SPG Luxury Card Loophole: Apply by Tomorrow Before New Rules Hit

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The Starwood Preferred Guest Luxury Card is the latest addition to the Marriott family credit card portfolio, launched August 23, 2018. Rumor was the bonus would be 125k points, but turns out it’s 100k points for $5k in spending.

All the new eligibility rules for sign up bonuses on Marriott family cards kick in August 26, but since the card has already launched there is a small window of time (right now!) in which one can apply before the new rules lock you out for up to two years. Today is August 24. Applying today or tomorrow means that your eligibility isn’t dependent on the following things (which it will be as of Sunday the 26th):

If you have or have had a Ritz-Carlton Rewards Card in the last 30 days, you are not eligible for the SPG Luxury card bonus.

If you opened any of the following cards in the last 90 days, you are not eligible for the SPG Luxury Card’s bonus.

  • Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Plus
  • Chase Marriott Rewards Premier (the old $85/year version of the Premier Plus)
  • Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Business

If you have gotten a welcome or upgrade offer on any of those cards listed above in the last 24 months, you are also not eligible for the SPG Luxury Card bonus.

SPG Luxury Card Quick Facts

  • Sign-up bonus: 100,000 bonus points (remember, these are Marriott points now, so that’s like 33.3k SPG points) for spending $5,000 within three months of account opening. This is a limited time sign-up bonus scheduled to end October 31, 2018.
  • $300 statement credit for purchases at Marriott & SPG hotels every year you hold the card (not calendar year)
  • Category Bonuses:
    • 6x at SPG & Marriott hotels
    • 3x at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines
    • 2x for all other purchases
  • Retention bonus: Free Night Award every year after your anniversary at hotels that cost 50k points or less
  • Elite Status: Gold Elite, with a fast track to Platinum for spending $75k on the card in a calendar year, and as of 2019 you’ll get 15 nights that count towards elite status
  • Lounge Access: Priority Pass Membership (access for you and two guests)
  • Statement credit for Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85) every four years
  • Unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi access
  • No foreign transaction fees

Is the $450 price tag worth it?

Maybe. This card has the same bonus offer as the SPG Business Card right now: 100k points for spending $5,000 within three months of opening it. Its bonus is better than the SPG consumer card, which is offering 75k points for spending $3k in three months.

Let’s assume you are eligible for business cards. The SPG Business card has the same sign up bonus offer and has no annual fee the first year. So if it’s just the sign up bonus you’re after, get the SPG Business Card.

Taking a deeper look, if the other benefits matter to you, what would make this card worth keeping over the SPG Business Card longterm? First, think about the statement credit offered by the Luxury card.

  • Would you spend $300 at SPG/Marriott hotels in a year? If so, the $300 statement credit brings the effective annual fee down to $150. The SPG Business Card does not offer this perk. Its annual fee is $95 after the first year.

Now considering a $150 annual fee vs a $95 annual fee…

  • Category Bonuses: The bonus for spending at Marriotts is the same for both cards. I wouldn’t necessarily consider the other category bonuses when comparing as neither have compelling bonuses in other categories.
  • Retention Bonus: Both get free night certificates as an annual retention bonus. The Luxury card’s is redeemable at properties up to 50k points per night, and the Business card’s is redeemable at properties up to 35k points per night. If there is a hotel you’d like to redeem the certificate on that costs less than or equal to 50k points, then this difference could add a lot to the Luxury card’s value proposition.
  • Automatic Elite Status: The Luxury card gets Gold, while the Business card gets Silver. Gold and Silver aren’t drastically different elite levels. The valuable benefits Gold gets that Silver doesn’t are 25% bonus points on stays vs the Silver’s 10%, better in-room internet, and (probably the biggest value added) upgrades to enhanced rooms subject to availability. So if you stay at Marriott/SPG hotels often and don’t always book the top rooms, this benefit at least marginally increases the value proposition of the Luxury card.
  • Fast-track to Elite Status: The Luxury card, as of 2019, will grant Platinum Elite status for anyone that spends $75,000 on the card within a calendar year. The Business Card does not offer this perk.
  • Lounge Access: The Luxury card get’s a Priority Pass membership. The Business Card does not. If you don’t already have a Priority Pass membership from a card like the Sapphire Reserve or the Amex Platinum, then the lounge access alone could easily tip the scale to make the Luxury card worth it.
  • Statement credit for Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85), offered by the Luxury card and not the Business card, is good every four years. Again, many other premium $450+ a year credit cards offer this perk, so the value just depends on whether or not you’re already cashing in on this benefit.
  • Boingo Wifi: Both the Luxury and Business Card offer Boingo access.
SALON VIP LOUNGE in the Quebec airport, accessible to those with a Priority Pass Membership. Priority Pass gives you access to more than 1,200 lounges around the world.
The Salon VIP Lounge in the Quebec airport is accessible to those with a Priority Pass Membership. Priority Pass gives you access to more than 1,200 lounges around the world.

In Brief…

If you’re not going to organically spend $300 at Marriott/SPG hotels in a cardmember year, I think it’s pretty likely the Luxury Card is not for you.

If you will, and you don’t have a Priority Pass membership already, it’s pretty likely the Luxury card is worth it’s $450 annual fee in comparison to cheaper SPG Amex cards. If you already have a Priority Pass membership, it’s a close call. You’ll have to look a little more closely at Elite Status perks offered by each card and the difference the free night certificates to see if they are worth the $55/year effective price difference between the Luxury and Business SPG cards.

Old Sign Up Rules to Remember

The already existing rules that could have an impact on your eligibility for the SPG Luxury card are as follows:

  • Don’t apply for more than 1 Amex in a five day period
  • Don’t apply for more than 2 Amex cards in a 90 day period
  • You are limited to holding ~five American Express credit cards. Both personal and business count toward this limit. (AMEX Everyday, Delta, and the SPG Luxury card are credit cards.)
    • Separately, you are limited to holding ~five American Express charge cards. Both personal and business count toward this limit. (AMEX Platinum is a charge card.)

How Opening a Luxury Card will Affect Your Eligibility for Other Marriott Family Cards

If you open an Amex Luxury card, you will be locked out of the Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Plus and the Premier Plus Business bonus for 90 days. Both cards currently offer 75k points for spending $3,000 in three months and charge a $95 and $99 annual fee respectively.

Bottom Line

If you opened and earned a bonus on any of the Chase Marriott credit cards in the last two years, you won’t be eligible for the brand new SPG Luxury card’s 100k point bonus come August 26 (this Sunday). But if you apply today or tomorrow, those impending eligibility rules kicking in the 26th will not apply.

It’s time to crunch some numbers. Are you applying for the SPG Luxury Card before Sunday?


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

The comments section below is not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all questions are answered.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Hi, I had the Chase Marriott Rewards Premier card.

    08/25/16: card opened
    11/25/16: bonus received
    08/20/17: card closed

    Am I eligible to get the Amex SPG Luxury bonus if I applied after 8/26/18 (when more restricted rules kick in)? Thanks in advanced!

  2. Hi,

    Thanks for this article. From your info, I went ahead and applied and have been approved for this card. Besides the 100K bonus points, will I also get the 15 night credit, when I meet the minimum spend?

    I also have the Chase RC, Marriott Rewards and Marriott Business CC.

    Thanks!

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