If you’re an SPG or Marriott fan like I am, then you’re going to want to read my SPG Amex Canada review. What makes the Starwood Preferred Guest credit card from American Express appealing is that you can earn a bunch of loyalty points when staying at SPG or Marriott hotels. These points can be used to redeem free nights or transferred to select airline loyalty programs for free flights.
With the formal merger of SPG and Marriott now complete, the changes to the credit cards are also mostly done. I can now safely say that the SPG Amex Canada card has rejoined my list of the best travel credit cards in Canada. Read my SPG Amex Canada review now for the full details.
Starwood Credit Card Canada benefits
- $120 annual fee
- 50,000 Bonus points when you charge $1,500 in the first three months
- 5 points per $1 spent on eligible purchases at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards properties
- 2 points per $1 spent on all other purchases
- Annual Free Night Award (redemption value of up to 35,000 points)
- Complimentary upgrade to Silver Elite Status
- Elite nights towards status (amount to be determined)g
- Complimentary Gold Elite Status after spending $30,000 in eligible purchases on the Card each year
- Travel insurance
- No annual fee on supplementary cards
One thing to note right away is that you get a generous signup bonus of 50,000 points. If you were you use those points on a category 4 hotel which normally costs 12,500 points per night, you’d actually get 5 nights out of it since Marriott has an ongoing book 4 nights get the 5th-night free promotion. Depending on the hotel, that could be a real value of $1,000+, but you’d be paying just $24 a night. As you can see, the sign up bonus alone makes it worthwhile to apply for the card (referral link).
The annual free night award can be redeemed for a room with a value up to 35,000 points. I took a quick look at hotels in New York and there are many category 4 hotels which normally cost $350USD a night, but only require 35,000 points for a redemption. You can easily see how valuable that annual free night is and easily makes the $120 annual fee.
As for the earning potential, this card is clearly aimed at people who stay at SPG and Marriott properties since you’ll earn 5 points per $1 spent on eligible purchases at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards properties. Keep in mind that with this card, you automatically get Silver tier status so you earn 10% more points or 5.5 points per $1 spent at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards properties.
All other purchases earn you 2 points per $1 spent.
American Express had already announced that elite nights that count towards your status will be included with the card, but they have not released the exact amount yet.
Finally, if you charge the full airfare or car rental to your SPG Amex Canada card, you instantly get travel accident, car rental theft and damage, flight delay, baggage delay, lost and stolen baggage, and hotel/motel burglary insurance. It should be noted that travel medical insurance is NOT included. This doesn’t change the fact that the SPG Amex Canada is one of the best American Express credit cards in Canada.
Converting your SPG points to airlines
One of the reasons people overlook the SPG Amex Canada card (referral link) 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 3:1, however, for every 60,000 SPG points you transfer, you’ll get an additional 5,000 points. In other words, 60,000 SPG points can be transferred for 25,000 Aeroplan points. That’s a 25% bonus that comes with 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 sweet perk if you need to transfer a few extra points to make a flight redemption.
How Marriot Rewards works
Marriott Rewards is the biggest loyalty program in the world and it’s arguably the best. As you can imagine, this is a hotel loyalty program, so your points are best used for claiming free nights, but as you just learned, you can also use your points for flights.
I’ve written a post about the fine details of Marriott Rewards, but essentially you’ll need 7,500 – 100,000 points to claim a free night. 100,000 points may sound insane, but you only need that many points for the highest categories of hotels found throughout the world. Many hotels fall in the 17,500 – 50,000 points per night category which is quite reasonable.
Beyond hotels and flights, you can also use your points for moments experiences which are things that can enhance your vacation. Experiences include live shark cage diving in Gansbaai, South Africa to sports events like the Super Bowl.
My SPG Amex Canada review is positive and ranks as one of the best travel credit cards in Canada. Marriott is the largest hotel chain in the world and their rewards program is excellent. If you like free nights or free flights, then you need to consider the Starwood Preferred Guest credit card from American Express.