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FAQ About the New Marriott Bonvoy Credit Cards From Amex and Chase

Jan. 25, 2019
7 min read
FAQ About the New Marriott Bonvoy Credit Cards From Amex and Chase
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While the mega-Marriott merger is almost six months old, in many ways it's felt incomplete. In addition to the plethora of tech bugs and customer service mishaps, the fact that the combined loyalty program has continued to issue credit cards under both the SPG and Marriott brands has confused members to no end.

Marriott recently confirmed that the new program will soon operate under the official name of "Bonvoy," and has followed up that announcement with an overhaul of all of its cobranded credit cards.

You can read the full details of that announcement here. Today we'll take a look at some of the most common questions surrounding these changes and what they mean for your credit card strategy moving forward.

Q: Help, all these new names are confusing! Which SPG/Marriott cards will convert to which Bonvoy cards?

A: It will likely take a while until all the new names are ingrained in our memory, but for now you can use this cheat sheet to help. Here's what's happening to the Amex SPG cards:

As well as the Chase Marriott cards:

Q: Which cards are closing to new applicants?

A: After Feb. 12, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express will be closed to new applicants. The card will be rebranded as the Marriott Bonvoy Card from American Express for existing card holders. At the same time, the Marriott Premier Plus Business Card from Chase is closing to new applicants, and existing card holders will be converted to the Marriott Bonvoy Premier Plus Business card.

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Q: Are any new card benefits being introduced?

A: Yes, some! The Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card, soon to be known as the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card from Amex, will be getting a $100 statement credit on paid stays of two nights or more at Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis properties. You'll need to book a special rate code to get this credit, and it's not valid on room rates (only property charges like spa, dining, etc.). It is uncapped though, so you can use it as many times a year as you want. This same credit is available on the Ritz-Carlton Card which has been closed to new applicants since last July.

In addition, both business cards will get the ability to earn a second free night worth up to 35,000 points after spending $60,000 a year. This will apply to the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card from Amex, and the Marriott Bonvoy Premier Plus Business card (which is closing to new applicants).

Q: Which cards are seeing their annual fees change?

A: The annual fee on the Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is raising to $125 a year, but if you apply before March 28 you'll get the fee waived for the first year and have your second year fee grandfathered in at $95.

Q: Are any cards getting elevated welcome bonuses to celebrate these changes?

A: All three credit cards that are staying open to new applicants past February will begin offering limited-time welcome bonuses, allowing you to earn 100,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months. This will launch on Feb. 13 for the SPG Luxury Amex (Marriott Brilliant Bonvoy Amex) and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express (Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex), and on Feb. 13 for the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card (Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card).

Q: How long will these elevated bonuses last?

A: The 100,000-point welcome offer on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex and Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex will be valid until April 24, 2019. There's no end date for the Bonvoy Boundless card yet.

Q: Are there any ways for me to earn extra bonus points during these changes?

A: In addition to the elevated welcome bonuses, the SPG Amex (Marriott Bonvoy Amex) will be letting customers who applied before Jan. 23 earn up to 100,000 bonus points. These card holders can register to earn 25,000 bonus points for every $25,000 they spend, up to $100,000. This effectively raises the card's earning rate back to its pre-merger rate of 3x points per dollar, but the bonus points are only awarded in 25,000 increments.

Q: Will these cards count as new products for welcome bonus eligibility?

A: No, so if you've had an SPG Business Amex before, you won't be eligible for the welcome bonus on the Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex.

Q: What will happen to the old Chase Marriott Premier Card?

A: This product will be rebranded as the Marriott Bonvoy Premier card, but there have been no announced changes to the benefits.

Q: Can you get multiple anniversary free nights by holding both Chase and Amex Bonvoy cards?

A: Yes, it's possible to earn one anniversary free night for each Bonvoy card you have (two if you hit the spending thresholds on the business cards) but you can only earn one set of 15 elite night credits no matter how many Bonvoy cards you have.

Q: Can you downgrade the SPG Luxury Amex to the regular SPG Amex?

A: Yes. And card members can continue to downgrade from the SPG Luxury Card to the SPG Amex even after they become the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant and the Marriott Bonvoy Amex and the SPG Amex (Bonvoy Amex) is no longer open for applications.

Q: If I'm an existing SPG Business Amex card holder, will my annual fee this year be $125 or $95?

A: Your annual fee will increase to $125 on your next account anniversary on or after March 28.

Q: What can you tell me about the new credit card designs?

A: While all the Bonvoy cards will sport new designs, there are two that are especially exciting. Beginning in March, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex will get a metal makeover, with a texturized design befitting a premium card.

While the Marriott Bonvoy Amex will be closing to new applicants, Amex is sending it out with a bang. The issuer collaborated with artist Tony “Rubin” Sjöman to develop this limited edition design. Existing card holders will automatically receive this redesigned card beginning in May.

Q: What dates do I need to put on my calendar to keep track of all these changes?

A: With different changes kicking in on different dates, here are the ones to circle on your calendar:

  • Feb. 12: Last day to sign up for the SPG Amex and the Marriott Premier Plus Business Card
  • Feb. 13: Marriott Bonvoy branding officially live; 100,000-point offers available on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex and Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex
  • Feb. 28: 100,000-point offer available on the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card from Chase
  • March 28: $100 luxury credit available on Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant, free night after $60k in spend available on the Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex, Bonvoy Business Amex annual fee increasing to $125
  • April 24: 100,000-point offers end on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex and Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex

Bottom Line

For many customers, especially existing SPG/Marriott card holders, the changes here are mostly cosmetic. Some cards are getting new perks and updated annual fees, but the most important thing to take action on right now is applying for the SPG Amex or the Marriott Premier Plus Business if you're interested, since they'll be closing to new applicants on Feb. 12.

If you still have questions about the Bonvoy credit card changes, ask them in the comments section and we'll do our best to answer them.