American Express, Chase, Marriott, Starwood

Strategy: 100k Chase Marriott offer ends but SPG Lux Amex coming soon

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Two facts: 

  1. On July 12th, the Chase Marriott 100,000 point signup offer will go away. It will probably be replaced with a 75,000 or 80,000 point offer. (Speculation)
  2. In August, American Express will launch their new SPG Luxury card, which is the premium top-of-the-line and high-annual fee version of the SPG Amex card we all know and loved* (*Loved, not love because earnings on it decrease by 1/3 starting August 1st). This new Luxury card is expected to have a very night signup bonus, perhaps in the 125,000 – 150,000 point range. (Speculation)

Link to apply for Hotel Rewards Credit Cards

One rumor:

I wrote last week that it was reported by Doctor of Credit that American Express may choose to limit signup bonuses on this new card to those that have not received a signup or upgrade bonus on the Marriott or Ritz Carlton products in the preceding 24 months. I hope it isn’t true, but it may well be.

How I think it would work:

I doubt that Chase and American Express will (or even could) share your information. However, they can both receive such data from Marriott. I assume the way it will work is that, when you apply, Amex will ping your Marriott account for a bonus in the past 24 months related to a credit card signup or upgrade from Marriott/Ritz. This would appear to include Business or Personal Marriott cards in a new cruel twist. To be clear, I’m speculating here as well. Only the card issuers and Marriott know IF this is happening and, if so, how.

How to play this:

The first consideration is if you have received a new signup or upgrade bonus from Marriott in the past 24 months leading to this August. If so, and if the rumor is true, then I’m guessing you’re going to be out of luck.

I’ve received the bonus from the Marriott Business card in February of this year myself, meaning I’m ready to be bonus-ineligible on the new SPG Lux card. But I don’t have the personal Marriott card and I’m under 5/24, so I’m thinking I might collect this 100,000 while I can and look to the Amex card bonus in 24 months…. If this rumor doesn’t come to pass, I can still get both.

If you haven’t gotten a Marriott or Ritz bonus in the last 24 months, I think there’s an opportunity to get both still. If I were in that situation (and not over 5/24), I would apply for the Marriott card today for the 100k bonus. I’d make sure to time my spend such that I had not earned that threshold bonus until AFTER I signed up for the SPG Luxury card in August and received at least the welcome letter confirming that bonus eligibility. If possible, I might even time things to get the SPG bonus first and then the Marriott bonus. You would need a hefty amount of planned spend for that, though, since the Marriott card has a $5,000 in 3 months minimum spend requirement and the Amex is likely to have a $3,000-$5,000 requirement itself.

To be clear, I find Marriott points to be some of the most valuable points currency going. And that is why I’m so intent on maximizing the signup bonuses. Though we are all very sad about the SPG/Marriott credit card earn rates going down by 1/3, we can’t forget that the signup bonuses become that much more important as a result. You’d have to spend $50,000 on a credit card after August 1st to accrue 100,000 points.

Some people here will say “Nah, the Marriott points suck now because of the travel package devaluation.” Yes, that is a big blow to those that redeem that way, but you still get your 5th night free on awards and have access to the largest range of both super-luxury and budget hotels. And the opportunity to potentially book the best hotels in the world for 60,000 points, like the St Regis Bora Bora or St Regis Maldives, from Aug-Dec is that much more reason to hoard them this year. (Note that article was speculative but it has now been confirmed – availability may be an issue, though!) 

Last year alone, I redeemed 160,000 points each for 5 nights in Austin at the JW Marriott during SXSW and again at the Marriott Sydney Circular Quay during New years Eve. Those 320,000 points got me hotels priced at over $14,000 combined. (Note: I never would have paid $14,000, but the alternative options would NOT have been another nearby hotel as in both locations anything “in town” would have been exorbitant. That’s the best way and best time to use points!!)  That is why I love Marriott points. And as Platinum, I also get things like lounge access, free breakfast, etc. So I plan to continue to be SPG/Marriott loyal and I’d loev to do that for as little $ as possible!

What do you think? What other angles am I missing? How would you advise someone to play this? Let me know here, on Twitter, or in the private MilesTalk Facebook group.

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