Starwood Preferred Guest and American Express Jointly Bring Richer Rewards
Program to Canada with the Launch of Two Credit Cards

Consumer and Small Business Cards Provide Valuable Rewards and 24/7 Customer Service

TORONTO, April 7 /CNW/ - Following the excitement of last year's announcement, the highly anticipated consumer and small business Starwood Preferred Guest(R) (SPG) Credit Cards from American Express have officially arrived in Canada. With exceptional rewards and first class customer service, the launch is certain to excite Canadians across the country. Just in time for the summer travel season Cardmembers can earn a Starpoints welcome bonus redeemable for up to three free nights at Starwood hotels and resorts.

As part of the growing, successful relationship between Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc. and American Express, the new Card program is ideal for discerning customers who are interested in earning Starpoints(R) faster. Starpoints can be used toward free nights at over 940 hotels and resorts in 93 countries including some of the world's most desired destinations or for free flights with no blackout dates with SPG Flights.

"Canadians are savvy about their credit card rewards programs," said Jennifer Hawkins, Vice President and General Manager of New Product Development for American Express Canada. "The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Cards from American Express deliver increased point accumulation and a Free Weekend Night Award along with all the benefits of being Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Cardmember, just in time for the summer holiday season."

With the new Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card, Cardmembers can earn one Starpoint for every $1 in purchases charged to the Card. Plus, if you apply for the Card by May 31, 2010 at you can get the Card free for the first year and earn 11,000 bonus Starpoints, enough for up to three free nights at Starwood hotels and resorts. The substantial 1:1 earn rate and countless opportunities to earn Starpoints through everyday purchases, will give Cardmembers a way to earn rewards faster than ever before.

"SPG and American Express have worked hard to create Cards for both consumers and small businesses that truly deliver rich rewards and best-in-class redemption opportunities," said Chris Holdren, Senior Vice President of Starwood Preferred Guest. "We are thrilled that Canadians will now be able to earn Starpoints faster, enjoy more premium rewards, and benefit from the breadth of services offered by American Express."

At an annual fee of $120 which, for a limited time, will be waived for the first year for those who apply at, Cardmembers can enjoy incredible travel benefits, rewards and Card membership privileges:

    -  Front Of The Line(R) access to tickets for some of the most popular
       concerts, theatre, shows and special events;

    -  A complimentary package of travel insurances and services such as Car
       Rental Theft and Damage Insurance, Travel Accident Insurance, Flight &
       Baggage Delay Insurance, plus many more;

    -  Retail protection including Buyer's Assurance and Purchase Protection
       Plans that automatically extend manufacturer's warranties and insures
       eligible goods against accidental physical damage and theft;

    -  Automatic upgrade to Starwood Gold Preferred Guest membership when you
       reach $30,000 in purchases on the Card each year;

    -  Receive a Free Weekend Night Award at hotels and resorts worldwide
       when you reach $40,000 in purchases on the Card each year;

    -  Access to the exceptional 24/7 customer service for which American
       Express is known; and

    -  The flexibility to pay balances in full or over time.

    As always, Starwood Preferred Guest members enjoy the following

    -  Redeem Starpoints for Free Nights with no blackout dates at over 940
       Starwood hotels and resorts in 93 countries;

    -  Use Starpoints for flights on over 350 airlines with no blackout dates
       with SPG Flights;

    -  Transfer Starpoints to frequent flyer programs with 30 different
       airlines - usually on a 1:1 basis; and

    -  Enjoy a 5,000 Starpoint bonus from the SPG Program when you transfer
       20,000 Starpoints to a frequent flyer program.

    Business owners enjoy many of the same benefits offered to consumers, plus
a wide range of tools, resources and protection built just for them. At an
annual fee of $150, the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card offers
incredible rewards, including:

    -  Cardmembers can earn a Starpoints welcome bonus;

    -  Access to business savings and expense management tools such as our
       Business Savings Program and Online Expense Management Reports;

    -  The ability to leverage cash flow with the flexibility to pay balances
       in full or over time

    -  Enjoy a broad range of Travel and Retail Insurances and benefits

    -  A complimentary package of business benefits, including the Disability
       Plan for Small Business and Employee Card Misuse Protection; and

    -  Annual Card fees may be tax-deductible.

For more information, visit

About American Express

American Express in Canada operates as Amex Bank of Canada and Amex Canada Inc. Both are wholly owned subsidiaries of the New York based American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., the largest operating unit of the American Express Company. Amex Bank of Canada is the issuer of American Express Cards in Canada. Amex Canada Inc. operates the Corporate Travel, Travel Services Network and Travellers Cheques divisions in Canada. American Express opened its first offices in Toronto and Hamilton in 1853 and now employs 3,700 Canadians coast-to-coast.

About Starwood Preferred Guest

The SPG program's breakthrough policy of No Blackout Dates at the world's most sought after collection of hotels, reinvented the hospitality loyalty program when it launched in 1999. By creating a program centered on its members, SPG has developed the most passionate and knowledgeable membership base in the hotel loyalty space. Through its use of new technologies and innovative channels such as,,, and others, SPG continues to innovate and lead the industry. By offering No Blackouts on standard rooms at 940 properties, No Blackouts on hundreds of airlines, and once in a lifetime experiences available through SPG Moments, the program has proven to be a big draw for the world's most frequent travellers, and a significant competitive advantage for Starwood. For more information about Starwood Preferred Guest please visit or call (877) - STARWOOD.

About Starwood Hotels & Resorts

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with 982 properties in more than 100 countries and 145,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis(R), The Luxury Collection(R), W(R), Westin(R), Le Méridien(R), Sheraton(R), Four Points(R) by Sheraton, and the recently launched Aloft(R), and Element(SM). 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

SOURCE American Express

For further information: For further information: Killeen Kelly, on behalf of American Express, (416) 644-2273,; Jessica Myers, American Express Canada, (905) 474-8792,; Brad Minor, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, (914) 640-3687,; Cynthia Bond, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, (416) 947-4827,

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