Thursday, June 28, 2018

New earn rates and benefits revealed for the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express

For sometime now we've known what the earn rates and benefits will be on current and new U.S. issued Marriott and Starwood credit cards from Chase and American Express respectively. Here in Canada we have not, we have only been able to speculate on what changes will happen to the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express. The time has come and now we know what is happening to the card when the three loyalty programs that are owned by Marriott become one this August.

As speculated the earn rate on everyday purchases, that is earning on non-Marriott/Starwood hotel purchases is matching that of the U.S.. This earn rate is 2 points per dollar spent. This is a devaluation from the current earn rate of 1 Starpoint per dollar spent which is equivalent to 3 Marriott Rewards points. So you'll see a 33% reduction in earn for most spending made on this card. For Marriott and Starwood purchases, the new earn rate will be 5 points per dollar - again another devaluation from the current promotional rate of 2 Starpoitns per dollar or 6 Marriott Rewards points. You may be asking why didn't they match the cards in the U.S. on the hotel stay earn rate and I can only speculate that it has to do with the fact that the majority of their hotels are not in Canada and they are taking into account exchange rates. Think about it, a US$100 hotel stay will earn 600 points with a U.S. card but at 5 points per dollar with the Canadian card you'll earn roughly 650 points (US$100 = ~ C$130 x 5 points = 650 points) So the Canadian card will in fact earn more per Marriott/Starwood stay than it's U.S. counterpart. No matter what though it is a still slight devaluation from the promotional earn rate we've become accustomed to.

Now, it's not only the earn rates that are changing on the card, some of the benefits are changing as well and are actually better now and should help offset some of the decrease in points earning. The best news is the change to the free night award benefit. Currently when you spend $40,000 or more on the card annually you get a Category 1-4 free weekend night certificate and that spend requirement will be gone. Every cardholder will now get an annual free night redeemable any night of the week at eligible SPG and Marriott properties with a redemption value of up to 35,000 points (Category 1-5 in the new combined program) This free night will be awarded automatically each year after your anniversary date. This is actually better than the free night award that came on the Chase Marriott Premier Visa card, that one only gave you the equivalent of hotels up to 25,000 points!

The other benefit that sees a change is the elite status benefit. The current SPG card awarded Gold Status when hit $30,000 of spending on the card annually and while that remains ryou'll receive automatic Silver elite status in the new program just by being a cardholder. So if you were one who never hit $30,000 at least you now get some recognition!

You can see now that the card is taking some of the benefits from the discontinued Chase Marriott Premier Visa Card (the Cat 1-5 certificate and automatic Silver status) without eroding the current SPG card too much. If you were used to the Chase card you are getting a better earn rate and insurance package and still get two of its three major benefits. The only one missing is the no foreign transaction fee. That's pretty good a deal. If you've had the SPG card now for sometime it may be hard to get used to the new earn rates but hopefully the new benefits will help make up for that. I think American Express has done a good job in recreating this card for the new program, I knew based on the U.S. cards that there was no way we'd get a 3 point earn rate for everyday spending but I was a little surprised that the hotel earn rate is only 5 points per dollar spent. I thought even with exchange rates and such they would have gone with 6 points like the U.S. card and the fact that its equivalent to the current 2 Starpoint rate they have already been providing.

My wife carries this card and once I learned about the new earn rates and benefits I know we'll keep it in our family portfolio as the Free Night Award is worth more than the annual fee itself.

If you hold the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express the card has the same benefits as above but has one more somewhat better earn option. It will earn 3 points for every dollar in Card purchases on eligible gas, dining and travel. If you make a lot of purchases in those three categories it may be worth it the get the business card over the consumer card.

One last thing we don't know yet is if the sign up bonus on the Starwood cards will change come August. They are going to be in the U.S. so one can hope the same will happen here.

Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card
Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express
Card Type: Credit
Annual Fee: $120 (No annual fee on Supplementary Cards)
Annual interest rate 19.99% on purchases and 22.99% on funds advances; Missed payment applicable rates, 23.99% and/or 26.99%

Earn up to $250 in statement credits
• New Starwood Preferred Guest®* Credit Card from American Express
Cardmembers, earn a statement credit of $100 after you charge $1500 in purchases to your Card in the first 3 months of Cardmembership.* You can also earn a $150 statement credit after you charge $200 or more in purchases to your Card at participating Starwood or Marriott properties in your first 6 months of Cardmembership.*
You can earn 2 Starpoints for every dollar of eligible purchases charged to the Card at participating SPG® and Marriott Rewards® hotels from November 15, 2016 through July 31st 2018.
• Earn 1 Starpoint for every $1 in purchases charged to the Card
• Enjoy a Free Weekend Night Award when you reach $40,000 in purchases each year
• Experience Starwood Gold Preferred Guest status when you reach $30,000 in purchases each year
• Redeem Starpoints for Free Nights with no blackout dates at over 1,200 of the world's most desired hotels in nearly 100 countries

• Use Starpoints for flights on over 150 airlines with no blackout dates with SPG Flights
• Experience once-in-a-lifetime events with SPG Moments
• American Express Invites™ opens the door to great music, theatre, dining, film, fashion and shopping experiences. Be among the first to know, and among the first to go!
· You can use Apple Pay on your eligible device to pay for goods and services at participating American Express contactless merchants
• American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website. For full details and current product information click the Apply now link.
• Conditions apply
•  Italicized bullets are the parts of this card that will change in August
Apply Now

Conditions apply

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