I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the new benefits (and why I think the increased 30K offer will be here in just a couple of weeks) that are coming to the Amex SPG card. Along with those new benefits comes a higher annual fee – $95 per year up from $65 per year. As the only major hotel credit card that does not either give an annual free night or have a mechanism in place to earn a “free” night, some people may have trouble justifying the higher annual fee.
Elite Night/Stay Credits – Great For SPG Elites
If you stay at SPG hotels and are SPG-loyal, the card is a no-brainer. It gives 2 stays / 5 nights credit each year towards elite status which certainly reduces the amount of money or points you would have to put out to qualify for a higher elite status. Plus, it is one of the best reward cards around thanks to its flexibility.
Earning Points To Transfer To Airlines
But, if you are a casual SPG guest or you just use it as your general credit card for transfers to airlines, it may be hard to justify the higher annual fee. To be honest, for purchases in general categories that do not earn bonus miles, it is hard to beat the simplicity and earning potential of the SPG card. If you are putting $20,000 per year on this card, you would have 25,000 miles when transferred to the airline of your choice (with most of them at 1:1 plus the 5,000 mile bonus on 20,000 transferred points).
How I Justify The Higher Annual Fee
However, that is not how I am justifying keeping the card, especially since I have put precious little spend on it over the last couple of years (thanks to it not being a good transfer partner to United and thanks to it having a foreign transaction fee – which is going away with this update). Here is the reason I am keeping the card and justifying the higher annual fee:
That is the amount of money that I have saved in the last few months on just that card with Amex Offers. Not only that, but two of the credits are credits that appeared on that particular card but not some of my other cards!
I publish posts about Amex Offers whenever new ones appear that I believe are of interest to my readers. They are certainly not just empty posts because any one of those offers can help to cut the annual fee cost on a variety of cards. I do have no annual fee Amex cards and will continue to keep those, but there have been offers that appeared on one card but not another.
Not Just Empty Spending!
Plus, the amount above is not spending that I did just to get the offer (thereby spending more money instead of saving it). One of them – the big one – was the $150 AT&T offer while other offers were for retailers that I was going to spend at anyway. In fact, one of them – Unique Photo – was a great find as it was the first time I had heard about them. They are outside of NYS (so no sales tax when purchased by NY addressees) and they have been getting brand new lenses in before even the big guys (Amazon, B&H, Adorama, etc). Good find for me and some savings!
Small Business Saturday and Additional Cardholders
That savings is just Amex Offers – it does not take into account the savings I get each year on Small Business Saturday nor does it take into account the savings with Amex Offers and SBS that my additional cardholders receive. All in all, I still will get much more back each year in savings thanks to those deals than the annual fee of $95 will cost me. Not only that, but I can actually use the card outside of the US for more points. Win-win!
Can It Be Done With No Fee Amex Cards?
Of course, you can easily save money with the no fee Amex cards as well. But, for some reason, I do get offers on some cards and not others at time. For me, it works out well that I have received enough targeted offers on my SPG cards that, as long as they continue, the annual fee will be easily eaten.