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3 Reasons for Family Travelers to Get SPG Amex Today Before It's Gone Forever

February 11 2019
7 min read
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One of the first few rewards credit cards I applied for long, long ago was the SPG Amex. Its points were very valuable; they were more flexible than most available at the time and I really liked SPG (now Marriott) properties. But after today, that card is not only getting a new name and a new look, but it is closing to new applicants -- forever. As in, if you don't get this card today, you will never be able to get it. That would be a shame as it is still a very solid card to have.

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

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If you do act by the time they pull the application links for good tomorrow (though it could be early in the day, so don't wait until the last second), you'll have the card presumably for as long as you want. American Express isn't forgetting about new card holders, it just won't be able to issue the midrange personal Marriott credit card after today. That right is going exclusively to Chase, while Amex will continue to issue the high-end luxury Marriott card. You can read about all of the changes happening to the Marriott/SPG cards starting tomorrow.

However, this isn't the story about what is becoming what, this is the article that highlights three reasons why your family should get the SPG Amex today.

1. Get 75,000 Bonus Points Worth $675

First things first, you want to get the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express today because you don't want to miss out forever on 75,000 Marriott bonus points that are awarded after $3,000 in spending in the first three months. TPG values these points at $675, though it is entirely possible to do better than that with the points, as my family recently did at the ski-in St. Regis Deer Valley.

But you don't have to want a high-end family vacation to do well with redeeming Marriott points. You can stay near Disney World at the Courtyard Orlando Lake Buena Vista at Vista Centre for 25,000 points per night, head to the massive Gaylord Texan complex near Dallas for 35,000 points per night or float the lazy-river at the Westin Kierland Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona. A 75k bonus would be enough to cover two to three nights at properties such as those.

Westin Kierland Resort (Photo courtesy of hotel)

2. Get a 35,000 Point Certificate Every Year

When SPG and Marriott became one, the SPG Amex credit card picked up a new perk -- it awards an annual certificate at each card renewal that can be used at any Marriott property available for 35,000 points per night or less. The annual fee for the card is $95 after the first year ($0 intro annual fee the first year) (See Rates & Fees), but it is pretty easy to find a use for that certificate that is easily worth more than $95.

Some of my favorite uses of the 35k certificate for family vacations include:

Use a 35k point certificate at the Sheraton Kauai. (Photo courtesy of the hotel)

All of those properties can easily go for more than $300 per night during peak seasons -- which is often exactly when families want to travel. My husband and I have multiple SPG/Marriott credit cards that each award a 35k night certificate at every anniversary, but that isn't a bad thing. That means we could use those certificates to piece together a long weekend or similar one night at a time somewhere like the ski-in Westin Snowmass during the ski season when paid rates are close to $1,000 per night. Deciding between $1,000 per night or using a 35k certificate is a pretty easy call.

3. Have a Marriott Amex Without the $450 Annual Fee

After today, the only personal Marriott cobranded credit card issued by American Express will be the $450 per year Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card (soon to be renamed the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant) (See Rates & Fees). I think that luxury card can actually be a great match for families, but of course not every family wants a $450 per year credit card.

Since American Express doesn't follow rules like Chase's 5/24, it may be easier for some people to get an Amex card rather than a Chase card. This might mark today as the last realistic chance your family has in the near term to get a personal Marriott credit card without jumping into the luxury-end of the rewards pool.

Amex cards are also very useful to have thanks to benefits such as Amex Offers that can save you real money on things you were going to buy anyway. You will also earn 6x points per dollar on charges at Marriott properties, have automatic Marriott Silver elite status (which doesn't mean much, but still) and you get 15 elite night credits toward earning a higher level of status.

Note that the night credits toward elite status do not stack, so having multiple Marriott cobranded cards won't get you a greater number of elite credits.

Bottom Line

My family has multiple Chase- and American Express-issued Marriott/SPG credit cards and that's a good thing. We plan to do very well with the annual 35k award nights that cards like the SPG Amex confer, I should requalify for Marriott Platinum status thanks to the 15 nights toward status from the card and earning 6x at Marriott properties sure doesn't hurt either. But -- if you are getting the SPG Amex for the first time, earning 75,000 bonus points before the card goes away forever to new applicants forever is a very nice cherry on top.

See Also:

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

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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  • Maximum $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, then 1%
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  • $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3%Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases).
2%Earn automatic 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases).
1%Earn unlimited 1% on all other purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening

    $200
  • Annual Fee

    $0
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

The Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card empowers the cardholder to choose their bonus category each quarter (to earn 3% cash back on up to $2,500 in combined purchases per quarter).

Pros

  • Flexible earning structure (3% cash back in the category of your choice and 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs); up to $2,500 in combined purchases per quarter (then 1%)
  • No annual fee or expiration on rewards
  • $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening

Cons

  • Maximum $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, then 1%
  • 3% foreign transaction fee
  • $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
  • Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, automatic 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) and unlimited 1% on all other purchases.
  • If you're a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25%-75% more cash back on every purchase. That means you could earn 3.75%-5.25% cash back on purchases in your choice category.
  • No annual fee and no expiration on rewards.
  • New longer intro period! 0% Introductory APR for 18 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the intro APR offer ends, 16.24% - 26.24% Variable APR will apply. A 3% fee (min $10) applies to all balance transfers.
  • Contactless Cards - The security of a chip card, with the convenience of a tap.
  • This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.