SPG Amex Canada Review – Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card
Earlier in 2018 the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express was re-launched to the Canadian marketplace. The new card includes various changes and new benefits now that the SPG and Marriott loyalty programs have officially completed their merger. This SPG Amex Canada Review will discuss the specifics of the card details, benefits, pros, cons and more.
At Making Momentum we’re big fans of credit card churning and travel hacking responsibly to take advantage of opportunities to see this amazing world at discounted rates.
In Canada, the travel rewards credit cards available aren’t often as lucrative as our neighbours south of the border. However, the new Starwood Preferred Guest Amex gives you access to one of the most flexible, rewards programs globally.
The Starwood and Marriott network includes not only their hotels but sub-brands like the Ritz, Delta, Westin and many more to total to 6,500+ properties.
Not to mention the ability to transfer your SPG points to dozens of airlines at a expedited rewards rate. This benefit makes the card a great travel hacking tool for those of us that don’t frequent hotels. You can easily use those points towards flights globally.
While the $120 annual fee might deter some, the net benefits available for travel happy Canadians will well over-deliver that in value.
I, for one, signed up for the new SPX Amex right after the card was available to the public. The changes that Starwood made to the card and flexibility of the points make this a nice addition to any traveler’s wallet.
Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Credit Card Key Details
- 50,000 welcome bonus points after spending $1,500 in the first 3 months
- Earn 5 points for ever $1 spent at Starwood and Marriott locations
- Earn 2 points for every $1 spent anywhere else
- Free hotel night annually on your cards anniversary
- Ability to transfer to dozens of airline rewards programs
- Receive a bonus 15,000 points when you transfer points in 60,000 amounts
- Automatic Starwood Silver Elite status
- No fee on supplementary cards
SPG Amex Canada Additional Benefits
- Travel insurance coverage of $500,000
- Rental car insurance and coverage
- Purchase protection of 90 days
- Extended warranty up to 1 year
- Fraud protection
- Rental car insurance
- Travel coverage on flight delays, baggage damage and hotel theft
The Best Things About The SPG Amex Credit Card
50,000 Welcome Bonus Points
The initial spike in bonus points from a welcome offer is generally going to be your best bet to fast-track rewards with any card.
That holds true with the SPG Amex.
Spending $1,500 total in the first 3 months of owning the card will provide you 50,000 bonus points (on top of the points you’re earning for normal spending).
Based on the value of 12,500 points = 1 night at a category 2 hotel, you’d have access to 4 free nights for free. However, Marriott has an evergreen book 4 nights get the 5th free offer, so you can actually get 5 nights accomodation with your 50,000 welcome points.
Right off the bat you’ve earned value well above and beyond the $120 annual fee. You could estimate 5 nights free at a category 2 hotel at close to $1,000.
If you’ve got an upcoming trip, sign up for SPG Amex and bank those welcome bonus points now.
Transferability of Points
The bread and butter of travel hacking is flexibility and options. In the ideal scenario you’re earning big rewards and having the freedom to use those in a variety of ways.
While a credit card from a hotel rewards program might seem limiting, that’s far from the truth with the Starwoods Amex. If you’re more of a fan of using rewards points for free flights and then staying at Airbnb, with friends or family, etc., the SPG Amex also does just that for Canadians.
The transferability of your SPG points includes over 40 different airline rewards programs.
Best of all when you transfer 60,000 points you will receive a bonus of 15,000 points (or 5,000 miles based on a 3:1 transfer). Those extra 15,000 points are a free 25% bonus to really spike your rewards value.
Customer service from both Starwood and American Express are highly regarded and supportive from my experience. When it comes time to redeem or transfer, if you have any questions or want to ensure you’re maximizing value, just reach out. Keep an eye out for deals from Aeroplan or other airlines and look to capitalize your transfer of points then.
This flexibility is a big part of positive reviews the SPG Amex has received.
In addition to the welcome bonus and the flexibility of the SPG points, the card delivers some other perks to really make this a valuable card.
Two of those perks to in particular are:
- Free Night Annually: Every year on the anniversary of your card, you will be eligible to receive a free night at a SPG property. This outweighs the annual fee costs alone as it’s open to category 1-5 at a cap of 35,000 point value.
- Starwood Silver Elite Status: Your SPG Amex gives you immediate Silver Elite Status. This gives you exclusive perks like later checkout, member rates, free internet and more. Plus you earn 10% on money spent at Starwood and Marriott properties.
Potential Cons Of The Starwood Preferred Guest Card
The SPG Amex is a great card but it does feature some potential drawbacks consistent to other cards on the market.
$120 Annual Fee And 2.5% Foreign Currency
As with most travel rewards cards in Canada, two of the most frequent cons are annual fees and foreign currency exchange fees.
Unfortunately, both are included with the SPG Amex with a $120 annual fee and 2.5% exchange. However, the benefits noted above will deliver you travel value well above the $120 annual fee.
If you plan to travel frequently into the United States or abroad, you can pick up a no-fee, zero foreign currency exchange rate card to use once down south or abroad.
Not The Biggest Daily Standalone Earner
The 5x points on every $1 spent at Starwood and Marriott properties is great for business folk and frequent hotel travellers. However, that isn’t the case with everyone so taking advantage of that higher multiplier might not be too often of an occurrence.
You can pair the SPG card with another American Express like the Cobalt, which earns 5x points on every $1 spent of food, groceries, restaurants and bars.
Just use the SPG Amex to hit the 50,000 bonus and then hold it. Try to convince American Express to waive the annual fee before your anniversary. Even if they won’t, the free 1 night annually at a value of up 35,000 points outweighs the $120 fee easily.
Conclusion: SPG Amex Canada Review – It’s A Hit Following The Program Changes And Release
In the end, the new Starwood Preferred Guest American Express delivers great bang for the buck. The 50,000 welcome bonus alone makes this a high-value rewards card.
Based on this SPG Amex Canada review, I think it’s safe to say I’m a fan.
Whether you use that on Starwood and Marriott property accommodation or transfer to an airline, the card helps meet the goal of earning travel rewards. The flexibility of the points helps ensure you can track down the best option for you when redeeming.
Sign up for the SPG Amex today and start tracking towards that 50,000 welcome bonus.
APPLY FOR A STARWOOD PREFERRED GUEST AMEX
What travel rewards card are you using currently?
Are you a fan of the SPG Amex?
Did the changes to the SPG Amex catch your attention right away?
Let me know if the comments below.
Here are some other posts to help you take control of your money and life:
- American Express Cobalt Review – Travel Rewards Credit Card For Canadians
- Travel Hacking Resources Guide For Americans And Canadians
- 89 Personal Finance Tips – Budget, Save, Make, Invest & Better Manage Your Money
- Canadian Money Apps & Services – To Help You Make, Save & Manage Money