This isn’t flashy news, but noteworthy to all. Effective tomorrow, 9/20/11 the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express has lowered its minimum spend for the second 15,000 SPG points to $5,000 in the first six months.
“Updated Regular APR: 15.24% – 19.24% variable (formerly: 15.24% variable).
Annual Fee Language: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $65.
Offer: Earn 10K with your first purchase and another 15K when you spend $5K within 6 months.
(formerly: Earn 10K with your first purchase and another 15K when you spend $15K within 6 months).”
This now brings my favorite all-around credit card into the realm of availability for many more people. With a minimum spend of less than $1K per month for the first six months, many more of you can take advantage of the outstanding redemptions with Starwood and, in particular, the cash and points redemption for hotel stays.
Here’s why I love this card:
- The SPG Card gives a 5,000 airline mile bonus when converting SPG points into airline miles in blocks of 20,000. So 20K SPG becomes 25K airline miles (You are earning 1.25 miles per $ instead of the typical 1 mile per $)
- Points can be transferred into over 30 different airline programs
- $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $65
- The “cash and points” redemption option for hotel stays is clearly the best in the industry offering the highest return on your points.
- No blackout dates on redemptions
- People that live at the same mailing address can transfer point between themselves without charge.
- I’m not the only one that believes in this card. It wins the Freddie Award almost every year as the best all around travel credit card.
IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card
- Annual Fee: $49 fee waived for the first year
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Hotel
The IHG Rewards Club Visa is often cited as one of the most underrated hotel credit cards, with good reason. The official offer is for 70,000 points after $1,000 spent within three months, with the first year’s fee waived. The card comes with an annual free night certificate that can be used at any IHG property, including Intercontinental hotels - making this certificate worth upwards of 50,000 points. This is far more generous than some other hotel cards, which limit the categories in which free night certificates can be redeemed.
Cardholders earn 5 points per dollar at IHG hotels; 2 points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants; 1 point per dollar everywhere else. Moreover, you’ll get a 10% rebate on award redemptions, up to 100,000 points per year. The card also comes with Platinum status, though that doesn’t get you much with IHG. Still, this is a fantastic card to have in your wallet, with benefits that far outweigh the already low $49 annual fee.
- Earn 70,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
- Enjoy a free night of card membership at over 4,700 hotels worldwide
- Earn 5 points for each $1 spent at our hotels
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
- Bonus points redeemable at hotels such as Intercontinental® Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn®
- Automatic platinum elite status, as long as you remain a cardmember
- $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $49