Wednesday, October 25, 2006

My New Credit Card

Thanks to Jonathan at MyMoneyBlog, I finally decided to switch my main rewards credit card (used for business purchases) to the Starwoods Preferred Guest Business American Express Card (the personal version of the card basically has the same features). I had been using a United MileagePlus Visa Card, which gave me 1 mile/dollar spent.  There are a few advantages of the SPG Amex card:

  1. I can use the Starwood points (earned at 1 point/dollar spending other than at Starwood properties (you'll get a bonus there)) to transfer to a number of different airlines, most at 1:1 (United is a notable exception at 2 points:1 mile).

  2. You get a bonus 5,000 miles when you transfer 20,000 points, so you really get 1.25 miles/point.

  3. You could instead use the Starpoints for their original intended purpose, staying at a Starwood hotel (like Sheraton, West, St. Regis, Four Points by Sheraton, or W Hotel).  There's 6 different categories, which require different amounts of Starpoints.  The nice thing is there are no blackout dates, so if they have a room available, you can book it using your Starpoints.  Since hotel rates have been rising, so has the value of a Starpoint.

  4. The card has no fee for the first year and just $30 annually after that.

Also, there's a 10,000 point bonus after your first purchase.  I'm not signed up as an affiliate or anything so I don't get anything if you apply for the card, I just think it is one of the better travel reward cards out there and definitely better than my old United MileagePlus Visa card.  If you do apply, you might as well do so through MyMoneyBlog's post since I assume he gets a referral fee, or you can do directly through Amex here.  One caveat is that the points expire after a year of inactivity (you don't have to redeem them with a hotel stay, just have some activity, such as earning points through purchases on the card).

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