Up To 175,000 Points With Refreshed SPG Amex Cards

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As part of Marriott’s takeover of Starwood, we’re seeing a complete overhaul of the card products offered by both American Express and Chase. Today American Express made some major changes to two of their co-branded Starwood Cards — the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express. Some of these changes are positives, and others are negative.

The cards have had smaller welcome bonuses than usual for a while, so the good news is that these cards now have increased bonuses, which are excellent.

The SPG Personal Amex Card

Here’s what you can expect from the refreshed Starwood Personal Amex Card:

  • Welcome bonus: 75,000 points after spending $3,000 within the first three months
  • Annual fee: $95 annual fee, waived for the first year

The card offers the following return on spend:

  • 6x points per dollar spent on eligible purchases at Marriott properties
  • 2x points on all other purchases

On top of that, the card comes with some potentially useful perks, including:

  • A free night award every year after your card account anniversary, valid at a property retailing for up to 35,000 points
  • Silver Elite status for as long as you have your card
  • Gold status when you spend $35,000 on the card in a calendar year
  • Starting in 2019 you earn 15 elite qualifying nights per year just for having the card (you can receive this benefit for at most one card)
  • Unlimited Boingo wi-fi on up to four devices at more than one million Boingo hotspots worldwide
  • No foreign transaction fees

Note the following terms when it comes to eligibility for this card:

Welcome offer not available to applicants who have or have had this Card. We may also consider the number of American Express Cards you have opened and closed as well as other factors in making a decision on your welcome offer eligibility.

Effective 8/26, welcome offer not available to applicants who have or have had The Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card from Chase, The Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card from Chase, Marriott Rewards Credit Card from Chase, or The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card from JP Morgan in the last 30 days.

The SPG Business Amex Card

Here’s what you can expect from the refreshed Starwood Business Amex Card (which has a limited time offer ending October 31, 2018):

  • Welcome bonus: 100,000 points after spending $5,000 within the first three months
  • Annual fee: $95 annual fee, waived for the first year

The card offers the following return on spend:

  • 6x points per dollar spent on eligible purchases at Marriott properties
  • 4x points at US restaurants, US gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from US service providers, and US purchases for shipping
  • 2x points on all other purchases

On top of that, the card comes with some potentially useful perks, including:

  • A free night award every year after your card account anniversary, valid at a property retailing for up to 35,000 points
  • Silver Elite status for as long as you have your card
  • Gold status when you spend $35,000 on the card in a calendar year
  • Starting in 2019 you earn 15 elite qualifying nights per year just for having the card (you can receive this benefit for at most one card)
  • No foreign transaction fees

Note the following terms when it comes to eligibility for this card:

Welcome offer not available to applicants who have or have had this Card. We may also consider the number of American Express® Cards you have opened and closed as well as other factors in making a decision on your welcome offer eligibility.

Effective 8/26, welcome offer not available to applicants who (i) have or have had the Marriott Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card from Chase or Marriott Rewards Business Credit Card from Chase in the last 30 days, (ii) have acquired The Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card from Chase or The Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card from Chase in the last 90 days, or (iii) received a welcome offer in the last 24 months on The Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card from Chase or The Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card from Chase.

Bottom line

While the change in the points earning structure on these cards is unfortunate, there are also some positive developments with these cards, like the anniversary free night certificates, and the 15 elite nights towards status starting in 2019.

Also note the new restrictions coming into place as of August 26, so if you’re impacted by those, you’ll want to apply for the Starwood Personal Amex Card or Starwood Business Amex Card ASAP.

All of the above points amounts are based on Marriott’s new currency, so these aren’t the same as Starpoints, given that Starpoints will be converted into Marriott points at a 1:3 ratio.

Does anyone plan on picking up either of these cards?

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Comments

  1. So if I have the SPG Personal Amex at the moment, can I close it and reopen it to get the bonus before August 26th??

  2. @ Anthony Thomas — Presumably they’ll know based on whether or not your Marriott account is linked to a Chase card as well. It’s not Amex sharing info with Chase, but rather Marriott sharing info with the banks (and they’re not sharing personal details, just whether or not someone has a card with the other bank or not).

  3. @ Mark — You wouldn’t be eligible because of this: “Welcome offer not available to applicants who have or have had this Card”

  4. Hi,

    Can i apply for this card and a month after apply for Marriott card to get both of the sign up bonus?

  5. @ AV — Are you talking about the Chase Marriott Card? If so, it depends. It looks like you should be able to do that if you apply for both cards before August 26 (when the new rules kick in), but otherwise you won’t be eligible for the equivalent Chase Card if you already have the Amex Card.

  6. There are no 35,000 Marriott rooms. Just 30,000 off peak and 40,000 peak starting in 2019. What a misleading award.

  7. @ Stan — Hotels will have off-peak, standard, and peak pricing. It’s not just peak and off-peak.

  8. @ LP — In 2018 you just get Silver status or Gold status with spend. There are no elite night credits for the remainder of 2018 with these cards.

  9. So if i have Starwood preferred guest card now, I should be able to get the biz card and get my bonus on that, correct? Also, just wondering what the final date is for transferring only 20k miles to get a 5 k bonus on air miles before it goes to the 60k transfer option?

  10. @ Ruth — Correct, you can have both the personal and business SPG Amex Cards. The mileage transfer ratio is essentially staying the same. The points you earn with this card would be Marriott points, and you’ll be able to convert 60,000 Marriott points (which is the same as 20,000 Starpoints) into 25,000 airline miles.

  11. Any idea when the SPG Luxury Amex will be released? I already have the SPG preferred guest card, but it seems if I apply for Chase Marriott Premier, that would exclude me from the SPG Luxury Amex bonus?

  12. @ Lily — I thought it was today, but it seems that’s not the case. It looks like it will be launched at some point in August, though I don’t know the exact date.

  13. lucky, is this a good time to re-up the 6/13 “how can I check if still eligible for sign-up bonus” post?

  14. I blog on myfico forums and we were told today the luxury card will be released on Aug 23rd. AX is akso supposed to be offering sign up bonuses to existing SPG card members on or after this date.

  15. Should I worry about the transfer rate from Star points to airlines miles after august? Is that changing? Should I be moving my points out?

  16. @ Sicer — When you account for Starpoints converting into Marriott points at a 1:3 ratio, that is staying the same with the new program, so you can continue to convert 60,000 Marriott points into 25,000 airline miles.

  17. So, will they actually consider signups prior to Aug 26th to be eligible for the welcome bonus regardless of whether or not the individual has had one of the other Marriott cards in the past 30 days? Or will I become ineligible on August 26th, even if I sign up and am approved today? (I have the Chase Marriott card). The language in the T&C is unclear on this lol

  18. Hi Lucky et al.,

    I recently signed up for the Starwood AMEX in late July, without realizing that the signup bonus was going to be refreshed. I haven’t even received my credit card yet, but now the signup bonus has changed substantially. Do you know if AMEX is ever willing to match signup bonuses when they change this drastically – we’re not talking about an extra 10,000 points, but a completely different signup bonus structure (USD 200 rebate vs. 75,000 Marriott Points). If possible, I’d really want my signup bonus to be matched to the 75,000 Marriott Points instead.

    Any data points or inputs would be most appreciated!

  19. @ Chan — It can’t hurt to send a secure message and ask. Maybe someone can chime in with their experience, as I’m not sure if they’ll do it, but it can’t hurt to ask.

  20. @ Katherine Isaac — The terms apply based on when you apply rather than when you complete the minimum spend. So if you apply before August 26 you should be good.

  21. @Sicer asks: “Should I worry about the transfer rate from Star points to airlines miles after august? Is that changing? Should I be moving my points out?”

    Here’s an unnuanced answer.

    Marriott understood that SPG’s model of turning starpoint into, essentially, an airline rather than a hotel points currency, was utterly flawed and likely played a part in Starwood’s demise. They would thus not have anything to do with it. However, aware of how points transfers to airlines were very popular with SPG loyalists, they approached it cleverly: They left the structure of the transfer of points to airlines essentially unchanged, but disincentivize the practice – effectively crippling it – by limiting the number of points that can be EARNED THROUGH UN-BONUSED spend on their new co-branded CCs to the equivalent of earning 0.67x starpoint (from 1x.) That effectively changed the transfer of points to miles from 1:1 to 1 point for 0.67 miles.

    In plain English, that’s like transferring 10,000 (star)points to get only 6,700 miles. One can make up for it somewhat by transferring a large number of points, because the 5k bonus points for transferring points in multiples of 20K is still there. So, if you transfer the equivalent of 100,000K starpoints, you’d get back:

    100,000 * 0.67 + (100,000/20,000) * 5,000 = 92,000

    compared to

    100,000 + (100,000/20,000) * 5,000 = 125,000

    that one got with a 1:1 transfer of starpoints to miles + for the 5K bonus for transferring starpoints in multiples of 20K

    A 33% devaluation.

    At the same time, Marriott has boosted the number of points that can be earned through hotel spend, including when one pays with one of their new co-branded CCs, and made award costs for ‘aspirational’ SPG hotels more affordable.

    In short, by (a) crippling the transfer of points to miles, (b) offering award costs that are more affordable than SPG’s ever were, and (c) making it such that the most MR points that can be earned is through revenue stays at Marriott properties, Marriott’s clear objective is to incentivize members to keep their business within the company (i.e., earn and redeem points at MR properties)…to get away from SPG’s boneheaded model of sending revenue to airlines.

    G’day.

  22. Any advice for what’s the best strategy for someone w both AMEX SPG personal / biz (never got any retention bonus ever over the years) and one of the Chase Marriott / Ritz CC up until this point?

    Cancel now? Apply for Marriott?

  23. In terms of the old SPG program if you divide the signup bonus by 3; the personal has a sign up bonus of 25k and the business has 33.3k. In March I took advantage of the old SPG BIZ offer of 35k. Correct me if I’m wrong but the old 35k was a better sign-up than the new inflated currency. My new hotel strategy is Hilton because of the $450AF Apsire which offers Diamond (top) status. So far the new Marriot program has not turned my head and I’m not sure the SPG Luxary will be as good as the HH Aspire.

  24. Lucky,

    I’ve never had any Marriott or SPG Card of any kind, AMEX or Chase (I must be one of the only frequent readers in this camp).

    Can I apply for the $95 fee SPG Card now, apply for the $450 SPG Card later and get both sign up bonuses? Thanks

  25. @ Anthony — You sure can, as these are considered separate products (at least based on what we know about the terms so far).

  26. Lucky:

    So, I took the upgrade offer of 50,000 points for the personal Marriott to the plus. This means there is no way to get a bonus for the SPG Luxury Card unless they open up apps before the Aug 26th restrictions go into place.

    Applying now for the SPG AMEX Business bonus is allowable now since the restrictions are not yet in effect, which may be my only opportunity to get a current bonus since I have the SPG AMEX personal, Marriott personal, and Marriott Business?

    Best

  27. @Lucky I currently have the personal SPG AMEX. I want to pick up the Business SPG AMEX and the Marriott Premier Plus card. So if I pick up the Marriott Premier Plus card now, I should technically still be able to get the Business SPG AMEX as long as I apply for it 90 days after I get approved for the Marriott card. Of if I apply for both before 8/26.

    Am I reading this correct?

  28. @ Cole — The way I read it, you’d have to apply for both before August 26, because you’re not eligible if you’ve “received a welcome offer in the last 24 months on The Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card from Chase or The Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card from Chase.”

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