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.
As you’ve probably figured out by now, the SPG Amex Canada card is linked to Starwood Preferred Guest which is the loyalty program from Starwood Hotels. The signup bonus is 20,000 points which doesn’t seem like much at face value, but once you read my SPG Amex Canada review, you’ll know why those points are so valuable.
Starwood Credit Card Canada benefits
- 20,000 signup points after charging $1,500 in purchases in the first 3 months
- Transfer your points to 35 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
- Earn 10,000 Starpoints Starpoints by referring a friend.
The obvious appeal of the SPG Amex Canada benefits is the ability to earn Starwood points. The signup bonus of 20,000 points is worth up five free nights, but that’s only with Category 2 hotels. If you were to book a category 4 hotel, you’d only get two free nights.
That may not seem like a good value, but two free nights could easily be worth $400 – $600 Canadian. The card does have an annual fee of $120, but that would still give you a value of $280 – $480!
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 more than 30 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 30+ airlines without having a formal affiliation. That’s a pretty good deal when you think about it.
Earn more SPG Points by referring your friends
Another reason people love American Express is the fact that as a cardholder, you can refer your friends. With the Starwood Preferred Guest credit card from American Express, you get 10,000 bonus points for every approved referral.
If you travel with a partner, you could easily rack up those points. First, you sign up on your own (or use my referral link) and get the 20,000 bonus points. Then refer your partner for 10,000 points while they get 20,000 points after meeting the minimum spend. You now have a total of 50,000 SPG points.
Those points give you a lot of flexibility since you can use them on a variety of hotels or convert them to the airline program of your choice to book flights. Remember, you can refer anyone you like, so tell your friends and family this trick and give them your own referral link.
My SPG Amex Canada review is positive. Although you have to pay an annual fee of $120, the signup points more than makes up for it. The ability to transfer your points to various airlines and the referral points means this card will stay in my wallet for a long time. Use my referral link now if you’re interested in adding it to yours.