The latest nod to the importance of Internet connections in the business traveler’s life comes from American Express and its co-branded Starwood Preferred Guest card. AmEx said it will add some significant new benefits for cardmembers starting August 11.
Most significantly, cardholders will get free premium (i.e. faster) in-room Wi-Fi access at SPG participating hotels. (This will benefit basic-level SPG members, since Golds and Platinums already get premium in-room Internet access as part of their elite-level perks. Basic members only get standard…slow…Wi-Fi aceess.)
They’ll also be able to enroll for no charge in the Boingo American Express Preferred Plan, giving them Wi-Fi access with no roaming fees through more than a million hotspots worldwide. The plan is good for up to four devices. Boingo details here.
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In addition to the new Wi-Fi benefits, cardmembers will finally see foreign transaction fees waived when they use the card for purchases overseas (representing a savings of about 3% which can add up over time).
Plus, basic cardmembers who stay at Starwood’s Sheraton-branded properties on Starpoint-eligible rates will have access to Sheraton Clubs during their stay for themselves and a guest.
The new perks could be an effort by AmEx to strengthen its presence in the co-branded travel card arena, especially since it is reportedly ending its card partnership with JetBlue, and taking a big revenue hit from the announced loss of its exclusive card partnership with retailing giant Costco.
American Express’ biggest exclusive travel partnership is safe, however, since it renewed its co-branded card deal with Delta this past winter for another six years.
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