Starwood Preferred Guest AmEx card: Anyone know how good it is?

So I’m ready to move on from my NCL Mastercard. I misused my points on my Alaskan Cruise so instead of saving $500 I got a 3 category upgrade for my wife and I. Of course I later learned that 3 categories means 3 floors up so we saved about $30 each. Pretty messed up when I think about it because I searched NCL’s website for categories and it went inside, window, balcony suite. I never knew that there 4-5 “categories” of inside cabin until I had already redeemed my points. That’s when they told me that the points couldn’t be used to get from inside to window. In other words the 3 category upgrade couldn’t actually get you into a new category…

But the Alaska cruise was good and I had learned my lesson. So then I took an NCL cruise to Bermuda and this time I did get $500 off (after some confusion). Paying $1300 for my wife and I instead of $1800 was pretty nice but while on the cruise we decided that next time we’d try another cruise line.

So I’m looking for a new card to become my main one. 2 freinds said they have had good experiences with Starwood Preferred Guest American Express. One guy saved up 2 years worth of points and is staying at Disney World (Swan hotel) for free for a week in March. Another guy says he gets about a week’s worth of free nights at Sheraton’s every year. He stayed free in Toronto, Cape Cod, and New York City (now that’s saving money considering NYC hotel prices).

It would be my first credit card with an annual fee (free the first year, $45/year after that) so I wonder if it’s worth getting away from my Worldpoints Visa. Supposedly I can use those points for airplane travel but I’ve only used them for gift cards to Home Depot. But I like that there’s no annual fee and no international transaction charge.

Anyway, does anyone know if the Starwood AmEx is worth getting or of another card worth getting? No one mentioned it back in 2007 when I asked about travel rewards credit cards. Perhaps it’s relatively new?

Filed Under: Vacation deals

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  1. Rhonda Peterson says:

    Hello James,

    Starwood, in my opinion has the best perks around. Their points for hotel stays transfer 1 to 1 for airline miles, along with bonus’s if you transfer large amounts at once, so stock pile them until you have the bonus base…. and seeing you already have a “worldperks” credit card, for Northwest (which you need to change at this point, they are now Delta, and Delta uses a different card then Northwest did, so the Northwest one will not really be worth anything if your going after airline miles.)

    You guys travel extensively…… especially overseas….. definately go with Starwood’s programs…. we do and they have always done right by us.

  2. Bill says:

    I got the SPG card about a year ago and it has quickly become my favorite. No blackout restrictions and fewer points to renew in many cases.

  3. Darius says:

    James – I feel like you can’t go wrong with this card. It is consistently voted the Best Affinity Credit card at the Freddie’s. I’ve had it for about 5 years now and stay at 4 & 5 star hotels for free on my vacations, and I travel a lot. Reward points can be used for free rooms or free flights on most airlines.

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