Review: American Express SPG Luxury Credit Card - Running with Miles
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Review: American Express SPG Luxury Credit Card

Written by Charlie

The new American Express SPG Luxury credit card is here. This review takes a look at the various benefits to see what value can be had with this card and if those benefits offset that $450 annual fee. There is a lot to like but also some weak points.

Advertiser Disclosure

The new American Express SPG Luxury credit card is here (see this morning’s post)and the application link is live. This is the first premium credit card offered under the SPG title and it is the first one introduced under the new Marriott program. Is this credit card worth the premium annual fee it comes with?

Review: American Express SPG Luxury Credit Card

This  not an affiliate link

Link: New Amex SPG Luxury Credit Card(scroll down to the bottom of the page to apply for the SPG Luxury card – not the one at the top. If approved, I will receive points as well – thanks!)

TL:DR: Is it worth it? Definitely a decent first year card but after that, it will really depend on what kind of value you can get from the annual free night.

First Year: The value on this card for the first year (after deducting the annual fee) should be $700 at the low end and $995 at the high end. This is a nice offer for anyone seeking to grab more Marriott points while they can and that have at least a few stays per year at SPG/Marriott hotels.

After First Year: The value going forward would be between $225 on the low end and $445 on the high end. It should only be kept past the first year if you have a great value redemption for the annual free night and would be spending $300+ at SPG/Marriott hotels anyway.

Sign-Up Bonus – 100,000 Bonus Points

The SPG Luxury credit card comes with an introductory sign-up bonus of 100,000 points after spending $5,000 in 3 months. This point total is in the new Marriott program but if compared to how SPG points used to stack up to Marriott, it could be considered as being about 33,000 SPG points (a little shy of the best-ever public offer on the old SPG card – with an annual fee of $95).

Value: I think it is safe to consider this 100,000 sign-up bonus to be worth between $750-900, based on general valuations of Marriott points. This is a one-time offer and not an annual bonus.

Annual Statement Credit – $300

The SPG Luxury card comes with a $300 statement credit that is for purchases made at SPG and Marriott hotels. This means it is good for reservations as well as any other bills you accrue at a property that can be charged to your room.

This annual statement credit is reset on each cardmember anniversary so it is not based on a calendar year.

Value: This would be worth $300 (it could be worth a bit less since you could have put that spending on a card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve and earned 900 points which would be worth $9) and is an annual benefit.

Anniversary Free Night

Each member year, cardholders will receive an electronic certificate that is good for a free night at hotels up to a 50,000 point redemption. This means it is good for hotels up to a Category 6 (except during peak seasons when those hotels would require 60,000 points). It will also work for hotels in Category 7 during off-peak seasons (since those cost 50,000 points).

Value: If you use this anniversary free night at a top category hotel, it could get you several hundreds of dollars in value. I would peg the value of this at what the points would be worth (assuming you are going for the highest hotel you can) so between $375 and $450. This is an annual benefit.

Elite Benefits

The SPG Luxury card comes with Marriott Gold status. This status normally requires 25 nights to qualify for. However, it does not come with breakfast so remember that.

This card does come with the ability to earn Platinum Elite if you spend $75,000 in a year. This elite status would otherwise require 50 nights in a year to qualify for it. The card also comes with 15 elite night credits each year.

Value: I would peg this one a bit low since Gold is not that much of a value (considering that you get 15 elite night credits with other cards that have lower annual fees). Maybe $70 per year?

Lounge Access

This card comes with the Priority Pass Select membership that has unlimited visits and you can bring up to 2 companions for free on each visit. This membership must be activated but is definitely one of the more generous memberships that are made available as a card perk. This lounge access can be used at thousands of lounges worldwide, regardless of the airline you are flying on.

Value: This value will wholly dependent on how much you travel by air and how many people travel with you but I think it would ok to place this at $75 value. There are other cards, like the Hilton Aspire, that have a low annual fee and 10 free visits.

Bonus Categories

The Amex SPG Luxury card earns at the following rates:

  • 6X points at SPG/Marriott hotels
  • 3X points at US restaurants or airline tickets purchase through airline websites
  • 2X points on all other spending

The earning rates are pretty weak for a premium card since you can also earn that 6X points on the cheaper cards. Also, the everyday earning of 2X points is lower than the old SPG cards used to earn at (they would earn 1 SPG point per dollar which transferred to Marriott as 3 points). I would not consider this a card to actually spend on.

Global Entry Reimbursement

This comes with Global Entry or TSA Precheck reimbursement, up to $100. It resets every 5 years.

Value: This should be valued at $100 but because it is only once every 5 years and so many other cards already have it, I would look at it as being worth $15 per year.

Annual Fee

This card comes with an annual fee of $450 and it is not waived the first year.

Eligibility

From the American Express website

Effective 8/26, welcome offer not available to applicants who (i) have or have had The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card from JP Morgan in the last 30 days, (ii) have acquired The Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card from Chase, The Marriott Rewards®Premier Credit Card from Chase, or The Marriott Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card from Chase in the last 90 days, or (iii) received a welcome or upgrade offer for The Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card from Chase, The Marriott Rewards®Premier Credit Card from Chase, or The Marriott Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card from Chase in the last 24 months.

Upgrade Offers

At present, there are no upgrade offers but I would imagine we will see on eventually.

Final Analysis

I think this card presents enough value for the first year to offset the $450 annual fee to go for it – especially if do it before August 26. The anniversary free night and statement credit will also help to offset the annual fee each year, should you stay at SPG/Marriott hotels enough to cover that $300.

If you are able to get it and to handle the $450 annual fee, I think this is definitely a good card to get.

Editorial Note - Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

Some of the links on this site are affiliate links that will support this site. Thank you for your support.

About the author

Charlie

Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.

12 Comments

  • Quick question: If you already have the Chase Ritz card can you apply for this card before 8/26? The wording says no after 8/26. Is this a narrow loophole?

  • The card is pretty tepid. Mostly, I blame Marriott, since I don’t imagine that Amex would intentionally make the card offer less value than previous Starwood cards.

  • FYI I have the Chase Ritz card, but applied for the AMEX SPG Luxury card this morning. Although at first I received an email from AMEX saying that they were evaluating my application and that it could take up to 14 days, I was pleasantly surprised when only 2.5 hours later, I received another email confirming I was approved for the card. Additionally, note that I also hold both the regular personal and business SPG Amex cards.

  • I got this card this morning as I have the Chase Ritz Carlton which would make a bonus offer unavailable on the 26th. This card is a keeper since I stay at Marriotts/SPG/Ritzs a lot. After the free night the card is free and then some in your pocket. Don’t like the Gold status but I have Platinum Premier anyway with Marriott (fighting about that now as they didn’t convert me to the new status as of yet, I was Plat before the 18th and still Plat today, go figure) Anyway I know have all 3 high end luxury cards, Chase RC, Hilton Aspire and now this SPG. Yeah it sounds like too much in annual fees but I ain’t paying for the cards as every year on my Ritz I get the $300 airline credit, visit several airport lounges and now with the free night a no brainer to keep it. I will use the new free night at the Ritz Carlton Cancun at $448.00 a night. So as you can see the card is paying me to have it. For the Hilton, I have used the $250.00 resort credit, used the free weekend night in Europe in which the room went for 350 euro a night (about $400.00) and used already $150.00 of the $250.00 air credit. So again, they are paying me to keep the card. If you travel like we do, these cards pay for themselves. The Global entry is also good now for these 3 cards in which I renew for me and my wife and son. Everyone gets it free. I would say this is a keeper card for now.

  • […] A review of the new Amex SPG Luxury card. You have until August 26 to get it before all kind of punitive unreasonable restrictions are placed on the card. For more details see the article.  My short take? If you are addicted to SPG Marriott hotels this is essentially a $150 card ($450 annual fee – $300 credit ). 100k sign bonus is kind of weak. Earning rates on it are even weaker. You get a free night every year. Again, in a few days all of you hobby veterans will likely not get it, so sad. As of press time, I do not have an affiliate link for the card. Actually, only 3 Titan bloggers got one yesterday. I will update the post here when/if I do. […]

  • AmEx customer service rep explained to me that the annual $300 credit is only good for ‘other’ hotel charges (restaurant, bar, spa, etc) not nightly room charge. Your explanation seems to imply otherwise…”This means it is good for reservations as well as any other bills you accrue at a property that can be charged to your room.” Also, the AmEx rep explained it’s like the $200 p/y designated airline credit, you can not choose which flights you want to use the credit. If that’s the case SPG Lux card users do not have the choice of using the $300 credit on business or personal travel. Can you please clarify these points. Thanks!

    • That rep was wrong (it does happen – especially with new products). It has been confirmed by Amex/SPG that this covers room rates and this is what the terms say “Incidental charges (including charges made at restaurants, spas and other establishments within the hotel property) must be charged to your room and paid for with your Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card at checkout in order to be recognized as SPG or Marriott Rewards purchases.” This amount is charged to the room and when you check out, you pay for it with your card and it covers all the expenses that are on your bill. This is why they specify that if you want certain charges at a hotel to be covered, you need to have them charged to your room.
      As for the choosing part, you only get the credit on the first $300 in the year so if you don’t use your card to pay at a particular hotel, it won’t trigger the credit. To that point, you do have a choice (you could use a different card if you wanted to save the credit for a different trip).
      Hope that helps!

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