Starwoods AmEx – The Once Per Year Deal to Get a Free Vacation, Anywhere


in Travel

Note: The special 30,000 mile deal is no longer active. However, you can still earn 25,000 miles by using this link or any application link below

Have you ever wanted to fly somewhere—anywhere—on a whim?

Forget about vacation time and hotels. Have you ever had a free weekend which made you say ‘Man, I wish I could go to Paris/Buenos Aires/Hawaii right now’?

Yesterday, I had the same feeling. So I reserved a ticket to Florence, Italy—first class—for free. Just $35 in taxes and fees (+75 for booking the week of the flight).

And, just for a week, there is an awesome promotion to make this dream your reality.

The Starwoods AmEx Bonus — 30,000 miles (enough for a R/T Domestic or International Ticket)

Many of my readers have read my Travel Hacking Report, where I talk about how I flew business class to Medellin, Colombia for $77. In that article, I discuss the specifics of Travel Hacking — namely, how to apply for credit cards that will give you awesome bonuses, and how to redeem them for free tickets or hotels.

And I did all of this with an increase in my credit score.

If you’re new to the party, I’d recommend you check out my In Depth Guide to Travel Hacking.

Once per year, Starwoods offers a huge bonus on new users. For signing up (and meeting the minmum spend), you will earn 30,000 star points. What can you do with this bonus?

Get this card, now. No annual fee for a year.

Some Bonuses You Can Redeem With The Starwoods Card

When you sign up for the Starwoods card, you will receive 10,000 points immediately, then 20,000 more points after you spend $5,000 in 6 months. So, once you meet the minimum spend, you will have 35,000 points. What can you do with this?

Starwoods is a hotel chain, so you can get some amazing flight + hotel deals with your 35,000 points.

Here are some amazing deals I’ve seen along the way, all over the web.

1) Matty submitted to The Points Guy, redeeming 28,800 points + $540 for 18 nights at the Great Wall Sheraton Hotel in Beijing.

2) In the same article, Adam stretched 30,000 points into $8,388 worth of hotel stays in Manhattan, NYC.

3) From USA Today: A 16 Night Stay in Thailand, at 3 and 4 star hotels, for 35,000 points + $555 (or $35/night)

4) Starwoods gives you a 25% bonus on all transfers to airlines, in 20,000 point increments. This means, once you’ve earned 40,000 points, that is the equivalent of 50,000 miles. What is 50,000 miles? How about a Round Trip business class flight to Hawaii, or a R/T economy flight to Buenos Aires? It’s only 40,000 miles offpeak to Buenos Aires—and you’ll still have 10,000 miles left — enough for a one way to Rio De Janeiro.

Any of the above for a SINGLE CARD. Not 20 credit cards—just one.

The best part? There is no annual fee for the first year. So, if you don’t like it, cancel—no fee whatsoever.

The Starwoods Bonus ends in a couple weeks

After the deadline, you won’t get such a huge bonus. You’ll miss out on free flights!

Sign up today for the Starwoods Amex, and get a free vacation

Over 50 people have signed up from my website to get this card. I’ve received a ton of praise, but never a negative review.

Feel free to email with any questions, or post in the comments.


Chris Ternosky January 16, 2013 at 6:35 pm


I am hoping to hack the system and take advantage of travel card miles, but the offers in your guide are outdated/unavailable. What can I do?


Sean Oliver December 31, 2012 at 10:13 am

How do I get the premium awardwallet account?


Kyle October 29, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Sadly, I am finding many places don’t accept AmExp. It’s actually quite annoying and I laugh every time I ask only to get another no. I’m not sure if I’ll hit 5k in 6 months, but I may have to try one of the techniques in the article mentioned in one of the comments above…


maneesh October 30, 2012 at 6:37 am

Hrm—where are you located? I made a lot of purchases using AMEX online—but you might consider transferring money to a friend or something.


Kyle November 27, 2012 at 8:13 pm

I’m in Kansas! Guess we’re behind the times, but I was highly disappointed when the card was rejected for a large purchase at Menards as well as my local hardware store. I fix up houses and use Menards a lot, but looks like I’ll have to lean on Lowe’s a little more to hit the 5k. :p


Paras Mamania October 19, 2012 at 8:13 am

Hi Maneesh, does this work for an Indian citizen having a US SSN # but now living in the UK?? thanks!


maneesh October 19, 2012 at 11:14 am

Yes it does, with an American address you can ship to!


Dave September 15, 2012 at 3:50 pm

I used the link and was approved for the card. I got it in the mail the other day but nowhere in the literature that comes with it does it mention anything about 10,000 sign up points or an additional 20,000 points for spending $5,000 in the first six months. What’s up with that? Am I missing something here? I feel like I might have just damaged my credit rating for no reason at all 🙁


maneesh September 24, 2012 at 9:55 am

You’ll get the bonus. Just call in and confirm.


Brad September 6, 2012 at 5:30 pm

Does anyone know how many years you have before these points expire? Once they are in your Starwood account do you need to keep the credit card open (and thus pay the annual fee)?



maneesh September 9, 2012 at 5:23 am

They don’t expire as long as you do something in the account every year. Such as, booking a hotel, or making a single purchase on the credit card.


janet September 2, 2012 at 8:05 pm

this is the kind of thing that makes me feel like I shouldn’t renounce my priviliged american citizenship even though i’m very much out of the system living in the third world. darnit.


Tommie August 24, 2012 at 9:59 am

What if we can’t hit the $5,000 in the first 6 months?


maneesh August 26, 2012 at 6:36 am

There are ways to get around it—paying a friend w/ Paypal, buying something but returning it, etc. Check this:


Tommie September 3, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Great resources! Thanks!


Pavel August 22, 2012 at 3:12 am

Hi Manesh!
Please Find something for Russian! )


Gary August 19, 2012 at 1:10 am

Is there an Australian option of this?


maneesh August 19, 2012 at 4:16 am

There are not very many options for non-americans 🙁 I’m going to research and try to find some good deals.


Bob September 3, 2012 at 2:49 am

For Australians…..FOR AUSTRALIANS!!! ; )


Bill August 18, 2012 at 11:08 am

Is there a Canadian version of this?


alistair August 16, 2012 at 3:14 pm

What about a US citizen with SSN but living permanently elsewhere? (UK)


maneesh August 18, 2012 at 1:05 am

Yes! That will work fine! You should apply.


Stanley Lee August 15, 2012 at 11:21 am

Is this valid for US residents only?


maneesh August 15, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Sadly, it’s definitely best for Americans 🙁


Stanley Lee August 15, 2012 at 9:40 pm

Too bad I don’t have a social security number there.


Alexander August 14, 2012 at 6:29 am

Hi Maneesh,
I’m a german citizen living in Italy does this point system with the AmEx card apply only for US citizen or also for europeans ?

Thanks in advance & ciao


maneesh August 15, 2012 at 1:04 pm

If you have a US SSN# you can apply. If not, it’s not such a good deal 🙁


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