Update: The 30,000 point offer has expired, but you can still get 25,000 bonus points for signing up today! With Starwood hotel rooms as low as 3,000 points a night, this is still my favorite credit card sign up bonus right now.
If you’ve read iHeartBudgets for any amount of time, you’ll know that I’m all about the freebies, because WHY NOT?! I love getting deals, free stuff, coupons, discounts, and all sorts of stuff on the cheap, because I hate waste. So when I discovered the credit card churning game, I immediately dove in head first and started doing some major research to see how I could join the travel hackers. In late December, I signed up for my first pair of credit cards, and it’s been AWESOME ever since.
Look For Rare Bonuses
I’m all about the sign up bonuses, so I am always looking for something that’s better than the normal offers out there. I have figured out that most credit card companies have a push once or twice a year for more sign up, and will bump their already generous sign up bonuses to a much better amount, hoping that more people will bite. As an opportunist, I see this as the perfect time to jump in with my next round of applications, and pick up those sweet extra points to add to my collection, so I can continue my journey to a free vacation every year.
Enter: The AMEX Starwood Preferred Guest Card
This card has been my single favorite card so far, and yes, I have already signed up for 3 versions of it this year (personal and business credit cards for me, personal one for my wife). We have taken some awesome trips that otherwise WE COULD NOT AFFORD because of the awesome sign up bonus on this card. You may remember the SPG card from such great trips as:
- Our two nights at a luxury hotel in Portland
- Our two nights at a Disney hotel in Florida
- Our most recent romantic getaway to the big city (Seattle), with free upgrades by just being nice!
As you can see, the SPG hotel rewards card has been the star of our many vacations this year, and will probably be for years to come. I plan on churning this card for all it’s worth, and will probably even front the measly $65 annual fee when it comes due (fee is waived the first year) because how valuable these points are.
There are TONS of perks to this card, many of which you can’t find on any other card. I love the flexibility, and just wanted to list a few of the reasons this has been my go-to card this year:
- Can transfer points to MANY airlines. Just check out this awesome list of partners you can transfer miles to. I recently sent over 10,000 points to Alaska airlines to book my free ticket to #FinCon13. It was easy peasy. And if I had more, I could have transferred 20,000 pts. to Alaska, and got a 5,000 mile bonus, just because SPG is awesome!
- Can combine points in your household. Michelle and I both have the card and got the bonuses, and it’s simple and FREE to combine our points. A lot of other programs charge to transfer and combine points, even within your own household. Starwood makes it SUPER easy.
- Starwood hotels are everywhere, and super nice. Have you ever heard of the Westin, Sheraton, W, or St. Regis hotels? Those are all Starwood properties. And they’re everywhere. Heck, I’m even looking at a churn to get some friend to the St. Regis in Bora, Bora. One of the nicest vacation spots in the WORLD!
- 5th Night Free. This is quite possibly the best perk ever. When using points, when you book 4 nights, the 5th night is free. No matter what. At ANY Starwood hotel. Even at the St. Regis in Bora Bora. MAKE THIS HAPPEN!
There are tons of other perks, but these were enough to get me on the bandwagon. But there is one more thing that might entice you to join the club…
Limited Time 30,000 Point Bonus
The Starwood bonus is normally 25,000 points (10,000 after first purchase, 15,000 more after $5k spend in 6 months). Which is awesome, because all the hotels we stayed at were 10k pts. a night, and with 3 of these cards, we’ve been able to rock some AWESOME vacations. But once a year, it seems, they up the offer to include 5,000 more points, and they just did it last night for 2013. So you can sign up for this credit card until September 3rd, 2013 and get your extra 5,000 points (after $5k spend in 6 months, for a total of 10k + 20k = 30k points!), which as I’ve shown, are extremely valuable! If you were on the fence about this card at all, I’d jump on it now, because this is usually a once-a-year deal, and then it’ll drop back down.
We jumped in early on our last churn, but I’ll be calling them up and asking for the extra 5k, and see what happens. But for those of your planning a winter getaway to find some sunshine, or even to find some snow (Westin in Whislter, anyone?), I recommend jumping on this deal now to get your extra points.
Comments: Anyone have this card? Have you enjoyed it as much as I have? If you get this card now, what kinds of vacations do you want to take? I REALLY want to go to the St. Regis in Bora, Bora. I mean, look at those pics!
Disclaimer: There are affiliate links to credit cards in this post, which have the same bonuses as any direct link to the card. We receive a commission if you sign up through our links, but don’t feel any pressure to do so. Even if you go elsewhere, I just want more people to get the sweet freebies that we do, and then come back and tell me about it!