Yesterday we learned about the future of the credit card arrangement for Marriott and Starwood. With Marriott’s takeover of Starwood having closed over a year ago, one big question was whether American Express or Chase would take over the credit card contract.
Now we know that starting in 2018, American Express will issue Marriott’s small business card and super premium cards, while Chase will issue Marriott’s mass consumer and premium consumer cards
We now know more than we knew before, though there are still lots of questions. In this post I wanted to address some of the questions that this news raises, even though we don’t have answers to many of them:
How will the timing of this coincide with programs merging?
While Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest are moving to a single technology platform in 2018, the programs aren’t actually merging yet. Instead that could happen in 2019, or possibly even later; we just don’t know.
Apparently this new credit card agreement kicks in next year, so could it be that American Express is the exclusive issuer of business credit cards even before the programs merge? If so, will Starwood temporarily issue a Starwood Preferred Guest small business card and Marriott Rewards small business card? Only time will tell…
What will happen to existing cardmembers of each product?
When there are changes to credit card agreements, this is always a big question. In other words:
- There’s the Chase Marriott Business Card, though Amex is the exclusive issuer of small business cards going forward. So will Chase sell their business portfolio to Amex, or will they only offer to product change you to another Chase business card?
- There’s the Starwood Personal Amex, while in the future Starwood’s only personal card will be a super premium card. So will members have the option of converting their existing SPG Amex into the super premium Amex, or will they be able to convert the card into a Chase Marriott Card with a similar annual fee?
It will likely be a while before we know an answer here. On one hand it seems mutually beneficial for Amex and Chase to sell parts of their portfolio to one another here, though I wouldn’t necessarily count on that happening.
Will the cards be considered new products?
Generally Amex sign-up bonuses are only available “once in a lifetime,” while Chase has the 5/24 rule, and also typically only lets you earn the welcome bonus if you don’t have a specific card and haven’t received a bonus on it in 24 months.
So once these new cards are issued, will they all be considered new products for the purposes of sign-up bonuses? For the most part I’d say yes:
- The new super premium Starwood Amex is definitely a new product
- The Starwood Amex Business Card will presumably eventually become a Marriott Amex Business Card, and my guess is that it would be considered a new product for those who don’t have it yet
- Chase’s new mass consumer Marriott Card is a new product
- What I’m least sure about is Chase’s new “Premium Consumer Card,” which presumably will be similar to the current Marriott Premier Visa Card
Will Marriott’s Chase cards be subjected to 5/24?
Chase generally has a 5/24 rule, where you can’t be approved for certain cards if you’ve opened five or more new accounts in the past 24 months. This applies to most, though not all of their cards. One big question of course is whether or not the Chase Marriott cards will be subjected to the 5/24 rule.
No one knows, of course. Personally I think they shouldn’t be, since I think a lot of consumers will get value out of holding onto those cards long term, even if they’ve applied for quite a few cards in the past couple of years. Further, presumably they want to grow their market share as much as possible, especially as they’re competing directly with Amex.
However, I can’t say I’ve ever really understood how Chase decides which cards are subjected to it and which aren’t. For example, the Hyatt and IHG cards aren’t subjected to 5/24, while the Marriott cards are. Only time will tell, I suppose.
While we found out a lot about the future of the credit card arrangements yesterday, really we just have even more questions than before. 2018 is around the corner, so hopefully we find out a lot more soon.
Does anyone have opinions on how any of the above topics will play out?