Will I Lose Elite Status If I Close My Credit Card Account?
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TPG reader Avi sent me a message on Facebook to ask about credit card benefits:
“I have Starwood Gold status from the Amex Platinum card, which I used to also get Marriott Gold Status. If I cancel my card, how long will my status with both programs remain valid?"
One of the biggest award travel developments of 2016 came in September, when the merger between Starwood and Marriott bridged their respective loyalty programs. You can now transfer points and match elite status between SPG and Marriott Rewards, which adds a lot of value to both. The match applies whether you earned status by meeting the normal night/stay requirements or from a credit card — so long as you have elite status with one program (and link your accounts), you'll get reciprocal status with the other.
The Platinum Card from American Express has long offered SPG Gold status as a standard benefit, which means it effectively now offers Marriott Rewards Gold status as well. Avi wants to know if he'll maintain that status after canceling his card, and the answer is probably. The benefit terms state that your status lasts "... as long as you remain an eligible American Express Card Member or until American Express notifies you that the benefit is terminated." The wording implies your status would disappear right away after closing your card account, but in practice that's not the case.
Based on my own experience and anecdotal evidence from other award travelers, status from the Platinum Card should last until the end of February in the year after you earn it. At that point, you can reactivate the benefit if your account is still open. If not, then you'll lose both SPG Gold and Marriott Gold unless you've qualified in some other fashion. Note that this is different from the normal expiration rules, and keep in mind that if you do lose your status earlier than expected, you won't have any recourse.
You won't get the same grace period with many other Amex Platinum benefits. For example, you'll lose your Priority Pass Select membership and Centurion Lounge access immediately upon cancellation — I don't think they'll boot you from the lounge if you happen to close your account during a visit, but you won't be able to get in after the fact. The SPG Gold benefit tends to last longer because Starwood doesn't know whether your card is active from one year to the next. Hopefully that will remain the case moving forward.
For more tips on closing credit card accounts, check out these posts:
- 5 Steps to Take Before Canceling a Credit Card
- Do I Get to Keep My Points If I Cancel a Card?
- How Closing a Credit Card Impacts Your FICO Score