Update: This is now available publicly instead of just refer a friend. However, I appreciate the support should you choose to apply via my referral.
The standard signup bonus on the Starwood American Express is 25,000 Starpoints – 10,000 after 1st purchase and the remaining 15,000 if you spend $5,000 in 6 months. However, Starwood just raised the bonus to 30,000 Starpoints – 10,000 after 1st purchase and the remaining 20,000 if you spend $5,000 in 6 months. The reason I’m highlighting this deal is Starwood typically only increases the bonus once a year and it usually occurs in late August to September.
As I write this, the increased signup offer is only available through the refer a friend link on American Express. The general public offer on the Amex site still shows the 25,000 point offer – DO NOT APPLY FOR THE CARD THROUGH THAT LINK – You will not get the extra 5,000 points. Instead please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or leave a comment with your email and I can send you a link to get the better offer from American Express.
Starpoints are among the most valuable and versatile points out there as I highlighted yesterday here. Free nights at Starwood on the weekends start at just 2,000 (or 3,000 for the weekdays), so the extra 5,000 is worth at least one additional free night at lower level Starwood hotels. Or you transfer 20,000 Starpoints and received 25,000 airline miles in programs like American Airlines, Delta etc.. That would still leave you with enough points to book a few free rooms or at the very least, some cash and points rewards which is when you pay some of the rate with points and the rest with cash. For example, a Category 3 hotel is just 3,500 points + a $55 copay per night.
If you were thinking about applying for the Starwood Amex, now is the time to do it with the increased bonus.