The Starwood SPG American Express Card has been widely popular over the years but with the SPG and Marriott merger coming up in August the card is getting ‘modified’ and not necessarily in a good way depending on the cards anniversary date.
I was quite happy with the SPG Amex and so have been most folks I knew who had this card for years but this change is probably going to turn off a lot of loyal Amex customers.
American Express sent out an email about the changes a few hours ago and you can access them here as well.
As a result of SPG® program changes in August 2018, we’re delivering important updates to your Card that will take effect August 1, 2018. Until then, keep using your Card — and remember, new and refreshed benefits and a brand-new Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card are on the way. Take a sneak peek below.
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). SPG will also be making corresponding changes to the number of points required for redemptions.
Here are some new ‘benefits’ of the current SPG Amex that has a US$95 annual fee:
Right now you earn 2 Starpoints for every dollar of eligible purchases on the Card at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards hotels. Earn 1 Starpoint for all other eligible purchases.
After August 1st you will earn 6 points for every dollar of eligible purchases on the Card at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards hotels. Earn 2 points for all other eligible purchases. The six points at SPG/Marriott is in line with what you earn now as Marriott points are values with a 3x factor compared to Starwood points. All other purchases lose out as they only get double points and not triple so thats a huge blow. And there is more!
The annual free night is indeed a great benefit, the problem comes with how Amex is executing these changes.
The cut off date is August 1st 2018 and one will only get this free night if the card member anniversary is AFTER this date. That means if you got your card in July of 2017 then in 2018 you will be dinged for the full annual fee, receive less benefits from the card itself and get nothing in return for 13 months.
Mine is in May or April and I’ll definitely call Amex for either a decent rentention offer or a good upgrade offer to the newly announced SPG Luxury Card which carries a US$450 annual fee. I’m now really convinced about this new product though and probably rather stick to a Amex Platinum Charge Card at such a price point.
And getting the basic SPG card for a $200 statement credit… I wouldn’t even consider that. That’s a very basic sign up offer and nothing worth talking about. I think Amex doesn’t want to encourage sign up’s for this product at this given time until the new cards come out.
The only good thing about the new card is 15 nights per calendar year that count towards the Marriott Rewards status which requires a lot more nights to upkeep status then the current Starwood SPG Program where it’s possible to qualify based on stays.
I do believe though that Amex needs to do something about this pretty unfair ‘limbo’ of the free anniversary night for card renewals in the next few months prior to August 1st. Either waive the annual fee for all other members affected by this or offer a bonus amount of Starpoints. If you’re in this situation and consider cancelling your card then you should call the Amex Retention Department at 1-800-452-3945.