Looks like for 2013, Amex has increased the points available for new SPG cards to 20,000 (from the previous 10,000). This is VERY good. See my earlier post on cash & points changes, which isn’t as good, but SPG points remain nevertheless one of the best hotel programs, since they have neither blackouts nor caps – as long as a room is available at the standard rate, you can get it with points (with the exception of some obscure Maldivian resorts which just simply end up costing a fortune in points). The other program that I like that’s similar to this is Carlson, but we have no cobranded Carlson credit cards, so we can’t really take advantage of that. And so here we go. Note that this is available for both the Personal and the Small Business card – but the $120 annual fee is NOT waived, so you are paying $120 for 20,000 points essentially (21,000 if you use my referral link). Whether this is worth it or not depends on what your plans are and whether the rooms you can get with those points would be worth more than $120.
I plan on signing up for both of these cards once I am done with the Business Rewards card I just received ($3K spend for 25,000 points – so 28,000 points in total). Of course, the free first year is a much better proposition 🙂