American Express, Chase, Marriott, Starwood

SPG Luxury Amex Card App Live – Should You Apply by Aug 25th?

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Today, the SPG Luxury Credit Card from American Express is taking applications. And for most of you, there’s only 3 days for you to get this card.

From now until August 25th is when *most* Marriott and/or SPG  loyalists will want to apply. The reason is that after August 25th, new rules kick in that will make many of us ineligible for this new card bonus.

The signup bonus offer for this new card product is:

  • 100,000 points when you spend $5,000 in 3 months.

Here is the link to apply.

If you already have the SPG Personal Amex, you may be able to sign in to your Amex account and find an offer to “upgrade” for the same 100k offer, if you are targeted. The benefit of this is your card number stays the same and no credit inquiry. Check your online Amex account to see.

After August 25th sunsets, the following restrictions will be in place:

– You cannot currently have a Chase Ritz Carlton card (or have had it within the last 30 days)

– You cannot have even applied for a Chase Marriott card in the last 90 days, or gotten a new card signup bonus (or upgrade offer!) for a Chase Marriott card in the last 24 months. This includes Chase Marriott Business cards. Since most of us have gotten one or the other Chase Marriott card in the last two years, that rules us out – but only starting August 26th.

So the time is NOW if you want this card and will be subject to restrictions from Aug 26th on. And I know I do – because it’s got a rich signup bonus and, as I wrote previously, it’s getting super hard to earn Marriott points now in the new combined program and they are still extremely valuable.

However, if you do not have and do not plan to have the Marriott credit cards, I would NOT rush to get this by the 26th. This introductory signup offer is weaker than expected and I suspect will be boosted later on. 

This card is NOT for everyone, or perhaps even the majority of you. Let’s discuss…

Here is a recap of what the card offers in exchange for its $450 annual fee:

For each dollar of eligible purchases charged to your Card, you can earn:

  • 6X at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards hotels
  • 2X for all other eligible purchases

The benefits of the card are:

  • $300 in statement credits for spend at (participating) SPG / Marriott hotels each cardmember year
  • Annual free night award (up to 50,000 points) after card renewal each year
  • $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA PreCheck fee credit
  • Unlimited Priority Pass lounge visits (including two guests)
  • Platinum Elite Status when you spend $75,000 in a calendar year (and you get Automatic Gold Status)
  • Boingo Wi-Fi access (not valid on planes)
  • 15 elite night credits beginning in 2019 (15 elite nights total regardless of how many different Chase Marriott or SPG American Express cards you have)

First of all, I thought the bonus on this would be higher. Perhaps they know many of us – especially readers here – won’t be eligible after Aug 25th and kept it lower for that reason. And if that is what they are doing, that’s a shame.  Still, it’s either that or wait at least two years for many of us…

But you’ll notice I’m very focused on the signup bonus here. That’s because if I didn’t want so badly to earn Marriott points without actually staying in the hotel to earn them, I don’t think I’d be a buyer of this card.

Let’s talk about value for benefits. The earn rate on this card is no better than the $95 annual fee cards. It really *should* be, in my opinion, for the large annual fee, but it’s not. And that earn rate, which is 2/3 what it was on the SPG Amex cards until August 1 is tough to justify for any every day spend. I’ll use it for spend at Marriott properties and that’s it.

As long as you would have spent $300 a year at Marriott/SPG properties anyway, your $450 fee does become a $150 fee. I don’t value it at exactly $300 though, because it means I have to *think* about making sure I use the credit and unlike a general travel credit it has to be at a Marriott/SPG brand hotel.

If we assume that is no problem, which for many loyalists it won’t, then we are left paying $150 for one free room night each anniversary good up to 50,000 points. That can easily cover a property worth $500+, so you can definitely get outsized value and well cover that annual fee, but that’s once a year.

Lastly, you get the “new” Gold status (similar to the old SPG Gold status and not worth a ton) and you can spend your way to Platinum with $75k in annual spend. That’s not a small figure! Personally, I’d have added more annual elite nights to this card, perhaps 25 instead of 15, instead. But some of you spend this no problem so again, you have to do your own math. Remember, I have a worksheet you can use for this, excerpted from the MilesTalk book.

The rest of the benefits are duplicates of what I already get on other premium cards that are more diverse.

As you can see, it’s great to get the bonus (which should have been higher) and you can get your money’s worth out of the fee, but it’s not a slam dunk nor will everyone get value from it. If you are a Marriott/SPG obsessive that pays for leisure stays, I’m sure you’ll come out ahead. If not, do your math.

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Are you going to get this card right away? Let me know here, on Twitter, or in the private MilesTalk Facebook group.

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