Why You Should Apply for the SPG Amex Before It’s Gone Forever

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

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

If you haven’t been following along, the Marriott program will soon go by the name of Bonvoy. With that will come a rebranding of the cobranded credit cards, and the closure of the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express to new applications.

The last day to sign up for the SPG Amex is Feb. 12, 2019. Although the card will close to new applicants, it won’t be discontinued completely, meaning existing accounts won’t be closed or converted into another product. Instead, the card will be renamed to the Marriott Bonvoy Amex and retain its existing perks for card holders who are approved before the cutoff date. These perks include its annual free night certificate (up to 35,000 points) provided at each account anniversary, complimentary Silver Elite status and a 6x earning rate at Marriott hotels.

Once closed, the only entry-level personal Marriott credit card available to new applicants will be the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card (currently known as the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card). Although both cards offer the same key benefits and earning rates, there are pros to carrying discontinued credit cards. Let’s take a look at why you might want to pick up the SPG Amex before applications are shuttered forever.

75,000-Point Welcome Bonus

The SPG Amex is currently offering new card holders 75,000 points after spending $3,000 on the card within the first 3 months. Worth a solid $675 based on TPG’s latest valuations, this isn’t a welcome bonus you’d necessarily want to pass up on.

Best of all, although Marriott has restrictions on earning welcome bonuses, you will still be able to earn the welcome bonus on other cobranded cards later down the line. So, if you’re holding off on applying for a Marriott card now in hopes of getting a better welcome bonus in the future, you don’t need to. Likewise, it’s important to note that you won’t be able to earn the bonus on this card if you currently have or have had any of the personal Marriott or Ritz-Carlton Chase cards in the last 30 days.

(Photo courtesy of JW Marriott Los Cabos Beach Resort & Spa)
Photo courtesy of the JW Marriott Los Cabos Beach Resort & Spa.

Annual Fee Waived First Year

The SPG Amex and the Marriott Premier Plus both carry a $95 annual fee. However, only the SPG Amex offers a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year (See Rates & Fees). This means you’ll have 12 months to effectively try out the card and reap its benefits (including the welcome bonus) without paying anything at all. And when each successive annual fee hits starting with the first one, it’ll be accompanied by the free night certificate.

Bypass 5/24

Once the SPG Amex is phased out, Marriott’s entry-level cards will be issued solely by Chase and subject to the issuer’s dreaded 5/24 rule for approval. This means that if you’ve opened more than five credit cards in the past 24 months (from all banks, not just Chase), you won’t be approved for one of these cards. So, if you’re well over 5/24 and want an entry-level Marriott card, now’s the time to apply. Otherwise, you’ll have to commit to the Amex-issued $450 Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant (currently known as the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card) (See Rates & Fees).

Limited-Edition Card Design

While you obviously shouldn’t apply for a credit card for aesthetic reasons alone, the SPG Amex’s new look is promising and will probably warrant a spot on our ranking of the prettiest credit cards — though reader opinions are very divided.

American Express collaborated with mural and studio artist Tony “Rubin” Sjöman on a limited-edition card design, with an abstract, city-inspired motif. The design is sure to look a whole lot more interesting than the rest of the rebranded cards. Card members can expect to receive the new cards starting in May.

Bottom Line

If you don’t already have an entry-level Marriott card, you’ll almost certainly want to apply for the SPG Amex before it bites the dust. Even if you don’t frequent Marriott properties, the card’s anniversary free night certificate should make it easy to get outsized value from its modest annual fee. Just remember that the SPG Amex is only available until Feb. 12, 2019, so you’ll need to act fast if you want to grab it, or forever hold your peace.

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

Know before you go.

News and deals straight to your inbox every day.

The best beginner points and miles card out there.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

NEW INCREASED OFFER: 60,000 points! With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 60,000 point sign up bonus worth up to $1,200 in value, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
18.24% - 25.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

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.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.