Update: The 30K offer is now dead.
-4BM Success! (2 consumer card and 2 business card approvals with just 1 hard pull!)
-Which Miles To Use To Israel? (Hint: You can get to Israel round-trip for as little as 20,000 Starpoints with fuel surcharges or 40,000 Starpoints with no fuel surcharges!)
-Poll: What Do You Do With Your Starpoints? (Also: Using 4,000 Starpoints to save $767 on a hotel in Israel)
-Breaking Down Which Credit Card To Use.
-Credit Score FAQs Part 1: Opening And Closing Cards
-Credit Card Reconsideration: Don’t Give Up!
-Need To Meet A Spending Threshold Deadline? Send And Receive $1,000/Month With No Fees Using Amazon Payments!
Starwood American Express Consumer Card Linky
This is a limited time offer scheduled to run until 09/04, though it can end at any time.
Keep this number handy in case you are denied, American Express application reconsideration: 866-314-0237.
Spending on the Starwood card:
The Starwood card remains an awesome card for spending. While the Chase Freedom card is great for small purchases if you also have a Chase checking account and the Sapphire Preferred card is great for travel, dining, and purchases made outside of the US, the Starwood card remains awesome for general purchases.
Starpoints are the most valuable mileage currency. They also generously allow members at the same address to transfer points between their accounts for free.
The Starwood card earns 2 Starpoints per dollar at Starwood hotels, or a 4.6% rebate at a value of 2.3 cents per Starpoint. It earns 1 Starpoint per dollar everywhere else, or a 2.3% rebate. There are thousands of uses for Starpoints, some of which have been over 50 cents for me, but I always aim for a minimum value of 2.3 cents per point.
The card also carries American Express’ awesome top-notch protections that are light-years better than any other banks. Other banks always look for a way to get out, but that’s not the case with American Express. If you need to return an item they will gladly refund you, if you have an warranty issue they’ll pay to have it fixed or refund your purchase price, if you need to dispute a charge there’s nobody who makes it easier or as pain-free as American Express does, if your item is stolen or damaged you’ll be covered.
With this offer you will get 10,000 bonus points for spending $1 and 20,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 within 6 months. So spend $5,000 and you’ll have 35,000 Starwood points!
Annual fee: Making it pay for itself.
There’s no fee on the Starwood card for the first year and $65 thereafter though you can often get bonus points or account credits for keeping it open for additional years. You can always cancel any American Express card within 60 days of being charged the fee on your statement and you will receive a full refund of the fee. If you cancel after 60 days you get a pro-rated refund based on how many months you had the card.
That small annual fee is nothing compared to what you can make from promotions like Small Business Saturday, Link, Like, Love, Foursquare, Twitter, Gift Chain, NYC Mix-n-Match Promo, and tons of other promotions that American Express runs all year long. I’ve made thousands and thousands of dollars from these and so can you! Additional cardholders are free on the Starwood card, and each one qualifies for their own promotion credits!
Business cards and Open Savings:
Getting a business card is simple. If Joe Smith sells items on Ebay or on Amazon, or has any other side business/hobby and wants a credit card to better keep track of business expenditures he can just open a business credit card for “Joe Smith Sole Proprietorship” as the business name.
Just be sure to select “Sole Proprietorship” as the business type and just use your social security number in the Tax Identification Number field as well as in the social security number field.
A perk of business card spending is that it doesn’t count against your credit utilization, so you don’t need to worry about the credit affect of using up a majority of your credit line, something that is bad for your credit if done on a personal card even if you pay it off every statement (which is why I pay off personal cards multiple times per month).
It’s also worth remembering that the credit line (and utilization) of business cards are not reported on your personal credit report, thus closing them also won’t effect your score.
With the Starwood business card you will get Starpoints AND automatic cash back on purchases from these select retailers with Open Savings:
Barnes & Noble online: 5%, Epson: 5%, Fedex: 5%, Flowers.com: 5%, Hyatt: 3%, HP: 5% if you spend $200-$999 annually, 10% if you spend $1,000-$50,000 annually, Microsoft Store: 5%, Courtyard/Fairfield/TownePlace/SpringHill/Residence Inn by Marriott: 5%, Office Max online: 5% on purchases up to $250, 10% on purchases above $250.
Just by having a Starwood card you earn Preferred Plus status. This status earns you the right to checkout at 4pm at Starwood hotels and preferred rooms.
If you spend $30,000 in a year on either Starwood card you earn Gold status. Gold status gets you free wifi or a 250 point amenity on all stays, even when redeeming points. You can also get automatic gold status with no spending requirement by opening an American Express Platinum Consumer card or an American Express Business Platinum card.
When you have the Starwood card you also get other benefits like every 3rd night free at Sheraton, 5th night free in French Polynesia and Hawaii with free resort credit, and 2 elite qualifying stays and 5 elite qualifying nights for every Starwood card that you have that count towards earning Gold or Platinum status!
As points are deposited into your Starwood account you do not lose your points if you cancel your card like with American Express Membership Rewards points. You do need to maintain some activity in your Starwood account every 12 months though to keep it active.
Starwood’s cash and points chart make expensive hotel stays dirt cheap. Take the Sheraton at my hometown Cleveland airport for example. The rate there for tonight is $189+tax=$223. Using Starpoints you can either pay 4,000 points for a value of 5.6 cents per Starpoint or you can use 1,600 points and $30 cash for a value of over 12 cents per Starpoint! (I’ll run the numbers for you, if you redeem all 30,000 bonus Starpoints for hotels of a similar 12 cent value, and I have done much better than that example, that would equal a $3,600 signup bonus) Plus award nights even count towards elite status and Gold members receive 250 points back and Platinum members receive 500 points back per stay. Effectively as a Platinum member I can stay at the Sheraton Cleveland for just 1,100 points plus $30 instead of $223 and be a stay closer towards requalifying for Platinum status.
When you redeem points for a hotel stay when using just points you also get the 5th night for free! Plus there are no blackout dates or capacity controls on standard rooms starting at 2,000 points per night.
Of you can transfer your Starpoints into miles with dozens of airlines at great ratios. 20,000 Starpoints becomes 25,000 miles on most of those airlines. 20,000 Starpoints becomes 50,000 kilometers on LAN, a South American OneWorld carrier. LAN never charges any fuel surcharges.
The Starwood card is much better than other cards (Like HAS advantage) for going to Israel. With HAS you are stuck with just the availability on El Al. Plus El Al charges hundreds of dollars in fuel surcharges on award tickets.
With Starwood you have thousands of routing possibilities for free flights to Israel for less points than with HAS. And even if you want to only go to Israel on El Al you can just transfer Starwood points to AA and they will book you on El Al without any fuel surcharges!
There are also often bonus miles promotions for even more miles when you transfer points to airlines. In the past bonuses for transferring have ranged from 25% to a whopping 312% for transfers to Air Canada, AA, Delta, and USAirways on top of the standard 25% transfer bonus.
Starwood Nights and flights option makes 5 night stays even cheaper when you transfer Starpoints to miles at the same time as when you book the stay.
Curious about the 31 Starwood transfer options and ratios? Here they are! With so may different airlines to transfer to it’s just a matter of figuring out which one has the lowest rates to where you want to go. I’ve separated them by alliance so you can know which airlines are partners and will therefore let you book award travel on partner airlines. Of course airlines also have lots non-alliance partners, but by definition they are partners with all airlines in the same alliance.
AA: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles
Air Berlin: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles
British Airways: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles
JAL/Japan Airways: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles
LAN: 20,000 Starpoints=50,000 kms
Mexicana: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles
Air France/KLM Flying Blue: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles
Alitalia: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles
China Eastern: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles
China Southern: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles
Delta: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles
Air Canada: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles
Air China: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles
Air New Zealand: 20,000 Starpoints=385 points
ANA/All Nippon: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles
Asiana: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles
Lufthansa Miles & More: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles
Singapore: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles
Thai: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles
United: 20,000 Starpoints=12,500 miles
USAirways: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles
Alaska (Partners with many various airlines): 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles
Emirates: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles
Etihad: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles
Hawaiian: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles
Kingfisher: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles
Qatar: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles
Saudi Arabian: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles
Varig: 20,000 Starpoints=12,500 miles
Virgin Atlantic: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles