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Recently, we explained some of the upcoming changes to Marriott’s (and thereby Starwood’s) cobranded credit card offerings.  Let’s dig into the details on the American Express cards.

Currently American Express offers three credit cards with SPG branding, and the ability to earn Marriott Rewards.  Remember, Marriott Rewards will be changing to the Marriott Bonvoy program on February 13th, 2019.  They have the Starwood Preferred Guest credit card, the Starwood Preferred Guest business card, and the Starwood Preferred Guest Luxury card.  The Preferred Guest and Business cards have been around for a number of years, while the luxury card is fairly new.  American Express and Marriott introduced the Starwood Luxury card shortly after the merger.

Changes to the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express

The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card will be updated to the Marriott Bonvoy American Express, with a new look!  Image courtesy of American Express.

Existing benefits:

  • $95 annual fee
  • 6x Marriott Rewards on Marriott and SPG stays, 2x everything else
  • 15 Elite night credit annually as long as you hold the card (does not stack with other SPG/Marriott card elite credits)
  • Silver Elite status
  • Earn Gold Elite status with $30,000 or more in purchases in a calendar year
  • Free hotel night each year after renewal, up to 35,000 points

There are no major changes to this card.  Other than the polarizing design, of course. If you’re looking to get the current card before it changes, you can find more information and the application here.

Changes to the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express

Existing benefits:

  • $95 annual fee (typically waived the first year)
  • 6x Marriott Rewards on Marriott and SPG stays, 4x on US restaurants/gas stations/wireless services/shipping, 2x everything else
  • 15 Elite night credit annually as long as you hold the card (does not stack with other SPG/Marriott card elite credits)
  • Silver Elite status
  • Earn Gold Elite status with $30,000 or more in purchases in a calendar year
  • Free hotel night each year after renewal, up to 35,000 points
  • An additional free night, up to 35,000 points, after spending $60,000 on the card in a calendar year

Although the majority of these changes take affect on February 13th, 2019, the Starwood/Bonvoy Business card gives you a bit more time to snag it at a low fee.  According to the announcement, the Bonvoy Business card will offer an introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, the $95 annually (just like the current Starwood Business) until March 28th, 2019.  If you want this card, get it before March 28th!

$60,000 for a free 35,000 point night?  I can spend $60,000 on my Hilton Business card and earn 2 uncapped free nights.  Sorry Marriott, not sure what you were thinking on that one.  The new Bonvoy Business card will come with an annual fee of $125, and will NOT be waived the first year.  With the increase in the annual fee, I’m having a hard time thinking this card is worth it.

 

Oh SPG Business card, how I’ll miss you…

Changes to the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Card

The Luxury card, with a $450 annual fee, is targeting the top tier credit cards in the travel world.  I want put this one on par with the Platinum, CSR, and Prestige based on the annual fee, but the benefits are only good for Marriott loyalists.  The Luxury card will transition to the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card on February 23rd, 2019.

Existing benefits:

  • $450 annual fee
  • 6x Marriott Rewards on Marriott and SPG stays, 3x restaurants and flights booked with airlines, 2x everything else
  • Up to $300 statement credit annually for eligible purchases at Starwood and Marriott properties
  • 15 Elite night credit annually as long as you hold the card (does not stack with other SPG/Marriott card elite credits)
  • Free hotel night each year after renewal, up to 50,000 points
  • Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit
  • Marriott Gold Elite Status
  • Priority Pass Select membership

The only change to this card is the addition of the $100 Property Credit:  Starting March 28, 2019, Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card Members can get up to $100 in property credits per stay when they use their Card and a special rate code to book 2+ night stays at The Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis.

Obviously, this is a minor change, and only useful if you already stay at Ritz or St. Regis properties.  Since that’s not most of us here at PWaC, I find a hard time believing this card is worth the annual fee.  I suppose if you don’t have any other premium level card, need Priority Pass and Global Entry, and can use all of the statement credits, the new Bonvoy Brilliant card may work for you.

What do you think?

Overall, I’m unimpressed.  The only significant change in my opinion is the increase in the annual fee on the business card offering.  Oh, and the crazy design on the new Bonvoy card.  Do you have an existing SPG card?  What are you planning on doing?


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