Well, this is a bit of a shocker. We all expected American Express to increase the sign-up bonus on SPG co-branded cards to 30K or 35K points. They didn’t. Instead, here is the new limited-time offer:
“Earn 2 free nights at participating SPG® Category 1-5 hotels & resorts worldwide after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Note: A select few resorts require add’l fees. Offer ends 10/19/2016″
Business version requires $5,000 in spending within 3 months, and you get access to Sheraton Club lounge. Otherwise, the offers are identical.
According to terms: “The Free Night Awards will be credited to the Basic Card Member’s SPG account within 6-8 weeks after you reach the spend threshold. The Free Night Awards can be redeemed for any Starwood Category 1-5 hotels or resorts for a standard room for any nights of the week. The Free Night Awards must be redeemed for stays consumed within 12 months of the Free Night Award being credited to your SPG account. Basic Card Members should call SPG customer service and mention the American Express 2 Free Night Awards to redeem.”
Why this new offer is inferior to the old one
- You can’t transfer certificates to miles or Amtrak points (obviously).
- There is an expiration date set on your bonus certs. Since SPG has a relatively small footprint, if your plans change, you may lose your nights altogether.
- In order to maximize value on the certificates, you’ll have to stay at a Category 5 property. Those cost between 12K-16K points per night. So, at best, you are getting a value equivalent to 32,000 SPG points, at worst, it’s 24K points. That is if you were actually planning on staying at those properties to begin with.
- You can’t take advantage of “fifth night free” benefit.
And so on, and so on. Basically, you get two nights at a property that is probably overpriced to begin with. And those nights expire within 12 months, so you’ll have to use them or lose them. This is absolutely, positively, a “weak sauce” of an offer. The question is, will it revert to the old 25K points after 10/19/2016? I honestly have no idea. Marriott/SPG merger has been officially approved, so maybe this new development has something to do with it.
Fortunately, the old offer is still available (for now). You’ll get 25K SPG points after spending $3,000 in 3 months, $5,000 on business version of the card. Both “old version” personal and business offers do pay me commission and are still listed in my affiliate channel, but I don’t know for how long. Update: It appears that business version now has “two free nights” verbiage, but here is direct link that works.
You might want to read this post I wrote back when this offer was 35K SPG points. Hopefully, most of you were able to get in on that deal. Also, see this post on new SPG/Virgin America partnership. Be aware, Amex has a draconian policy of one bonus/per card/per lifetime.
So, should you pull the trigger right now? I honestly don’t know what to recommend, so it will have to be your decision. It’s totally possible that Amex will bring back “points only” offer after October 19th, but it may not. It might even be increased to 35K points down the road, but I seriously doubt it at this point.
This merger is definitely adding to the uncertainty, so it’s quite possible that this is the last time we’ll see Amex SPG offer link with 25K points attached, rather than inferior offer of two hotel certificates.
Readers, what are your predictions?
(Hat tip to Doctorofcredit post)
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.