Refreshed Amex SPG Cards Coming in August

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Amex SPG Cards

Refreshed Amex SPG Cards Coming in August

Marriott announced its new unified loyalty program earlier this week. The announcement included some news about new credit cards and changes to current products. They will release a new a premium SPG card and also refresh the two current products, the personal and business Amex SPG cards.

Refreshed Amex SPG Cards

In August 2018, the $95 Starwood Preferred Guest® Consumer Credit Card from American Express will be refreshed and the benefits will include:

  • For each dollar of eligible purchases charged to your Card, you can earn:
    • 6X points at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards hotels
    • 2X points on other eligible purchases
  • Annual Night Award (redemption level at or under 35,000 points) every year after your Card account anniversary*
  • Automatic Silver Elite Status; and the ability to earn Gold Elite Status after spending $30,000 on the Card in a calendar year. Note: effective January 1, 2019, Card Members will earn Gold Elite Status after spending $35,000 on the Card in a calendar year.
  • No foreign transaction fees

Also in August, the $95 Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express will have refreshed benefits that include:

  • For each dollar of eligible purchases charged to your Card, you can earn:
    • 4X points on everyday business purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. shipping purchases
    • 6X points at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards hotels
    • 2X points on other eligible purchases
  • Annual Night Award (redemption level at or under 35,000 points) every year after your Card account anniversary*
  • Automatic Silver Elite Status; and the ability to earn Gold Elite Status after $30,000 in annual spend on the Card. Note: effective January 1, 2019, Card Members will earn Gold Elite Status after spending $35,000 on the Card in a calendar year.

As an added Card Member benefit, beginning in early 2019 all Marriott loyalty program co-brand Card Members will earn 15 Elite Night Credits towards the next level of Elite status, and annually every calendar year thereafter. Limit one 15 Elite Night Credit per Marriott Loyalty Program member.

Conclusion

There’s some good and bad news with these upcoming changes that will kick in sometimes in August.

Both cards will get an Annual Night Award after Card account anniversary. These will be limited to 35,000 points/night hotels, but that should still outdo the $95 annual fees that will not change. Also, beginning in early 2019 all Marriott loyalty program cards will earn 15 Elite Night Credits towards the next level of Elite status, but this is limited to 15 Elite Night Credits per person annually. The business card will have some enhanced earning options with 4X points on everyday business purchases.

Then there’s the bad stuff. Non-bonused spending will earn 2X instead of 3X, which would have been the appropriate conversion for the current earning rate of 1X Starpoint. Sheraton Club Lounge Access will also be gone from the business version.

Chime in. What do you think about these changes?


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16 COMMENTS

  1. If you’re already had the previous AMEX Starwood personal and business card, will you be able to apply for and receive a bonus on this “refreshed” version?

    • No they are the same product plus I believe Amex will stop offering the personal card before the changes happen. You should be eligible for the new premium product though based on how they have treated things in the past.

  2. Any information available on the Ritz Carlton card and the ability to earn Marriott Platinum status before August 1st via Spend?

    • I disagree. It is not very good considering they’ll transfer at 3:1 ratio to airlines (you’ll need 60,000 marriott points for 25,000 miles). So, for $30,000 spend in non-bonus categories, you only get 25,000 miles. It might not even be worth it for their air and hotel packages. If you put the same $30k in a 2x card such as Citi’s or Amex no-annual fee biz card, that’s $600 or 60,000 MR points.
      Chase and Amex have cards with better bonus categories.

  3. What happened to the idea that spg Amex cards were going to switch to chase, leaving business and premium cards to Amex?

  4. Hopefully the anniversary night will be useful for Hawaii where I live if I need to use the free night before expiration. Marriott also has a lot properties in Hawaii and lot of people who visit might want to use their free night certificates.

    The lowest Marriott in Hawaii costs 35,000 MR points.
    The lowest SPG costs 10,000 SPG points (30,000 Marriott)
    There is one 12,000 SPG point properties (not very good) or 36,000 Marriott points.

    The higher end Marriott (non-Ritz) cost 40,000 points. Some comparable (although actually better than the 40k Marriott) cost SPG 20,000 points (60,000 Marriott).

    I expect they’re lowest category will cost 35,000 points, so maybe anniversary free night from the $95 cards will be useful in Hawaii. But if they ever get renovated and suddenly jump up to 50,000 points or higher or Marriott decides to change their category next year, then their usefulness is going to be short-lived. I’m getting my annual certificate in mid-July for the Marriott Business card by Chase. I’m expecting the annual fee to be charged on August 1. If it ends up being useless where I live for a staycation, then I’ll cancel the card.

    The $450 Marriott annual free night for properties up to 50,000 points. This is probably not very useful either. These are the better and more upscale hotels in Hawaii (non-Ritz, non-timeshare):

    Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa (40k MR)
    Sheraton Waikiki Beach (20K SPG)
    Westin Moana Surfrider (20k SPG)
    The Royal Hawaiian (20k SPG)
    Wailea Beach Marriott (40k Marriott)
    Sheraton Maui (20K SPG)
    Westin Maui (20k SPG)
    Westin Ka’anapali (20k SPG)
    Sheraton Kauai (20k SPG)
    Westin Princeville (20k SPG)
    St. Regis Princeville (30k SPG)
    Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa (40k MR)
    Mauna Kea Beach Resort, Autograph Collection (40K MR)

    I doubt any of these hotels will be 50k in 2019 when category 8 is introduced. Some of them might be 50k on August 1, but you don’t get your annual free night from the $450 card until later in 2019. There are also similar hotels like the group above in San Francisco where I visit often and a bunch of other cities. It will be interesting in 2019 when the anniversary nights on these cards come in and we can find out where you can use them in the US and Canada.

  5. My AMEX personal renews this month. I would hold onto it for the free night but essentially right now I’m paying $95 for a year of nothing.

    • Hi Emily,
      I canceled my personal spg last month before all the new news came out this week because I don’t want to pay for $95 too. But think about the bright side, from now until 7/31, your spg point is 1:3 to Marriott, after 8/1 is only 1:2. I’m not sure if this is enough reason for you to keep the personal card and focus on using in until 7/31 so you can maximize the value of spg points. I also have spg business to use so it was easier for me to cancel without thinking too much. ^_^

  6. I see this card appealing to IHG cardholders who only use their cards for free nights at lousy properties. Not to (soon-to-be-former) SPG loyalists.

    Marriott has successfully dragged SPG’s program down for Gold & below. Chase Sapphire Reserve + Chase Freedom Unlimited at 2.25 & the AMEX Aspire (Diamond status & IMPROVED bonus categories) are about to put a serious hurt on Marriott Rewards.

  7. Wow I guess I will keep the business card. Was thinking about canceling and getting the luxury business card but now I might get both. The 4x on shipping is awesome as we spend tens of thousands a year on shipping. The chase ink only offers 3x and doesn’t transfer to ANA and I think MR gold only does 3x. I redeem for business class a few times a year to China for 95k a ticket. 4x with flight transfer bonus makes it 5x and makes it as good if not better than the Chase UR cards for travel to Asia and a much wider selection of transfer partners. Being able to spend my way to Platinum is awesome. No more crowded Sheratons and lounge access everywhere.

  8. I’m so confused by all of these changes/offerings. If I already have an SPG Personal AmEx and also have Chase Platinum Reserve, Delta Platinum AmEx and Gold Rewards AmEx, should I burn whatever SPG points I have (or transfer them to something else) and cancel my SPG account before August 1st?

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