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American Express and Starwood enhance cobrand credit card benefits

American Express and Starwood enhance cobrand credit card benefits

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Old Apr 14, 16, 7:51 am   -   Wikipost
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This thread is for discussion of the new benefits & fee structure announced in June 2015. For general discussion of the SPG Amex, see SPG American Express [Master Thread].

Will the additional cardholders on my Starwood Business Amex account get access to the Sheraton Club lounge? What about guests in additional rooms I'm also paying for?
"This benefit is for Basic Card Members only on Starpoint Eligible Rate reservations...Sheraton Club lounge access is limited to the eligible Card Member and a guest staying in the same room for the duration of the stay, regardless of how many rooms have been reserved." (See Starwood FAQs.)
Which hotel brands with the Sheraton name will offer the lounge benefit?
The benefit is offered at all Sheraton-branded properties, including Sheraton Grand hotels, with the exception of any Luxury Collection property. It is not available at Four Points by Sheraton hotels.
Wiil I still get Club access if I book my stay with points or cash+points?
Per Starwood Lurker in post #104, yes.
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Old Jun 4, 15, 9:15 am
  #76  
 
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Originally Posted by TMM1982 View Post
I don't understand what you're saying here. You can also transfer Starpoints to those programs and at a much better ratio than UR.
Maybe, there is something that I am missing: I thought the transfer rate from Starpoints into miles was 1 to 1, unless you do it in increments of 20,000 pts. In this case, there is an additional 5,000 miles. This bonus would be at a cost of $95 per year, if I decide to get back the Starwood Amex card to use for stays at Starwood properties instead of my INK card.
So, if I need miles instead of Starpoints, the benefit would show only if I transfer at least 40,000 pts per year.
If the total of points transferred is only 40,000 pts, the actual bonus would be 5,000 miles since the first 5K would be the equivalent of the new yearly fee of $95.
Not sure that I need 40K or 60K Starpoints transferred into miles on a yearly basis.
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Old Jun 4, 15, 9:40 am
  #77  
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Originally Posted by TravelinSperry View Post
Thank you for listening Starwood & Amex. No FTF was sorely needed.

I think the $95 annual fee is a fair exchange for it. Other no FTF cards charge $95 as well (United Explorer, British Airways, Hilton Reserve, IHG, Southwest) so it is competitive. Yes, you can find fee free FTF cards like Capital One but their benefits are lacking and their fraud catches are horrid outside the US and make their card too frustrating to use.

Although the other benefits are worthless to me - I'm happy with the exchange of $30 for no FTF. Kudos!
Are you wonked?

The Chase IHG MC annual fee is $49.00/year and you get 1 free night at any IHG property, including ALL Intercontinental hotels!

Marriott is $85.00 and you get an annual free night up to a Category 5 where you can just about squeeze out value.

With the United Explorer you get free bags and I don't know about the others but with most of the others you mentioned, such as the HHonors Reserve, there is an incentive to put more spend on the card, as well.

This kills the personal card for me, but makes it interesting vis a visa the Business Card. As the first year will be free, I can investigate at my leisure for another year.

Finally, I can always keep my SPG account active even if I cut all my ties with SPG by dining or staying at a property, or occasionally transferring AMEX MR points from my no-fee AMEX CLEAR account, even if the point transfer value is not optimum.
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Old Jun 4, 15, 11:55 am
  #78  
 
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Well, I think that this just sealed the deal for me. I was debating on making my switch from Hyatt to SPG permanent instead of just as a secondary program, but this is not where I wanted it heading. I knew an increase was coming and frankly expected it to come with the price of a free anniversary night or 5000 points.

As one that does not travel overseas much, and has other cards with no FTF and at a cheaper rate, it is time for me to move on from this one. I have plenty of time to decide, but wont be renewing it without much incentive change.

The beauty for us consumers is that there are so many choices. If we truly act on the change, the betterment takes place. If we ..... and moan and then do nothing, how are they supposed to know the change is not appreciated.

I will be moving on and either switch it to the Delta card as a backup air carrier or just cancel it altogether.
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Old Jun 4, 15, 12:14 pm
  #79  
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Ya know, I think we have to stop tying the extra fee to the foreign exchange. Just think of it as the new fee to earn Starpoints. That's what it now takes to earn a Starpoint per dollar spent (non-Starwood). I know Starpoints are worth 3 IHG points (not sure about comparisons to other chains) so I guess I'll pony up the new annual fee and keep using this card. That plus I have a $49,000 limit on this card and might not get that with another affinity card.
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Old Jun 4, 15, 12:19 pm
  #80  
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I get to straddle both sides of the US-Canadian border, so I have both the US and Canadien cards. @ the current rates, the Canadian SPG AX earns 20% more *points/USD Eqv.

But I've been considering dumping the SPG AX anyways. The inflation of award categories has killed the economics of earning/burning on starwood hotels.

I do think the base starpoint has a lot of value but as far as benefits go, I get SPG gold from the AX platinum card, so the $30k threshold is useless to me, as are the night/stay credits. And SPG Gold is fairly worthless in itself, the "upgrades" aren't worth much and you don't get lounge/breakfast access like you get with Hilton and Marriott.
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Old Jun 4, 15, 12:30 pm
  #81  
 
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Called Amex to transfer to a different product. Was told I cannot do that (as expected) which is a terrible rule. The irony that i was transferred a half dozen times to people that all gave me incorrect info was troubling.

I hate to be the guy that posts this as well, but there is some irony in the product American Express and there being such a language barrier each time I call.
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Old Jun 4, 15, 12:59 pm
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Originally Posted by UASPG View Post
Maybe, there is something that I am missing: I thought the transfer rate from Starpoints into miles was 1 to 1, unless you do it in increments of 20,000 pts. In this case, there is an additional 5,000 miles. This bonus would be at a cost of $95 per year, if I decide to get back the Starwood Amex card to use for stays at Starwood properties instead of my INK card.
So, if I need miles instead of Starpoints, the benefit would show only if I transfer at least 40,000 pts per year.
If the total of points transferred is only 40,000 pts, the actual bonus would be 5,000 miles since the first 5K would be the equivalent of the new yearly fee of $95.
Not sure that I need 40K or 60K Starpoints transferred into miles on a yearly basis.
You don't need a Starwood CC to transfer Starpoints into miles. And the CC fees are waived the first year. So you get the card, get your Starpoints, and shut it down within a year. Even then, you can transfer your points into miles anytime you want. And if later on you want to get the CC again, you can, and again withe annual fee waived. I believe you can churn the business card but not the personal card.
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Old Jun 4, 15, 1:06 pm
  #83  
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Originally Posted by TMM1982 View Post
You don't need a Starwood CC to transfer Starpoints into miles. And the CC fees are waived the first year. So you get the card, get your Starpoints, and shut it down within a year. Even then, you can transfer your points into miles anytime you want. And if later on you want to get the CC again, you can, and again withe annual fee waived. I believe you can churn the business card but not the personal card.
Do you need an actual business for the business card?
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Old Jun 4, 15, 1:12 pm
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Originally Posted by pewpew View Post
Do you need an actual business for the business card?
Yes but a sole proprietorship using your own name as business name and your SSN will work
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Old Jun 4, 15, 1:34 pm
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Count me among those displeased with these "enhancements" - I'd like to keep an AMEX in my wallet but these new benefits are not worth the increase in AF.

The no FTF is certainly not worth $30. Especially compared to the CSP. Most of my expenses when I travel internationally fall into the "travel" or "dining" category anyway so why would I shift my international spend from the CSP to this since I get a bonus on those categories. It also sounds like some are suggesting that AMEX doesn't provide the best FOREX rates (not sure if this is true or not). I know for a fact that Chase (both CSP and Hyatt) provides an exceptional FOREX rate. I've often checked the cost of something on the XE Currency Conversion app prior to purchasing and then looked at my CC statement and found that I was charged even less than XE was suggesting it would cost with the exchange rate.

Plus, at least for now, CSP gives a 7% yearly rebate for those of us who got the card before they phased it out last year.

As mentioned by others the Hyatt Card has a lower annual fee, no FTF, Plat (doesn't get you much but at least gets you bonus miles, free premium internet, elite recognition at hotels, etc.) and comes with an annual free night that I've consistently been able to use for a night that would have cost me more than the AF, making the AF a justifiable expense.

At the very least I would've like SPG to either provide Gold to cardholders (like the Citi Reserve) or a free Cat 1-4 or 1-5 night.
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Old Jun 4, 15, 2:16 pm
  #86  
 
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In the minority, but happy with this (although I don't love $30 increase). Boingo and no FTF are a win to me, especially the later even if Amex's calculations aren't the best. and the WiFi is nice especially at those SPG properties who monkey around with "book direct only" and don't include phone bookings (sometimes necessary for points reservations).
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Old Jun 4, 15, 2:18 pm
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Don't forget the Hyatt card also gives you a free yearly voucher too.


Originally Posted by NJUPINTHEAIR View Post
Are you wonked?

The Chase IHG MC annual fee is $49.00/year and you get 1 free night at any IHG property, including ALL Intercontinental hotels!

Marriott is $85.00 and you get an annual free night up to a Category 5 where you can just about squeeze out value.

With the United Explorer you get free bags and I don't know about the others but with most of the others you mentioned, such as the HHonors Reserve, there is an incentive to put more spend on the card, as well.

This kills the personal card for me, but makes it interesting vis a visa the Business Card. As the first year will be free, I can investigate at my leisure for another year.

Finally, I can always keep my SPG account active even if I cut all my ties with SPG by dining or staying at a property, or occasionally transferring AMEX MR points from my no-fee AMEX CLEAR account, even if the point transfer value is not optimum.
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Old Jun 4, 15, 2:41 pm
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No thanks

Just canceled my business spg card after reading this announcement.

As another poster said, the removal of FTF was the only positive for me, and in my opinion the cobranded card of an international hotel chain never should've had that forex fee to begin with, so it nets out to "making things right" as opposed to adding a benefit, imo.

The annual fee was already high for what the card offers, and I originally had it when it was $45/year, so this is more than double that.

Bye SPG Amex, maybe I'll give it another shot someday but for now I'll stick to my fido 2% cash back visa for general spend and business centurion for travel and purchase protection spending. 👋🏼
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Old Jun 4, 15, 2:53 pm
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Originally Posted by TMM1982 View Post
You don't need a Starwood CC to transfer Starpoints into miles. And the CC fees are waived the first year. So you get the card, get your Starpoints, and shut it down within a year. Even then, you can transfer your points into miles anytime you want. And if later on you want to get the CC again, you can, and again withe annual fee waived. I believe you can churn the business card but not the personal card.
I had ~6 year gap on the SPG personal card and got the points when I opened it the second time. I just reviewed the personal card T&C for the bonus and it doesn't appear churnable anymore.
The business card appears to be churnable every 12 months.

I'll have to switch to the business card and cancel the personal card when I get to the point where I'm hit with the fee increase. I only use my Starpoints for hotel nights and am just trying to limp to LT Plat at this point. Being able to get 'free'/C&P rooms that count for status has been nice.
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Old Jun 4, 15, 4:06 pm
  #90  
 
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Originally Posted by TMM1982 View Post
You don't need a Starwood CC to transfer Starpoints into miles. And the CC fees are waived the first year. So you get the card, get your Starpoints, and shut it down within a year. Even then, you can transfer your points into miles anytime you want. And if later on you want to get the CC again, you can, and again withe annual fee waived. I believe you can churn the business card but not the personal card.
I was trying to compare the options:

- keep only the INK card and get 2 pts per$ spent at hotels and have flexibility to transfer them on where I need points or miles.

- get also the Starwood Amex to get 2 Starpoints when I charge a Starwood stay (essentially abroad).
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