[UPDATE: Some offers mentioned below have expired and/or are no longer available on our site. You can view the current offers from our partners in our credit card marketplace. DISCLOSURE: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]
Late last year, we rated the Starwood Preferred Guest credit card from American Express as the credit card with the best hotel rewards program, and AmEx just changed one of the perks to make it an even more attractive product.
New cardholders who apply before March 30 will get 35,000 bonus Starpoints if they charge $3,000 within the first three months of opening the card — that’s 10,000 Starpoints more than the typical welcome offer.
Those extra points could score you a couple free nights at a hotel. Cardholders can redeem Starpoints for award nights starting at 3,000 points a night at more than 1,200 hotels in more than 100 countries. Starwood properties include hotel chains Sheraton, Westin, W Hotels, Four Points and others.
Beyond the supercharged welcome offer — which, again, is temporary — the card offers a variety of perks for frequent travelers, which you can read about in the review. Keep in mind this card has a $95 annual fee, though it’s waived for the first year.
To get this and most rewards credit cards, applicants generally need to have a good or great credit score, though there are other things that go into a credit card application. The good news is the average credit score in the U.S. was up three points last year, from 666 in 2014 to 669 in 2015, according to Experian’s annual State of Credit report. That’s on the VantageScore 3.0 scale (300 to 850), and the majority of consumers with credit scores have good (661 to 780) or great credit (781 to 850). According to Experian’s 2015 data, 36% of people with VantageScores have good credit, and 22% fall into that great credit category.
Before applying for a credit card, you should know where you stand to make sure you don’t apply for cards you’re unlikely to qualify for. To see where you stand, you can get two free credit scores every month on Credit.com, including the VantageScore 3.0.
At publishing time, the Starwood Preferred Guest credit card is offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.
Image: Randy Faris/Fuse