Published on June 2nd, 2015 | by William Charles17
Changes To American Express SPG Card August 11th: No FTF, Boingo Access, Premium In Room Internet + $95 Annual Fee
Update: These changes have now been confirmed for August 11th, in addition business cardholders will also get access to Sheraton Club lounges.
Before I start I’d just like to state that I haven’t been able to confirm this with American Express (they haven’t responded to my repeated inquiries) but a number of readers have now e-mailed me about these changes. Most people were told about these changes when speaking to retention about closing their card so I’m fairly confident they are real. As always, the representatives might be wrong and there might be more or less changes also coming.
Starting August 11th, American Express will be making a number of changes to their Starwoods Preferred Guest credit card:
- No foreign transaction fees (currently 2.7%)
- Premium in room internet at all SPG hotels
- Boingo internet access for up to four devices
- Annual fee of $95 (currently $65)
I’m unsure if these changes will be solely to the Personal card, but I suspect that they will be made to the Business card as well.
Having no foreign transaction fees is useful, as SPG has many international properties and the card earns at a higher rate of 2x points per $1 spent on these purchases.
It’s already possible to get free standard in room internet as long as you’re a member of the SPG loyalty program, but this new benefit is for their premium offering. Not all hotels have the different tiers of in room internet access, so this would only be useful for those that do. The Boingo benefit is basically complimentary access to the Global plan, which normally costs $39 per month with any discounts.
Do these new benefits justify the increase of $30 in annual fee charges? Personally I don’t think they do, but I didn’t think the card was worth keeping long term before the changes either and I rarely if ever have paid stays at any SPG properties.
American Express also recently reduced the minimum spend requirement from $5,000 to $3,000 on the personal card. Usually at this time of year they also offer an increased sign up bonus of 30,000 points, it’ll be interesting to see if this is offered this year and if it is offered if it happens before or after the changes to the card come into effect. The annual fee is waived the first year, so these changes shouldn’t influence your decision on whether you wait to apply or not.