This is another card that has been blogged to death and is also in my humble opinion hugely over-rated. Though I will say I only have to go back a couple of years and this was the card I put most of my spend on. But the world has moved on a lot since then, first with other cards with far better earning structures, and bigger and better sign up bonuses that require more and more spend, and so now I barely use the card at all. That being said, I do actually keep both the personal and business versions of these cards. However that is purely because I am an SPG guy and I value the 2 stay credits / 5 nights I get for each card for the annual fee. What that means is at the start of each year I am already 4 stays or 10 nights towards Platinum status, which is a significant leg up.

The typical sign up bonus is 25,000 points. I’d argue in this day and age they need to make this 50k every now and then but it looks like 30k is the best we will get. Still if you get both the business and personal version (and hey we all run the odd eBay or garage sale that generates some sole-prop biz income right?) then that means 60k which you could convert into 75k miles at many different airlines – or use for say 3 nights at a top category hotel or 6 nights at a mid level hotel.

I actually have some friends who recently went on an awesome looking trip to the Rockies in Colorado staying at the Westin Riverfront Beaver Creek. I remember Facebooking them to say I could show them how next time they could get this trip for free. Well here is their chance! You could stay here for six nights for free by opening these two cards. If you are a couple, get 2 x 2 cards to get 120k and you could do seven nights down the road at the uber-glam St Regis Aspen. Both of these take advantage of the SPG benefit of 1 free night after you redeem four. So for example the Riverfront is 12k a night off-peak, but only 48k for five nights (one night free)

Also if you don’t plan to use the cards after, I think they are churnable. You can likely get them again at least a year after you cancel. So I’d say at the very least a couple would be able to use these cards to get one free trip a year. This year I used SPG points to spend a week at the Westin Whistler and another week at the Disney World Swan in Orlando. While I won’t take advantage of the offer myself as I already have the cards and keep them for status, I likely will sign up my wife to pay for next year’s vacations!

Now it is possible for me to refer you for these cards, and in doing so I will get an additional 5k points for my account too. You get the same offer. But rather than just beg with cap in hand, I am offering to advise, by email, anyone using my referral how they can make the $5k spend in 6 months requirement without actually having to spend that amount of money. I can take you through the basic techniques (some of which are quite public, some not so much) which can generate spend with little or no out of pocket. And at the end of it, you will earn 35k per card (30k bonus plus 5k for the spend). If you are interested, please email me at