SPG Amex Canada Review

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.

SPG Amex Canada Review

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.

amex spg

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.

Final word

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.

SPG Amex Canada Review

By | 2018-04-17T15:15:58+00:00 November 13th, 2017|Credit cards, Personal Finance, Travel|

11 Comments

  1. Mike June 20, 2017 at 12:18 pm - Reply

    Hi Barry,

    Thanks for all the great posts.
    A few questions here: If I refer my wife, who already has a supplementary SPG Amex card, will I still get the referral bonus points? Will the supplementary card my wife holds prevent her from getting the signup points? Thanks!

    • Barry Choi June 20, 2017 at 1:22 pm - Reply

      Hi Mike,

      I don’t know for sure, but I don’t see why you wouldn’t get the bonus points for referring your wife. There’s really no reason why she wouldn’t be approved. In the even she is not approved for that reason, just remove her as a supplementary user from your card.

  2. Mat January 31, 2018 at 7:54 am - Reply

    What can 25,000 aeroplan points get you? Ive never used aeroplan as i prefer cash back cards

    • Barry Choi January 31, 2018 at 8:32 am - Reply

      Hi Mat,

      25,000 Aeroplan points gets you a return flight to anywhere in the continental US and Canada. Note that you still have to pay taxes and fuel surcharges.

      You’re commenting on the SPG post, so for reference, 25,000 SPG points is enough for two nights in a Category 5 hotel which is worth anywhere from $300 – 600.

  3. Angela February 11, 2018 at 1:05 pm - Reply

    Hi Barry,

    Just came across your blog (love it!) and the sign up bonus is a great incentive! After receiving the bonus, am just debating the use of the card outside of Canada with the foreign transaction fees.

    If we are a SPG Preferred Plus Member and automatically get 2 points per dollar per stay … if we use our SPG AMEX Card to pay for our stay, does that give us 2x points or 4 points per dollar at all Starwood properties?

    Thanks!

    • Barry Choi February 11, 2018 at 1:19 pm - Reply

      Hi Angela,

      I personally wouldn’t use this card for foreign purchases due to the exchange fees. You’re better off using a credit card with no foreign transaction fees.

      As for your question about 4X the points. I’m not sure about that, but I suspect that you wouldn’t get double the points. That being said, you should probably check with American Express directly for confirmation (and SPG for that matter).

  4. Angela February 11, 2018 at 2:36 pm - Reply

    Hi Barry,

    I checked with SPG and they confirmed yep, 1 point for every $1 after Feb 15/18 with SPG card PLUs 1 point for every $1 if using SPG AMEX Card = 2 points for every $. As you suggested, this would only be good using the SPG Amex Card in Canada for the extra points 🙂

    fyi, I checked AMEX link and it looks like AMEX special offer of 2 points for every $ expires Feb 15/18

    Earn 2 Starpoints for every dollar of eligible purchases charged to the Card at participating SPG®* and Marriott Rewards®* hotels from November 15, 2016 through February 15, 2018

    Thanks Barry!!

    • Barry Choi February 11, 2018 at 2:48 pm - Reply

      Hey Angela,

      Thanks for sharing that update. I’m actually a bit shocked that they’re letting you double as that’s pretty rare.

      Also, thank you for alerting me about the expiry date of Feb. 15, 2018. This seems to be a pretty crap deal as you’re essentially earning 50% less points at Starwood / Marriott properties which kind of defeats the purpose of having the card.

    • Angela February 11, 2018 at 2:49 pm - Reply

      Sorry Barry, to edit above, I think it’s 2 points per US$ for SPG Preferred Members + 1 point per $ for SPG AMEX Canada card = 3 points per $ if charged on the SPG Amex Card.

      The SPG Chat person told me 1 point per US$ for Premium members… yet their website says 2 points per US$.

      If you can explain it better, please let me know 🙂

  5. Chris Beardall March 3, 2018 at 8:37 am - Reply

    When you reach 40k in purchases in a single year with the SPG AMEX… you earn a category 1-4 hotel stay/voucher. Is there an expiry date on this voucher?

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