Starwood American Express Card Signup Bonus Changed to Two Free Nights Instead of Points

A few weeks ago I posted how there was a strong rumor that the signup bonus on the Starwood American Express cards would be changing and sure enough, the signup bonus has now changed to a brand new and different type of offer. Instead of points, the signup bonus for both the personal and business card is for 2 free nights at any category 1 to 5 SPG hotel. This new offer is valid to 10/19. Here is the direct link to the personal SPG card and a direct link to the business card offer.

This new offer is quite interesting so here are a few things to consider about this new offer as this offer is really worth a maximum of 24k to 32k Starpoints if redeemed at the highest level category allowed, a category 5 hotel.

  1. American Express limits an individual to only one signup bonus per card in their lifetime. As such, it is imperative to only apply for an Amex card when an offer is at its peak. While this offer does not match the best over ever of 35k points, see points #2 & #3.
  2. The SPG-Marriott Merger is scheduled to close this week and it is still unclear on what bank will offer the new Marriott credit card. It is probably a safe bet that Amex will be forced to stop issuing new Starwood Amex cards so it is very possible this could be the last time the bonus is increased before the card goes away for good. In fact, there are already rumors of a Chase Starwood card coming out in February…
  3. There is no doubt that the previous 35k (and the 30k with one specific exception) were stronger offers as per the award chart below a free night at a category 5 hotel would cost between 12k to 16k points. So at best this offer is potentially only better if redeemed for category 5 hotels.


Obviously I don’t know this for sure but I think might be the last time this card has a signup bonus of something other than 25k points. I think to figure out if this offer is better than the standard 25k offer, it comes down to the following:

  • Are you sure you will redeem two free nights at a category 5 hotel? If not, take the points offer.
  • If you are sure you would redeem at a cateogry 5 property, will it be during the hotel’s high season where it could cost 16k points a night? If so, take this new offer of free nights.
  • Do you want flexibility to use points for lower level SPG hotels and/or transfer some points to airline miles? Take the points offer.

In short, I’m disappointed by this offer as in most cases the 25k offer is better and I was really hoping to see a 30k or 35k offer. Interestingly the refer a friend offers only show the old 25k offers for both the personal and business cards. I’m not sure if Amex is still updating those links or if it will be possible to choose between the free nights offer (public link) or points offer (refer a friend links). Additionally this offer is only through 10/19 so you could potentially wait for the public 25k offer to return.

If you would like to support the blog and my efforts as a non-affiliate links blogger, I can refer others for either Starwood card as I am a current cardholder for both the personal and business card versions. I do receive 5,000 Starpoints for referring you but you will receive the 25k offer via email from American Express. If you are interested, here are my referral links.

Personal – Referral Link

Business – Referral Link

Alternatively, you can leave a comment asking for a referral (only I will be able to see your email address) or email me directly at and I will promptly refer you for the card. Thank you in advance for your support!

Rumor: Starwood American Express Card Signup Bonus Possibly Increasing in Two Weeks

Update (9/22): So my source was kind of right as the offer did change today but I’m not sure it is a better offer. Here is my analysis of the new offer of two free nights at category 1-5 hotels. 

I want to stress the following information is simply a rumor but I believe the signup on the American Express Starwood personal and business cards will increase to either 30k or 35k Starpoints in the next two weeks. I have a friend of a friend who is “connected” at American Express and he claims that the go live date for this offer is the week of September 19th. He didn’t know whether the offer would be for 30k or 35k like it was in March.

The offer from March 2016

The offer from March 2016

Could this information be accurate? Well in years past usually around summertime, though there was a curveball with the 35k offer in March this year, American Express has typically increased the signup bonus on the SPG cards. I went back and put a list together of when over the past few years the publicly available bonus has increased to 30k or 35k Starpoints. Anyone spot a trend?

  • March 2016
  • August 2015
  • June 2014
  • August 2013
  • August 2012
  • August 2011
  • July 2010

That is some serious consistency and only further makes me believe the information I received could very well be accurate. The current signup bonus is 25k for both the personal and business cards so I’m sure some of you might be questioning why I’m recommending you should wait a few weeks for an offer that is only 5k-10k points higher. Here are some of my reasons:

  • Starpoints are incredibly difficult to earn – the only feasible way to earn them is via the Starwood credit card and staying at SPG hotels. Since it is difficult to earn these points in bulk, an extra 5k Starpoints is a big difference to me. And to the average person who doesn’t manufacture spend that equates to spending an extra $5,000 on your SPG Amex to make up that extra 5k points.
  • American Express limits you to one bonus per lifetime on their cards. Basically you only get one shot to signup for this card to earn a bonus so you better make it count. I won’t signup for an American Express card unless I know at that point in time, that is the highest ever known offer on a card.
  • Starpoints are one of the most valuable, if not most valuable, points out there. Great flexibility with dozens of airline transfer partners, a transfer bonus of 5k when transferring in 20k increments and some great hotel redemptions in the Starwood chain. You can redeem points for weekend nights at lower tier SPG hotels for 2k or 3k points a night.

My advice is to resist the temptation to signup for the next two weeks just in case the offer is increased unless you have an absolute urgent need for this card. While American Express might very well match you to the new bonus anyway, remember that American Express limits you to one bonus a lifetime, so you always want to get each Amex card at its peak signup bonus offer. Again I do want to stress this is only a rumor (some will argue I shouldn’t even post unconfirmed information like this) but based on past history, there could be some merit to this information.

I’ll be sure to post an update in two weeks if/when the offer is increased. If my information is correct & you plan to apply for this card at that time, I hope you will consider using my referral links for either the personal or business card (for being a current cardmember, not an affiliate link) for possibly earning you an extra 5k to 10k Starpoints by advising you to wait.

Do This Today: Hyatt Suite Upgrades (for 2017!), SPG Bookings and More

There are several promotions or other noteworthy items that are expiring or changing on March 1st so I put together a quick to do list as you are hopefully enjoying your Sunday.

1) Use your expiring Hyatt Diamond Suite Upgrades (especially for March 2017 stays) – I don’t need to rehash the changes in full about the Diamond Suite Upgrades – in short, Hyatt is changing the policy that you can’t use them for stays after they expire. However, they are letting you book any remaining suite upgrades (the ones that expire tomorrow 2/29) for stays after they expire. My advice is to first use these expiring suite upgrades for any March 2017 stay first.

Why? When the new 2016 Diamond Suite Upgrades are released in March, I presume they will expire 2/28/17. With the new policy, you will not be able to book any trips for March 2017 using a DSU until the 2017 Suite Upgrades are released on 3/1/17 – that kind of stinks as it forces you to use it last minute (if even available) for a March 2017 stay. But you can book those March 2017 stays now using your 2015 DSU that expire tomorrow. It seems strange but it’s true. Unfortunately, you can only book 13 months in advance on Hyatt otherwise I would recommend this strategy for any possible 2017 stay. 

Hyatt DSU

Now I understand many people don’t know about their travel plans ~13 months in advance but if you have any inkling of a trip you’d like to take that would involve a Hyatt Diamond Suite upgrade, I’d book it now knowing you can always cancel it later for free (though you obviously lose the DSU at that time, which isn’t a big loss considering you are losing it tomorrow if you don’t book anything with it).

2) Book Starwood Hotels before the March 1st Devaluation – As part of their annual category changes, Starwood has released the list of hotels that will be either moving up or down a category for 2016. These changes go into effect for bookings made on March 1st so you can lock in the pre-devaluation rate if you book before March 1st, even if your stay is after that date. Some of the noteworthy hotels increasing in categories are:

  • The Walt Disney World Swan – Category 4 to Category 5
  • Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa – Category 5 to Category 6
  • The Westin Maui Resort & Spa – Category 5 to Category 6
  • The Westin Lagunamar Ocean Resort (Cancun) – Category 5 to Category 6
  • The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach – Category 5 to Category 6 (particularly bummed about this one)
Westin Grand Cayman

Westin Grand Cayman

3) Consider Applying for a American Airlines Citibank Credit Card – All of the bloggers who have Citibank affiliate links have been posting non stop this week how the 50,000 mile offers on the Citibank Platinum Select and CitiBusiness AA cards are changing on Monday 2/29. While I don’t doubt they will have to take down their affiliate links for the 50k offer, I’m rather confident there will still be 50k links floating around as Citibank is known to do. It is usually possible to find a working link for many Citibank offers after they supposedly expire so I am not concerned about the change in offers.

I personally don’t think anyone needs to rush out and apply for either card today but if you are risk-adverse and want to guarantee an easy 50,000 AA miles, then I guess go for it. However, I will not be nor I am recommending it to any of my clients. Here is a non-affiliate link for the personal card and business card if you must.