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Updated February 16, 2017

Worth $95? Starwood Business Credit Card Review

Read more about Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express, a CreditDonkey advertiser
Editorial Note: This content is not provided by the card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer.
This article contains references to products from our partners. We receive compensation if you apply or shop through links in our content. You help support CreditDonkey by reading our website and using our links. (read more)

Do you or your employees travel for work? With over 1,300 hotels and resorts, 1:1 point transfer to select frequent flyer programs, and point bonus for those transfers, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express is one of our favorite travel rewards cards on CreditDonkey for business owners. Read on to see what sets this card apart from the competition.

Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card
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Overall Score

4.4

Rewards

4.5

Fees

3.5

Benefits

4.5

Airline Transfer Partners

5.0
5-point scale (the higher, the better)

Pros and Cons

  • Bonus offer
  • 5000 bonus points for every 20000 points transferred to airline frequent flyer program
  • $95 annual fee

Bottom Line

Excellent travel credit card for small businesses who do not carry a balance

Booking a hotel when you're traveling for business doesn't come cheap. The average room runs just over $110 per night at a mid-grade hotel, and the price climbs even higher for luxury accommodations.

Joining a hotel loyalty program is a smart way for business owners to make traveling less expensive.

7 Reasons to Get the SPG Business AMEX

Some business credit cards give you points or cash back when you charge things like office supplies or cell phone services, but the Starwood Business card is geared specifically towards business owners who travel. If you spend time on the road, here's why the $95 annual fee might be worth it:

  1. You can score a bonus: This card offers a welcome bonus for new cardholders. After you use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months, you will earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints.

  2. You earn points that you can redeem for free nights: When you make a purchase with your Starwood Preferred Guest Business Card, you earn Starpoints.

    What can you do with Starpoints? You can use it toward free nights at over 1,300 hotels and resorts in over 100 countries with no blackout dates. Some hotels and resorts have mandatory service charges. A night at a Category 1 Starwood hotel starts at 2,000 points. Higher category hotels are more expensive. For instance, a standard room in a mid-tier category 4 hotel costs 10,000 Starpoints per night.

    Starwood hotel brands include Sheraton, Westin, St Regis, Le Meridien, Four Points, Loft, Element, and W Hotels. Want to learn more about Starpoints? Read our AMEX SPG personal credit card review.

    You earn 1 point for every $1 spent on regular eligible purchases and 2 points for every $1 spent on eligible purchases charged directly with hotels and resorts participating in the Starwood Preferred Guest program.

    Earning points is one thing. It's what you can do with it that matters. Read on.

  3. You can convert your points to miles: Starwood has several airline transfer partners at a 1:1 transfer basis including American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, British Airways, Air Canada, Aeromexico, Emirates, Virgin Atlantic, Qatar Airways, Korean Air, Asiana Airlines, Jet Airways, Air Chin, Air Berlin, Japan Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Thai Airways, China Southern Airlines, Korean Airlines, Miles and More, and All Nippon Airways.

    But if you don't want to transfer points to miles, you can also redeem your points for flights on over 150 airlines using SPG Flights, with no blackout dates.

    My recommendation: transfer the points to miles as you can score an additional 5,000 extra points when you transfer 20,000 Starpoints to eligible frequent flyer program.. This makes Starpoints worth 25% more when you convert them to an airline transfer partner like American Airlines AAdvantage.

  4. You don't have to pay foreign transaction fees: Foreign transaction fees can add up. Many credit cards charge a fee, typically 3% when you use your credit card to make a purchase outside of the US. Luckily, the Starwood Business credit card does not have a foreign transaction fee on international purchases.

  5. You get Boingo and in-room Internet: When you're traveling for business, having access to a reliable Internet connection is a must. When you stay at a Starwood hotel with this card, you get free in-room, premium web access at participating Starwood hotels.

    Plus, international travelers might find this benefit handy: you get unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi at more than a million hotspots worldwide.

  6. You get access to Sheraton Club lounge: The hotel lounge is a place to help unwind at the end of a long day of business meetings. With the Starwood Business credit card, you get access to the Sheraton Club lounge at participating locations during the duration of your eligible hotel stays.

  7. You can add additional cards: You can add additional users to your account without paying an additional fee, so you can give cards to your employees. You only need to pay the annual fee for primary card.

3 Reasons to Consider Another Card

But this card is not for everyone. Here are some reasons why this card might not be right for you:

  • There is a $95 annual fee. While there is a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, we have to think long term with our business. Not every business owner needs to travel.

    If you don't plan to travel at least once a year, it is hard to justify the annual fee. In our opinion, folks should get the card to earn points toward hotel stays and airline flights. Otherwise, you are better off with a card with no annual fee such as the Blue Business Credit Card.

  • You want airline perks: While you don't fly often enough to get elite frequent flyer status with airlines, you still want the privilege of priority boarding and other airline-specific benefits. The SPG credit card does not offer any airline perks.

    If you want premium travel benefits like Airport Lounge Access, consider the Business Platinum Card which offers access to over 1,000 airport lounges worldwide.

  • You rather earn cash back: You are busy running your business and you want to save money. If you prefer the simplicity of earning cash back, compare business cash back credit cards instead.

How it Compares

Before you decide on the AMEX SPG business credit card, here's how it stacks up against several other cards:

Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card (Personal): AMEX also offers a personal version of the SPG card. When you compare the personal card to the business card side-by-side, they look similar, but there are some subtle differences. We'll show you in the chart below.

SPG Business vs Personal Tip: If you are a small business owner, we suggest you consider the Starwood Preferred Guest business credit card. The SPG business credit card includes access to Sheraton Club Lounges (during the duration of your eligible stay) and OPEN Savings Discounts at merchants such as FedEx and Hertz.

 

Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card

Starwood Preferred Guest

 

Interest Rates and Fees

Purchase APR16.24% to 20.24% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors16.24% to 20.24% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Balance Transfers APRSee Rates & Fees16.24% to 20.24% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Annual Fee$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
See Rates & FeesSee Rates & Fees
 

Benefits and Features

Hotel DealIntroductory Bonus Hotel Rewards: Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.Introductory Bonus Hotel Rewards: Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
Hotel StatusHotel Status: Earn SPG Gold Status by spending $30,000 or more on your Card in a calendar year. Receive credit for 5 nights toward SPG elite status each year.

Sheraton Club Lounge access at select Sheraton Hotels for the duration of the cardmember's eligible stay.
Hotel Status: Premium on-property Internet Access. Booking requirements apply.
Earn SPG Gold Status by spending $30,000 or more on your Card in a calendar year. Receive credit for 5 nights toward SPG elite status each year.
DiscountDiscount: The OPEN Savings benefit is built into Business Cards from American Express OPEN and provides either a 5% discount or 2 additional Membership Rewards® points (if your card is enrolled in the Membership Rewards program) for each eligible dollar spent at OPEN Savings merchants. Terms and limitations apply. 

Business Gold Rewards: The Business Gold Rewards gives you the freedom to choose which out of 5 categories you earn the 3x points in. The card pays 2x points for the four remaining categories and 1 point for other purchases. The 3x and 2x apply to the first $100,000 in purchases in each of the 5 categories per year, 1x point per dollar thereafter

 

Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card

Business Gold Rewards Card

 

Interest Rates and Fees

Purchase APR16.24% to 20.24% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factorsN/A
Annual Fee$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $175
See Rates & FeesSee Rates & Fees
 

Benefits and Features

Hotel DealIntroductory Bonus Hotel Rewards: Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. 
Points Deal Introductory Bonus Reward Points: Welcome Offer: Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership
Travel
 
AirlineAirline Rewards: Transfer Starpoints to more than 30 airline frequent flyer programs, mostly on a one-to-one basis.
Redeem Starpoints® for free flights on over 150 airlines with SPG Flights.
 
Bonus Airline RewardsBonus Airline Rewards: Get 5,000 bonus Starpoints after you transfer 20,000 Starpoints to a frequent flyer program with more than 30 airlines 
HotelHotel Rewards: Redeem Starpoints® for free nights at over 1,300 hotels & resorts in over 100 countries. Some hotels and resorts have mandatory service charges. 
Points Point Rewards: Get 3x points - Choose 1 out of 5 categories. 2X points on the 4 remaining categories and 1X points on other purchases. 3X and 2X apply to the first $100,000 in purchases in each of the 5 categories per year, 1X point per dollar thereafter
Hotel StatusHotel Status: Earn SPG Gold Status by spending $30,000 or more on your Card in a calendar year. Receive credit for 5 nights toward SPG elite status each year.

Sheraton Club Lounge access at select Sheraton Hotels for the duration of the cardmember's eligible stay.
 
DiscountDiscount: The OPEN Savings benefit is built into Business Cards from American Express OPEN and provides either a 5% discount or 2 additional Membership Rewards® points (if your card is enrolled in the Membership Rewards program) for each eligible dollar spent at OPEN Savings merchants. Terms and limitations apply.Discount: The OPEN Savings benefit is built into Business Cards from American Express OPEN and provides either a 5% discount or 2 additional Membership Rewards® points for each eligible dollar spent at OPEN Savings merchants. Terms and limitations apply.
Airline Transfer PartnersAirline Transfer Partners: Airline transfer partners include American Airlines, Delta, Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, British Airways, Aeromexico, Air Canada, Air France (Flying Blue), Emirates, Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific (Asia Miles), Virgin Atlantic, Avianca, Singapore Airlines, Korean Air, Etihad, Asiana Airlines, Air China, Alitalia, Air Berlin, Jet Airways, China Southern Airlines, Japan Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Thai Airways, Virgin Australia, Aegean Airlines, Miles and More, All Nippon Airways, China Eastern, and more.Airline Transfer Partners: Airline transfer partners include Delta, Hawaiian Airlines, Aeromexico, Air Canada, Air France, Emirates, Cathay Pacific (Asia Miles), Virgin Atlantic, Singapore Airlines, Etihad, Alitalia, All Nippon Airways and more.

Keep in mind, the Business Gold Rewards is a charge card. That means you have to pay your entire balance in full each month.

Also, instead of earning Starpoints, you'll earn Membership Rewards points with the Business Gold Rewards. Membership Rewards points can be redeemed for everyday business expenses, to help with travel costs or to reward employees and entertain clients. AMEX Membership Rewards points can also be transferred to airline miles, but the specific airline transfer partners are different.

Ink Business Preferred: Do you want a Visa business credit card instead? The Ink Business Preferred from Chase has a big sign up bonus. We'll compare the two side-by-side below.

 

Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card

Ink Business Preferred

 

Interest Rates and Fees

Purchase APR16.24% to 20.24% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors16.74% to 21.74% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Balance Transfers APRSee Rates & Fees16.74% to 21.74% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Annual Fee$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95$95 annual fee
See Rates & Fees 
 

Benefits and Features

Hotel DealIntroductory Bonus Hotel Rewards: Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. 
Points Deal Introductory Bonus Reward Points: Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
Travel
Travel Rewards: Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases—with no limit to the amount you can earn.
1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
AirlineAirline Rewards: Transfer Starpoints to more than 30 airline frequent flyer programs, mostly on a one-to-one basis.
Redeem Starpoints® for free flights on over 150 airlines with SPG Flights.
Airline Rewards: 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
Bonus Airline RewardsBonus Airline Rewards: Get 5,000 bonus Starpoints after you transfer 20,000 Starpoints to a frequent flyer program with more than 30 airlines 
HotelHotel Rewards: Redeem Starpoints® for free nights at over 1,300 hotels & resorts in over 100 countries. Some hotels and resorts have mandatory service charges.Hotel Rewards: 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
Points Point Rewards: Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases—with no limit to the amount you can earn.
Hotel StatusHotel Status: Earn SPG Gold Status by spending $30,000 or more on your Card in a calendar year. Receive credit for 5 nights toward SPG elite status each year.

Sheraton Club Lounge access at select Sheraton Hotels for the duration of the cardmember's eligible stay.
 
DiscountDiscount: The OPEN Savings benefit is built into Business Cards from American Express OPEN and provides either a 5% discount or 2 additional Membership Rewards® points (if your card is enrolled in the Membership Rewards program) for each eligible dollar spent at OPEN Savings merchants. Terms and limitations apply. 
Airline Transfer PartnersAirline Transfer Partners: Airline transfer partners include American Airlines, Delta, Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, British Airways, Aeromexico, Air Canada, Air France (Flying Blue), Emirates, Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific (Asia Miles), Virgin Atlantic, Avianca, Singapore Airlines, Korean Air, Etihad, Asiana Airlines, Air China, Alitalia, Air Berlin, Jet Airways, China Southern Airlines, Japan Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Thai Airways, Virgin Australia, Aegean Airlines, Miles and More, All Nippon Airways, China Eastern, and more.Airline Transfer Partners: Airline transfer partners include United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, British Airways, Air France, Korean Air, Singapore Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic.

Ink Business Preferred: Pricing information including interest rates, benefits and fees were obtained on April 13, 2017 from published websites and are believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

Disclaimer: The information for the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Bottom Line

© Take Back Your Health Conference (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

This is one of our favorite travel cards on CreditDonkey for small business owners. The Starwood Preferred Guest Business credit card earns points good toward flights and hotel stays and comes with a number of features. In our opinion, it is also relatively inexpensive for a travel rewards card. Terms and limitations apply.

Next Step: View the issuer's official application, terms, and details

David R is a contributing writer at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and financial education website. Write to David R at davidr@creditdonkey.com. Our data-driven analysis has been recognized by major news outlets across the country and has helped consumers make savvy financial and lifestyle decisions. (read more)

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

Disclaimer: This content was first published on February 24, 2012. This content may have been updated on February 16, 2017. Information including APR, terms and benefits may vary, be out of date, or not applicable to you. Information is provided without warranty. Please check American Express website for updated information.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

Disclaimer: The information for the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

More Articles in Reviews

Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express
Apply for Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express
At American Express' Secure Site
  • Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 2 Starpoints® for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating SPG® & Marriott Rewards® hotels. Earn 1 Starpoint® for all other purchases.
  • Redeem Starpoints® for free nights at over 1,300 hotels & resorts in over 100 countries and for free flights on over 150 airlines with SPG Flights. Some hotels and resorts have mandatory service charges.
  • Free, unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi at more than 1,000,000 Boingo hotspots worldwide. Enrollment required.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on international purchases and $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms Apply
  • See Rates & Fees
  • Go to issuer's official application, terms, and details
Introductory Bonus Hotel RewardsTravel RewardsAirline RewardsBonus Airline RewardsBonus Hotel RewardsHotel RewardsNo Limits on RewardsDiscountExtended Warranty Purchase ProtectionReturn ProtectionTravel Accident Insurance$0 Fraud LiabilityEmergency Card Replacement
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
16.24% - 20.24% Variable
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95

Compare Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card to:

Compare Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card vs Starwood Preferred Guest
Apply for Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express
At American Express' Secure Site
  • Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 2 Starpoints® for each dollar of eligible purchases spent on the Card at participating SPG® & Marriott Rewards® hotels. Earn 1 Starpoint for all other purchases.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on International purchases.
  • Redeem Starpoints® at over 1,300 participating hotels and resorts in over 100 countries and for flights on more than 150 airlines with SPG flights, all with no blackout dates.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Introductory Bonus Hotel RewardsTravel RewardsAirline RewardsBonus Airline RewardsHotel RewardsNo Limits on RewardsCar Rental InsuranceExtended WarrantyPurchase Protection Return ProtectionTravel Accident Insurance$0 Fraud Liability
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
16.24% - 20.24% Variable
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95

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