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Why Your Family Needs to Apply for This SPG Card in the Next 11 Days

Feb. 02, 2019
10 min read
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Update: Some properties no longer cost the point amounts described in this article as of March 5, 2019. For details on Marriott redemption options, please visit How to Redeem Points With the Marriott Bonvoy Program.

When loyalty programs merge, credit card consolidation usually follows. Such is the case for Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott Rewards. The loyalty programs officially merged in August, but the name change is official as of this month on Feb. 13 as the programs become known as Marriott Bonvoy. Perhaps more importantly for most of us than what's in a name is that some cobranded Marriott and SPG cards we've known and loved for years are soon closing to new applicants -- for good. Some of the cobranded Marriott Bonvoy cards that are sticking around are also increasing their welcome bonuses to attract a new, loyal fanbase.

Those two events are converging over the next couple of weeks to present an act-now-or-forever-hold-your-peace scenario for families who want to use their Marriott points to travel more for less. Before time is officially up, let's look at which card might be right for your family to pick up now, what card(s) you should wait on and (the fun part) how you could spend these points.

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

Which Is Which?

Before we get into what you may want to apply for ASAP, here's a helpful chart that explains what is happening to the current Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest cards issued by both Chase and Amex. All the products are at least getting a new name. Prepare for a lot of alliteration with words like Bonvoy, Brilliant, Boundless and Business.

Basically, all of the cards will now have Bonvoy in the name, and both Chase and Amex will have their own unique lineup of Marriott Bonvoy cards that don't duplicate each other. However, as you may have noticed in the text under the images, not all the cards are sticking around for new card holders.

Two Cards Are Closing to New Applicants

The last day (ever) to get the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express will be in less than two weeks, on February 12. That is the end of an era as that card was a workhorse of many a miles and points wallet. Card holders that get it by that date, will see their current purple SPG card rebranded as the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card. It'll have its own distinctive look (that was actually inspired by NYC -- you can probably spot the Chrysler Building).

Art is cool and all, but points are cooler, and if you get this card before it closes for good on Feb. 12, you can pick up 75,000 bonus points with $3,000 in spending in the first three months. The annual fee is $125 (See Rates & Fees). By my math, this card is worth keeping for the long haul because the annual 35,000 point award certificate can easily be redeemed at hotels that are selling for well beyond the cost of the $125 annual fee. Here are some of my favorite 35k Marriott hotels for family vacations (think Aspen Snowmass, Steamboat, St. Kitts and Aruba) as well as some top picks in NYC.

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Marriott St. Kitts Beach Club available for 35k Marriott points (Photo courtesy of hotel)

Also closing to new applicants on Feb. 12 is the Marriott Premier Plus Business Card from Chase. That card will become the Marriott Bonvoy Premier Plus Business card.

Get This, Wait for That

If you are eligible for the SPG Amex, I recommend getting it now by Feb. 12. TPG values 75k Marriott points at $675 and it is entirely possible to get more value than that from your points -- like I just did at the ski-in St. Regis Deer Valley.

St. Regis Deer Valley

Rooms at the St. Regis on a winter ski weekend during Sundance were selling for around $3,000+ per night, but an award room cost us 60,000 Marriott Rewards points.

Since it is an American Express card, the SPG Amex does not follow Chase 5/24 rules and having the SPG Luxury Amex does not automatically exclude you from this card and vice versa. However, those who have or have had one of the following Chase cards in the last 30 days are excluded per the terms: Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card from Chase, The Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card from Chase, The Marriott Rewards Credit Card from Chase or The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card.

While now is the time to act on the SPG Amex, it's preferable to wait to apply for the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card (formerly the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card from Chase), Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex (currently the SPG Luxury Amex) and Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex (currently the SPG Business Amex). Beginning on Feb. 13, the welcome bonuses increases to 100,000-point offers on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex and Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex after spending $5,000 in the first three months. On Feb. 28, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card from Chase will launch a 100,000-point offer after spending $5,000 in the first three months.

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 announced end date for the Bonvoy Boundless card.

One for Now, One for Later

My advice is get the SPG Amex now before your chance is gone for good. At just $95 per year, it may turn out to be a keeper for you, especially with the 35k annual award night, Amex Offers, etc. However, if you find yourself wanting the higher-end Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card down the road (100k welcome bonus launches on Feb. 13 under the new name of Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant), Amex tells TPG that you wouldn't have automatically disqualified yourself from that welcome bonus just by getting the SPG Amex now.

With its annual 50k free night award, $300 statement credit for Marriott charges, Global Entry application fee credit and more, the SPG Amex Luxury Card/Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant is a really good match for some Marriott-loving families. But, with a $450 annual fee, it's never going to be the right Marriott card for everyone.

However, you could get the SPG Amex now with its 75,000 welcome bonus and then, one day, get the SPG Amex Luxury Card/Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant, hopefully when its bonus is at 100,000 bonus points.

Spring Break Is Coming

There's no denying that Marriott has some amazing properties for families, with some ringing in at some solid award prices. Normally pricy times to travel, such as spring break, are when you want to use those points. If you earn them now, they may be ready for you in time for spring break. In fact, you can even lock in award stays before you have all the points in your account. If you can't earn them in time for spring break, then at least you should have them at the ready for summer travel.

Here's a flavor of what Marriott points can do for your family in the US, all for just 35,000 points per night in a standard room.

Four Points by Sheraton Destin Walton Beach

Four Points by Sheraton Fort Walton (image by hotel)

The emerald water and white sands of Destin are major family vacation draws. You can stay right on the beach using your Marriott points and then keep your cash for a boat ride, meals on the boardwalk or water park fun.

Fairfield Inn Anaheim Resort

Fairfield Anaheim (image courtesy of hotel)

This is not the flashiest hotel near Disneyland, but it is just a 10-minute walk from the entrance and located right next to a McDonald's to make for quick, fast and inexpensive breakfasts before heading to the park.

Hotel Republic San Diego

If you are California dreaming, your family can crash at the Hotel Republic San Diego and then go explore downtown San Diego, the zoo, La Jolla Cove, LEGOLAND and so much more.

Hotel Republic San Diego (image courtesy of hotel)

Sheraton Steamboat Villas

Sheraton Steamboat Villas (image courtesy of hotel)

Your family can have ski-in and ski-out fun at Steamboat in Colorado by staying here using Marriott points and saving what would easily be several hundred dollars per night on lodging. (Your boarding pass may also score you a free lift ticket at Steamboat.)

Bottom Line

This month will be a period of pretty rapid transition for the Marriott and SPG card products. It will represent both your last chance ever to get the SPG Amex, as well as a very good opportunity to get multiple products while their bonuses are at an increased 100k Marriott points to celebrate the "Bonvoy" transformation.

Here are some dates to note as your family is making its early 2019 card plans:

  • 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

I highly recommend planning carefully to not accidentally miss the chance to put as many Marriott points in your account as possible.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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