Why You Should Apply for the SPG Amex Before It’s Gone Forever

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Apply for the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express here before it closes applications forever on Feb. 12!

If you haven’t been following along, the Marriott program will soon go by the name of Bonvoy. With that will come a rebranding of the cobranded credit cards, and the closure of the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express to new applications.

The last day to sign up for the SPG Amex is Feb. 12, 2019. Although the card will close to new applicants, it won’t be discontinued completely, meaning existing accounts won’t be closed or converted into another product. Instead, the card will be renamed to the Marriott Bonvoy Amex and retain its existing perks for card holders who are approved before the cutoff date. These perks include its annual free night certificate (up to 35,000 points) provided at each account anniversary, complimentary Silver Elite status and a 6x earning rate at Marriott hotels.

Once closed, the only entry-level personal Marriott credit card available to new applicants will be the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card (currently known as the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card). Although both cards offer the same key benefits and earning rates, there are pros to carrying discontinued credit cards. Let’s take a look at why you might want to pick up the SPG Amex before applications are shuttered forever.

75,000-Point Welcome Bonus

The SPG Amex is currently offering new card holders 75,000 points after spending $3,000 on the card within the first 3 months. Worth a solid $675 based on TPG’s latest valuations, this isn’t a welcome bonus you’d necessarily want to pass up on.

Best of all, although Marriott has restrictions on earning welcome bonuses, you will still be able to earn the welcome bonus on other cobranded cards later down the line. So, if you’re holding off on applying for a Marriott card now in hopes of getting a better welcome bonus in the future, you don’t need to. Likewise, it’s important to note that you won’t be able to earn the bonus on this card if you currently have or have had any of the personal Marriott or Ritz-Carlton Chase cards in the last 30 days.

(Photo courtesy of JW Marriott Los Cabos Beach Resort & Spa)
Photo courtesy of the JW Marriott Los Cabos Beach Resort & Spa.

Annual Fee Waived First Year

The SPG Amex and the Marriott Premier Plus both carry a $95 annual fee. However, only the SPG Amex offers a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year (See Rates & Fees). This means you’ll have 12 months to effectively try out the card and reap its benefits (including the welcome bonus) without paying anything at all. And when each successive annual fee hits starting with the first one, it’ll be accompanied by the free night certificate.

Bypass 5/24

Once the SPG Amex is phased out, Marriott’s entry-level cards will be issued solely by Chase and subject to the issuer’s dreaded 5/24 rule for approval. This means that if you’ve opened more than five credit cards in the past 24 months (from all banks, not just Chase), you won’t be approved for one of these cards. So, if you’re well over 5/24 and want an entry-level Marriott card, now’s the time to apply. Otherwise, you’ll have to commit to the Amex-issued $450 Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant (currently known as the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card) (See Rates & Fees).

Limited-Edition Card Design

While you obviously shouldn’t apply for a credit card for aesthetic reasons alone, the SPG Amex’s new look is promising and will probably warrant a spot on our ranking of the prettiest credit cards — though reader opinions are very divided.

American Express collaborated with mural and studio artist Tony “Rubin” Sjöman on a limited-edition card design, with an abstract, city-inspired motif. The design is sure to look a whole lot more interesting than the rest of the rebranded cards. Card members can expect to receive the new cards starting in May.

Bottom Line

If you don’t already have an entry-level Marriott card, you’ll almost certainly want to apply for the SPG Amex before it bites the dust. Even if you don’t frequent Marriott properties, the card’s anniversary free night certificate should make it easy to get outsized value from its modest annual fee. Just remember that the SPG Amex is only available until Feb. 12, 2019, so you’ll need to act fast if you want to grab it, or forever hold your peace.

For rates and fees of the SPG Amex Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the SPG Luxury Card, click here.

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