What We Know About The Future Of The SPG Business Amex Card

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Through March 28, 2018, we’re seeing the best ever sign-up bonus on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express. The card is offering a sign-up bonus of 35,000 Starpoints after spending $7,000 within three months. We’ve never seen a bigger sign-up bonus on the card before, though we have seen similar bonuses in the past. However, this bonus has a lower minimum spend requirement than some of the offers we’ve seen in the past.

35,000 points may not sound like a lot, but Starpoints are the single most valuable points currency on a per point basis, in my opinion, and I value 35,000 Starpoints at ~$770. So if you don’t have this card and are able to apply for it, I’d highly recommend doing so.

One question I’ve received about this offer relates to the future of the SPG Business Amex, given Marriott’s takeover of Starwood. As of now Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest are being run as independent programs. Here’s what we know going forward:

  • Marriott hopes to create a single technology platform for all loyalty programs this year
  • The programs themselves will be combined “at a later point,” probably no earlier than 2019

We’ve also learned that both American Express and Chase will be issuing credit cards for Marriott in the future. Starting this year (though we don’t know when exactly), Marriott will introduce new co-brand credit card products:

  • Amex will offer super premium and small business cards
  • Chase will offer mass consumer and premium consumer cards


Use points earned on the SPG Business Amex to stay at the St. Regis Dubai

Specific to the SPG Business Amex (since the card has an increased sign-up bonus), we can assume that the card is here to stay. What we don’t exactly know is the following:

  • Since American Express will be taking over the small business card contract at some point in 2018, will they first issue both a Marriott Rewards Business Amex and a Starwood Preferred Guest Business Amex (since they’re still different programs)?
  • Will the new card that’s introduced be considered a new product (as it impacts eligibility for applying for the card in the future)?
  • Is this the last time that we’ll see a 35,000 point sign-up bonus on this card, before the new product is introduced?


American Express may issue a Marriott small business credit card at some point this year

If I had to guess, I’d say that later this year American Express will also introduce a Marriott Rewards Business Amex, and for the time being it will be offered separately from the Starwood Business Amex, since as of now there are still seprate programs. If that were the case, it’s likely that this would be considered a new product.

If that’s not how stuff happens, and if in the future we see a card rolled out for a combined program (once Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and Starwood have a unified loyalty program), I would guess that would be considered a new product, given that it would be a card for an entirely new program.

As you can see, as of now there are more questions than answers. What we do know is that the sign-up bonus on the SPG Business Amex is the best we’ve ever seen, and it can get you 35,000 bonus Starpoints or 105,000 bonus Marriott Rewards points. If you don’t yet have the card, I’d highly recommend applying. I suspect this may be the last increased bonus we see before the new product is introduced (whatever it may be).

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Comments

  1. @ JoshB — Given that both Marriott and Starwood have similar experiences marketplaces, I imagine it will stick around.

  2. @Lucky-thanks, that’s a relief to hear. I basically use my Star points exclusively for Moments! 🙂

  3. Wondering if Marriott is going to devalue the SPG points next year. I have almost all my points in SPG, not my Marriott account. Wonder if I should move some of them over just in case.

  4. @ farsighted99 — If there’s any change to the 1:3 transfer ratio I would hope/expect that they give us advance notice, so personally I don’t think there’s a need to move over points.

  5. @john where u get 3 weeks from? i should be 3 months.

    I do think its quite interesting that the personal didnt go up to 35k as well. It makes me wonder if its going away since its suppose to? therefore they do not push for it?

  6. Lucky how come you haven’t talked about upcoming Marriott devaluation and where we should book before.

  7. There is no “upcoming Marriott devaluation”…they may do a lot of re-shuffling within the categories/tiers, and then we’ll have a good idea of properties that should be booked now vs. after.

  8. “35,000 points may not sound like a lot, but Starpoints are the single most valuable points currency on a per point basis, in my opinion, and I value 35,000 Starpoints at ~$770. So if you don’t have this card and are able to apply for it, I’d highly recommend doing so.”

    Oh, brother. Is it not time to understand the RELATIVE values of points currencies once and for all, and stop repeating that utterly outdated and erroneous claim, which echoes almost word for word the same claim by the self-anointed “thought leader in travel”?

    For the umpteenth time, I very recently debunked that claim with very simple math, which anyone can do by understanding that a POINT in one denomination is NOT the same as a POINT in another denomination if one earns a DIFFERENT number of POINTS for the SAME number of CENTS. Although a US cent is a US cent, a Hyatt point,e.g., and a starpoint are not equivalent 1:1 because they are different points currencies or different units of measurements: Same numerator (CENT) but different denominator (POINT), therefore, a cent PER HYATT POINT cannot be compared 1:1 to a cent PER STARWOOD POINT because that is like comparing a US cent to an Aussie cent 1:1 without doing a currency conversion.

    Just earning UR points at 1.5x on the no-fee Chase Freedom Unlimited beats earning starpoints at the tune of 1/$ on the SPG AMEX cards. It is thus utterly bone-headed in this day and age of great rewards cards to spend $7000 [in 3 weeks!] to earn just 35K starpoints! Remember that a starpoint is worth just ~1.25cpm when transferred to airline miles as most end up doing and intend to do (in transfers that can take days to weeks), and not ~2.4cpp that it is worth as a hotel points currency. The associated “opportunity cost” alone should be prohibitive.

    First do a comparison vs. another transferable points currency that one can now earn at a rate of more than 1/$ and then make the claim. The math is trivial. Really. It seems like it’s time for another debunking post over at IF on this bogus but persisting claim about the metaphysically high value of starpoints, years after much more valuable transferable points currencies and rewards cards were introduced.

    Over and out!

    G’day!

  9. What are the chances that the SPG 5k bonus per 20k transfer to airlines will remain in effect?

  10. I applied earlier this week, haven’t received the card yet, and haven’t been able to use it (they give you the number when you’re approved but it was declined every time I tried to use it online). Any advice on whether to call or message to plead my case for the higher bonus?

  11. @DSC you want to sound smart but you’re not completely right. “Just earning UR points at 1.5x on the no-fee Chase Freedom Unlimited beats earning starpoints at the tune of 1/$ on the SPG AMEX cards”. This sentence alone has so many flaws. For instance, it depends on how you use the points. i.e. Let’s say we want to compare 1.5 UR point to 1 starpoint. You start with 1.5 UR point –> converted to 1.5 marriott RP –> converted to 0.5 starpoint through marriott/SPG 3:1 transfer In the end you end of up with only 0.5 starpoint from 1.5 UR. This alone shows that 1.5UR point is worth nowhere near 1 starpoint. Of course if you end up transferring the points to airlines, both UR and starpoint would be worth the same as they transfer 1:1 for most airlines partners. However since SPG has more airline partners, the flexibility it allows for definitely increases its value, and I think you missed a very important point by not taking this into account.

  12. @DK sez, likely believing it too: “You start with 1.5 UR point –> converted to 1.5 marriott RP –> converted to 0.5 starpoint through marriott/SPG 3:1 transfer In the end you end of up with only 0.5 starpoint from 1.5 UR.”

    You are joking, right?

    This is a truism: one converts 1.5 UR – > 1.5 MR at a GREAT loss. That is why there was a recent post on this very site advising people never to do such a transfer. Therefore, the *cross-program* transfer rate CANNOT be used as a points currency “conversion factor”!!! A better basis for comparing starpoints to UR points is as airline miles, because unlike hotel points, airline miles can be compared 1:1 among the US Big 3 (AA, DL, UA) since all three now award the SAME *basic* number of miles for the SAME spend and elite status. For the US Big 3 a mile is a mile and a cent is a cent!

    One thing you got right is that “it depends on how you use the points”, which means that it sometimes may make sense to take a hit with a generally unfavorable transfer like (UR->MR) if one estimates that the redemption for which the transferred point would be used would be worth it to them. I’ve often taken such a hit and transferred UA miles to MR points when I would achieve an outsized redemption out of the transferred MR points.

    G’day!

  13. “MR points” is understood above to refer to Marriott Rewards points, but it can be ambiguous because it could also refer to AMEX Membership Rewards points…

  14. A consumer absolutely has to account for what they will be spending their points/miles. Though I can earn URs easily (sometimes at 5x), I cannot also redeem them easily for SPG hotel nights. The 2.5-2.7 valuation is just about perfect when REDEEMING SPG points; that’s just what a room costs. Since there is no “easy” way to earn SPG points, their branded cc provides the best & most efficient means for earning & staying at their properties “free” (even though only 1 point is earned per $).

    If I am only chasing airline tkts, however, I’d accumulate AMEX MRs. Easy to accumulate AND redeem for airlines. I would not even consider for hotel redemptions unless I had nothing else in my portfolio to redeem. The transfer value to hotels is that poir. BOTH accumulation AND withdrawals must be consudered with any point/mile strategy, relying on one over the other will most certainly skew a redemption.

  15. Wow DCS is really struggling with both reading and mental comprehension lately.

    First, it’s three months to make the $7K spend, not three weeks…don’t confuse “promo sign up date” for bonus earning date. Or maybe you are just spreading the usual #FakeNews.

    And now he magically understands that it’s a NOT GOOD idea to transfer UR->Marriott (due to post-earned points valuations), even though he denied it just a week or two ago.

    And finally, he of course doesn’t comprehend that earning a minimum of 42K Starpoints via this offer (7K points for $7K spend plus the 35K bonus) is better than earning ~10,500 Ultimate Rewards points via $7,000 spend on a 1.5x UR card.

  16. Oops! Too appalled by the continuing canard about SPG AMEX and starpoints, which almost exclusively benefits AMEX and not SPG or Starwood… Yes, that’s $7K in 3 months.

    Apples and oranges. Here’s the real opportunity cost: spend much less than $7K to sign up for a Chase card and get at least 50K UR points, then keep the card to continue earning UR points at a brisker pace than 1/$. Not rocket science at all.

    “And now he magically understands that it’s a NOT GOOD idea to transfer UR->Marriott (due to post-earned points valuations), even though he denied it just a week or two ago.”

    The least you can do is to read my posts and try to understand them. My position, which I reiterated above, was the same: never say never because points currencies have no redemption value until redeemed. Generally unfavorable transfers can often make sense (see my UA/UR ->Marriott example above and then). Got it now? (I doubt it).

    G’day [pulling the plug on this thread to avoid getting into another senseless “brawl”]

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