Ouch! No more Starpoints bonus for the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express – Statement credits instead

Hot on the heels of yesterday’s Marriott and SPG announcement comes this change to the sign up offer for the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express and it is surprising! They have done away, for the time being, with bonus Starpoints for getting the card! We have seen 15,000, 20,000 and 25,000 points being offered on this card in the past (even until tomorrow you can get 25,000 if you had the Chase Marriott Visa card) but it is unheard of for a major loyalty program with a premium card to totally do away with sign up bonus that rewards you with the currency of the loyalty program. Instead of points, you’ll get a $100 statement credit if you spend $1,500 on the card in the first three months and a $150 statement credit if you spend $200 or more at Marriott or Starwood Hotels within the first six months of having the card.

This is significantly less value for the sign up bonus, the previous 20,000 Starpoint bonus we valued at well over $400 and now that is almost cut in half (and you still have to pay the annual fee). I’m wondering where this initiative came from? Is Marriott trying to curb how many points are issued? It does seem that Marriott is definitely trying to push cardholders to be loyal by actually staying at their hotels with the statement credit and not utilizing the Starpoints for converting to airlines, which in reality is why a lot of people did get this card. I understand this from a business perspective but from a consumer perspective to not offer any welcome points for a major program on a major credit card seems counter intuitive.