The New SPG Amex Luxury Card Review

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As part of the new Marriott loyalty program, several changes have taken place with respect to the Marriott and SPG credit cards. Chase announced that it will be launching a premium Marriott credit card with a $95 annual fee in May of 2018. That card will come with a 100,000 point sign-up bonus, non-bonused spend will be increased to 2 points per dollar, and it will come with a free anniversary night for any hotel up to 35,000 points, among a few other perks.

Amex will be offering a small business credit card along with a “super premium” Luxury card in August 2018, which is the card I’m going to discuss in this article.

Update: Some offers are no longer available — click here for the latest deals!

The W Las Vegas.

The SPG Amex Luxury Card Review

  • Sign-up bonus: Who knows?
  • $300 in Marriott statement credits (issued on card anniversary)
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 50,000 points) at a participating hotel.
  • Bonus earning:
    • 6x at SPG/Marriott properties
    • 3x at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines
    • 2x on all other purchases
  • Complimentary Gold Elite status
  • Earn Platinum Elite status after making $75,000 in eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
  • Coming in 2019: Each calendar year you can receive credit for 15 nights towards the next level of Elite status. Limit one 15 Elite Night Credit per Marriott Loyalty Program member.
  • Relax with unlimited lounge visits for you and up to two guests per visit once enrolled in complimentary Priority Pass™ Select membership
  • Receive a statement credit every four years after you apply for Global Entry ($100) or TSA Pre√® ($85) with your Card.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Free, unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi at more than 1,000,000 Boingo hotspots worldwide.
  • Receive free in-room, premium Internet access while staying at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards hotels
  • Annual fee: $450

Sign-up bonus

Amex and SPG are playing some funny games with their sign-up bonuses right now. They just dropped the sign-up bonus down to a $200 statement credit but also announced that they’d be increasing the sign-up bonus shortly. This makes it difficult to predict where the sign-up bonus for this card will be. But if I had to guess, I’d say around 30,000 points or more.

W Hollywood.

$300 statement credit

The terms state that the following will apply to the statement credit:

Eligible SPG or Marriott Rewards property purchases must be made directly with the participating SPG or Marriott Rewards property and charged to your Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Card account for the benefit to apply. Incidental charges (including charges made at restaurants, spas and other establishments within the hotel property) must be charged to your room and paid for with your Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Card at checkout in order to be recognized as SPG or Marriott Rewards purchases.

Word has it that Amex will allow the credit to be applied to booking charges, so this will likely act as a $300 credit toward any stay at a Marriott/SPG property. That’s huge and reduces this annual fee down to an effective $150 for anybody who would normally spend $300/year at a Marriott hotel.

Free anniversary night

The Free Night Award can be redeemed for a one-night stay inclusive of room rate and applicable taxes at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards hotels with a redemption level at or under 50,000 points. This could get you a free night at up to a category 7 hotel assuming that these certificates can be used for off-peak awards.

Together with the $300 credit factored in, the free night could allow you to come out on top even with the $450 annual fee.

Bonus earning potential

  • 6x at SPG/Marriott properties
  • 3x at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines
  • 2x on all other purchases

When this card comes out on August 1, 2018, Starpoints will be referred to as points and the Starpoints balance in your SPG loyalty member account will be multiplied by three in a one-time conversion (one Starpoint will convert to three points).

So this card is in line with the changes to the other SPG cards that earn 2X on non-bonused spend, which is less than what the current SPG card offers since 1 SPG point would convert to 3 Marriott points. 3X on restaurants and flights isn’t terribly exciting, especially compared to what you’d be earning with other premium cards like the Sapphire Reserve.

The W Dubai.

Elite status

  • Complimentary Gold Elite status
  • Earn Platinum Elite status after making $75,000 in eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
  • Coming in 2019: Each calendar year you can receive credit for 15 nights towards the next level of Elite status

Marriott gold status is being devalued to no longer include breakfasts and lounge access, which greatly reduces the value of this perk. Spending $75,000 for platinum elite status just seems like too much of a task for status to me so I don’t care much for the gold elite status offered by the Luxury card.

The 15 night credit toward the next level of elite status is quite nice though. It can’t be stacked with credits offered by other cards but 15 nights is a pretty good head start towards platinum status which requires 50 nights.

Other perks

The card also comes with Priority Pass, Global Entry credit, Boingo wifi, and premium Internet access.

Upgrade potential

Beginning August 9, 2018, you’ll be able to upgrade from the personal version of the SPG card to the Luxury version. Keep in mind that Amex is going to keep the personal version of the SPG card alive so it will still be an option.

Final word on the SPG Amex Luxury Card

I think that the SPG luxury card is okay for those who are looking to make at least a couple of stays at SPG or Marriott properties. However, I don’t think this card is one the same level as the Hilton Aspire, which offers more credits, better elite status, and a better annual free night. If you can regularly use that $300 credit along with the free night then the Luxury card can make sense, but it’s not going to offer the average traveler as much value as the Aspire.

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