Yes, the Starwood Amex Really Will Stop Taking Applications Next Year, Bet On It

The new Marriott loyalty program launches in August.

Marriott did a deal with both Chase and American Express for new Marriott credit cards. Chase gets the bulk of the personal business, but American Express gets to issue a premium personal card. American Express gets the small business cards. And cardmembers keep their legacy products.

As a short hand expectation many people figured that would mean that applications for the Starwood Amex product – the one I’ve had for 17 years – would cease August 1.

American Express, though, gave me a statement and shared it with many others that “the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Consumer card will continue to welcome new Card Members now through August 2018, and beyond.”

new marriott credit cards
Credit: American Express

Reading coverage from Doctor of Credit, from One Mile at a Time and elsewhere it seems many people believe that means the card will continue to be offered indefinitely.

For instance Lucky writes,

Based on what we’ve known until recently, my assumption was that the SPG Personal Amex would no longer be open to new applicants as of sometime soon. That’s because Chase has the rights to issuing the mass consumer and premium consumer cards. Logically that means the card would continue being honored for existing cardmembers, though eventually would no longer be allowed to accept new applicants.

Apparently that’s not the case. …Looking back at the initial announcement from last December, there was nothing explicitly stating that the agreements were exclusive, though I think it was logical enough to infer that, especially based on similar situations we’ve seen with other agreements. That’s not happening after all, and I’m quite happy about that, as it means more choices for us.

I’m quite certain this is not the case. In fact I’ve confirmed it.

The confusion comes from:

  • Marriott is changing its program August 1
  • But the three programs — Starwood, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton — remain. It’s just that each has new benefits which are the same, and stays across each chain count towards status in the other.
  • It’s not until next year that we’re going to see one unified program under a single name that hasn’t been announced yet.
  • This is due to contractual issues with exclusivity provisions that make it tough to ‘terminate’ the existing programs now.

As a result we can expect the Starwood Amex to be available to new cardmembers until some time around when the new single program name launches next year.

They get to acquire new Starwood American Express customers as long as there’s a Starwood Preferred Guest. And SPG doesn’t actually go away August 1.

Once the new program rolls around we can expect each issuer to stay in their lane.

  • Chase with the broad-based consumer card
  • American Express with the premium consumer card
  • American Express with small business cards
  • Though each issuer will continue to service existing accounts (Amex with legacy SPG consumer cards, Chase with legacy small business cards)

Hopefully that clears up any confusion.

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. Wait a sec. It’s “tough to ‘terminate’ the existing programs now” for Chase and Amex, but they can ‘terminate’ my Amex SPG business and personal cards [that I pay for] without even a “thank you”?

  2. Dear Gary,
    I just got an “updating your” email about my SPG Business Amex. Specifically:

    “Starting on August 1, 2018, complimentary access to the Sheraton Club Lounge will no longer be available.”


    On January 1, 2019 you will no longer receive an annual credit for 5 nights and 2 stays toward SPG Elite status each year with your Card.5 But, the 5 nights and 2 stays you have earned this year will still count towards Elite status for 2018. We will also announce a new enhanced annual credit for nights towards Elite status. More details will be provided later this year.

    Is there a good reason to keep the card?

  3. Got the same message as Peter today, and I ave a similar question. Happens my first annual fee on the personal SPG card is about to hit, and as luck/fate would have it, I called retention and got (and accepted) what I thought was an ok retention bonus. (7k points for $500 in spend) But on the same day, within hours, I began reading of what looks to me to be a significant devaluation in the card, come Aug. 1st. (cutting value of points earned thereafter from spend by 1/3rd and more) Ok, I hear that there will be a new “free night” benefit — NEXT YEAR. But I’m feeling like I just agreed to pay the nasty $95 A/F for the privilege of having a card I’m only going to use for another three months. As such, am thinking to just stick with my original thinking to cancel. Somebody stop me. (or give me reasoned cause to pause)

  4. This caught my eye:
    Your Starpoints are becoming points.4
    On August 1, 2018 the Starpoint balance in your loyalty member account will convert to points at a 1:3 ratio. Also, the number of points needed to redeem in the loyalty program will have corresponding changes.

    So, do the transfer partners still exist? Do you still get the bonus for transferring in 20,000 mile/point chunks? If not, I sure don’t have any use for this card.

  5. Literally applied and got approved for the Amex SPG w/25K bonus as outlined RIGHT before the deadline (30 minutes to spare); checked it an hour later and was switched to the new $200 credit. Interesting is how many are saying the bonus (and a RICHER one) will return in a few weeks; just don’t see how?

  6. I’d appreciate it if you would look into what’s happening with the Canadian credit cards since Chase just abandoned the Canadian market in March.

  7. “I’m quite certain this is not the case. In fact I’ve confirmed it.”
    It does makes more sense now. However, may I know how did you confirm it?

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