When it comes to travel rewards credit cards in Canada, American Express is the leader. I’ve already featured the Amex Gold and Amex Platinum where you can earn 25,000 and 60,000 Aeroplan points, but now it’s time to focus on the Starwood Preferred Guest credit card from American Express.
My SPG Amex Canada review is negative at the time of this writing. Marriott announced major changes to their rewards program recently which had a drastic effect on the Starwood Preferred Guest credit card from American Express. Gone are the sign up bonus and referral points and in are statement credits. This is a huge devaluation, fortunately, American Express has confirmed to me that these are only temporary changes until the new rewards program is formally launched in August.
Starwood Credit Card Canada benefits
- $100 statement after charging $1,500 in purchases in the first 3 months
- $150 statement credit after charging $200 at Starwood or Marriott hotels in the first 6 months
- Transfer your points to 40 different airline partners
- Earn 2 Starpoints for every $1 of eligible purchases charged at participating SPG & Marriott Rewards hotels
- Earn 1 Starpoint for every $1 in all other purchases charged to the Card
- Receive a Free Weekend Night Award when you reach $40,000 in purchases each year
- Enjoy an automatic upgrade to Gold Status when you reach $30,000 in purchases each year
The obvious appeal of the SPG Amex Canada benefits is the ability to earn Starwood points. The statement credit is a bit of a joke right now at $100. However, if they do come through and a sign up bonus that’s actual points, this SPG Amex review could quickly become positive.
That being said, this card is aimed at people who stay at Starwood and Marriott hotels. Earning 2 Starpoints for every $1 of eligible purchases charged at participating SPG & Marriott Rewards hotels is the highest earn you’ll get with any credit card.
One of the major selling points of the SPG program is the fact that there are no blackout dates. You can use your points at over 1,200 hotels worldwide. But wait, don’t forget that Marriott bought Starwood last year so you can now link your SPG Points to Marriott Rewards which means you’ll have access to even more hotels.
Converting your SPG points to airlines
One of the reasons people overlook the SPG Amex Canada card is because it’s tied to a hotel chain. If you don’t use hotels, why would you bother with a co-branded credit card right?
What you might not realize is that the Starwood Preferred Guest program allows you to transfer your points to 40 airlines.
Since this is a Canadian card, most people are probably thinking about converting their SPG points to Aeroplan. The regular transfer rate is 1:1, however, for every 20,000 SPG points you transfer, you’ll get an additional 5,000 points. In other words, 20,000 SPG points can be transferred for 25,000 Aeroplan points. That’s a 25% bonus or a ratio of 1:1.25 for every dollar spent on your SPG Amex Canada card.
In other words, this credit card can be used as a co-branded credit card for 40 airlines without having a formal affiliation. That’s a pretty good deal when you think about it.
Transferring your points to Marriot Rewards
Part of the reason why my SPG Amex review is so positive is that you can transfer your Starpoints to Marriott Rewards at a 1:3 ratio. In other words, your 20,000 SPG Amex signup bonus is worth 60,000 Marriott Rewards. Alternatively, if you’re doing the referral trick, you would now have 135,000 Marriott Rewards points between the two of you.
With the ability to transfer your points, you’ll have access to even more hotels. This is especially important if you’re visiting a city that has both Marriott and Starwood hotels since you can look at how many points are required to get a free night and then decide what’s of better value to you.
Also note that with Marriott Rewards, they have an ongoing promotion when you redeem for 4 nights, you get the 5th night free which is a great way to maximize the use of your points.
My SPG Amex Canada review is negative – for now. Until SPG and Marriott Rewards goes through their formal changes, it’s probably best to wait for the dust to settle before applying.