SPG Amex vs. Marriott Premier Plus: Which Card Should You Get?

Jan 29, 2019

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

Marriott currently offers two personal credit cards with $95 annual fee: the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express (See Rates & Fees) and the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card. However, that’s changing come Feb. 13, when the new Marriott Bonvoy branding goes live and the SPG Amex closes to new applicants.

Although the two cards are practically identical, it could make more sense for you to pick up the SPG Amex before it’s gone forever. On the flip side, some people might want to hold off from applying for either of the cards until the rebranding is complete. Read on for a closer look on how they stack up.

You can redeem 50,000 points per night to stay at the Jaffa Tel Aviv (Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy.)

Eligibility

Plain and simple, the SPG Amex is easier to get approved for than the Marriott Premier Plus. The Marriott Premier Plus is issued by Chase and subject to the issuer’s dreaded 5/24 rule. This means that if you’ve opened more than five credit cards in the past 24 months (from all banks, not just Chase), it’s a sure bet that your application will get rejected.

Starting Feb. 13, you’ll have to commit to the $450 Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant (currently known as the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card) (See Rates & Fees) if you want a personal Marriott card issued by Amex.

Annual Fee

The SPG Amex and the Marriott Premier Plus both carry a $95 annual fee. However, the SPG Amex gets a slight edge as it waives the annual fee for new card holders during the first year. This gives you the chance to earn the welcome bonus and test-drive the card for a year before having to decide whether the value of its benefits justifies paying the annual fee.

Welcome Bonus

Both the SPG Amex and the Marriott Premier Plus are currently offering 75,000 points — worth a solid $675 based on TPG’s latest valuations — after spending $3,000 on the card within the first 3 months.

Starting on Feb. 28, the Marriott Premier Plus (which will then be called the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card) will be available with a limited-time 100,000-point welcome bonus to new card holders who spend $5,000 in the first three months (card is currently offering 75,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in the first three months).

Use your bonus for a stay at the W South Beach. (Photo courtesy of the hotel.)

If you’re in a rush to get a large stash of Marriott points, your best bet would be to wait until Feb. 28 and get the 100k bonus from the Boundless card. But if time isn’t a factor, you’ll be much better off getting the 75k bonus from the SPG Amex now.

Hear me out. Although Marriott has restrictions on earning welcome bonuses, you will still be able to earn the welcome bonus on other cobranded cards in the future if you get the SPG Amex now. If you wait to get the 100k bonus on the Boundless card, you’ll never be able to get the bonus from the SPG Amex.

For a quick refresher, you can’t get the personal SPG bonus if you’ve already received the bonus before or have or have had any of the personal Marriott or Ritz-Carlton cards in the last 30 days. You’re ineligible for the welcome bonus on the Marriott card from Chase if you have or have had the SPG Amex in the last 30 days, have acquired the SPG Luxury or SPG business card in the last 90 days, or have received a welcome offer or upgrade bonus for the SPG Luxury or SPG business card in the last 24 months.

Main Benefits and Features

SPG Amex Marriott Premier Plus
Earning Rates
  • 6x at Marriott hotels
  • 2x on all other purchases
  • 6x at Marriott hotels
  • 2x on all other purchases
Elite Status Automatic Marriott Silver status

15 Elite Night Credits each year

Earn Gold status after spending $35,000 on the card

Automatic Marriott Silver status

15 Elite Night Credits each year

Earn Gold status after spending $35,000 on the card

Free Night Certificates Annual free night (up to 35,000 points) after card renewal Annual free night (up to 35,000 points) after card renewal
Other Benefits
  • No foreign transaction fees (See Rates & Fees)
  • Complimentary Boingo Wi-Fi access
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Baggage protection
  • Secondary car rental insurance
  • Premium roadside assistance
  • Access to Amex Offers
  • Return protection
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Trip delay reimbursement
  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • Secondary car rental insurance
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty

As you can see, many of the key features overlap: the earning rate, automatic Silver status, annual free night at hotels costing 35,000 points or less, among others. The SPG Amex offers a few more benefits, like complimentary Boingo Wi-Fi access and return protection, but it lacks trip delay protection, which is included with the Marriott Premier Plus. As of now, both cards will retain all of their current benefits when the rebranding happens.

Which Card Should You Get?

Unless you’re in a rush to get 100,000 Marriott points or already received the welcome bonus before, you’ll probably be better off getting the SPG Amex before it closes applications forever on Feb. 12. Besides enabling you to still get the welcome bonus on other cobranded Marriott cards down the line, the card offers slightly more benefits and gets a slight edge for the waived annual fee in year one. If nothing else, the limited-edition design on the rebranded SPG Amex (which will be known as the Marriott Bonvoy Amex) is sure to look a lot swankier than the Marriott Premier Plus.

For more on the new Marriott Bonvoy cards, see:

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

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
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Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

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