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By: Spencer Howard, Editor-in-Chief
American Express just launched a new card today, the Starwood Preferred Guest Luxury Card!
Let’s be clear off the bat, if you’re under 5/24, stop reading now and just continue taking advantage of welcome bonuses that get you tons of Ultimate Rewards points (or United miles or Southwest points). If you have already hit 5/24, this might be a good pickup in some circumstances.
Considering the SPG Luxury Card comes with a $450 annual fee that isn’t waived the first year, you’re going to want to put some thought into this one.
SPG Luxury Card Details
- 100,000 points if you spend $5k in 3 months (Note: These are now Marriott points, not the old Starwood points)
- Annual $300 SPG/Marriott credit
- Annual free night award at property costing no more than 50,000 points per night (received on your account anniversary)
- Spend $75,000 for Platinum Elite status (really? pass.)
- Complimentary Gold Elite status as a cardholder
- 15 elite qualifying nights per year starting in 2019
- Priority Pass Select membership
- Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application credit every 4 years
- Earn 6X at SPG/Marriott properties
- Earn 3X at restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines
- 2X on other purchases
- Premium internet access at SPG/Marriott properties
- Complimentary Boingo WiFi
Why You Don’t Want The Card
Marriott points are not worth what the old SPG Starpoints were worth. Rather than transferring to airlines at a 1:1 ratio, it’s now 3:1. Rather than transferring 20,000 SPG points and receiving the 5,000-mile bonus to get 25,000 airline miles, you’ll now have to transfer 60,000 Marriott points to get the same.
This would be fine IF this card earned 3X on all purchases since that would be the equivalent of the olde earn rate of 1X on SPG cards. However, that’s not the case. As a result, this card is not useful for everyday spending.
Even if you used this card at Marriott/SPG hotels, you’d only earn 6X which is worth 2X airline miles per dollar. The Chase Sapphire Reserve gets you 3X as does the Citi ThankYou Premier.
Unfortunately, most of the other benefits overlap what other cards offer: Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit, Priority Pass Select membership and Boingo WiFi. You can even get Gold Elite status from the Amex Platinum.
Not to mention, it comes with a $450 annual fee.
Why You Might Want The Card
On the bright side, you do receive an annual free night award. If you can leverage the free night at a property that requires 50,000 points per night, that might make it worth it. Especially, if you would be spending $300 during Marriott/SPG stays anyway since you can receive a statement credit for those purchases (make sure you read the terms on this one).
If you can leverage both of those, the effective fee is closer to $150 for the 50,000-point free night. I’m going to guess this won’t apply to most of us but I’ll let you run the math and consider your own travel habits.
Of course, the welcome bonus of 100,000 points might make the annual fee worth it for the first year if you play your cards right. It’s whether the card will be a good play for the long-term.
Who Is Eligible For the SPG Luxury Card
On August 26, 2018, new eligibility rules for the card kick in. They are as follows:
If you have or have had the Ritz-Carlton card in the last 30 days, you won’t be eligible.
If you have acquired the Chase Marriott Premier Plus, Marriott Premier, or Marriott Premier Business in the last 90 days, you are not eligible.
If you’ve received a welcome or upgrade offer for the Chase Marriott Premier Plus, Marriott Premier, or Marriott Premier Business in the last 24 months, you are not eligible.
Hey, look! I’m still eligible. However, I’m guessing many of you won’t be on August 26, so I’d take a day to consider if this card can give your travel a boost. For some, it will. For others, it won’t.
While I’d hoped the bonus would bigger so that it would be an easy decision to get the SPG Luxury Card, the 100,000-point bonus leaves me feeling a bit “meh”. Rather than a slam dunk, I’m left torn.
Rather than sprint to get this card today, I’d take a day or two to consider whether it actually makes sense for you – don’t let the big bonus number distract you, not all points are equal and these are not as valuable as Ultimate Rewards or Membership Rewards.
Let me know if you plan to get the card or if you plan to pass on it for now. I’d love to hear how you reached your decision.
See You in the Sky,
P.S. We are hosting a reader meetup in NYC on Saturday! Come join us for drinks (on 10xT), socializing, and all the points/miles talk you can handle.