As most of you’ve heard by now, Amex has just launched Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury card. Here are main details on the offer (I’m bolding points that are important to me personally):
100,000 Marriott points after spending $5,000 within the first 3 months
$300 in statement credits for purchases at participating Marriott hotels each cardmember year
$100 Global Entry or $85 TSA PreCheck fee credit
Priority Pass Select membership (including two guests)
Annual free night award (up to 50,000 points) after card renewal
Automatic Gold status and the ability to earn Platinum after spending $75k in a calendar year
Boingo Wi-Fi access
15 elite night credits beginning in 2019
$450 annual fee, not waived.
Figuring out the value of the offer
Any time there is a giant non-waived fee involved, I think long and hard whether the “juice” is truly worth the squeeze. Often, applying for a card is indeed worth it, and it’s probably true in this particular case. However, this one is far from being a no-brainer for me. I speculatively value Marriott points at 0.5 cents apiece. Right now I don’t have any specific plans for miles or Marriott hotels, so this would indeed be my benchmark.
Following this logic, 100k points are worth $500 (to me). So far, so good. But remember, we have that giant $450 fee, so after deducting it, I’m left with only $50. So, now I have to figure out what other perks are worth in order to determine true value. We already got TSA PreCheck, and don’t plan to fly next year, so Priority Pass means absolutely nothing. Ditto for Boingo passes, Gold status and elite night credits.
The $300 in statement credits per cardmember year for purchases at participating Marriott hotels is the only perk on the list that I find enticing. But would I assign $300 value to it? No way, Jose! I usually use hotel points, and find Marriott hotels to be a bit overpriced. Yes, you can sometimes purchase Marriott gift cards on-property and hope that they trigger the credit, but it’s not a guarantee. So, I would have to apply with the assumption that I will be paying for a hotel stay.
We do have plans to overnight in Warner Robins, GA on the way to North Carolina next May. We would need three rooms, and they tend to run at $100 each. So, I could potentially use up the credit there. Then again, we were going to use IHG hotel points, and my sister-in-law is swimming in them at the moment. So, I really value $300 credit at maybe $200 max. That Marriott in Warner Robins runs at 12,500 points, worth to me approximately $63. So, I would have to choose to pay cash or use my existing bonus. Hence the value of $200.
So, that makes the offer worth $250 total. An OK bonus, but certainly not mind-blowing. Perhaps I’m overthinking this whole thing, but I just wanted to share my reasoning with the hopes that it may help some of you come up with your own number. If it differs from mine, it’s absolutely fine. For what it’s worth, I will probably apply for this card eventually, preferably before our stay in Warner Robins.
If you need AAdvantage or Alaska miles, you should absolutely consider this offer. You can transfer 60k Marriott points to 25k miles in many frequent flyer programs, which will otherwise cost you 2 cents apiece or more. The 100k points will almost cover a 3-night stay in many nice properties, including this beachfront Sheraton in Clearwater, Florida (35k per night) where Nancy vacationed with her family last March.
Who should seriously consider this card NOW
As many of you know, on August 26th, all Chase Marriott and Amex SPG cards will be subject to new restrictions (see full details on DoC) Here are the details that pertain to this particular offer:
Right now it’s August 24th, so as long as you apply and get approved before Sunday, you should be OK (in theory).
What about regular Amex SPG card?
Here is the current offer on the “plain vanilla” Starwood Preferred Guest Amex card:
- Earn 75,000 Bonus Marriott Points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
- Earn 6 points for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating SPG® and Marriott Rewards® hotels and 2 points on all other eligible purchases.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees on International purchases.
- Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 points) at a participating hotel. Select hotels have resort fees.
- Enjoy complimentary, unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi on up to four devices at more than 1,000,000 Boingo hotspots worldwide. Enrollment required.
- $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
So, the deal is this. Having the “vanilla” Amex SPG card will not preclude you from getting a sign-up offer on “luxury” card (again, in theory). So, if you currently have or recently had the mentioned Marriott Chase-issued products, you should probably consider applying before August 26th.
Of course, nothing is guaranteed with Amex, and applying for this offer may hurt your chances of getting “luxury” SPG card down the road. This is especially true now, with the introduction of bonus qualification tool. But it’s the chance I personally would be willing to take. Then again, I don’t really value the extras likes Priority Pass etc.
As always, the decision is yours. There are many other lucrative offers on the market, and skipping one or both of these products is not the end of the world. That said, Marriott points are quite versatile since you can redeem them on hotels or convert them to miles at a decent rate. This is the type of currency that I have no problem accumulating speculatively.
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.