Roundup Of Changes To American Express Gold And Starwood Consumer And Business Cards

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Update: American Express has confirmed that all holders of the Premier Rewards Gold card will receive 15K bonus points for spending $30K in 2015.

That comes on top of double points on restaurants, gas, and groceries in the US and triple points on airfare.  If you can spend $30K this year that bumps up the double point categories to 2.5 points per dollar and the triple points category to 3.5 points per dollar.


Originally posted on 06/03:

American Express is a advertiser.

Effective June 1st AMEX made some excellent changes to the Premier Rewards Gold Charge Card.  The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN will see a positive change on July 28th.

The Starwood Preferred Guest Consumer Card and the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Card will be refreshed on August 11th.

Here’s a recap of the details:


The Premier Rewards Gold card’s annual fee has increased from $175/year to $195/year. The fee is waived for the first year.

But the benefits provided for that $20 increase are awesome:

1. You can register here for a $100 airline fee credit per calendar year. That means in your first cardmember year you can get $200 back with $100 in 2015 and $100 in 2016. Officially these are intended to be used for bag fees, seat upgrades, and lounge passes/memberships. However they also work for items like $100 American Airlines gift cards or $100 United gift registry contributions and more.

In my mind that effectively drops the annual fee to a far more palatable $95/year.

2. The card no longer charges a foreign transaction fee.

3. The card will now give double points at restaurants in addition to double points on gas and groceries in the US and triple points on airfare.
That’s a very nice mix of bonus spend categories and comes out top of Membership Rewards promotions like the one earlier this year that offered 40% bonus points for transfer to British Airways Avios.

4. Officially this card was supposed to stop offering a 15K point bonus for spending $30K in a calendar year, but there have been numerous reports that it’s still working in 2015.  That’s pretty sweet as it bumps the effective earn rates of the double point categories to 3x and the triple point category to 4.5x.

5. The card also continues to offer 5 additional cardholders without any additional annual fee, each of which qualify for promotions like Small Business Saturday. Last year SBS gave a $30 per card credit, so someone who had a Premier Gold card with 5 additional users was able to get $180 in free spending.


The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN will no longer charge a foreign transaction fee effective 07/28.

The card offers triple points in one of these categories of your choice and the other 4 categories get double points:
-Airfare purchased directly from airlines
-U.S. purchases for advertising in select media
-U.S. purchases at gas stations
-U.S. purchases for shipping
-U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers

DDF user Maurice broke the news 2 weeks ago about upcoming Starwood changes and AMEX has now confirmed that information.

The Starwood Preferred Guest Consumer Card and the Starwood Preferred Guest Business card’s annual fees will increase from $65/year to $95/year. The fee is waived for the first year.  The spend threshold to get the signup bonus on the consumer card has dropped from $5K to $3K.

The new benefits that will take effect on 08/11 include:

1. The cards will no longer charge a foreign transaction fee.  It will finally make sense to pay for Starwood hotels overseas with your Starwood credit card 🙂

2. Free premium in-room internet. All SPG guests get free internet, but elites and cardholders get the faster version for free.

3. Unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi worldwide.  Search from over 1 million hot-spots here.

4. The Starwood business card will now provide free access to Sheraton Club lounges.  The business card is also eligible for Open Savings rebates on purchases from Fedex, HP, Hertz, Hyatt, and more. (1 Starpoint per dollar + 5% cash back at Hyatt makes this card better for Hyatt stays than the Hyatt card…oh the irony.)

5. Both cards continue to offer Preferred Plus status which gives complimentary 4pm checkout at SPG hotels.  If you spend $30K you’ll get Starwood gold status, though that status comes free with the Platinum Card or Business Platinum Card. Some people even get it free for asking nicely 😀

6. Both cards continue to offer up to 99 additional cardholders without any additional annual fee, each of which qualify for promotions like Small Business Saturday.  It’s not hard to make up the annual fee thanks to these promotions (you should see how many diapers I now have thanks to the recent Sam’s Club promotion 😉 )

While the Starwood card still only offers 1 point per dollar (except at Starwood hotels where you’ll earn 2 points per dollar), you do earn a 25% bonus when you transfer Starpoints into miles from dozens of airlines at a 20K:25K ratio.  Of course Starpoints can also be used at SPG hotels starting at 2K points for a free night or with other redemption options like nights & flights, cash & points, and 5th night free awards.

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92 Comments On "Roundup Of Changes To American Express Gold And Starwood Consumer And Business Cards"

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Is this only if u apply now ???
I just applied for the card a few monts ago I want to know if I get all these benefits promotion…????




Everyone gets these benefits.



So if I aplly now for Starwood consumer, after 1st year fee will be 65 or 95? Any chance of 30k bonus this summer?


You get the benefits even if you already have the card.
Dan, is the united registry a way to give myself $100 to spend on united?


Thanks Dan !!!


Hopefully, but who knows.



Is this benefit for both personal and business Premier Rewards Gold cards.


No, consumer only (There is no “business premier rewards gold. It has a different name and different benefits.)

The $45 days!

Really getting hard to afford my legacy credit cards now that they’re all going up in annual fee price!!
I fondly remember when it was a mere $45 annual fee


Do I have to send my united registry announcement to a different email than what was used to make the registry?


Will the 100$ airline credit work on all additional user cards on my account?


@The $45 days!:
And I remember for the $30 days,

Not that I would trade for them. I do rather well with SBS and those days were before SBS 😉

Doesn’t matter.



Spg Business cards get access to the lounge in every hotel for free? Any exceptions? If that’s the cas that’s a awesome benefit.


Tried enrolling my SPG Amex in Boingo. Not eligible. I guess that’s what you mean by “will be refreshed on August 11th.” ?


Sheraton hotels only, effective 08/11.



Do I have to book the flight on the gold card in order to get a credit on a extra bag?


Hi Dan, I have a golds premier cc and was billed a few weeks ago for the annual fee, what would be my options not to loose the sign up points I received, should I downgrade? If yes to which cc? Thanks



Call and ask what your options are?
Why not keep the card for the $100 airline fee credit in 2015 and 2016 and take advantage of the bonus categories?


If I already have the Starwood cards, will the annual fee go up next year?




just wanted to say I tried transferring points from starwood to an airline and it was filled with lots of hassles and took forever. Chase UR are much easier and better IMO.


Dan for most of us the consumer Amex cards no longer applicable due to one time bonus. That was a real deal killer. Any hope that rule will change?


It takes a few days, but what were the hassles?

The Chase process is far simpler, but SPG has dozens more airlines and has the 25% bonus.

I hope every day 😉

Dan's the Man

who do you ask nicely to have SPG Gold status? SPG customer service or I call the Amex customer service # on the back of my Amex SPG card? I tried calling SPG customer service and they said no. I guess I have to HUCA I just wanna make sure I’m calling the right people. Thanks Dan!


@Dan’s the Man:
Try chatting with SPG, tell them you’ll switch your business, etc.


if you applied for certain business charge cards or even personal ones and then downgraded after a year and then had the lower card (lets plat bus -gold bus) by downgraded-that’s considered having the card ?
also the new perks on the gold card -is that a new product bec it dosent say premier anymore it says enhanced business rewards gold card?

is/was the prg and and reg gold bus considered different products?


If I get the American airlines gift card can I give it to someone else or does it have to be in my name?


Dan, on the America Express website it clearly says that gift cards are not included to get the $100. Why are you saying here it will work for an American Airline one?


Consumer cards and business cards are always different products.

Doesn’t matter.

Based on 6K posts here,


@Dan: they wouldn’t let me transfer points to my wife’s account until I could find multiple pieces of proof and they didn’t try to expedite anything when my AA flight hold was about to expire


Would the $5.60 security fee when booking with points on on Southwest count toward this $100?


so if I applied for the amex prg card a week ago, will I receive the 100 airline fee credit?
Thanks dan!


Transfer points from your account to your wife’s SPG account or AA account?

Try and let us know?

Sure, you can register with the link in the post.


Does the club access include Westin and W hotels as well?


If I have SPG renewing in two months will the annual fee go up as well?


If I am a secondary user on a spg business card, do I also get free access to Sheraton Club lounges? Or is that only for the primary?


What is the rule for reapplying for this card and getting the points again (how long can you not have had the card)? Thank you Dan.


About the free gold status for spg – who do you have to ask nicely – Amex or Starwood?


Thank you for the post. The consumer gold card seems much better than the business gold card with these benefits. Can i switch my business gold to consumer?



If it’s after 08/11, probably.

Likely primary only.

Which card?




This may not be the right place to ask, but I got a 300$ american airlines gift card a while ago, didnt spend it, and it expires in a month, any chance that if I call AA they would extend the expiration day?


Sorry for not being clear the first time. What is the rule for reapplying for the Amex Gold (how long can you not have had the card)? Also, the personal and business are considered different products right? Thanks


@Dan: I used it yesterday for the $5.60, it is still showing up as pending. I guess we’ll see if it works.


While they may not charge forex fees anymore, use a mastercard for your forex charges, Amex has some weird formula on how they set their daily forex rates and it sucks it is far from the market rate, mastercard on the other hand publishes their daily rate and will usually beat amex by 1-2%!!

As someone who spent a few million of forex cards, trust me it makes a big difference.


Do you know if this applies to AMEX Starwood Canadian cards as well?


Can I buy a united gift card as well an get credit ?


Any suggestions on which amex card to go for if i live in uk?


I have an SPG card and have lifetime gold status. My card expires October of 2015. Will the rate go up October 2015 or October 2016? Not paying international transaction fees will make it more worthwhile to use when I travel to Israel. That and the 5000 bonus on airline points really make it worth considering keeping the card even at $95.

high end hobo

@rivky. UK residents can churn MR and BA cards every 6 months, they’re not limited to a lifetime. The spg has no limit on number of bonuses, but it’s only 10K per application. Right now the BA cards have increased signup bonuses

high end hobo

@dan whats the latest on MBM with amex, I did 2bm today (with your links) one instantly approved, one pending. CSR says I can only get approved for a card once every 5 days,so my second app will go through then. It kinda sounds like citi’s policy. Have you heard of this change? Will I incur another hard pull? Thanks


@Dan is there a way to transfer miles/points to a spouse with AA miles or SPG?


@Ben You can transfer SPG points to anyone in your household as long as you have both had the same addresses on your account for 30 days.

Card Overload

Dan; I now have plenty of points from cc sign ups (amex plat business, delta ax, ax gold bus and pers,4 chase inks, UA mileage plus visa,starwood ax, BA) and lotsa lotsa annual fees. You always say canceling cards hurts credit. Keep Em anyways and cough it up, or not?


@Card Overload:
When have I ever said that?


@dan is there a way to transfer aa miles to a spouse?


Hi Dan, sorry for not being clear the first time. What is the rule for reapplying for the Amex Gold (how long can you not have had the card)? I would like to use your links to sign up for this card again. Also, the personal Amex Gold and business Amex Gold are considered different products right?


I saw letter saying that some reward earning for the some amex cards will be changing
between them the 3X on airfair for the gold card.
dan, do you know any specifics about that?


If I spend 100 dollars on booking a flight, do I get the $100 credit?


It now shows up as a transaction and I got the credit. I guess the question nbow is, if I were to do this for a whole bunch of flights and then cancel a bunch of them as I often do, will the credit be clawed back when the $5.60 is returned.


Is the free access to Sheraton Club lounges given to the SPG Business card holders, not offered to SPG Gold members?


It is not.


Looking for ideas on how to spend $30,000 on an Amex ? I would love to get the miles they offered me.


ANY clue as to if there will be sbs this year ?



There has been for the past 5 years, I don’t see why there wouldn’t be this year.


Will free access to Sheraton clubs also work for SPG award stays




Who should I be asking nicely to in order to get the gold status?


So Amex removes the foreign exchange fee from the PRG card, however, the new bonus categories apply only to US purchases. How stupid is that? Amex continues on its journey to become irrelevant. “I leave home without it!”

moshe Berger

Is there a difference in the Premier Rewards Gold card and the Gold card?


I chatted with a Amex rep and was told I’m not eligible for the offer. I have a Gold card. Is there 2 different cards, a Gold and and Premier Gold?



They are different cards.


How does the united gift registry work? So if I have the prg then I can gift $100 to my dad (who is a mileage plus member)?




@Dan: and can my father be logged into his own account and then use my prg card and then I will be reimbursed? Thanks!




Can you use the sheraton lounge with out staying in the hotel?

Any lounges in Israel?


All I have to do is ask them to upgrade me to starwoods gold status and the’ll do it?


can i buy delta gift cards and get refunded?

Herbert the Fool

Yes, the Tel Aviv Sheraton Hotel which is fantastic and on the beach. However,I can’t believe that they will give Club status out so easy. The Club lounge has lots of food and a real dinner and they watch who comes in like a hawk. . When I was there, they said they would not let me in unless I was Platinum (I’m Gold), so they charged me for access, but the food was worth it. Highly recommend the hotel for its location on the beach.


You need to be staying at the hotel.



@Herbert the Fool:
You will get free access to the lounge effective 08/11 if you have the SPG business card.

Deal Guy

I was charged the regular annual fee for the personal Platinum card in January. I am thinking of calling them to downgrade me to the Gold card because it’s cheaper and double points? Is that the right move?

What benefits should i sign up for before i lose the platinum card?

Will i get hit now with gold yearly fee, or will they have the decency to wait at least till January?


According to the rep i spoke to regarding the 15k points for spending $30k on the amex gold card, it is only for cards opened in 2014 not 2015.. Is this true??


Just spoke to Amex…no 15k MR points for spending 30k…as of 2015.?

Not sure what or why…. Dan?


are you certain on the 15k bonus for 30k spend on premier gold rewards? I called amex and they say they do not see it has been re-established.
would rather not charge that large amount to that card if it won’t credit.
any idea how to confirm?
thank you.


Positive, they confirmed it in writing to me.


Thank you. So how do you suggest I make sure on my account, because agent told me i will not receive? Or do you think i should put charge through and count on it?

also, do you know any thing about the business gold rewards card? agent told me on that one if i spend 50k i will receive 25k bonus, but i can’t find any where that is confirmed and a second agent had no idea what i was talking about?

thank you for your help.


Hello Dan,
Any suggestions on same question as above (post #87). Amex reps keep telling me it was abolished on 1/1/15.

I have a large charge to put through today and hate to do it on this card if not correct on the bonus.

thank you.


Hi Dan,
i am not sure if these posts reach you but would love your advice. Same question as 2 posts immediately above.

Thank you very much.


if any one else has any experience with this (see posts 87,88 and 89)?


Many people on DDF have had the 15K bonus post to their account.


Thank you for responding. So your suggestion is charge the 30k, meet the minimum , and hopefully it will post. If not, there is not much i can do, correct?