Posted by William Charles on April 16, 2018
Credit Cards

Published on April 16th, 2018 | by William Charles

148

Marriott/SPG Merger Details – Credit Cards (Marriott Premier Plus & Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Card)

Update: People had questions about existing cards as well, so I am adding those to this post.

Marriott just announced a big suite of changes to their loyalty program that will be going into effect in August. Most interesting for us are the firm details of two new credit cards.

Chase

Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card

  • Card will launch on May 3rd, 2018
  • $95 annual fee
  • Card earns at the following rates:
    • Six Marriott rewards points per dollar spent at participating hotels
    • Two points per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Anniversary free night certificate for any property up to 35,000 points
  • Silver status, upgraded to gold elite status when you spend $35,000 in purchases each year
  • Coming in 2019: Receive 15 nights towards elite status (you can only receive this once regardless of how many Marriott/SPG cards you have)
  • Will launch with 100,000 point bonus

This is just an updated version of the Premier card. Annual fee is also increasing by $10. None ‘Plus’ version currently offers:

  • $85 annual fee
  • 5 Marriott points per dollar at participating hotels
  • 2 Marriott points per dollar on purchased directly with the airline, and at car rental agencies & restaurants
  • 1 Marriott point on all other purchases
  • Anniversary free night certificate category 1-5 properties (up to 25,000 points)

Marriott Premier

This card is being discontinued in favor of the Premier Plus. Current cardholders will be given the option to upgrade to the Premier Plus. If you’re in your first year of being a card member then you won’t have to pay the annual fee difference ($10).

Marriott Premier Business

  • $99 annual fee, waived first year
  • Card earns at the following rates:
    • Five Marriott rewards points per dollar spent at participating hotels
    • Two points per dollar spent on restaurants; airline tickets purchased directly from the airline; car rental agencies; office supply stores; and internet, cable, and phone services
    • One points per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • 15 credits toward elite status (enough for Silver status, upgraded to gold elite status when you spend $50,000 in purchases each year)
  • Anniversary free night certificate for any property up to 35,000 points
  • Earn one elite night credit for every $3,000 in spend

This card seems to be worse than the Premier Plus in every way (higher annual fee, lower earning rate). I guess the benefit is you get 15 credits towards elite status plus one elite night credit for every $3,000 in spend. Putting spend on the card doesn’t make much sense though. Chase will be making changes to this card to further improve it at some stage. It’s also worth noting that this card will not be accepting applications in the future as American Express has the exclusive rights to issue business Marriott cards. Existing Chase cardholders will keep their cards.

Ritz-Carlton

  • $450 annual fee
  • Gold status with $10,000 in spend each year, platinum elite status when you spend $75,000 each account year
  • 3 Club upgrades annualy
  • $300 annual travel credit
  • $100 Global Entry credit
  • $100 hotel credit for any paid stays at the Ritz-Carlton of two nights or more
  • Priority Pass select membership
  • Premium in room internet access at participating properties.

Doesn’t really look like there are any changes to this card apart from the premium internet. It’s ridiculous this card has a $450 annual fee and still requires you to spend $10,000 to get gold status (this is apparently Gold status under the current program and will be Platinum elite under the new program. Making it less bad). Chase will be making further improvements to this card, but what they are and when we see them isn’t known currently.

American Express

Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card

  • Card will launch in August
  • $450 annual fee
  • Card earns:
    • Six Marriott rewards points per dollar spent at participating hotels
    • Three points per dollar spent on airfare and at U.S. restaurants
    • Two points per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Receive $300 in statement credits for on-property purchases (confirmed that the room rate will count towards this!)
  • Anniversary free night award up to 50,000 points (this is a free night certificated that can be used on properties costing up to 50,000 points)
  • Gold status
  • Platinum Elite status after $75,000 in purchases in a calendar year
  • Coming in 2019: Receive 15 nights towards elite status (you can only receive this once regardless of how many Marriott/SPG cards you have)
  • Priority Pass select Membership, unlimited access for you and up to two accompanying guests
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Free unlimited Boingo Wifi
  • Premium in room internet access at participating properties.
  • $100 fee credit for Global Entry

$450 annual fee like the Hilton Aspire card. Gold status is incredibly weak though. Surprised not to see any airline credits, but I guess the $300 on property purchase credit is more valuable than the resort credit the Aspire offers. Current SPG cardholders will also receive an upgrade offer to this card as well.

SPG Personal

  • This card won’t be available for new sign ups in the future
  • Anniversary free night award up to 35,000 points (this is a free night certificated that can be used on properties costing up to 35,000 points)
  • $95 annual fee
  • Card earns at the following rates:
    • Six Marriott rewards points per dollar spent at participating hotels
    • Two points per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Free unlimited Boingo Wifi
  • Coming in 2019: Receive 15 nights towards elite status
  • Silver status and earn gold status by making $30,000 in purchases within a calendar year (increases to $35,000 in 2019)
  • Premium in room internet access at participating properties.

Big difference here is that the card will earn 2 points per $1 spent on all purchases, previously it was 1 SPG point and that translates to 3 Marriott points so this is a significant change as a lot of cardholders kept this card for that earning rate. It does come with the free anniversary night award though so that’s a plus.

SPG Business

  • American Express will issue a business card, I assume it’s this same card
  • Anniversary free night award up to 35,000 points (this is a free night certificated that can be used on properties costing up to 35,000 points)
  • $95 annual fee
  • Card earns at the following rates:
    • Six Marriott rewards points per dollar spent at participating hotels
    • Four Marriott rewards points per dollar spent at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping
    • Two points per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Silver status and earn gold status by making $30,000 in purchases within a calendar year (increases to $35,000 in 2019)
  • Free unlimited Boingo Wifi
  • Coming in 2019: Receive 15 nights towards elite status
  • Premium in room internet access at participating properties

This card also gets it’s everywhere earning rate lowered and also loses Sheraton lounge access. It only has the free night certificated and a 4x category added to it.

 

Our Verdict

I’m not that interested in the Marriott card due to the fact that the Chase 5/24 rule will almost certainly apply to this card. The SPG card is much more interesting, I’m hoping for a nice big sign up bonus but the current listed benefits wouldn’t be enough to get me to keep the card long term. It’s also weird that the $95 annual fee card will offer 15 nights towards elite status in 2019, the same benefit that the $450 annual fee card offers.

The free night certificate on the Premier Plus isn’t actually an upgrade as 35,000 points will be required for a category five property anyway. In fact in 2019 when they add peak/off peak it will be downgrade as you’ll only be able to book a category four property during peak season. The 15 credits towards elite status is a benefit you also only get once, regardless of how many Marriott/SPG cards you have.

Given you won’t be able to get the current SPG cards in the future and the sign up bonus is devalued, I’d recommend applying soon.

 



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148 Comments on "Marriott/SPG Merger Details – Credit Cards (Marriott Premier Plus & Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Card)"

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Will there be both a personal and biz version of them?

What about the current Marriott business card? Time to apply for it?

I’m on deck but worried about a Chae shutdown due to all the recent stories. I’ve opened 4 cards this calendar year and recently the ihg 2 weeks ago. Currently have 4 chase cards, all opened in the last year. No relationship with chase before that.

What do you guys think?

Edit: none of the 4 are business cards. And i also opened a personal and business checking acct.

hold your horses. i would suggest leave a few months before you open one. i got all
my chase cards shut down recently and none of my calls to them helped. they also look at total no of cards opened in last two years…

Damn – do you know why they shut you down? Really sorry about that.

can you share more details on your numbers?

Greedy!

Any word on the business cards? I was just hit with an annual fee on my SPG business card and would like to know what it’s gonna look like before canceling/renewing (which may be a good pitch to waive it)…

Mine hit as well and. Called retention department and was awarded 5k spg points for keeping it. Which is decent deal if you value s p g William Charles.5 cpp as always YMMV for retention offers

Mine also. It will be nice to know whether the free night will be available for paying annual fee now or after Aug (which is the next annual fee).

What about the ability to transfer points to airlines? With no mention of that it sounds like that most important benefit will no longer be offered. Do you think we will have until the end of the year or should we transfer before August?

yes, there is still transfer to airline with more airlines participating.

The big question is:
At what point will the current SPG card stop earning 1 SPG (3 Marriott) points per $1 spend?

Ah, I see on the new website it says that the current SPG card will start earning 2 Marriott points per $1 spent :/

The date I am seeing on some other blogs is existing SPG cards will go to 2x MR on 8/1 from their current (effectively) 3x MR. I am going to stock up on my SPG points now.

What about the current SPG cards? Are they still there? Any changes to the earning rates?

The Points Guy has a discussion of them. Earning rates on non-bonuses spend got to 2x MR in August so a 33% reduction in earn.

I have no interest in this new SPG Luxury card

I remember currently you can get 15 night credit for both personal and business version for total of 30. Is the new program deprecating the credit earned from these existing products?

Does the business card still get the 15 night credit? I looked in the current application link and couldn’t find a reference.

Yes, it’s also referenced on the members.marriott.com site

It explicitly states that you can’t earn elite night credits from multiple cards on the new sites, but it already said that on all the old stuff and still worked. Not sure. Gonna have to wait and see.

Credit Card Spend on SPG to transfer to airline miles just devalued by 33.33%. Today, $20,000 SPG CC spend equates to 25,000 1:1 airline mile transfers. In the future, $20,000 SPG CC spend equates to 40,000 Marriott Points which increases to 50,000 Marriott points once factoring the bonus. However, 50,000 Marriott Points equates to only 16,667 airline miles. This is 33.3% less airline miles.

>Receive $300 in statement credits for on-property purchases

What does this mean? Does this include the room fee, or is it limited to stuff like overpriced hotel restaurant meals and room service?

The article above confirms that it can be applied to room rates, which is excellent.

So the $450 SPG card only comes with a weak Gold status (no lounge, breakfast, etc.)? Clicking through the Marriott/SPG/Ritz card options it doesn’t look like there’s a way to make Platinum w/o 50 nights or $75k spend on their cards. I’ll be booking Hilton moving forward until they inevitably devalue Diamond status.

Doc, any words if these cards will be consider new products (eg. SPG lux. on top of the SPG personal & business cards currently by AMEX)?

But what status will AmEx Plat card holders get? Currently we get SPG gold and Marriott gold. But Marriott gold will become Platinum in the new program while SPG gold will stay gold in the new program. Here’s hoping the Platinum means Platinum.

This is what I want to know as well. Instead of hitting 30K on the SPG biz for SPG gold status, I would rather get the Amex Plat and automatically get gold (+other perks).

Most likely the mediocre new-gold if the benefit is still offered

I think this SPG card is very good for someone (like me) who likes Marriott.
• You get gold status for free breakfast.
• You get $300 on site credit.
• You get 50,000 anniversarry points.
• You get priority pass select.
The only way its worth keeping the Marriott personal and business cards if you value the free night more then the annual fee. And the SPG business card if you value the Sheraton club lounge, otherwise this card even with the $450 fee has much higher value then all 4 cards.

Except it’s not like that at all.

“• You get gold status for free breakfast.”

Gold status *no longer includes* free breakfast after the change is made in August.

“• You get 50,000 anniversarry points.”

No, you will not get 50,000 anniversary points. You will get a free night award certificate that will expire in a year like all other certificates (though I presume you can call in to extend its expiry date if you can make your case), usable at properties that cost up to 50k points per night. It’s not out of the question that a friendly CSR might let you deposit this new certificate into some amount of points, but don’t count on it.

I’m reading the anniversary portion as a free night certificate good up to 50,000 points. Not a flat 50,000 points in your account each year.

Also with the new Gold status not providing executive lounge access or breakfast (you’d need Platinum for both these), you’d be losing out on that benefit as well.

The new Marriott gold offers free breakfast, albeit no lounge access (confirmed)?

You’re right Jay
Thank you!

Where do you see that the new Marriott Gold offers free breakfast? The only breakfast reference I’ve seen is for Platinum and up.

I think that’s an anniversary night that can be redeemed for a property costing up to 50k points.
Also, Gold won’t get free breakfast in the new program

so is it better to keep the current SPG amex personal? or cancel?

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