My first churn of 2017 – Starwood American Express

Well it's late February and I'm doing my first credit card "churn" of the year. (Last year's roundup is here).

While I often say "this is a hobby for people with more time than money", there's also an obsessive-compulsive/extreme couponing vein running through point collector community. People go to some crazy lengths for a signup bonus, but for me, I generally sign up for a new card once or twice a year if something easy, interesting, or low-impact comes along.

The Starwood Preferred Guest American Express card definitely fits that bill:
  • I already have another card with Amex they didn't pull my credit report 
  • No annual fee the first year
  • 25,000 Starwood points (some of the most valuable points out there – 2.2¢ each) after $3k of spending
  • Starwood points transfer to a lot more programs than Chase UR and Amex MR points do (just not instantaneously)
  • A refer-a-friend program where you earn 5,000 points for each person who signs up through your unique referral link.
  • If this all sounds good to you, please consider signing up with:

Card issuers have been getting stricter about churning signup bonuses lately, and Amex actually only allows you to earn a signup bonus once in your lifetime PER CARD TYPE. Since Starwood just got bought up by Marriot, I'm guessing this card will eventually go away or get folded into another card type, just like the JetBlue Amex card did recently. My logic is "might as well get snag this card's bonus before it goes away", which is exactly why I applied for the JetBlue Amex as soon as I heard they were moving to MasterCard.

Even if this card doesn't go away, this is one of the better SPG signup bonuses I've seen, and the referral bonus option makes it even sweeter. Also, I'm not much of a hotel person, the great majority of my friends love having fancy accommodations when they travel, so you might just want to keep the card rather than cancel it.


  1. The SPG Amex has been my main card since 2004 and has gotten me many free nights in very nice hotels around the world. It was a crazy good deal with the annual fee was $45 and is still a decent deal at $95.

  2. We'll probably transfer to an airline, I'm guessing. Like we just booked DC for cherry blossoms and I ended up booking a Kimpton hotel – even though I have this card. Cheapest SPG place was $450 a night and I really like the Kimpton Rouge and it was only $319...


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