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Maximizing the SPG Amex Luxury Card

Sept. 14, 2018
6 min read
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There are many reasons to pick up the all-new Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card. The card comes with lucrative benefits which make it easy for even infrequent Marriott guests to offset its hefty $450 annual fee (See Rates & Fees). Let's take a deeper look into some of these benefits and discuss maximization strategies to ensure you'll get full value from the card.

75,000-Point Bonus

Earn 75,000 Marriott points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. That’s worth $00 based on TPG’s most recent valuations and is the highest offer we’ve seen for any co-branded SPG card. TPG already covered many ways to get great value from sizable welcome bonus, but here are some of the best uses:

(Photo courtesy of the Vana Belle, a Luxury Collection Resort, Koh Samui)
(Photo courtesy of The Vana Belle, a Luxury Collection Resort, Koh Samui)

Keep in mind, Marriott doesn't require you to have the necessary points in your account for an award booking until 14 days before check-in, so if you’ve got your eye on the perfect redemption, book right away.

$300 Statement Credit

The SPG Luxury Card gives you up to $300 statement credits each year for Marriott and SPG purchases charged to your card. What's great about the credit is that it's not limited to incidentals during stays, such as meals, food, spa services and other activities, but could also be used toward room rates themselves. Given the flexibility of the credit, you should have no trouble maximizing this benefit and essentially cut the card’s annual fee to $150. Amex says it could take 8 to 12 weeks for the credit to appear on your statement, but many TPG readers reported that it’s visible just days after making an eligible charge.

Marriott Elite Status

As the primary cardholder you'll receive automatic Gold status, which comes with benefits like upgrades to enhanced rooms and a 25% point bonus on hotel spending. However, if you really want to maximize the card's elite status benefit, you'll need to spend $75,000 on the card in a calendar year to earn Platinum status. Valued at over $3,000 annually, this upper-tier status level boasts perks like a 50% point bonus, upgrades to suites, late checkout, free breakfast and lounge access.

Although the card doesn't offer the highest return on everyday spending, depending on how frequently you stay at Marriott properties, it might make sense to put that extra spend on the card just to earn Platinum. So that you aren't caught off guard at any point, I recommend you read up on the fine print of the status benefits before deciding whether you want to chase Platinum as not all benefits are always guaranteed, such as late checkout at a handful of properties.

(Photo courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco)
(Photo courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco)

Annual Free Night Certificate

Each year after your account anniversary, you’ll get a free night certificate that's worth up to 50,000 points. There are thousands of hotels for you to choose from, but to get the most value out of the certificates you'll want to look at five-star Category 6 options like The Ritz-Carlton Macau and The St. Regis Langkawi, where rooms routinely top $500 per night. Families can also get great use out of the certificates by using them at properties like The Royal at Atlantis, The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin and The Westin New York Grand Central.

(Photo courtesy of The W Montréal)
(Photo courtesy of The W Montréal)

Pay for Marriott Stays

While most of its earning rates are sub-par, the SPG Luxury Card gets a solid return on spend with the hotel chain itself. Earning 6 points per dollar on Marriott purchases, you're essentially getting a 4.8% return with TPG’s recent valuations in mind. And when you factor in the base earnings and bonus points through your elite status, that return is even higher.

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Bottom Line

Between the large welcome bonus and many built-in benefits, you should have no problem squeezing a ton of value out of your SPG Luxury Card. The $300 annual Marriott property credit alone already effectively drops the annual fee to $150. Add in the annual free night award and the annual fee practically paid for itself. Some of the card's lesser-known perks include an application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck and Boingo Wi-Fi access so you'll want to review the entire card benefits guide to fully maximize it.

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