In addition to the increased sign up bonus the cards also offer these benefits:
- No foreign transaction fees
- Credit for 5 nights and 2 stays each year toward SPG Elite status
- Complimentary, unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi on up to four devices
- Free in-room, premium Internet access while staying with SPG Participating Hotels
- Sheraton Club access (only applicable for the business version)
The annual fee is $95 for both cards which is a slight increase from the previous $65 annual fee as of last August but additional benefits were added to offset this cost. The annual fee is still waived the first year.
So should you take advantage of this offer? With AMEX's strict policy of only allowing one sign up bonus per lifetime on each product it becomes more important to be more selective when taking advantage of potential offers. That being said, I do not foresee a higher sign up bonus for these cards anytime in the near future and it is questionable whether we will even see an offer equivalent to their current one being offered again. Since you could theoretically apply for both cards since they are separate products, this is an easy way to net a massive 70,000 Starpoints which offers an endless amount of possibilities given their ~30 transfer partners.
With a very reasonable award chart, your points would be enough to book 35 weekend nights at a Category 1 property, 23 nights at a Category 2 property, or 10 nights at a Category 3 property. Of course, if you wanted to splurge you could book 3 nights at a Category 6 property or 2 nights at a Category 7 property such as their St. Regis Bora Bora Resort. These points can stretch you even further if you choose to use Cash & Points which can also be a good redemption option.
|The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort|
Most people value Starpoints at a minimum of at least 2.1 cents per point making them the most valuable points currency available. So if you took advantage of this offer for both cards you could be earning over $1,500 in travel.
This is an incredible offer and one that will likely not be exceeded or matched anytime in the near future. These cards also are good for everyday non-bonus spending since they earn Starpoints which are the most valuable award currency available at this time. That being said, you never know what is going to happen with the possible Marriott-Starwood merger if indeed it actually takes place although the merging of these two loyalty programs likely won't happen for quite a while even after the deal is struck.
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