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Bag Up To Three FREE Hotel Nights With SPG American Express

SPG American Express card

I recently applied for the SPG American Express Card. I was between airline reward credit card cycles and seeking a quick win. One of my readers has been hounding me for some time about the benefits of Starwood in the UK, a reward scheme I’ve largely ignored due to perceived limited property choice. They’ve now merged with Marriott and you can transfer points seamlessly between the two, so I decided to bite the bullet.

I asked http://amex.co.uk/refer/craigppcbs?XLINK=MYCPppcbs?XLINK=MYCP to send me a referral code and I’m now on a mission to understand exactly why http://amex.co.uk/refer/craigppcbs?XLINK=MYCPppcbs?XLINK=MYCP loves this reward scheme and credit card so much. Keep your eyes peeled for future posts on SPG, but for now, let’s take a look at the credit card.

Sign up bonus

You will need to spend £1,000 in the first three months of card membership to earn 10,000 Starpoints. Even better, use this referral code, and earn an extra 1,000 points on sign up. This is enough for a complimentary three night stay in a category one hotel. We used ours to book the Nest Hotel at Incheon airport, Seoul.

Nest Hotel Incheon exterior
Nest Hotel Incheon exterior

Refer a friend bonus

Assuming you like the card, refer your friends and once  they meet the minimum spend requirement, you will earn an extra 5,000 points per referral. I’ve earned a bunch of points in this way on my airmiles cards so am now hoping I might be able to bag some free hotel nights as a result. After all, you only need 3,000 points for a Category 1 hotel and whilst these may be more basic, who needs luxury if your main aim when visiting a city is to sightsee?

SPG American Express referral
SPG American Express referral

Additional card benefits

As with any American Express card, membership comes with a raft of benefits. I’ve previously found the insurance to be invaluable, paying out when my standard travel insurance wouldn’t. Here’s a summary of the key benefits

  • Travel and shopping Protection
  • Upgrade to SPG Gold Preferred status if you spend £15,000 on your Card each year. I normally would aim to earn as many airmiles as possible, but if your airmiles coffer is overflowing, this could be hugely valuable. Gold status bags you all these benefits. Now, I am starting to understand why http://amex.co.uk/refer/craigppcbs?XLINK=MYCPppcbs?XLINK=MYCP likes this program so much. Only ten nights to get to Gold, when Marriott wants 50!!! Result!
SPG Gold status
SPG Gold status
  • Take away a loved one, or even your bestie for a Free Weekend Night Award every year you spend £25,000 on the Card.
  • Earn 1 Starpoint for  every £1 spent  in addition to the Starpoints you earn at Starwood Preferred Guest hotels and resorts as an SPG member. Take note, however that if you reach Gold, you will earn  three Starpoints instead of one.
  • Earn 2 Starpoints for every £1 of eligible purchases charged to your Card at participating SPG & Marriott Rewards until 15 November 2017.
  • No blackout dates
  • Transfer your Starpoints to over 30 major airline frequent flyer programmes. Before you do this, it would be wise to do some number crunching, to ensure this is good use of your Starpoints. Don’t worry, I will cover this in my review of the programme, coming soon. Just to be sure to sign up to my newsletter if you want to be notified when that post goes live.

Where can you go with your Starpoints?

So once, you have applied for the card, spent the money and earned your points, where can you go?

The Platz, Nest Hotel Incheon
The Platz, Nest Hotel Incheon
  • Fancy a special destination for a romantic night – maybe even a proposal? How about a night in the Westin Grand Berlin for 10,000 points (category 4).
  • 40,000 bags you a four night stay on the tropical island of Fiji, at the Westin Denarau Island Resort and Spa. I’m pretty sure I was lusting after that place when I visited in the late nineties.
  • If you can ramp up the spend through business and referrals however, you can really splurge on five nights at a category 6 hotel, such as the W New York in Times Square. Cripes, that hotel is definitely enough to seduce me into returning to New York.

My experience

I was accepted immediately for the card and http://amex.co.uk/refer/craigppcbs?XLINK=MYCPppcbs?XLINK=MYCP received his referral points around a week later. It only took me a few weeks to make the minimum spend, due to work expenses and I bagged 12,500 points in my first month. Normally I would consider cancelling a card after meeting the minimum spend, but I’m going to hold on to this given how quickly I can achieve Gold status.

It also helps that I have already benefited given how quickly the points were applied to my account. The Nest Hotel was one of the first Starwood properties I have stayed in for a long time. It is pretty darn cool!

Nest Hotel Incheon entrance
Nest Hotel Incheon entrance

About Anne

Anne is the founder and editor of Frommilestosmiles. If she isn't travelling, she is thinking of travelling or planning her next trip. She has visited over 90 countries on six continents and sampled everything from backpacking to bank bursting travel. Her mission is to help you enjoy more luxurious travel without the luxury price tag through the use of airline and hotel rewards and other money-saving travel tips


  1. I’ve been a longtime fan of the Barclay Arrival Plus card but the APR is horrendous! That being said, free hotel nights at luxurious spots is not a bad trade… I’m just scared of all the fine print

    • Suzy, that is a great point however I NEVER pay any interest on my cards. I pay the balance in full each month and only spend what I can afford to pay off. Here’s a post that addresses such concerns.

  2. I wish I had more patience for travel-hacking. I’m just no good at keeping up with it. I have one travel rewards card that I’m happy with, but I’m so bad about collecting all the points and stuff. Great tips for someone who loves to stay at Marriott hotels though! Maybe I should make a mid-year resolution to look into these more!

    • You are definitely not alone in this as I know tons of frequent travellers who don’t take advantage. I’ve saved at least £20,000 on travel in the time I’ve been doing this though so that makes the effort worthwhile for me

  3. This card looks like it has great benefits. I’m really new to the world of travel hacking, so I don’t know that much about it. But I would love anything that would enable me to travel more and save money!

  4. This seems like an excellent card with wonderful points! I have yet to get on board with a credit card, but this may be a good option for me! I’ll look into it.

  5. Hi Anne,

    I got the SPG card this week but I see no mention at all in the brochure (or on the website) about the signup bonus you refer to.

    Can you provide me with some info/URL which gives proof of this? I’m looking at the SPG card page on the official Amex UK website but no mention of any bonus for spending a set amount in the first few months.

    • I have just checked too and it appears to have gone although I have contacted AMEX for confirmation. You can still earn it using my referral so it might be worth contacting AMEX and asking them whether they will honour it retrospectively or just submit the cancellation notice and start over using the link. That sucks

  6. Very interesting, thanks for sharing your experience and the ins and outs of this card. I’m currently trying to decide which type of travel card will be best for me and one that includes insurance is a big plus! I’ll keep this in mind for future reference. Thanks!

  7. I’ll have to get this card, so many benefits! Amazing post, Anne!

  8. That sounds nice! Feeling very tempted to join SPG Amex, the benefits seem to be really great!

  9. I never know what card to buy so glad that you wrote this. Spending £1,000 in the first three months to get 10,000 points is a great deal. Thanks for letting me know!

  10. SPG looks like an easy card to secure some great points – Glad that you were able to leverage the benefits. A good travel hack!

  11. Ah I love credit cards that reward you with travel experiences!!! We are AMEX owners as well 🙂

  12. You can definitely make the most of credit cards and airline cards these days – great advice for those who are using the SPG American Express Card. I must look into the AirNZ cards that are similar over here. Airline points systems are great for frequent travellers.

  13. The Starwood Amex sounds like a great credit card. I will look into the benefits for CDN cardholders- we don’t always get the same perks as Europe, UK, or the USA. Thanks for the tip!

  14. seems like you have this all sorted out what a great way to go for cheap. This seems like something i am going o have to look into moving forward to make our travel cheaper.

    • It definitely helps save money but I prefer to think of going luxury for less. My days of doing cheap backpackers and the like are well and truly over. I need a comfy bed and some of life’s little luxuries these days lol

  15. That is definitely a huge bonus for all guests when Starwood & Marriott merged their points scheme; I always find it hard to use one brand enough to make it worthwhile, but with more options for hotels for choose from this makes it much easier! If you already have a Marriott Rewards credit card though is it really worth it to get the extra card for Starwood? Or just to use it for the initial bonus?

    • Definitely, I would just use it for the initial bonus, bag the points and then cancel it. You can obviously merge points between the two accounts but I’ve also yet to do the comparison between Marriott and Starwood cards (think Marriott is a visa or MasterCard) and you may find one is more generous. Coming soon!

  16. I tried to take advantage of one of their big initial offers, but was only allowed $1000/month spending limit (despite spending much more than that each month on other cards) and they wouldn’t increase it. I also ran into serious problems using the card while living in the UK, since so few places take AMEX. Even if I was able to buy items online with it (Amazon, flights, etc), I would have had to spend exactly my month allowance, which is next to impossible. I tried to explain that to customer service, but they said they wouldn’t increase it. I ended up canceling the card a few months after I got it, as I wasn’t able to get the bonus points. Kind of a bummer.

    • Hi Drew, I usually find that once you have been with them a few months and demonstrated your reliability, they will up the limit. Here’s some of my top tips though for managing credit cards for points. I use AMEX a,most exclusively in the UK for my business expenses and there are the odd times when I need a back up card 💳 but for the bigger spends I am usually ok. I would encourage you to take another look as it looks like things might have moved on since you last tried.

  17. The American express card seems to be a really useful one.. the benefits mentioned in the article, I think we’re really good especially the standpoint system, I think, really awesome.Also the referral point system…In is advantageous. I do not carry an American Express card, however, may consider it.

  18. We love SPG! We take advantage of their points and have stayed at some of the most amazing hotels around the world. We were also stoked when we heard about the merge 🙂

  19. Really good to know! I don’t pay so much attention to collecting points but I think that I should do so with all these rewards!

  20. I’ve always wanted to utilise rewards like this, but i’ve never taken the jump. Articles like this thou make me a lot more confident – maybe I’ll give it a go! 🙂

  21. I was psyched to hear about the merge with Marriott – and the brill thing is that if you can quickly achieve gold status, this is matched by Marriott so you’ll be gold there too 🙂

    • Yes for us in the UK, it definitely gives us so much more choice. We don’t have tons of SPG properties, but I use Marriott a lot for work so it is a real bonus being able to combine points from the two programmes. I can of course, save those points up and use them overseas too.

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