The Lowdown on the Starwood Credit Card

by : Eric Wasselman

Many credit cards offer highly specific rewards and benefits designed for a certain niche. As one of the top hoteliers in the world with names such as Sheraton, St. Regis, Le Meridien and Westin to its credit, Starwood Hotels and American Express have teamed up to provide those with good credit ratings and are frequent guests at Starwood Hotels a reward card with generous benefits - the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card.

The Starwood Credit Card rewards members with one Starpoint for every dollar spent on general purchases and three Starpoints for every Starwood-related purchases. Cardholders also receive 1,000 Starpoints on their first eligible hotel stay and 500 Starpoints for every subsequent qualifying stay. Additionally, there is a 4,000 Starpoint first purchase bonus. That's already 5,000 Starpoints for the first use if it happens to be at a Starwood Hotel.

Starpoints earned are redeemable for various travel related services. Members are allowed to exchange as little as 2,000 Starpoints for a free weekend stay while the paperless reward redemption method makes it possible to redeem the Starpoints impromptu. Starwood Credit Card members are also able to transfer their Starpoints into various airline frequent flyer miles. On top of that, a 5,000 Starpoint bonus is awarded when 20,000 points are transferred into miles. Most participating airlines have a 1:1 points-to-miles ratio.

Other standard benefits such as auto and travel insurance are also applicable, and cardholders also get to take advantage of the American Express Offer Zone program and enjoy up to 25% discount on purchases at participating merchants and retailers worldwide.

The interest rates and charges for the Starwood Credit Card are rather lackluster, unless you are the card issuer, of course. The APR on purchases and cash advances are higher that the average reward card while there is a $30 annual fee. However, this fee is waived for the first year and there is a 2.9% intro rate that lasts six-months.

In summation, the Starwood Credit Card would be the card for you if you travel a lot, are a member of one of the participating airline's frequent-flyer program and stay at one of Starwood's many hotels