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.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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

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