Why Marriott Loyalists Should Apply For The SPG Amex

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Update: The below links for the Starwood Preferred Guest cards are expired, but you can learn more about the best current offers here!

Update: The Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express has a limited time offer through 11/1/2017. Learn more about best available offers here.

Through April 5, 2017, there’s an increased sign-up bonus on both the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express. Both cards are offering a sign-up bonus of up to 35,000 Starpoints upon completing minimum spend, with the $95 annual fee waived for the first year.

Over the years we’ve seen quite a few increased sign-up bonuses on the SPG Amex, though the bonus doesn’t get bigger than what’s being offered through this promotion. Furthermore, this year is a bit different than in the past, given that Marriott and Starwood have merged. Combined, the programs are estimated to have roughly 90 million members.


So there are a few reasons I think this offer may interest more people than ever before — especially Marriott Rewards loyalists:

Earn up to 210,000 Marriott Rewards bonus points

Starpoints convert into Marriott Rewards points at a 1:3 ratio, so that means the 35,000 Starpoint sign-up bonus can be converted into 105,000 Marriott Rewards points. I don’t recall ever seeing a sign-up bonus that big on a co-branded Marriott card. So for Marriott members, this is a huge sign-up bonus, and arguably the best they’ve had access to.

Best of all, you can be approved for both the SPG Personal Amex and SPG Business Amex, for a total of up to 210,000 Marriott Rewards points.

These cards are actually easy to be approved for

The co-branded Marriott card is subjected to Chase’s 5/24 rule, meaning that you typically won’t be approved for it if you’ve opened more than five new accounts in the past 24 months.

Conversely, I find that the SPG Amex (both personal and business) is quite easy to be approved for:

  • You can be apply for (and potentially be approved for) both the same day
  • Applying for the SPG Business Amex won’t even count towards the Chase 5/24 limit
  • Assuming you’re an existing Amex cardmember, Amex doesn’t typically pull your credit until after you’re conditionally approved, meaning that if you’re denied, you don’t even get a negative inquiry on your credit score
  • Anecdotally Amex is very open to working with small businesses, so getting approved for a small business card isn’t tough at all

W Hotel Dubai

Earn more points at Marriott hotels

Marriott’s co-branded credit cards offer 5x Marriott Rewards points per dollar spent at all Marriott properties. The SPG Amex offers 2x Starpoints per dollar spent at all Marriott properties. This means you’re really earning 6x Marriott Rewards points when using the SPG Amex at Marriott properties — that’s better than what’s offered through Marriott’s card directly. So many Marriott loyalists may actually want to use the SPG Amex at Marriott properties.

Ritz-Carlton Almaty

Bottom line

The sign-up bonus on each of the SPG Personal Amex and SPG Business Amex is worth 105,000 Marriott Rewards points, which is huge. Even if you’re a Marriott loyalist and hadn’t previously considered Starwood, there’s a lot of value to be had in picking up one, or maybe even both, of these cards. 210,000 Marriott Rewards points through two cards is an incredible deal.

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  1. How does the SPG night/stay bonus transfer to Marriott nights? Just trying to figure out how obtain Marriott gold or platinum and extra nights from SPG would help.

  2. Data point on applying for the Marriott card in spite of the 5/24 rule:

    December 2016 was the month my 5th card opening was set to expire. This brought me down to 4 new credit card accounts over 24 months in January 2017. On 1/5/2017 I applied for the Sapphire Reserve and was approved. Then on the 1/15/2017 I applied for the Chase Marriott and…was approved instantly!

  3. Starpoints are a very powerful currency…while probably ~90% if not more of them are used for Starwood hotel redemptions (I mean, that’s only logical, despite what certain posters erroneously believe), they do have a great benefit in transferring to airline partners (like AA)

  4. If Marriott can get more people to convert their starpoints to MR Rewards points for redeeming for hotel stays rather than transferring them to airline miles for redeeming for award tickets, they would be off to a great start toward developing a merged program that would avoid at least one pitfall that contributed to the demise of Starwood and SPG: the claim to fame of the startpoint, a hotel points currency, being that it was more useful when transferred to airline miles and redeemed for award tickets….

  5. #FactsMatter…as usual, DCS has zero evidence for his claims (and of course, they already defy any rational logic).

    Claiming that points transferability caused (or helped cause) SPG’s downfall is the height of intellectual depravity.

  6. Won’t you actually be getting 120,000 per card after including the minimum spend? Or is the minimum spend already included for the 35,000 points?

  7. “#FactsMatter…as usual, DCS has zero evidence for his claims (and of course, they already defy any rational logic).

    Claiming that points transferability caused (or helped cause) SPG’s downfall is the height of intellectual depravity.”

    Except that anyone with an ounce of gray matter between the ears who’s ever been in a travel blog or forum knows that the interest in starpoints has overwhelmingly and invariably been in their purportedly “highest value” as a points currency because they can be transferred to miles of gazillion airlines for redeeming for free tickets.

    That demonstrable fact or truism is what constitutes the “height of intellectual depravity”, ladies and gents. No advanced degree is needed to figure out that thousands and thousands of people earning starpoints from general unbonused spend on the SPG AMEX without ever setting foot in Starwood hotels, and then transferring those points to airline miles instead of redeeming them for award stays at Starwood properties, which would be reimbursed in hard currency for such stays, would depress economic activity and stunt growth. It is a matter of historic record that at a time when the hospitality industry was booming, Starwood’s growth got anemic, their stockholders bitched, a CEO was canned, his replacement simply quit and on the auction block Starwood went.


  8. Question… When converting the SPG Starpoints over to Marriott Rewards points, will those converted points apply to Marriott Lifetime Gold and Platinum status?


  9. List of reasons why DCS is an idiot and doesn’t understand financials:
    – Starwood gets compensated by AmEx to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars annually -> they are more than happy when people use the SPG Amex more
    – Hotels don’t run at 100% occupancy. It’s well known that the hotel owners get just a token payment from Starwood for points redemptions when occupancy is below ~95% (which is, hint, most of the time)
    – It’s is not hard to get 2.5CPM, even 3-4 CPM from Starpoints. That’s a good redemption rate, better than any airline domestic return, as good as many int’l returns.
    – News flash, people like Starpoints for redemption at Starwood hotels. Probably the majority of SPG loyals have never heard of airline transfers (these blogs are a biased readership, your case in point), and a greater majority have never even transferred points.
    – Financial analysts are a lot smarter than you, and not a single one has said anything to the extent that “Starwood was up for sale because too many people were transferring points to airlines and thus hurting Starwood’s financials”. This is a figment of your own screwed-up mind and never-ending quest to take down Starwood and other hotels relative to your mediocre Hilton.

    Seriously…stick to your lab and things you actually can understand.

  10. Do not flatter yourself. There is no doubt on these boards who is the idiot. Have you ever wondered why no one ever takes your side, even though I am hardly the darling of what’s a lion’s den for me?
    I’ll tell you: your erratic behavior on this board leaves no doubt — you are totally unhinged. The psychopathology comes out loud and clear and it is unmistakable.

    Listen, I am tired of linking to news pieces that have confirmed everything I have written here and above about how Starwood growth stalled during a boom in the hospitality industry, which got investors mad and Frits canned, but I will give it to you again just one last time. From the Wall Street Journal [1]:
    Starwood Hotels CEO Frits van Paasschen Resigns

    Chief Executive Frits van Paasschen faced pressure to increase the number of hotels in Starwood’s system.

    — His sudden exit shows how hotel companies have little tolerance for mixed results at a time when the industry is booming, rising group and leisure travel are lifting revenue-per-available room to new highs, and hotels are fetching record sales prices.

    — Starwood’s stock returned 10% over the past 12 months, including dividends, lagging behind the 30% or more enjoyed by rivals like Marriott and Hilton.

    — Some analysts also suggested the board was unhappy with the number of hotel owners that have dropped a Starwood brand recently. In 2014, Starwood added 74 hotels and 15,000 rooms to its system, but it also lost 28 hotels and 7,000 rooms during the year.

    — Last year, Thayer Lodging Group said that Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa, with 998 rooms in Hollywood, Fla., would leave the Starwood brand and become affiliated with Hilton.
    “We were convinced that Hilton would be more effective at driving convention and group business to that hotel,” says Leland Pillsbury, Thayer’s CEO.

    [1] WSJ [sub. req.]: https://goo.gl/wL6IwX


  11. You cut and pasted a link. Real news. Congrats. Yes, HOT was a profitable company, but lacked growth at the low end of the market. Nothing new there.

    This is better than the “fake news” you always post (i.e., the SPG AmEx somehow caused the downfall of a multi-billion dollar company). Congrats, you’re making progress!

  12. What a moron. I’ve posted the same info so often I lost count. The sad thing is that we’ll be back to where he’ll be asking for the same link again a day from now…truly unhinged.

    Good bye.

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