As I am sure you have already heard, both Chase and American Express are going to be offering Marriott cards. While new cards are always great, because it offers the potential for new bonuses. That is what you will probably be hearing more of in upcoming weeks, the bonus. With both Chase and American Express issuing Marriott cards, is it as good as it sounds?
Chase and American Express get Marriott Cards, as Good as it Sounds?
There seems to be a lot of excitement on the blogs about having 2 issuers for this card. I am not so optimistic as I think we will see some negative changes in the upcoming year. The real winner from this is Marriott, they now have more cards from 2 different banks, meaning more money for them. We will have fewer award programs, which is always a negative for consumers
Unless you are new to this game, or very conservative, odds are you aren’t going to be eligible for this card to begin with. It wouldn’t matter if the bonus was 1,000,000 points if you are over 5/24, your just out of luck. Too many cards to really think about dropping below 5/24 for Chase, in my opinion.
If you are eligible, that is great, but odds are there are better Chase cards out there for you to consider before hitting that dreaded “5/24 rule.” I’d be really shocked if these cards don’t fall under the “5/24” rule, because the personal Marriott card already does. From my understanding the Marriott Business card isn’t under the 5/24 rule, but it seems Chase might lose this to American Express.
Chase already offers Marriott cards, so it will be interesting to see if these are rebranded as new card. Which would mean new bonuses for all those under 5/24. If they decide to not rebrand the Marriott cards as new cards, well then you need to follow the standard rule from Chase to earn the bonus again.
Think of the
Hilton Surpass Hilton Ascend when it comes to this card new potential bonus. The Hilton Ascend is a “new card” with fresh benefits, but if you had the Surpass in the past, you weren’t eligible for the bonus. I think we could see the same play for this card.
I don’t see many changes coming to the Chase Marriott cards, but they will need to somehow make the cards slightly more enticing since they are also competing with American Express. With the competing hotel card, the Hilton Ascend now offering 10 passes to Priority Pass Lounge, could we see this make it’s way to the Marriott card?
American Express Issuing
I think of this more of a win for American Express than I do for Chase. Just think how bad things would have been had for American Express if they lost this account?
American Express is going to be offering the “super-premium consumer and small business co-branded products.” Hmm, where have I seen a “super-premium” American Express hotel card before? Oh yes, that’s right… The Hilton Aspire Card by American Express.
I think I see a trend for American Express in their ‘premium market.” Although their own “premium” cards aren’t on the same level as other cards for the cost. I would peg this card to cost $450, just like their other premium cards (excluding the overvalued personal Platinum card)
For the new American Express Marriott card, I would feel confident to say you’d be able to earn the big bonus they will offering on this card. I would probably estimate a bonus similar to the Hilton cards, around 100,000 to 125,000 Marriott points for a $3,000 spend.
This card will probably come with Gold (maybe Platinum )status from Marriott, which will probably cost $450 per year. I would say more likely Gold than Platinum. If you look at the Ritz-Carlton card, you receive Gold status for year 1, then you still need to spend $10,000 after your first year to keep your Gold status.
I don’t see how they can go much higher than Gold status, when another card at $450 a year has this status for only the first year.
Outside of the status you will receive, it seems all these high end cards have a travel/airline credit. I am not a fan of American Express in how they handle their airline credit. While others make it more simplistic and user friendly, American Express makes it more limited in redemption. This would have been a better option for consumers had Chase offered the premium cards, because Chase’s premium cards are just flat out better than American Express.
That being said, I would estimate this will be in the $200 to $250 range for your chosen airline.
This is another win for consumers as American Express hasn’t offered a Marriott Business credit card. This should mean an opportunity to earn another bonus.
I bet we see this in the ball park of what Chase offered, somewhere between 80,000 to 120,000 points bonus, after a $3,000 to $5,000 spend.
Membership Reward Transfers?
Currently, you can transfer Membership Rewards at a 1:1 to Marriott 😉 . If that continues, you could really start making a dent in the (current) flights and nights packages. This would make transferring Membership Rewards to Marriott more appealing than to Hilton (as their hotel partners).
I would have to think American Express will make a push to add Marriott to their Membership Rewards program.
While many see this as a win for consumers, I think it will be a short lived win. I’m sure we will see more “enhancements” to the program.
SPG Program Disappears:
This doesn’t mean SPG properties will disappear, I think Marriott will keep the SPG properties separate, like they do for Ritz-Carlton. In the press release from Marriott, there was this little piece of information:
In late 2018, Marriott expects to launch a single technology platform for Marriott. This includes Ritz-Carlton and SPG as they move closer to the goal of having a single loyalty program. That means one program across the board, which to me means SPG points will be converted to Marriott points. I’m sure everyone will be looking forward to that.
I see no way Marriott adopting SPG points system. I would bet all SPG points will convert over to Marriott at the current rate of 1 SPG to 3 Marriott. Currently, I’d bet more people are moving Marriott points to SPG than SPG to Marriott. The hotel redemption value is better. Also it is a nice way to convert Marriott points to airline miles.
That means you can kiss your 2,000 SPG per night rooms goodbye.
In addition to that, some questions I have are:
- What happens to SPG transfer partners? Does Marriott take them in? Do Chase and American Express split them and boost their flexible currency?
- Does Citi make a move and add new transfer partners?
- Do the airline partners just disappear?
I think these are some pretty important questions, which will probably be answered in the upcoming months.
I would hope someone looks to add these transfer partner to their list, to prevent any of the airline transfers from disappearing. If that option were to be on the table.
Even if I am not the biggest SPG fan, having one less program isn’t ideal. Options are always good, plus they help us when programs devalue.
Flights and Nights
This was a popular way to reach the coveted Companion Pass before that avenue was shut down. earlier this year.
If SPG points are converted to Marriott points, this would mean more Marriott points are in circulation. There would no longer be an option to keep them as SPG points, only Marriott.
I would think more people would try to use these for the Flights and Nights package, since point banks could be quite high as accounts merge. If this were to happen, I could only speculate that the flights and nights packages would require more points before the end of 2018.
There is still more to come as this merger continues, but Marriott wants 1 system by late 2018. This is a pretty big negative in my opinion and I am curious where SPG transfer partners would end up.
Many of us aren’t eligible for Chase cards, so getting excited for any new Chase cards is moot. American Express could offer some enticing cards, but we will have to wait for more information. This next year will bring more light to this merger and while there might be new bonuses, I figure there will less optimism by summer of 2018.