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A couple of days ago we learned more details about the future of the co-brand credit card agreement for Marriott and Starwood. Specifically, we learned that long term Marriott will have credit cards issued by both American Express and Chase, and that each issuer will have access to specific segments of the market:
- Amex will offer super premium and small business cards
- Chase will offer mass consumer and premium consumer cards
I’ve had the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express for years. The SPG Personal Amex was one of the first cards I applied for when I turned 18, and I’ve had it ever since.
I’m sad to see that Amex is losing their premium consumer card, though I’m also excited to see that they’ll be issuing a super premium Amex card at some point. In light of the news from earlier this week, I think there’s a lot of merit to applying for both the SPG Personal Amex and SPG Business Amex soon, assuming you don’t have these cards.
Why it makes sense to apply for the SPG Personal Amex
The SPG Personal Amex is being discontinued, presumably at some point in 2018. We don’t know what will happen to existing cardmembers. There’s a chance Amex will work out a deal to sell their portfolio to Chase (since they’ll be taking over this type of card), or there’s a chance cardmembers will have the option to convert their card to another Amex product.
Regardless, of what your goal is, there’s merit to applying for this card soon:
- We don’t know how much longer Amex will accept new cardmembers, since it probably doesn’t make sense for them to spend marketing dollars on consumers that will only have the card for a short period of time; for example, when it was announced that Citi would no longer issue Hilton Honors Cards as of 2018, they stopped accepting applications almost immediately
- If they do give the option of having the card converted into a Chase Marriott Card, this may be the best way for many people to get the card, given the potential 5/24 restriction on a Chase issued card
- If you apply now, you should still be eligible for sign-up bonuses on any new products in the future; this is very much a “use it or lose it” situation, since this exact card won’t be around for long, based on what we know
Why it makes sense to apply for the SPG Business Amex
American Express will continue to have the rights to issue the SPG Business Amex in the future. However, we don’t know what the terms will look like on that card in the future. So by applying now you can lock in the current benefits.
Also keep in mind that once this card formally becomes a Marriott Business Amex Card (whenever that happens), chances are that it would be considered a new product. So there’s a chance that existing cardmembers could potentially still apply for the other card in the future. We don’t know what the timeline of that looks like, exactly.
Doesn’t it make sense to wait for a better sign-up bonus?
The standard sign-up bonus on these cards is 25,000 Starpoints upon completing minimum spend. I value Starpoints at ~2.2 cents each, so to me that bonus is worth $550, which is big, especially as the annual fee is waived for the first year. The first year’s annual fee is also waived.
The last time that we saw both the SPG Personal Amex and SPG Business Amex offer a sign-up bonus of 35,000 Starpoints was back in February. Keep in mind that when they have these bonuses there’s typically an increased minimum spend requirement.
Personally it seems unlikely that they’d offer an increased bonus again in 2018, at least when the SPG Personal Amex is being discontinued. It seems much more likely that they’d offer a generous sign-up bonus when the new super premium card is being introduced.
So everyone has to decide for themselves, but the increased offers on the SPG Amex are rarer and rarer, and also come with bigger minimum spend requirements than in the past. If I didn’t have either the SPG Personal Amex or SPG Business Amex, I’d probably apply fairly soon.
What’s your SPG card strategy in light of the recent news?