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New Sign-Up Bonus on Amex SPG Cards (and It Stinks!)

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

  1. You can’t transfer certificates to miles or Amtrak points (obviously).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

See my Support the Site page or contact me with any questions. Reportedly, personal referrals also work for now, so you may be able to refer your friend

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)

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Author: Leana

Leana is the owner and 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.

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6 thoughts on “New Sign-Up Bonus on Amex SPG Cards (and It Stinks!)

  1. This makes me glad that I already have the card! I think this offer is terrible, at least for my family. I used my sign up bonus for a couple of nights at Disneyland at 7,500 points a night. Then I transferred my leftover points to my husband’s account and used the 5,000 bonus to transfer points to Delta to get some tickets to Chicago for 20,000 points a person. Definitely a much better deal!

    • Cynthia, I totally agree with you. For most normal families, the old offer is way better. I sure hope that all of my readers got this card when the bonus was 35K points. It’s hard to say what will happen to this offer in a near future, but it doesn’t look promising.

      • I went to look up the name of the hotel, and turns out it’s not a Sheraton anymore (we went in Feb, 2015, I think). It’s now the Anaheim Majestic Gardens Hotel. When we went, I liked it well enough. I liked it mostly for the price. It wasn’t within walking distance, but they had a free shuttle every 10 minutes that dropped you off right in front of the park. And the rooms were huge (although very dated). It was nice to have space for the kids to run around a bit. It looks like it got a nice makeover though!

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