WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. October 10, 2006 - American Express Company
(NYSE:AXP) and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:HOT) today
announced the launch of the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card for
small business owners and the enhanced Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card
for consumers. Cardmembers can take advantage of greater benefits and richer
rewards, making it easier than ever for consumers, and now small business
owners, to earn free nights at more than 825 Starwood hotels and resorts
around the world and award flights with more than 30 airline partners.
New offerings on the Cards, include:
- 10,000 Starpoints® bonus with first purchase – that's enough for up to three free nights1
- Double Starpoints on stays at participating Starwood Hotels & Resorts and purchases at select Starwood retail outlets, such as Bliss Spa and more 2
- Automatic upgrade to Gold Preferred Guest® membership status by spending $30,000 on the Card in each calendar year
- Access to private sales with select Starwood retail outlets
The new Business Card incorporates all of the improved benefits of the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card, as well as programs and services tailored specifically to the needs of small business owners, including the OPEN SavingsSM program which was designed specifically for small businesses and gives automatic discounts on purchases at OPEN Savings3 partners, such as Delta, FedEx Kinko's and JetBlue. In addition, the Business Card provides expense management reporting, an online spend tracking system and spending limits on additional cards that aid in better managing employee spending.
Both Cards showcase a new vibrant design to reflect the American Express brand, as well as Starwood's brands, which include St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, Sheraton®, Westin®, Four Points® by Sheraton, W® Hotels, Le Méridien® and the recently announced AloftSM and ElementSM Hotels.
"We are excited about the expansion of our partnership with American Express and know that our mutual consumer and small business customers will appreciate the enhancements that the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Cards bring to the Starwood Preferred Guest program," said Robin Korman, vice president, Loyalty Marketing at Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. "The benefits of both cards truly reflect our dedication to the principles that have made Starwood Preferred Guest an award-winning program - to set a benchmark in the industry and deliver the most generous and flexible award earning opportunities available."
"In listening to our customers, they told us they want help managing rapidly rising travel costs and using rewards to offset travel expenses," said Raymond Joabar, senior vice president and general manager, OPEN from American Express. "The Starwood Cards from American Express offer consumer and small business Cardmembers one of the most lucrative rewards program with no blackout dates."
Additional benefits for both Cards, include:
- One (1) Starpoint for every eligible dollar spent on the Card
- Redeem Starpoints at over 825 participating Starwood hotels and resorts in 95 countries with no black out dates – if there's a standard room its' yours.
- Transfer Starpoints to over 30 frequent flyer programs, most on a one-to-one basis
- Receive 5,000 Starpoint bonus when you transfer 20,000 Starpoints to miles 4
- First year fee-free, and $30 annual fee thereafter; fee-free additional cards
- Automatic enrollment as a Starwood Preferred Plus member
- Receive a 50% off certificate, good towards a Starwood hotel stay, upon Card approval and annual renewal
- No limit on the amount of Starpoints a Cardmember can earn
- Competitive Introductory purchase Annual Percentage Rate (APR) for six (6) months
- Retail and travel protections such as Global Assist, Car Rental Loss & Damage Insurance, Purchase Protection Insurance, Travel Accident Insurance, American Express Card Baggage Insurance, Buyers Assurance Plan, Express Cash Emergency Card Replacement, Emergency Check Cashing, and 24-hour customer service. For these and other benefits visit spg.com/americanexpress, terms and conditions apply.
The new Starwood Preferred Guest Business Card and enhancement to the Consumer Card are an expansion of the existing relationship between Starwood and American Express. The new Cards make it easier than ever for consumers and small business owners to quickly earn exceptional travel rewards through spending on their cards. Starwood and American Express have enjoyed a strong cobranded card partnership since 1996, when American Express first launched the ITT Sheraton ClubMiles Card.
The Starwood Preferred Guest program made headlines when it launched in 1999 with a breakthrough policy of no blackout dates and no capacity controls, meaning members can redeem free nights anytime, anywhere. The program also offers members the ability to redeem awards at more resorts, more luxury properties, more European hotels and more golf properties than any other hotel program, which has proven to be a big draw for the world's most frequent travelers, and a significant competitive advantage.
About OPEN from American Express
OPEN is the American Express team dedicated exclusively to the success of small business owners and their companies. The OPEN Team supports business owners with unparalleled service. With tailored products and services, the team delivers purchasing power, flexibility, control and rewards to help customers run their business. Specifically, business owner customers can leverage an enhanced set of products, tools, services and savings, including charge and credit cards, convenient access to working capital, robust online account management capabilities and savings on business services from an expanded lineup of partners. To obtain more information about OPEN, visit www.OPEN.com, or call 1-800-NOW-OPEN to apply for a Card or loan. Terms and conditions apply.
American Express Company (www.americanexpress.com) is a leading global payments, network and travel company founded in 1850.
About Starwood Hotels & Resorts
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with more than 850 properties in more than 95 countries and 145,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood® Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels and resorts with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, Sheraton®, Westin®, Four Points® by Sheraton, W®, Le Méridien® and the recently announced AloftSM. Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts. For more information, please visit www.starwoodhotels.com .
1. To be eligible to receive 10,000 bonus Starpoints, you must make your first purchase with the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card within one year of Card approval. Bonus Points will appear on your Starwood Preferred Guest statement 8-12 weeks after your first purchase. Bonus Starpoints are for first-time Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Cardmembers only. You may have more than one Starwood Preferred Guest account, however, if you have or had any such account you are not eligible to receive bonus Starpoints you may be offered for any other such account.
2. You will receive one additional Starpoint for each U.S. dollar of Eligible Spending charged on your Card Account at Starwood branded hotels and resorts then participating in the Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty program, and at stand-along retail establishments and on-line stores that, in each case, are wholly-owned by Starwood Hotels and resorts Worldwide, Inc.
3. OPEN Savings(SM): Payment must be made with an American Express® Business Card. Savings will be credited to your American Express Business Card billing statement. All savings referenced are in addition to any offers made by participating companies. Participation and offers are subject to change without notice. Terms and conditions apply. For more information and the full OPEN Savings partner terms and conditions, please visit opensavings.com.
4. A 5,000 Starpoint bonus is based on airlines with a 1 Starpoint to 1 mile conversion rate; equivalent bonus will be awarded in accordance with other airline conversion rates.