Applicable to UK residents only
In this series, I’m taking a look at the best cards on the UK market for air-mile accrual. The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card is brought to you by American Express in a joint venture with the Starwood hotel group, owners of hotel chains such as Sheraton, St Regis, W, Westin and Le Meriedien. Whilst a hotel scheme, points can be transferred to airline mileage programs as well.
Sign-up bonus: 10,000 Starwood Preferred Guest Points (SPGPs) when you spend £1,000 in the first 3 months. There is an increased bonus of 11,000 if you get an existing cardholder to refer you. Email me at thatairlineguybusiness (at) gmail.com if you’d like a referral link. You will not receive this bonus of you’ve held this card in the past six months. Any other American Express you own will not affect this.
Annual fee: £75
You earn 1 SPGP per pound spent. These can be transferred 1-to-1 (unless otherwise specified) to the following airline schemes:
- Aeroplan/Air Canada
- Air Berlin
- Air China Companion
- Air New Zealand & Air Points (65:1)
- Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
- Alitalia Millemiglia
- All Nippon Airways (ANA) Mileage Club
- American Airlines AAdvantage
- Asia Miles (Cathay Pacific /Dragonair)
- Asiana Airlines
- British Airways Executive Club
- China Eastern Airlines
- China Southern Airlines’ Sky Pearl Club
- Delta Air Lines SkyMiles
- El Al Israel Airlines
- Emirates Skywards
- Etihad Airways
- Flying Blue
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Iberia Plus
- Japan Airlines (JAL) Mileage Bank
- King Club Miles
- LAN LANPASS (1:2)
- Mexicana Frecuenta
- Miles and More
- Qatar Airways
- Saudi Arabian Airlines Alfursan
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Thai Airways International Royal Orchid Plus
- US Airways Dividend Miles
- United MileagePlus (2:1)
- VARIG Smiles (2:1)
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
There is a transfer bonus of 5,000 points when you transfer 20,000+ points (i.e. a conversion rate of 1:1.25).
- Gold SPG status if you spend £15,000 in a year.
- A free night at a category 1-4 property if you spend £25,000 in a year.
Given the high thresholds and limit of a category 1-4 property, I wouldn’t recommend aiming for these targets.
The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card is most valuable for its huge variety of airline scheme transfer partners. For many airlines, this is the only way of accumulating their miles through card spend. That said, there are better cards in terms of ongoing earning rate and sign-up bonus, like the Lloyd’s Avios Rewards Credit Card (review here) and American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Card (review here).