Thursday, April 8, 2010

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express is now available

After many months of hype from American Express and their PR team, the Starwood Preferred Guest®* Credit Card from American Express fro Canadians is finally open for applications. In fact it went live last Wednesday (Mar 31) but we have been quite swamped with the 5 Years 5 Ways to Win Contest that I have not had time to post about this card.

We revealed many of the details in an earlier post of ours but now we can see everything that this card has to offer including its insurance benefits. One main thing that has changed since our last post, is that AMEX and SPG are offering on a limited time basis 11,000 bonus Starpoints instead of 10,000 and the first year's annual fee of $120 is waived for the primary cardholder.

Once again here are the details of the card including the insuracne benefits
* Earn 1 Starpoint for every CDN$1 in purchases charged to the Card.
* Receive a Free Weekend Night Award (category 1-4) when you reach CDN$40,000 in purchases on the Card each year.
* Earn Gold Preferred Guest status when you reach CDN$30,000 in purchases on the Card each year.
* Take advantage of many American Express Card membership benefits, including Front Of The Line®* access to some of the hottest events,5 plus a host of travel-related insurance benefits.
* Enjoy the flexibility to pay balances in full or over time.
* CDN$120 annual fee.
* $500,000 Travel Accident Insurance
* Complimentary Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance
* Flight Delay Insurance
* Baggage Delay Insurance
* Lost or Stolen Baggage Insurance
Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance
* Buyer's Assurance Protection Plan
* Purchase Protection Plan

Overall the card itself is pretty decent and being tied to one of the world's best Frequent Guest programs makes it relatively attractive. However if you compare it to SPG's previous offering in Canada with MBNA, the card is expensive in terms of annual fees and does not offer much more then the old card did. When quickly compared to cards it is trying to compete with (RBC Avion, CIBC Aerogolds) is stacks up nicely and is a contender against those cards. While the card will definitely have its followers, SPG and AMEX will have to do some legwork to try and pull people away from their airline cards or from the travel anywhere cards like Avion and TD Visa's. Many people outside of the pavement pounding high flying frequent travellers are unaware of hotel programs in general and they need to be educated on the value of a hotel program especially when hotels can cost as much if not more then flights on their vacations. In this case the card can be a decent proposition for leisure travellers versus the airline or travel anywhere cards.

To find out more or to apply for the card click here.

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