WHY IT WINS
Valuable points and flexible redemption policies set the Starwood Preferred Guest apart from other hotel cards. NerdWallet calculates that each Starwood point is almost five times as valuable as a Hilton point, on average, and more than twice as sweet as Marriott’s. Starwood’s sign-up bonus gets you three free nights at a mid-tier hotel. You can also trade in points for miles at nearly 30 airline loyalty programs; for every 20,000 points you transfer, you’ll get an extra 5,000. As a cardholder, you’ll also get free premium Internet service at Starwood’s 1,300 hotels.
If you won’t be able to stay at Starwood hotels, you’re better off with a broad-based travel card.
Rewards: Up to five points for every $1 spent on Starwood hotels, one point per $1 elsewhere.
Sign-up bonus: 25,000 points after spending $3,000 in 90 days.
Annual fee: $0 for the first year, then $95.
APR: 15.5% to 19.5%
Airline Partners: American Airlines, Air France, British Airways, Delta, Virgin Atlantic, and more.