New Starwood Luxury Card Launched Today, 3 Day Window Before New Approval Restrictions

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As part of the total revamp to the Marriott-Starwood loyalty program, co-brand credit cards have changed too.

  • Chase gets to issue the main personal card
  • American Express gets to issue the small business card and the premium personal card
  • Everyone keeps their current card, whether it’s a Chase Visa or an American Express

The Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card launched today. For that card, and for existing cards, we have an interesting three day window.

Presidential Suite, Sheraton San Diego Marina

New Starwood Luxury Card Launches August 23

Back in April Courtney Kelso, American Express’s Senior Vice President of Charge, Co-Brand and Loyalty, Global Commercial Services, told me that the new Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card would offer “$2000 in annual value.” I think they deliver that and I’m definitely going to request this card.

The initial offer on the card is 100,000 points after $5,000 in spend within 3 months of account opening.

The card has a $450 annual fee offset by a $300 annual statement credit for purchases at Marriott properties. This includes charging your room rate to the card, it’s not an ‘incidentals’ credit. The card also comes with an annual free night at renewal good for hotels that would cost up to 50,000 points (category 6).

Earning is be 6 points per dollar at Marriott and Starwood properties, 3 points on US dining and on air travel, and 2 points on all other spend.

You get automatic Gold status and $75,000 spend in a calendar year earns Platinum status which is a big improvement. You also get 15 elite night credits each year starting in 2019, useful if you’re trying to qualify for status based on stay activity. (These elite nights do not stack with elite nights from other cards, the most elite nights you can earn from Marriott/Starwood cards is 15.)

The Luxury Card also will come with Priority Pass Select with unlimited visits and up to 2 guests is included, along with unlimited Boingo internet, premium in-room wifi on your Marriott stays, and no foreign exchange fees, and a statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck every four years.

Upgrading an Existing Starwood Amex to the Luxury Card

Existing cardmembers who upgrade to the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card will have the spend they’ve already done during the same year count towards the $75,000 threshold for Platinum Status. Since I’ve already spent that on my Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express I’ll compare my upgrade offer to the initial bonus offer in deciding whether to apply anew or upgrade.

American Express we will have a variety of upgrade offers available ranging from 15,000 to 100,000 points after meeting spend requirements. While at some point I’d expect this to show up when logging into your American Express account for now you can call or online chat to find out what you’re eligible for.

Westin Stonebriar Chairman’s Suite Has 8 Rooms

Recent Changes to Existing Starwood American Express Cards

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express offers 75,000 Bonus Points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. (Offer expired)

Earning in the new program is 6 points for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott Rewards hotels and 2 points on all other eligible purchases.

You’ll receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Award can be used for one night at a participating hotel (at a redemption level at or under 35,000 points).

When the Marriott programs all combine into one officially, with new branding and a new name, Chase will have exclusivity over the standard consumer credit card and this American Express-issued one will no longer be available. So it’s essentially your last chance to get this card.

Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express offers 100,000 points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of cardmembership. This is a limited-time offer that ends October 31, 2018. It has a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95. (Offer expired)

Earning is 6 points for each dollar of eligible purchases at over 6,500 participating SPG® and Marriott Rewards® hotels across 110 countries worldwide; 4 points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers, and on U.S. purchases for shipping; 2 points for all other eligible purchases.

A big new benefit is that the card comes with a Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary.

W Doha

Three Day Window

While the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express is still offered (this year) you have a chance to get it.[offer expired] The card product itself will be going away for new applications once the programs all combine under new unified branding next year.

I wrote about new rules coming late in the month for who can get initial bonus offers when being approved for these card products. These rules go into effect August 26th and will make it a bit tougher to get new cardmember bonuses for Marriott family cards from both Chase and American Express.

You can get the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card,Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express or the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express under current eligibility rules until then. There is still a three day window to use current eligibility rules to apply for these cards. [offer expired]

Al Wadi Desert Resort

Here are the eligibility rules going into effect at the start of the week for each of the American Express Marriott family credit cards:

  • To be eligible for a new Luxury Card initial bonus you cannot be a current Ritz-Carlton cardmember (or have had that card in the last 30 days), have signed up for a new Chase-issued Marriott card in the last 90 days, or received an initial bonus or upgrade offer for a Chase-issued Marriott card in the past 24 months. This includes Chase Marriott business cards which surprises me..

  • To be eligible for a new Starwood Amex card initial bonus (the personal card that will be available only until the programs rebrand next year), you cannot have (or have had in the last 30 days) a Chase-issued Marriott.

  • To be eligible for a Starwood business card initial bonus, you cannot have a Chase-issued Marriott business card (or have had one in the last 30 days), have signed up for one in the last 90 days, or have received a new cardmember bonus for one in the last 24 months.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. FYI I thought this might be an interesting data point for everyone….. 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 AMEX SPG Luxury card. Additionally, note that I also hold both the regular personal and business SPG Amex cards.

  2. I assume there is once in a lifetime provision in the T&Cs?

    I got it, my significant other got the “because of xyz, no bonus – still want to go ahead”? I think the main difference is while we both apply/drop a lot of cards, I’ve kept my SPG Amex and Amex Plat, hers were canceled.

  3. With the SPG/Marriott merger, can you still transfer SPG points between family members for a $10 fee (or free for Gold/Platinum+ members)?

  4. Thanks, but let me see if I’ve got this straight: Within the three-day window, we can get a completely new or upgraded Starwood Amex Luxury Card and get the bonus points for the appropriate spend. BUT the usual Amex rules preclude getting bonus points for the regular Starwood Amex personal or business cards if we’ve previously had them. Right?

  5. Now that Marriott gutted the travel packages, I can’t tell why anyone would want this or any other Marriott card over the Chase cards.

    * Spending in general = 2 miles per dollar. That translates to $30000 = 60000 points = 25,000 airline miles. Crap ratio, when you consider that CFU $30000 = 45,000 airline miles.
    * Spending on Marriott = 6 miles per dollar. Awesome! $10000 = 60000 points = 25,000 miles. However, CSR $10000 = 30000 miles directly. Oops.

    The only upside is the 15 nights / year bonus. However, you don’t need the luxe card for that.

  6. Gary, have you and the other travel bloggers been embargoed on commenting on the IT meltdown/ongoing issues w/Marriott since Saturday?

    The lack of any stories by anyone is now becoming rather conspicuous.

  7. @UA-NYC I feel like I have written on this. I have covered the elite status issues for instance. I have spoken to reporters about the challenges so far. I have also been really busy this week and haven’t felt like I had much more to say. Though I’ve been a bit snarky in social media on it..

  8. Got preapproved. Applied and was accepted in 30 seconds. AmEx and I have a mutual love for each other, apparently!

  9. Why would anyone use this or any other SPG card anymore if your SPG goal is to accumulate points for airline transfers. That BS 2x on spending is a 33% devaluation and is really only worth 0.67x on airline transfers compared to the old SPG.

  10. @Gary – understood, I appreciate your straight answer. Just seems like it’s a bit of an ongoing mess that as the biggest thing going on in the travel space at the moment, feels weirdly under-covered.

  11. Marriott/SPG are purely for churn and burn now and the nerfed earning rates and sign up restrictions mean that cardholder numbers are going to tank within the next year. The combined Marriott/SPG program is now a total disaster, sad! The DOJ should have blocked this merger but instead they said “YES COLLUSION!”

  12. @Gary — would appreciate it if you could push Marriott to explain why they would possibly have hidden the Travel Package conversion chart and then not let us upgrade those certificates. Allowing upgrades and downgrades for 30,000/category is the only fair solution to this problem that Marriott created by keeping everyone in the dark. (Sorry if I missed any prior snark you’ve got out there on this subject.)

  13. Applied for this today, was advised not eligible for the welcome bonus.

    Will I get the well one bonus as my application is before 26th August and bypassing all restrictions?

  14. I applied for the card today, was instantly approved. Amex then offered to give me the card number right away – something I have not seen before from any issuer. They asked a few more security questions, then provided the card number, expiration date, and security code. I was able to use the card immediately.

    (My strategy? I’ve had the SPG personal card for many years. Un-bonused cc spend is no longer a viable way to accumulate points, which makes Marriott points much harder to earn efficiently. So I applied and was approved for 4 cards – SPG Biz, SPG Luxury, Marriott personal, and Marriott biz – in the last 6 weeks. I will receive 5 free night certs per annum, which I will use for stays at Category 5 hotels in New York, London, and other high cost cities. And I’ll spend just enough on the new cards to earn the 75,000/100,000 point bonuses, then put them in the sock drawer. All a bit of a pain, but worth it to maximize my ability to stay at Marriott hotels on awards when revenue prices are high.)

  15. If I applied for a Marriott Chase 1.5 months ago, can I get any of these cards’ sign up bonus? UAPhil said he got multiple cards recently … so I’m a bit confused. I would like to get the SPG Personal card. Thank you for clarifying.

  16. I was denied for the card (807 credit score). I know there are several conditions that could make people ineligible, but thought I was OK on those. My thought is to wait for the letter to see what the reason was, then call if I disagree. But that would put it after Aug. 26. Any thoughts? Try for reconsideration now?

  17. I have upgraded to a Chase Marriott Premier recently from the regular Chase Marriott card (it had a better fre night benefit). Under the new rules, I would not be eligible for the initial spend bonus. From the above it;s not clear if I would be eligible if I apply NOW.

    While the card is $450, $300 in Marriott spend in a year would be easy, so it’s only $150. The main advantage I see if the Gold status (I assume that this is the Gold Elite that now shoes up in both programs, correct?)

    Main question here: Amex Platinum has previously come with SPG Gold, which could be mapped to Marriott Gold at the time. I don’t see it on their list anymore, so is this avenue for SPG/Marriott Gold now gone? If not, this may be the only avenue for “easy” Marriot Gold Elite.

    Just trying to decide if adding this to Amex Plat and Chase Sapphire reserve makes sense.

    It’s also not clear to me what this will map into, card-wise, once the programs truly do merge (if they ever get their act together :))

    Thanks for any insights.


  18. and complicating factor
    So many fewer places that accept Amex! Costco won’t even accept it for online purchases (this used to be a good way to meet minimum spend by buying gift cards so could spread out the spend to more than 3 months)

  19. Tried submitting my application but got a quick pop -up note from Amex, I don’t qualify for this offer!? I opened Chase Marriott rewards card half a year ago. Go figure!

  20. Originally applied on 8/23 to beat the clock (held Marriott biz last year) but was approved on 8/29 on the same app only after closing another Amex credit card. Should I still expect to get the bonus though it was approved after the 3-day window?

    Thanks team!

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