Published on August 25th, 2018 | by William Charles64
AmEx SPG Luxury Card Upgrade Offers: Worth A Second Look
Update: Multiple readers are reporting being told that you don’t receive the $300 credit in that first prorated year. The fine print doesn’t say this at all, so I think you should be able to get it and use it but YMMV.
A few days ago we let readers know that American Express is offering upgrade bonuses of zero to 100,000 points on the new SPG Luxury. Most people were unenthused about the offers, but there is something that I missed. The terms state that:
Annual Membership Fee: Approximately 45 days after your account is upgraded, you will be charged a prorated Annual Membership Fee for your new Card based on the time remaining until your next account anniversary date. You will also receive a prorated refund for any annual fee paid on your previous Card.
This means you keep the same account anniversary date and pay a prorated annual fee (plus get a refund on the annual fee you’ve already paid on the regular SPG card). The reason this is important is that one of the key benefits to the Luxury card is that it comes with a $300 credit for eligible purchases at SPG & Marriott properties (including the room rate). This is based on a card member year, rather than a calendar year.
Let’s say your card anniversary is in two months time, you’ll pay a prorated annual fee of $75 and receive a refund of $15.83. You then have until your card anniversary to spend $300 at eligible properties. You will then be charged another $450 annual fee and your $300 statement credits will reset. In the above scenario you’d be receiving $600 in statement credits, plus the upgrade offer, plus the card benefits, plus you get a free night valid at properties costing up to 50,000 points per night (I assume you’d get this when paying the full annual fee the second time) and you’d be paying $525 in annual fees.
Obviously you’d need to be able to use the credits before your annual fee hits, I think purchasing gift cards will probably work if you do it at the front desk of a SPG/Marriott property. I thought maybe the upgrade offers were based on when your card anniversary is, but despite the limited datapoints that doesn’t seem to be the case:
- December: 15,000 points
Looks like if you’ve spent a lot on the existing SPG personal card that spend count towards the $75,000 needed in a calendar year for platinum elite as well. One other important thing to note is that the upgrade offers are valid until 10/31/2018, so it might make sense to wait to upgrade to better time the prorated annual fee refund.