New Restrictions For Marriott And Starwood Credit Card Welcome Bonuses

Filed Under: Marriott, Starwood Preferred Guest

Credit card companies have increasingly been putting restrictions in place that they hope encourage profitable behavior. Among these is an attempt to prevent people from applying for cards primarily for the welcome bonuses, without an intent to use the cards long term. We’ve seen this with Amex’s “once in a lifetime” rule, Chase’s “5/24” rule, and Citi’s “24 month” rule, just to give a few examples.

With Marriott’s new loyalty program officially launching in August, it’s interesting that both American Express and Chase will be issuing Marriott credit cards going forward. For now existing cardmembers of all products will continue to be able to maintain their cards, but eventually American Express and Chase will have “rights” to different parts of the market.

Historically a travel brand having credit cards issued by multiple banks is good news, since it means they’re essentially competing with one another. Competition is good for consumers, in terms of benefits, welcome bonuses, etc.

Competing banks don’t communicate with one another (for obvious reasons), so historically when we’ve seen two issuers work with a single brand, having a card with one issuer doesn’t impact your eligibility for a card with another issue.

It looks like that might be different this time around, as shared by View from the Wing.

New restrictions coming on Marriott & Starwood credit card bonuses

As of August 26, 2018, American Express and Chase will be introducing strict new eligibility requirements with their co-branded Marriott and Starwood cards. I don’t think we’ve ever seen anything quite to this level before.

On one hand I see where they’re coming from, given the number of products out there. But these restrictions are rather complicated. Here’s a rundown of what to expect:

Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Card eligibility ($450 annual fee)

You won’t be eligible for a bonus if you currently have or have had any of the following cards in the last 30 days:

  • The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card from JP Morgan

OR have acquired any of the following cards from Chase in the last 90 days:

  • The Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card from Chase
  • The Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card from Chase
  • The Marriott Rewards Premier Business Credit Card from Chase

OR have received a welcome or upgrade offer for any of the following cards from Chase in the last 24 months:

  • The Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card from Chase
  • The Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card from Chase
  • The Marriott Rewards Premier Business Credit Card from Chase

Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express eligibility ($95 annual fee)

You won’t be eligible for a bonus if you currently have or have had any of the following cards in the last 30 days:

  • The Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card from Chase
  • The Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card from Chase
  • Marriott Rewards Credit Card from Chase
  • The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card from JP Morgan

Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express eligibility ($95 annual fee)

You won’t be eligible for a bonus if you currently have or have had any of the following cards in the last 30 days:

  • The Marriott Rewards Premier Business Credit Card from Chase
  • The Marriott Rewards Business Credit Card from Chase

OR have acquired any of the following cards from Chase in the last 90 days:

  • The Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card from Chase
  • The Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card from Chase

OR have received a welcome or upgrade offer for any of the following cards from Chase in the last 24 months:

  • The Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card from Chase
  • The Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card from Chase

The Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card eligibility ($95 annual fee)

You won’t be eligible for a bonus if you currently have or have had any of the following cards in the last 30 days:

  • Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express

OR have acquired any of the following cards from American Express in the last 90 days:

  • Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Card
  • Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express

OR have received a welcome or upgrade offer for any of the following cards from American Express in the last 24 months:

  • Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Card
  • Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express

The Marriott Rewards Premier/Premier Plus Business Credit Card eligibility ($99 annual fee)

You won’t be eligible for a bonus if you currently have or have had any of the following cards in the last 30 days:

  • Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express

OR have acquired any of the following cards from American Express in the last 90 days:

  • Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Card
  • Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express

OR have received a welcome or upgrade offer for any of the following cards from American Express in the last 24 months:

  • Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Card
  • Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express

What I make of Marriott’s new credit card restrictions

My first thought on this is as follows:

I’m honestly curious to see how they list all of these restrictions on the applications, because there’s a lot of stuff to know. As such I think having restrictions regarding having other cards isn’t unreasonable. However, there are two things that surprise me the most.

First of all, I’m surprised that eligibility for a business card welcome bonus is based on whether or not you have a personal card, and vice versa. That’s an interesting restriction, since historically eligibility between business and personal cards is unrelated, given the different markets they’re going after.

The other interesting thing is that eligibility for a Chase card is based on whether you have an Amex card, and vice versa. So you can have multiple Chase Marriott Cards or multiple Starwood Amex Cards, but largely can’t mix and match between them. You’d think they’d also add restrictions limiting the number of cards you have from the same issuer, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

As far as the sharing of information goes, it’s not that American Express and Chase are communicating directly, but rather Marriott is communicating with the two, and sharing whether or not a member has a card that would make them ineligible.

Personally the card I’m most interested in is the SPG Luxury Card, which launches August 1, 2018. Currently I have the two SPG Amex Cards, so it looks like I should still be eligible for the welcome bonus on this card. Meanwhile since I’ve had the SPG Amex Cards for about a decade, it looks like I wouldn’t be eligible for any of the Marriott Chase Cards.

What do you make of these new restrictions?

Comments
  1. This seems to imply that the $95 fee SPG card will continue to be offered by Amex after August 26, no?

  2. @ Anthony — Correct, rather oddly it appears that the card will continue to be issued for the time being. I don’t think it will be long term, but for now it will.

  3. So it seems like if one has the Ritz Carlton currently there is a 25 day window to apply for SPG Luxury Amex and receive bonus correct?

  4. So am I correct in assuming that for those of us that recently jumped on the 100K Marriott offer from Chase we are not eligible for the new Luxury card bonus? If that is the case it certainly would have been nice to know ahead of time and is a bit ridiculous overall.

  5. So is the “lifetime” language removed from the standard $95 SPG Amex card? I had that card a few years ago but haven’t had any of the other Marriott cards. I did have the SPG Business card about 12 months ago. Curious if I’d be eligible for another bonus on the SPG card?

  6. How long will the SPG Personal Amex be around for existing cardholders?

    If they are retiring the card anyway, the sooner I cancel, the sooner I’m eligible for something else, I think.

  7. How would we know whether we revived an upgrade offer in the last 24 months? Receiving an offer is much more stringent than receiving a bonus?

    I don’t always open those emails/snail mail.

  8. Lucky, do you think there will be an upgrade bonus if I upgrade my current SPG personal card to SPG Amex luxury card? I’ve had the SPG personal card for 4 years and I don’t really want to close it to shorten my credit history. I can’t open the SPG Amex luxury card as a new account, as I already have 4 credit cards with Amex.

  9. @ Flow — I’ve read rumors that it will be 125,000 points upon completing minimum spend, though that’s not in any way official.

  10. @ Beachfan — I think by that they mean that you’ve accepted an upgrade offer, rather than that you actually received one (by email or mail).

  11. @ Beachfan — It’s my understanding that they’ll be honored for existing cardmembers indefinitely, but at some point in the future they’ll be closed to new applicants.

  12. @ John — Since that rule applies to virtually all Amex cards nowadays, I highly doubt they’d eliminate that.

  13. @ Evan — Unfortunately it would appear so, and I’m every bit as surprised as you are.

    However, it appears like these new rules may only kick in on August 26, in which case you could potentially apply between August 1 and August 25. We’ll have to wait and see what the application says.

  14. @Flow – Rumor from DoctorofCredit is that the bonus on the Luxury Card will be 125,000. Was not planning to get it but if that rumor is true it may be an offer I can’t refuse.

  15. Wonder how Marriott is verifying the information or if it’s just acting as a middle man. Marriott’s own info isn’t very reliable. If they’re using their own info couldn’t you just create a new account and associated each company with that account. Might make it a hassle to book a combined trip but doable (does Marriott have household accounts or allow account merging?).

    Wonder if the banks are passing in personal identifying information that Marriott that uses to communicate with the other banks for verification. Also wonder if they’d do that during signup or during bonus payout.

  16. @ Scott Mosoq — Based on this it would appear so, but we’ll have to see what the application of the SPG Luxury Card looks like when introduced. It’s possible it will have the restriction right away, or maybe not.

  17. @ Andrew — While I have no insights into this, I would guess that they’re verifying based on the Marriott account number. Since each person can only have one account, that’s how they’d verify. I highly doubt they’re sharing any other personal details.

  18. @ Jeff Zhou — I think it’s very likely that there will be some sort of an upgrade bonus. I don’t necessarily think it will be huge, but I’d be surprised if they don’t offer anything.

  19. No SPG Luxury Card bonus because I received a measly 20k points for upgrade to Marriot Premier Plus? I was seriously considering that card – with the bonus being the determining factor. Now it’s an easy no for me.

  20. Ouch — like others, I took Chase/Marriott up on upgrading my existing card for 20k points. I wouldn’t have done that if I knew it would prevent me from getting the 125k bonus on the SPG Luxury card. Chase may have been very smart here — offered the upgrade bonus and then pushed for cross-restrictions on getting bonuses if you’ve had the other issuer’s card. Getting everyone to sign up for the upgrade bonus before the restrictions were announced will stop a lot of people from even applying for the AMEX card. Sneaky sneaky, Chase!

  21. Is there a premier plus business card? I thought there was only one Marriott Chase business card, the premier.

  22. I just signed up for the marriott business card about less than a month ago… Ive held my SPG AMEX business card for about 2 years now. Does this mean when the SPG luxury card comes out, I will not be able to get the bonus if I were to sign up for it?

  23. I bet Marriott is taking this approach as a way to ensure that only 15 elite night credits are posted to each account per year, as it may be too difficult to otherwise control.

    Question I have, then, is whether if you have the SPG Amex you could get the Chase Marriott card (without bonus), but still get some of the benefits…. will be interesting to see.

  24. @ 23H — I can’t imagine that’s the case, since you can still have multiple cards but are limited to 15 elite nights per year. While I do know that Marriott is technologically challenged, I imagine writing a script to award at most 15 elite nights per year to an account can’t be that tough.

  25. Well, this ….sucks. Although, unless I’m misunderstanding, you have still *HAVE* multiple cards from different issuers, you just won’t get the bonus. Which is a lot of the reason people sign up, but it looks like you can still get, say, the annual free night and other perks? Or am I wrong on this?

  26. Chase is setting itself up for an anti-trust suit. These restrictions and 5/24 are both designed, in part, to restrain people from applying for competitors products. Tieing into Amex in this way is legally unwise.

  27. Off point…but Lucky, has boardingarea done something new with the ads? I have unbearable cartoon characters jumping around in multiple places on mine…maybe it’s just my iPad…?

  28. Typo at the end of the article?

    “OR have acquired any of the following cards from Chase in the last 90 days:

    Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Card
    Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express”

    Acquired AMEX cards from Chase?

  29. Lucky,

    while I have a a couple inks, CFs, and the CSR all from chase, I have not opened any SPG/Marriott cards ever. I finally want to get in and get a Marriott/SPG card. What would your strategy be if you were in my shoes? I’m guessing I should just wait until the Luxury card comes out and make that my first Marriott card. How about after that?

  30. @ Kate — That would be news to me. Will see what I can find out, but that’s not supposed to be the case.

  31. @ SEAguy — I think that’s a long shot, You’re not prevented from getting the cards, but rather you’re prevented from getting the welcome bonus rewards. That’s quite different.

  32. What about situations where you have SPG cards from different countries (eg. SPG Canada Amex, SPG EmiratesNBD, etc..)? Would that restrict you from getting new US based Marriott cards?

  33. @Lucky

    I just signed up for the marriott business card about less than a month ago… Ive held my SPG AMEX business card for about 2 years now. Does this mean when the SPG luxury card comes out, I will not be able to get the bonus if I were to sign up for it?

  34. @ B-rabb — There’s a chance you may be able to get it when it’s first introduced since these restrictions are apparently only being introduced August 26, though we’ll have to wait to see for sure.

  35. Does “having the card” for these purposes include being the holder of a second card on someone else’s account?

  36. Anti-trust applies when companies undertake activities with third parties that restrict competition in the market place. Usually this is pricing, but it’s also not only pricing.

    I’m sure all the lawyers at the companies have looked at potential anti-trust issues already… I’d be shocked if not… but that’s unlikely to stop some folks looking at the potential for lawsuits related to areas such as horizontal agreements, attempts to divide markets or customers, ‘group’ selling, exchanges of data, vertical partners (i.e. Marriott) etc.

    It’s also likely there’s already something recently updated in their respective terms about how data is shared and what it will be used for (i.e. what the Marriott # will be used for in credit applications), as it’s unlikely to be in their historic ones.

  37. Sorry if I missed this – I read all the questions.

    I have the SPG Amex personal card but I’ve never had the SPG Biz Amex. If I’m reading correctly, I can apply for the SPG Biz Amex until August 26 and still be eligible for the welcome bonus?

    Thanks in advance for anyone who helps confirm.

  38. @Lucky. Not a consumer antitrust suit, a competitor suit—by a bank that issues cards in the same space. The more market share Chase gets, the more scrutiny their anticompetitive behavior is supposed to receive. At its core 5/24 essentially says if you buy too much of our competitor’s product, you can’t buy ours. That’s anticompetitive, but whether it’s illegal probably depends on market share. It’s not any easy case but successful private antitrust suits can be highly lucrative.

  39. @SeaGuy your dual posts use some really questionable logic.

    for one, this line: ” At its core 5/24 essentially says if you buy too much of our competitor’s product, you can’t buy ours. ”

    No, 5/24 says if you apply for too many products from ANY issuer (including chase), you have to wait some time before getting additional welcome bonuses. Chase is turning away customers, which is hardly hurting competitors.

    Finally, CapitalOne’s creditwise says that only 21% of consumers have opened 5+ accounts in the last two years (which is actually higher than I’d expect). In no way is Chase being anticompetitive from turning down additional potential busineses from at most one fifth of consumers.

  40. @evan. Lucky, just as an example, admits that he’s not pursuing other bank cards because he’s waiting to clear 5/24. He’s not alone. 5/24 is anticompetitive. If Chase had 95% market share 5/24 could be the illegal act of a monopoly company. Of course they don’t have anywhere near that share, but, if they are starting to work with Amex on anticompetitive restrictions, maybe you can combine the market shares for certain arguments. Just thinking out loud of course. Just wondering.

  41. Those who took the small Chase upgrade offers from Premier to Premier Plus are REALLY getting screwed here. Not eligible for the 100k Premier Plus bonus because we already had the Premier, and now locked out of the even bigger SPG Luxury AmEx bonus because we took the Chase upgrade offer. No chance to get either one…

    I thought there was no harm in taking the upgrade points, but if I’d waited one week to know this, I could have waited to apply for SPG Luxury first.

  42. If you just upgraded Marriott card, would it work to cancel the card and return the points to be eligible for SPG luxury bonus?

  43. IANAL, but is anyone here actually a lawyer who can explain to me how in the hell this is NOT collusion?

  44. So if I cancel the ritz card and dont have any marriott cards, I can get the new spg lux card? What happens to those ritz tier 1-4 certs that I earned?

  45. I’m torn… huge part of me want spend 220k starpoints and not wait and see how it pans out through the new [email protected] what do you think? Might be time, to start spreading my money to other brands, i have never loved Marriott.

  46. I’m worried about my annual free night. I got one from Chase in March when they shut down the Canadian Marriott card, and I’m now expecting one from AmEx for the renewal of my SPG card in October/November. Would the 24-month bonus rule potentially apply?

  47. I just got approved for and received the Marriott Personal Card with the 75K and $3k spend requirement. When it says you are not eligible for the bonus on if you have or have had the Starwood Personal card in the last 30 days–does that mean if I apply for it now, even if I haven’t received the Marriott bonus, that I couldn’t get that bonus. Even if I’ve been approved for the Marriott card? Confusing stuff.

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