One of the easiest ways to earn hotel points and airline miles is with an affinity credit card. Perhaps you already have one: my first was the American Airlines MasterCard with which I earned one AAdvanatage mile for every dollar I spent. For several years I made almost all of my purchases on that card: food, gas, cell phone service, etc, and then paid it off at the end of the month, thus avoiding any interest fees. The miles I earned by doing that paid for two trips to Hawaii for Mrs. HappyFlier and I!

Several years ago I switched to the Starwood American Express Card as my primary charge card. It has many advantages over the AAdvantage Mastercard. The Starwood AmEx not only allows me to earn Starwood hotel points (one for every dollar I charge) that I can use at any of the 800+ Starwood properties around the world (including Sheraton, Westin, W, Le Meridien, and St. Regis hotels, to name a few) but also allows me to earn airline miles. I can transfer my Starwood points to any one of 30+ airlines and earn miles on a one-to-one basis, But, and this is a big but, if I transfer 20,000 Starwood points to the airline, I’ll get 25,000 airline miles, a 25% bonus! So, every dollar I spend on the Starwood card is both more flexible and more valuable than a dollar I spend on the AAdvantage Mastercard.

The Starwood American Express is so good that it has repeatedly won the prestigious Freddy Award as the Best Affinity Credit Card. A list of the numerous SPG membership benefits shows what makes the program so good.

I’ve used my Starwood points to stay in Hong Kong, in a suite in Bangkok, in a two-story villa in Phuket, and in a suite in Nassau. I would not have been able to do this without the points I earned from the Starwood American Express.

This is the time to apply

Starwood and American Express have combined to make the card an even better deal. Open an account now and earn an extra 25,000 Starwood points! You’ll get 10,000 bonus points when you make your first purchase, and an additional 15,000 points when you charge $15,000 on the card in the first six months. This is an unbelievable deal, one you should not pass up.  Visit this page to apply for the card.

If you spend the money and earn the bonus points listed above, you’ll have 40,000 Starwood points (25,000 bonus points, plus 15,000 for your spending). What can you do with 40,000 points?

You can convert them to 50,000 airline miles, or you can use it for a free stay at a hotel. For that many points you could get five free nights at, for example, the Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites in Los Angeles. Or you can also used them to get reduced rates (cash plus points) on your hotel stays. Check the list of SPG membership benefit for the complete details.

If you spend $30,000 a year on your card, you’ll earn automatic Gold Status with Starwood.

The Starwood American Express card is, quite simply, the best card you can carry. The bonus 25,000 points makes it an even better deal. Apply for yours today! This offer expires July 31, 2010.