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Before applying I highly suggest reading the following posts: Slow & Steady Doesn't Make You A Loser and A Mandatory Waiting Period to Apply for Credit Cards?. You can find all of our credit card reviews here.
SPG Amex Increased Bonus Tomorrow?
Update: It seems I was correct. The offers have been increased to 30K across the board!
The SPG American Express cards are being revamped tomorrow with some new features and a brand new design. The new features include:
- No foreign transaction fees
- Unlimited Boingo internet
- Free premium internet at Starwood hotels.
- Sheraton lounge access (Business card only)
HT: One Mile at a Time which was the first site where I read about the changes.
As a refresher, these are some of the current benefits of the card(s):
- 2X points on eligible purchases at SPG properties
- 1X point per dollar on all spend
- 5 nights & 2 stays towards SPG elite status every year
All of this additional goodness comes at a cost though. The annual fee is jumping from $65 to $95. Most reports seem to indicate that the annual fee will still be waived the first year for new cardholders, but that increase should be noted by anyone looking to hold the card long term.
Why I Care If the Bonus Increases
For the past several summers, American Express has increased the bonus on this card from 25K to 30K points. That doesn’t sound like a whole lot, but Starpoints are both hard to come by and relatively valuable. SPG has a ton of airline transfer partners and when you transfer Starpoints to airline miles in chunks of 20K, they throw in a 5K bonus.
My wife has had both SPG cards in the past, but should be eligible for the bonus on the business card because it has been more than 12 months since it was closed. I have never had either card, so I am hoping to pick up one or both of them. Since I have picked up a couple of unexpected American Express cards this year, I’ll probably just go for one, but who knows. Either way, new Amex cards mean more opportunity for Amex Offers as well.
Could I Be Wrong About the Increase?
In 2012 & 2013 the 30K bonus came around in August, however we saw it in June of last year. I do believe that the new benefits and re-design of the card make this the best time to increase the bonus and bring new cardholders on board. I have no inside knowledge as to whether or not the bonus will be increased tomorrow, so don’t be mad at me if it doesn’t happen. With that said, I think it will either happen tomorrow or not at all this year.
Business vs. Personal
Since both cards carry the same annual fee, I would tend to favor the business card for two reasons. First off, you aren’t limited to a once in a lifetime bonus. Second, the business card comes with Sheraton lounge access while the personal card doesn’t. That added benefit will probably come in handy for a lot of people, although I know not everyone has an eligible business. With all things equal though, business is probably the way to go.
Many tout these cards as being great for everyday spending, however for many that simply isn’t true. For my regular spend I would rather earn 2% in cashback, because I can’t find any scenario where Starpoints are regularly worth more than that. (Some people would disagree.) I do however think the Business card with its elite credit and Sheraton lounge access (along with Amex Offers) could easily be a card to keep long term depending on your travel habits.
Read & Study Before Applying
One of the reasons I decided to write this today is because the blogosphere will be flooded with posts about these cards tomorrow. I don’t have any direct affiliate links (although in full disclosure I believe the SPG cards are linked to from my creditcards.com link) and am not pushing this card. I do however like to share some of my thought processes behind certain deals, especially when I am applying myself.
If the bonus does increase tomorrow, I highly recommend learning about Starpoints, how transfers work and why this card may be valuable to you. 30K or not, it will almost never make sense to apply for a card if you don’t have a plan to use the bonus. Remember, slow & steady doesn’t make you a loser. An increased bonus would be a great deal for me and probably a lot of other people, but may not make any sense for you.
I personally am hopeful that the bonus is increased tomorrow, because I personally find great value in SPG and Starpoints. While I believe that will also be the case for many of you, I urge everyone to go at their own pace and remember that the increased offer will most likely be around for a short while (they normally publish an end date), so there is no need to jump in right away.