With the merger of the Marriott and SPG hotel portfolios, there is a new opportunity to earn hotel rewards. Existing American Express SPG and Marriott Rewards credit cards will remain open for current cardholders. The rewards program is changing and so are the credit card benefits, but there are also new credit cards being issued. The American Express SPG Luxury Card is rumored to launch on August 23, 2018, with some really enticing benefits. Read on to learn about the changes to your favorite cards.
New American Express Starwood Luxury Card
As part of the agreement with Chase, American Express will have exclusive rights to issue a premium credit card. I believe that is the reason why Chase recently pulled links for the Chase Ritz Carlton credit card.
The Amex SPG Luxury credit card will have a $450 annual fee like most premium credit cards. The fee will be offset by a $300 credit at Marriott hotels and resorts. This credit will be good towards room reservations, dining and other charges while staying at Marriott properties.
You will also receive a free annual night, but the cap is lifted from 35,000 points to 50,000 points. As expected, with a luxury card, you get the opportunity to stay at nicer properties.
Spending at Marriott and SPG properties will also earn 6x points and 2x points everywhere else. But you’ll also earn 3x points on U.S. dining and air travel, which gives Marriott and SPG loyalists more reason to use this card on everyday spend.
Gold status is automatically granted with the Amex Starwood Luxury card. And Platinum status can be earned when you spend $75,000 in a calendar year. If you convert your Amex SPG card to the luxury card, all spend that you’ve made year-to-date will count towards the $75,000 hurdle.
The Amex SPG Luxury card will also earn 15 elite night credits, but you cannot stack elite night credits if you have more than one Marriott or SPG card.
When you’re heading to the airport, you’ll also get access to Priority Pass Select lounges offering unlimited visits for you and up to 2 guests. Unlimited Boingo WiFi internet is a benefit, as well as complimentary premium in-room WiFi during your Marriott stays.
Other AMEX Starwood Credit Cards
Starting August 1, 2018, SPG points earned with the American Express SPG cards will only earn 2 points per $1 spent. Compare that to the 3 Marriott Rewards points they used to earn after converting between SPG and Marriott, and this is a 33% loss in earning power.
Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card From American Express
The Starwood Preferred Guest credit card from American Express is the personal version that most people have. Many websites consider this one of the best daily spend credit cards because of the flexibility of the points.
You can book hotel rooms with points or “points and cash” or you can transfer them to airline partners. When you transfer in 60,000-Marriott-point increments, you’ll receive an extra 15,000 Marriott points to convert. This results in the same 25,000 airline miles under the old SPG point valuation.
The Amex SPG card now offers a 75,000-Marriott-Rewards-point bonus after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. Based on the 3:1 Marriott to SPG conversion, this bonus is the same as the 25,000 SPG points bonus we’ve normally seen.
The annual fee is $95 per year, but it is waived the first year.
When you spend at Marriott and SPG properties, you’ll earn 6x Marriott Rewards points and 2x points on everything else. If earning Elite Status is your goal, you’ll also receive 15 Elite Night credits each year that you renew the Amex SPG credit card. Previously, you only received 5 night credits, so this is a nice change.
The major upgrade is the free annual night at participating hotels. This matches the Marriott annual free night benefit that has been in place for years. You can pick any hotel with a value of 35,000 points per night or less when redeeming this free night.
If you are interested in the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest credit card for consumers, you need to act quickly because it should close for new applications before year end.
Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card From American Express
The business version of the American Express SPG card will remain with American Express after the merger. With the Starwood Preferred Guest Business credit card from American Express, you will earn 100,000 Marriott Rewards points after making $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. This is close to the 35,000 maximum bonus I’ve seen the Amex SPG offer for many years. This is a limited time promotion that ends October 31, 2018.
The first year’s annual fee is waived, then it will renew each year at $95.
Just like the personal version, you’ll earn 6x points at Marriott and SPG properties and 2x everywhere else. However, the business version will also earn 4x points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, wireless phone service from U.S. carriers and U.S. purchases on shipping.
The business version also adds a free hotel night each year.
New Application Rules! Can You Earn the Bonus?
Chase and American Express are teaming up to making getting multiple credit cards more difficult. Effective August 26, 2018, it will be harder to get new cardholder benefits for the Marriott family of credit cards.
American Express has a once per lifetime bonus rule. This means that if you’ve earned the bonus on that specific card before, you cannot earn it again. Recently, American Express launched a tool that warns if you are not eligible before you submit your application. When a new credit card is launched, like the Amex SPG Luxury card, you can earn the bonus on that.
Chase has the 5/24 Rule. For many of their popular credit cards, Chase will not approve your application if you have more than 5 new credit cards from any bank in the last 24 months. Don’t worry, we put together a list of the
If you want to get the American Express SPG card or the American Express SPG Business card, the time is now. And when the Amex SPG Luxury card launches on August 23rd, you’ll have just a couple of days to apply under the current application rules.
New Rules for Marriott Credit Cards
Here are the new rules when applying for the American Express SPG credit cards:
- For the American Express SPG card, you cannot have a Chase-issued Marriott personal or business credit card. If you plan to close your Marriott card, it needs to be closed at least 30 days before applying.
- For the American Express SPG Business credit card, you cannot have a Chase-issued Marriott personal or business card, have received a Chase new card bonus in the last 24 months, or have signed up for an Amex SPG Business card in the last 90 days. Like the personal SPG card, if you’re going to close a Marriott card, you need to do it at least 30 days before applying.
- For the American Express SPG Luxury card, you cannot be a Chase Ritz Carlton cardholder, have received a Chase Marriott personal or business card in the last 90 days, or have received a sign-up or upgrade bonus in the last 24 months.
I haven’t received a bonus from Marriott or SPG in many years, but I do have the Chase Marriot Rewards Premier Visa and the Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Business Visa, so my only option is to request an upgrade if I want the Amex Starwood Luxury credit card.
Which Credit Card Is Right for Your Wallet?
Remember that American Express and Chase are working together to limit bonuses. This means that if you receive the bonus from any Chase or American Express Marriott or SPG card, you won’t be able to receive the bonus for any other Marriott card for 24 months.
You Have to be Strategic if You Want to Maximize Your Rewards
If you have a Marriott or SPG card currently and have a Marriott vacation coming up, I’d suggest upgrading to the Amex SPG Luxury card once eligible to receive automatic Marriott Rewards Gold status, a free night worth up to 50,000 points and more earning power on everyday spend. You’ll pay a $450 fee but will receive $300 in Marriott credits to use on your next vacation. Combine that with your free night and you’ll have a great long weekend trip courtesy of Marriott.
For readers that don’t currently have a Marriott or SPG card, I would apply for the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest card before it goes away. There are more restrictions in place, but American Express doesn’t have a Chase 5/24 Rule. I’d then upgrade it when you can find a bonus offer. Then consider closing it once 24 months have passed since you received the bonus so you can earn the new cardholder bonus on the Amex SPG Luxury card.