Why The SPG Luxury Card Isn’t For Everyone

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Yesterday the new SPG Luxury Card was introduced, which has a $450 annual fee. While this card makes sense for some, I don’t necessarily think it’s the best option for everyone, so I wanted to look at that in a bit more detail in this post.

What you need to know about the SPG Luxury Card

The SPG Luxury Card has a $450 annual fee, and through October 31, 2018, is offering a welcome bonus of 100,000 points after spending $5,000 within the first three months.

The card offers 6x points for spend at Marriott and SPG hotels, 3x points for spend at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines, and 2x points on all other eligible purchases.

The card comes with quite a few other perks:

  • A $300 annual SPG and Marriott statement credit; each year you’ll get a $300 credit that will be applied when you spend that amount at a Marriott or SPG hotel
  • An anniversary free night award that can be redeemed at a property costing up to 50,000 points per night
  • Platinum Elite status when you spend $75,000 on the card in a calendar year
  • Complimentary Gold Elite status for as long as you have the card
  • 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)
  • A Priority Pass Select membership that allows you to take up to two guests into eligible lounges
  • A TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry fee credit once every four years
  • Premium internet access when staying at Marriott and SPG hotels
  • Complimentary Boingo wifi on up to four devices at over a million hotspots around the world

Contrasting this to the SPG Business Card

I think it’s interesting to compare this to the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express. The card has a $95 annual fee (waived the first year), and through October 31, 2018, is offering a welcome bonus of 100,000 points after spending $5,000 within the first three months.

The card offers 6x points for spend at Marriott and SPG hotels, 4x points for spend at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers, and U.S. purchases for shipping, and 2x points on all other eligible purchases.

The card comes with the following perks:

  • An anniversary free night award that can be redeemed at a property costing up to 35,000 points per night
  • Gold Elite status when you spend $30,000 on the card in a calendar year
  • Complimentary Silver Elite status for as long as you have the card
  • 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)
  • Premium internet access when staying at Marriott and SPG hotels
  • Complimentary Boingo wifi on up to four devices at over a million hotspots around the world

Why the SPG Business Card may be better for many

There could be value in having both the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express. However, for many I think the SPG Business Card could be a better option.

The cards have identical welcome bonuses, and keep in mind that applying for a business card doesn’t count towards the 5/24 limit, while applying for a personal card does. So I’d consider the business version of the card to potentially be better in terms of the welcome bonus.

Both cards have comparable bonus categories, though neither card is actually that compelling for everyday spend. Both cards offer complimentary Boingo wifi, premium internet access at Marriott hotels, and 15 elite nights towards status in 2019.

So who should get the SPG Luxury Card?

  • Anyone who values a Priority Pass membership (personally I already have a Priority Pass membership on three cards, so that gets me zero value)
  • Anyone who values being able to spend $75,000 in a year to earn Marriott Platinum status (personally I won’t get value out of that, and keep in mind there’s a big opportunity cost to spending on the card, since it only offers two Marriott points per dollar)

The card offers a $300 annual Marriott credit, so if you value that at face value the card is really costing you about $150 per year.

For many (including me) this card comes down to whether it’s worth paying $150 for an anniversary free night certificate valid at a hotel costing up to 50,000 points.

Meanwhile the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express offers a free night valid at a hotel costing up to 35,000 points.

So you’re really paying an extra $55 per year for the higher category certificate, though the first year the cost difference is even more extreme. The first year the SPG Business Card would have the annual fee waived, and you’re not even getting your first free night certificate on either card until the first anniversary.

I’m curious to hear where you guys stand — is the SPG Luxury Card worth it, or are you sticking to one of the previous SPG Amex Cards?


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Comments

  1. Most definitely not for me. Disappointing product, generally, but especially compared to the Hilton Aspire card.

  2. Definitely not worth keeping open. I got it just for the bonus since I won’t be eligible for it after the 26th. But no chance I keep this open beyond the one-year mark, even if it means giving up the free night cert (essentially means I paid $150 for the 100k sign up bonus). Compare this to the Hilton Aspire card, which is an absolute keeper that pays for itself and then some.

  3. This card is pretty lackluster. Sure, the 100k points is nice. In year 2+ it essentially becomes a 150/yr card in which you get a free night. Most of the other benefits are replicated by other cards. While I may get this card eventually, I’m not rushing to apply.

  4. Will get it for the bonus but then cancel. SPG Biz has those nice 4x bonuses. A shame this one doesn’t.

  5. I was preapproved for both the Luxury and Personal Card, and I went with the personal card for now. 75,000 points and no annual fee in the first year is hard to beat. The luxury card is fine, but it’s no better than the personal card in terms of helping to earn status (I’m not going to spend $75,000 on a Marriott Card) or ongoing spend. The Aspire delivers more value for the $450 fee. In order to get the most out of the new Marriott program, you really need to spend 35 nights in their hotels a year. I’ll probably still apply for the SPG luxury card eventually when a stronger opening bonus is offered.

  6. @Sam – the Ritz card annual fee is actually $450 now but I agree with you that it is a better card given the more flexible perks for someone who does not necessarily stay at Marriott properties – $300 airline credit and $100 companion discount. Both cards get a 50k anniversary night.

  7. I am in a similar situation as Carter. I may get it for the signup bonus. I too won’t be eligible after the 26th since I am recently acquired the Chase Marriott Premier Plus card. However, I am close to meeting the $5,000 initial spend on that card, so I would be comfortable applying for the Luxury card this weekend and start spending on that one in the next couple of weeks. Whether I would keep it open indefinitely remains to be seen. I could see valuing the $300 credit at face value. If I could use the free night in Europe, that could more than cover the rest of the annual fee. The hurdle in keeping it open is that I have several Amex Cards I want to keep so I have to regularly cancel a card to free up one of my five slots for other Amex cards. That could put this card the chopping block after a year since I might do little more than break even with the certificate on a $150/night room

  8. With so many AMEX cards, it may make send for Lucky to make a post on the ideal five card AMEX portfolio (maybe two lists – one personal, and one personal plus business)

    Mine is
    Delta Platinum
    Hilton Aspire
    Hilton Ascend
    SPG Amex
    Amex EDP

  9. @Al- i had the card before the annual fee increased to $450, so I believe it is grandfathered in. Thanks!

  10. I honestly don’t see how this card is worthwhile for anyone after collecting the signup bonus. $150 per year for a category- and time-restricted stay certificate is lame, and the card has nothing else going for it. Not even worth the sock drawer, where I’ve stashed my personal SPG Amex since my last billing period closed. I hope Amex didn’t pay much to keep the SPG portfolio, because the bottom is going to fall out in card spend…

  11. In terms of the $250 credit you received with the Hilton Aspire (related to above comments) does anyone know if buying economy plus upgrades AFTER you have purchased your ticket fall under Amex’s airline incidental credits? I read the fine print and it mentions “upgrades” but was unsure if eco+ would still be eligible.

  12. I expect the Luxury Card to do very poorly for Amex. I then expect in a year or so that Amex will raise the unbonused spend to 3x on the Luxury card, bringing it to where the regular SPG personal Amex used to be. THEN there will be a rush to get the card…but Amex doesn’t want to offer that if it doesn’t feel it needs to do so.

  13. “… you’re really paying an extra $55 per year for the higher category certificate, though the first year the cost difference is even more extreme. The first year the SPG Business Card would have the annual fee waived…”

    WTF is this statement on about?

  14. @P

    For the first year, you are paying $450, and what you get in exchange is the $300 Marriott credit, and the signup bonus (along with Priority Pass). You don’t even get a free night cert in consideration for that first AF. That $150 effective value only goes up against the free night cert starting with the second year. So your valuation of what the $450 is “worth” should NOT factor in the free night when deciding to get this card, since you aren’t getting the FN in exchange for that first $450 you pay.

  15. @Michael

    Yes, in the first year, the $150 effective cost is essentially the cost to “buy” the signup bonus. And past the first year, the $150 effective cost is the cost to “buy” the free night cert. And thats assuming you actually value the $300 Marriott credit at $300 (which many of us don’t)

  16. Frankly speaking, I think the SPG Luxury card will pretty much flop,
    especially with the new restrictions kicking in on 8/26.
    While a reasonable offer, the 100K bonus points are not enough to create competition to the other two cards, especially the regular SPG Biz card.
    (I got both the personal and the biz version of the regular SPG card, and they’re great).
    At least in the beginning, Amex should have offered 150K bonus points minumum.
    Then I definitely would have gotten the card.
    Most people have the other perks the Luxury card offers, so I wonder who would get it.
    Restrictions implemented on 8/26 will cut out a host of folks from even having a chance to get it.
    … just soem thoughts …

  17. @P
    Thanks for the clarification! Why isn’t the $300 credit valued at $300? can you explain?

    Thanks!

  18. Definitely worth getting if you are a Platinum member. Otherwise not worth it. The free hotel room is definitely worth at least $150 and possibly two or even three times that when you consider that in most places taxes are included. You also get a chance at more Amex offers. If a Platinum you get all of the usual perks. If not, without the perks, I would pass. That is why I do not have a Hyatt card, but am a fan of the Aspire, which is the best card by far for anyone with or without status at a hotel for the perks.

  19. Welcome to the “world of Marriot” where “meh” reigns supreme including this tepud offering passing as a “premium” card. Who are they fooling?

  20. The card isn’t for me either. Would rather either keep my current SPG Amex or the Hilton Aspire. The value proposition just isn’t there in my opinion with the SPG Luxury card. Gold status provides so little value in the new Marriott Rewards program and the opportunity cost is way to high to spend $75k on the card to obtain Platinum status. Had they given us 25 nights annually towards status instead of 15 with the SPG Luxury Card I would have considered it but for now I am trying to decide if I want to stay 35 nights annually with Marriott to achieve Platinum Status or if I am going to continue to shift more of my stays toward Hilton since I have Diamond status via the Aspire. I typically stay about 60-70 nights annually in hotels but not all of the nights are elite qualifying due to booking non-qualified rates and since I travel globally I find that I spread my stays out across 3 or 4 chains with a few independent hotels thrown in.

  21. I received a 100K upgrade offer for 5K spend and immediately accepted that yesterday as soon as I saw it. I’m now about 22 nights short of Lifetime Platinum. With 2018 spend already on the SPG personal card, I will easily meet the 75 K spending for 2018 and will be able to re-qualify for Platinum for 2019 without any spend on the Luxury card. I will cancel after year one, as I will be Lifetime Platinum at that time and will no longer wish to hold any SPG/Marriott cards.

  22. With this exclusive offer, you’ll earn 125,000 bonus points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first three months.¹ Offer ends December 7, 2018.

    is the offer I just got emailed

  23. I’ve also been racking my brain on it but the only reason I’d do it is for the signup bonus. I have the Ritz card with the $395 grandfathered AF. I also have the SPG Biz with the grandfathered $65 AF and I’m maxed out on AMEX credit cards. I think I’d rather swap out two spots with the Aspire and BBP (Delta Plat, SPG Personal & Biz, Honors No AF and EDP are in the five slots). I just earned Hilton Diamond on nights so BBP is probably the only one I’m eyeing up.

    If they had offered the 100k upgrade on my personal SPG I’d have probably done it. No points offer on my upgrade I’ll just pass on it.

  24. Just received an email from SPG offering this card but the bonus was 125K and everything else of the offer was the same. Not sure if they have increased the bonus or just targeting specific members. I am a Gold elite.

  25. For someone like me that stays 25-40 hotel nights at a Marriott / spg hotel this card is probably the one I will use. I will only use if for my Marriott / spg hotel spend as I need one card to put my stays and getting 6 points per dollar spent there is with it vs. 3 pts on my chase Sapphire. Since I spend way more at Marriott / SPG than $300 every year it comes down to $55 more than other cards and the 50,000 hotel category vs. 35,000 is way with it as I would rarely ever stay at a 35,000 level hotel for personal travel. I mainly use a combo of chase Sapphire and freedom at 1.5 on all spend but this will just be for hotel spend.

  26. I also received a 125,000 offer with a December 7 end date. Luckily I will be eligible in early November.

  27. Agree with Carter and others. I waited to see what the initial offer from AX was on this card. Very disappointed. I was approved today for the Aspire and already have the Ascend and Plat. I may later on apply for the SPG business version as I already have the personal card. Unless they raise the SUB, offer comp club level access and offer plat status, this card will remain a loser in my book.

  28. Ritz card isn’t open to public anymore. But for those who has the card, its new benefits is just bit better than spg luxury. especially the $100 domestic ticket discount for two.

  29. @Carter, Just as a data point. In the past when I had a Marriott Visa card the anniversary free night certificate posted to my Marriott account before the due date on the credit card cycle that included the annual fee. I then canceled the card and there was no claw back of the night – I did get the first anniversary free night without keeping the card. I can’t guarantee how that will work with the new card, of course. So while it might be risky to definitely factor in the free night in evaluating a person’s first year experience, you may get it.

  30. Lucky I got a targeted email for 125,000/5000 spend. Not sure if its enough to push me over the edge in getting this but it has me thinking now more than I was earlier for sure.

  31. Thought about this a while, not getting it for myself. But my wife is getting it since: she was already keeping her SPG card for the 35k free night; she does not have a Priority Pass of her own; she had the 100k upgrade offer. So the net difference in AF is worth it overall. Still figuring out the best everyday spend card though with choices limited being over 5/24…

  32. Not worth it to me either. I just grabbed the business version. Which honestly I will rotate with my Freedom Unlimited for everyday spend.

  33. Unlike most of you, I took the Luxury card offer without much thought. Being a SPG Preferred card (Silver-lite) member, the Priority Pass, Global Assist/TSA and the $300 hotel credit, easily justified the $450 annual fee. All Gold-Elite inclusive for an additional $55 per year. It comes at the right time for our Summer family vacation.

    The 100,000 welcome points is an added bonus. For a family of three, I will be spending at least $5000 on airfare and hotel expenses. The biz card is my other option but we will be traveling this year with better perks.

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