing with SPG hotels, you can stay at basic hotels or very high-end resorts. Some of their more popular properties are; Sheraton, The Westin, St Regis, W Hotels, Le Merdien, and Aloft. Some of the best value for tropical hotels/resorts are in Cancun and Puerto Vallarta. Check out my write-up on how to use points to fly to Mexico. You can stay at the Aloft in Cancun or the Sheraton Buganvilias Resort in Puerto Vallarta. Both of these properties will run you as few as 3,000 points per night. If we do the math, 38,000 points divided by 3,000 per night means you can get over 12 FREE nights in Mexico on the beach. There are no resort fees and no taxes.
If you were to pay with cash you would be looking at least $125 per night. If you get 12 free nights, that would otherwise cost $125 per night, you are getting $1,500 in free stays from a single credit card. (most nights are closer to $200, I am just being conservative)
I recommend using award mapper to find SPG hotels all over the world. You can use the sliding scale to sort by “points per night”. This is the easiest way to find the best use of your points. You can also search the Starwood Hotel directory, here.
Another benefit of your SPG card is that you get “the 5th night free” on hotels and resorts category 3-7. That means if you stay four nights at a category three hotel (7,000 points per night), your 5th night is free. It will only cost you 28,000 points for FIVE nights in a category three hotel. Here is an awesome category three hotel (The Westin Resort in Cancun) where you could utilize this 5th night free perk.
If you used your 28,000 points for 5 nights in Cancun (5th night free), you would be left with at least 10,000 points. You can transfer those additional 10,000 points to 150 different airlines to use towards a free flight. This is a great perk if you are low on miles and need to top off your frequent flyer account!
You could also stay at The Westin Siray Bay Resort in Phuket, Thailand for 7,000 points per night. Again, by staying four nights you get one free, so five nights will only cost 28,000 for a trip of a lifetime!
You can also use your SPG points for rental cars. It requires 3,500 points for a $50 gift card with Avis or Sixt car rental. This means your 35,000 points are worth $500 towards rental cars.
Now, the annual fee is $95 after the first year. You pay nothing until the 13th month, if you decide to keep the card. Read my write-up on how to avoid paying annual fees while still keeping all your points! With this card you will keep your points even if you cancel the card in the second year, which means you won’t have to pay any fees! Keep in mind, American Express has some of the highest customer satisfaction plus this card will give you secondary rental car insurance at no cost. Read more about rental car insurance provided by your credit card, here.
So what are you waiting for? Up to twelve free nights in Puerto Vallarta on the beach? No annual fee the first year! Easy ways to hit your minimum spend using Plastiq.com to pay almost any bill.