So…what if you have one of the cards? I don’t think I’ll have that problem soon…
Summarizing the Changes
Really, the changes aren’t massive. The biggest change in the cards seems to be the new designs.
Let’s boil it down here:
- All Starwood and Marriott cards are getting new names under the Bonvoy loyalty brand.
- The Starwood Business card is becoming the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express, the annual fee will increase from $99 to $125, and you’ll have the chance to earn an additional free night (up to 35,000 points) after $60,000 in annual spend.
- The SPG Luxury Card is turning into the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card and will get a $100 annual property credit, to be used at St. Regis or Ritz-Carlton for stays of at least 2 nights.
- The Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Business Credit Card will be the Marriott Bonvoy Premier Plus Business Credit Card from Chase and will also have the ability to earn a free night (up to 35,000 points) after $60,000 in annual spend. (But this card will be closed to new applicants on February 12th, 2019.
- Chase will be releasing a new, personal, no fee Marriott card this summer.
The interesting change to me, is the increased annual fee on the Starwood Business Card. I currently hold the business card, and have for quite some time. It was the first business card I opened for my side hustle! While I have another AmEx Business card I use frequently, I might have to trim the edges.
Why I’m Closing my Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express
Here’s the thing: The annual fee is increasing, without any tangible increase in benefits. I barely spent $60,000 last year on business purchases, and I’d be surprised if I hit that level of spend again this year on the Starwood Business AmEx. Remember, I’d have to hit $60,000 in spend to get that second free night.
You have to know the reason I spent so much on that card last year too – I wanted those SPG points! If you remember, the Starwood cards used to all earn 1 Starpoint per dollar spent on everything (double points on Starwood hotels). When Marriott and Starwood merged, Starwood points were transferred into Marriott points at a rate of 1:3. That means the Starwood business card I had effectively earned triple Marriott Rewards on everything (or at least for most of the year). Now, it’s only earning double Marriott Rewards! That, in itself, is a huge devaluation. Since very little of my business spend is in bonus categories, the triple Marriott points was fantastic for me.
There’s no way I’m keeping this card now, with a higher annual fee and a lower earning rate. On my to do list this week? Call American Express and close out my Starwood Business card. At least some of our readers agree with me..
How about you?
(This post is Starwood Business AmEx-centric; I closed my personal SPG sometime last year. As a reader pointed out below, there is an interesting retention offer on the personal card – If you had your personal card open prior to January 23rd, you’ll be eligible to earn up to 100,000 bonus Bonvoy points. You’ll have to register, and points will be awarded in increments of 25,000 for $25,000 spent within the calendar year. If you’re a bog spender, this might convince you to keep the personal card open. You’ll effectively be earning triple Marriot points, akin to the value of the card under the Starwood program.)