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Today is August 1, and that means that some of the changes due to the SPG/Marriott merger are going into effect. Starting today, we have new offers for both the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express and the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express.
At first glance, they might seem like much better offers than they used to be, but they’re really not.
Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card
The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express is offering a welcome bonus of 75,000 bonus points after you use your new card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. It will earn 6 points per dollar spent at SPG and Marriott hotels, and 2 points per dollar spent on all other purchases.
You’ll also receive 1 Free Night Award (redemption level at or up to 35,000 points) every year after your card account anniversary at participating hotels. Note that some hotels have resort fees. You’ll also receive complimentary Boingo Wi-Fi and pay no foreign transaction fees.
The card has a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card
The Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express is very similar in many ways, but not all. You’ll earn 75,000 bonus points after you use your new card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Like the personal card, you’ll earn 6 points per dollar spent at participating SPG and Marriott hotels and 2 points per dollar spent on most other purchases.
You’ll also earn 4 points per dollar spent at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, U.S. wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers, and on U.S. purchases for shipping. On top of that, you’ll earn 1 free award night every year on your card account anniversary (redemption level at or under 35,000 points) at participating hotels (note that some hotels have resort fees), complimentary Silver Elite status, and have no foreign transaction fees.
If you spend at least $30,000 on purchased on your card in a calendar year, you will earn an upgrade to Gold elite status. However, effective January 1, 2019, the spend threshold will increase to $35,000. This card has a $95 annual fee that is waived the first year.
Amex SPG Credit Cards Rewards Point Changes
These cards might not sound bad, and in truth, they’re not. However, the Amex SPG credit cards used to be some of the top credit cards available for non-bonused spend. This is because they earned 1 SPG point per dollar spent. If you transferred 20,000 SPG points to airline miles, you would get 25,000 airline miles. Assuming you always did this, it was like getting 1.25 airline miles per dollar spent. That is no longer available.
Now, you get 2 Rewards Points per dollar spent, which is like getting 2/3 of an SPG point. For that same 25,000 miles, you now need to spend $30,000 instead of $20,000. That means you’re getting less than 1 mile per dollar spent, assuming you are always making use of the transfer bonus from Rewards Points to airline miles.
If you do all of your spendings on the Business Card at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers, and on U.S. purchases for shipping for 4 points per dollar spent, you only need to spend $15,000 to earn 25,000 airline miles. This is still potentially worth it if you don’t have a different card that gives you higher returns in these categories.
That said, the welcome bonuses are approximately equivalent to what we have previously seen on these cards. The addition of the free award night certificate brings these cards more in-line with other hotel cards that are available. Since we can’t go back to what was before, we should try to make the best use of what is now.
The Amex SPG credit cards are still worth getting for the welcome bonuses and annual free night certificates. They are also a good option for spending at SPG and Marriott hotels, and the Business Card is worth spending on in categories that earn 4 points per dollar spent. However, they’re no longer great cards for non-bonused spending.
What are your thoughts on the new Amex SPG credit cards offers?
Link to apply and find more information: Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express
Link to apply and find more information: Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express
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