The annual fee for the Starwood American Express card is going up from $45 to $65. Is it worth the price to pay for the right to use a credit card?
Fans of the card enjoy that the card gives you a hotel point for every dollar spent and those points can be exchanged for hotel nights, or for frequent flyer miles. And if you exchange the points in big blocks, you can get basically 1.25 miles for every buck. But is it still worth it after the $20 increase? NYT columnist Ron Leiber thinks so. As long as the system works for your spending pattern, the rewards program is pretty flexible compared to other credit cards. In addition, the card is adding two new features this year: 5 free nights of extra credit to help you qualify for elite status, and a 3rd free night at Sheratons after paying for two nights.
Personally I’m not into rewards programs because I think they’re psychological traps designed to lure you into spending more money. On some mental level, you’re justifying extra spending because you think of it as “earning your way” towards something. But I know not everyone agrees with me.