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Letís talk about alternatives to the SPG Amex after the massive Marriott devaluation

Letís talk about alternatives to the SPG Amex after the massive Marriott devaluation

Old Aug 17, 18, 12:05 pm
  #541  
 
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Originally Posted by RedSun View Post
IMO, your title is somehow misleading. All things born and die, everything changes. I do not think there is huge devaluation of the new AmEx SPG card. The new AmEx SPG does not give you 1x SPG, but it gives us the annual reward night that is worth 35,000 MRs. For most people, this is far better than the 1x SPG flat earning. I get about 7 SPG cards in my family and I use only one or two.

The AmEx SPG card change has minimal impact to me. It is a huge de-valuation with the transfer to airline, even with the 25% bonus. It is far better to transfer AmEx MR points to airline. The best way for my SPG use is to transfer to Marriott and the old transfer to Amtrak. Amtrak transfer is dead now.

For the sorely missed 1x SPG flat earning, I get the 1.5 UR Chase Freedom Unlimited. Then I get 2x MR AmEx Blue Business Plus. I do not even use my 2% Fidelity or Citi DC cards.
Let's run the math on what you said (red highlights are my emphasis).

Let's estimate a free night at 35,000 is worth $250.

Starpoints are valued from 2.4 to 2.7 cents per. So they've removed 1 Starpoint making the new valuation drop. This puts new values at 1.6 to 1.8 cents per. So to gain the same amount of value assuming these ratios one would have to spend between $13,888 and $15,625 annually. If we assume the free night only has a $200 value people would need to spend between $11,111 and $12,500 annually to tie.

Now Im not sure how you know the average annual spend for you to make such a blanket statement. However, for those who spend at least $1,300 per month on their cc (solely for spend that doesn't include spg hotels) - they were better off before the devaluation. However, if they spent less - then the free night is better for them.

I can surely say that for most people - the free night will absolutely be better now since most of us will no longer use this card as our everyday card and thus, that spend threshold will not be met by most. But it is my guess (and it's just a guess) that most FTers spent more than the $1,300 per mo as this was our primary everyday card and therefore it has been a devaluation.
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Old Aug 17, 18, 12:54 pm
  #542  
 
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I just cancelled my SPG Business card. I have Gold status this year from $30k spend last year, and I spent $30k this year to get Gold status next year. Will I keep this status even though I have cancelled the card? I don't care that much, since Gold isn't worth much anymore; no free breakfast, no lounge access, etc. But I am curious. I was keeping my card open just in case, but I had 5 AmEx cards and I had to close one to open a spot for Blue Business Plus.

Last edited by qofmiwok; Aug 17, 18 at 12:54 pm Reason: typo
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Old Aug 17, 18, 1:48 pm
  #543  
 
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What was great before was the card was good for general spend. Many of these categories you mentioned I already get 5x UR points on from Chase. The only value to me is for gas, and I spend almost nothing on gas.

The points only had value to me as airline miles because I use them for international business class at at least 3c value, making each one worth at least 3.75 with the transfer bonus. I am not excited about free nights. With the Marriott card I could never find a hotel I wanted to stay in at such low categories. And I don't like it hanging over my head to have to use it within a year.

Fortunately the Blue Business Plus came along, so my husband and I transferred $100k yearly spend from SPG to there. It's even way better return on spend, although with fewer transfer partners. I guess AmEx doesn't care since they get the spend either way. We also have Chase Freedom Unlimited at 1.5x which is next best, but already have a ton of points there. I've been putting more on my 2.5% cash back card as well.
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Old Aug 17, 18, 5:53 pm
  #544  
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Originally Posted by TravelinSperry View Post
Let's run the math on what you said (red highlights are my emphasis).

Let's estimate a free night at 35,000 is worth $250.

Starpoints are valued from 2.4 to 2.7 cents per. So they've removed 1 Starpoint making the new valuation drop. This puts new values at 1.6 to 1.8 cents per. So to gain the same amount of value assuming these ratios one would have to spend between $13,888 and $15,625 annually. If we assume the free night only has a $200 value people would need to spend between $11,111 and $12,500 annually to tie.

Now Im not sure how you know the average annual spend for you to make such a blanket statement. However, for those who spend at least $1,300 per month on their cc (solely for spend that doesn't include spg hotels) - they were better off before the devaluation. However, if they spent less - then the free night is better for them.

I can surely say that for most people - the free night will absolutely be better now since most of us will no longer use this card as our everyday card and thus, that spend threshold will not be met by most. But it is my guess (and it's just a guess) that most FTers spent more than the $1,300 per mo as this was our primary everyday card and therefore it has been a devaluation.
The old AmEx SPG card has been over-valued to start with. Sure the SPG point can be worth 2.4 to 2.7 cents. The AmEx BBP earns 2x MR, which is more than 3 cents flat rate spending. My BA no-fee Travel Reward card gives me 1.5x 1.75 = 2.625 cents cash equivalent flat spending with my BA/Merrill status. The Chase Freedom Unlimited is not far behind.

Most airline points are worth about 1.5 cents. With the 25% bonus, when SPG point is transferred to airline, each SPG is worth 1.875 cents. This is far below the 2.4-2.7 cents value you stated above. SPG -> airline is flexible, but the value dropped big. So it is not optimal to transfer to airline. I'm surprised that so many people do that. Can you tell me how value the 2.4-2.7 cents SPG value?

The old AmEx SPG cards were never my daily driver cards. Going forward, all my stockpile of SPG cards will just sit there earning me the free nights.....
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Old Aug 17, 18, 6:42 pm
  #545  
 
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Originally Posted by TravelinSperry View Post
I can surely say that for most people - the free night will absolutely be better now since most of us will no longer use this card as our everyday card
For example, one could put everyday spending up to $15k onto the Hilton Ascend and obtain a free weekend Hilton night as well as a free SPG night.

Originally Posted by RedSun View Post
Most airline points are worth about 1.5 cents. With the 25% bonus, when SPG point is transferred to airline, each SPG is worth 1.875 cents. This is far below the 2.4-2.7 cents value you stated above. SPG -> airline is flexible, but the value dropped big. So it is not optimal to transfer to airline. I'm surprised that so many people do that. Can you tell me how value the 2.4-2.7 cents SPG value?
Value is always hard. It's pretty easy to find an average value, but the big question is whether you just redeem randomly for average value or whether you travel widely and can choose good value options. I transferred 200k SPG points over the years to AA during bonus offers (i.e. 50% bonus rather than 25%), spending the 300k AA miles on long-haul business class tickets that would have cost slightly more than $20k. My value of transferred SPG points was therefore slightly in excess of 10c/pt. I've only managed to average 5c/pt on direct hotel awards (still over double the average), so I don't see how airline transfers surprise anyone.

Hotel awards are variable in value, but not nearly as variable as airline awards. The hotel chains are creating more categories and fine-tuning the redemption levels all the time, bringing those awards closer and closer to a set value. Airline awards are extremely variable in value. You can burn miles for less than nothing (e.g. Avios awards in economy on BA which cost more in fees than the whole bought fare!) or you can redeem them on expensive partner airlines at >7c/mile. (e.g. 40k AA award for a Cathay business class flight that would cost $3k.)
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Old Aug 17, 18, 6:56 pm
  #546  
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Originally Posted by Kremmen View Post
For example, one could put everyday spending up to $15k onto the Hilton Ascend and obtain a free weekend Hilton night as well as a free SPG night.


Value is always hard. It's pretty easy to find an average value, but the big question is whether you just redeem randomly for average value or whether you travel widely and can choose good value options. I transferred 200k SPG points over the years to AA during bonus offers (i.e. 50% bonus rather than 25%), spending the 300k AA miles on long-haul business class tickets that would have cost slightly more than $20k. My value of transferred SPG points was therefore slightly in excess of 10c/pt. I've only managed to average 5c/pt on direct hotel awards (still over double the average), so I don't see how airline transfers surprise anyone.

Hotel awards are variable in value, but not nearly as variable as airline awards. The hotel chains are creating more categories and fine-tuning the redemption levels all the time, bringing those awards closer and closer to a set value. Airline awards are extremely variable in value. You can burn miles for less than nothing (e.g. Avios awards in economy on BA which cost more in fees than the whole bought fare!) or you can redeem them on expensive partner airlines at >7c/mile. (e.g. 40k AA award for a Cathay business class flight that would cost $3k.)
When you say you get 10 cent/SPG point with some redemption on expensive business class travel, to me, it is self-fulfilling. I remember reading a recent article on a teacher (lady) who booked a $18,000 first class flight with full shower on the plane. She used her miles and points. For such redemption, of course the point value is much much higher, maybe even 20 cents/mile. Those first class seats are way over priced. We all have our opinion if those seats are worth $18,000. Also, those are just airline miles redemption, having little to do with SPG points.

I understand the logic behind the popularity of using SPG for to earn miles. With most of the airline cards, you earn just 1 mile/$. With SPG, you earn at least 1.25 miles/$. And SPG has many transfer partners. But with AmEx BBP, we get 2 miles/$. With Chase FU, we get 1.5 miles/$. SPG points receive the max value at 2.7 cents when used to redeem Marriott stays, and transfer to Amtrak if you ever take trains.
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Old Aug 17, 18, 7:02 pm
  #547  
 
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Originally Posted by RedSun View Post
Most airline points are worth about 1.5 cents. With the 25% bonus, when SPG point is transferred to airline, each SPG is worth 1.875 cents. This is far below the 2.4-2.7 cents value you stated above. SPG -> airline is flexible, but the value dropped big. So it is not optimal to transfer to airline.
So what is your preferred method of transferring to airlines?
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Old Aug 17, 18, 7:11 pm
  #548  
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Originally Posted by surfmonkey89 View Post
So what is your preferred method of transferring to airlines?
I have a couple airline CCs, mainly AA. I closed United and Southwest CCs. Most of my CC spendings are on AmEx MR and Chase UR. I have full lines of both CCs and points are easy to earn. Both have good transfer partners and I also use the alliance heavily. For transfers, I compare the $ value of all points.
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Old Aug 17, 18, 7:17 pm
  #549  
 
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This is where I’m heading as well (was SPG up to now): use EDP for daily spend, CFU for where they don’t take Amex. Also use the CFU sometimes for non grocery and gas, to take advantage of the 3% back I have for another 9mo or so. Once I revert back to 1.5% back, I’ll apply for CSR and transfer over all the points I’ve earned from using the CFU. I figure by next spring we should have a better idea of how all of this shakes out, and I’ll revise then if necessary.
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Old Aug 17, 18, 9:33 pm
  #550  
 
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Originally Posted by RedSun View Post
The old AmEx SPG card has been over-valued to start with. Sure the SPG point can be worth 2.4 to 2.7 cents. The AmEx BBP earns 2x MR, which is more than 3 cents flat rate spending. My BA no-fee Travel Reward card gives me 1.5x 1.75 = 2.625 cents cash equivalent flat spending with my BA/Merrill status. The Chase Freedom Unlimited is not far behind.

Most airline points are worth about 1.5 cents. With the 25% bonus, when SPG point is transferred to airline, each SPG is worth 1.875 cents. This is far below the 2.4-2.7 cents value you stated above. SPG -> airline is flexible, but the value dropped big. So it is not optimal to transfer to airline. I'm surprised that so many people do that. Can you tell me how value the 2.4-2.7 cents SPG value?

The old AmEx SPG cards were never my daily driver cards. Going forward, all my stockpile of SPG cards will just sit there earning me the free nights.....
I'm not sure what you mean by "over-valued to start with". Do you mean they were being too generous to start with or that people like FTers were overvaluing the card? Anyway, hotel points were worth 2.4-2.7 cents per. Of course people could redeem for less if they didn't have options re time and place. And people could get more (I redeemed last week for 3.6 cents per). But on average 2.4-2.7 is a good assessment (but of course people don't redeem on average). It's a rather personal thing.

As to airlines - I have never transferred SPG points to air. I personally found the hotel redemptions to be much more valuable (as I mostly get ~ 3 cents per and rarely get that via air redemptions). But that does bring up another point... air redemptions are harder to value. Some find tremendous value (and high cpms) by redeeming for business. People easily get 6-8 c per mile that way. Of course as another posted pointed out - most of us would never pay cash for those seats - so is it truly worth that cpm? I recently get 4.7 cents per mile via United on economy via their HNL>GUM flight and also close to that on some other Guam to micronesian islands flights. Well above your estimate. Of course, I realize not everyone goes to this part of the world and it does appear to be an outlier. The point I'm showing is... some can attain much better than your quote of 1.875 cents.

Now that SPG Amex has devalued, that BA card is a good one as is Chase UR and if you like/prefer the airline transfer options, Amex MR.

Personally, I've moved to Hilton Aspire & UA cc (which I value at 3 cents per). Diamond status, annual fee easily gotten back via free night and resort credit, and Priority Pass. I realize these aren't popular options as most don't get the cpms I do on United but for me - it's better than the BA card although I will consider Chase UR at some point.
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Old Aug 17, 18, 11:36 pm
  #551  
 
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Originally Posted by RedSun View Post
IMO, your title is somehow misleading. All things born and die, everything changes. I do not think there is huge devaluation of the new AmEx SPG card. The new AmEx SPG does not give you 1x SPG, but it gives us the annual reward night that is worth 35,000 MRs. For most people, this is far better than the 1x SPG flat earning. I get about 7 SPG cards in my family and I use only one or two.

The AmEx SPG card change has minimal impact to me. It is a huge de-valuation with the transfer to airline, even with the 25% bonus. It is far better to transfer AmEx MR points to airline. The best way for my SPG use is to transfer to Marriott and the old transfer to Amtrak. Amtrak transfer is dead now.

For the sorely missed 1x SPG flat earning, I get the 1.5 UR Chase Freedom Unlimited. Then I get 2x MR AmEx Blue Business Plus. I do not even use my 2% Fidelity or Citi DC cards.
Your beef with the VERY CORRECT title of this thread is a failure of imagination on your part, coupled with a failure to look at the simple math...

It's a 50% devaluation. by definition this is massive- validating the thread title.
of those of us who coveted the card, i'd posit that a large number put >$50,000/year on the card. $50k= 100k MR points plus a free night that expires vs 150k MR points for you to use as you please without limitations, conditions and expiration. further, if you spend points as i do, i'm either getting outside value on Cat 1/2, or i'm doing 5 night stays to get 5th night free. ergo, the free night is worth well less than its 'face value'.

if someone sock drawer'd the card, the new structure is a win.

if you put 7 figures on the card per annum (what i meant by 'failure of imagination'), this is a crushing and massive devaluation.

ironically, it produced the same result for both groups: a sock drawer'd card and some splainin for amex to do on their quarterly conference call when their spg #'s take a tumble. meanwhile, Chase, whose previous card only had value up to a finite point for people manufacturing status, will see an uptick because their card is worth 100% more now than it was yesterday.

the big takeaway... if you have a big negotiation coming up, hire the chase negotiating team. the amex team should be drawn and quartered... by amex even more than us.
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Old Aug 17, 18, 11:37 pm
  #552  
 
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Originally Posted by RedSun View Post
. SPG -> airline is flexible, but the value dropped big. So it is not optimal to transfer to airline. I'm surprised that so many people do that. .
60K SPG = 75K airline miles
60K Points = 75K airline miles

You're surprised because you didn't realize the air transfers are the same values.
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Old Aug 18, 18, 6:26 am
  #553  
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The problem is merging 2 currencies
If MR had given SPG a 2:1 valuation, then it would have caused howls of protest from the hotel owners and from Marriott shareholders
The main issue was the #:1 disparity on earning which lasted a sweet year but is gone now.
MR did give enough chances for arbitrage on points transfers (RIP)
Originally Posted by uncommonsensical View Post
if you put 7 figures on the card per annum (what i meant by 'failure of imagination'), this is a crushing and massive devaluation.

ironically, it produced the same result for both groups: a sock drawer'd card and some splainin for amex to do on their quarterly conference call when their spg #'s take a tumble. meanwhile, Chase, whose previous card only had value up to a finite point for people manufacturing status, will see an uptick because their card is worth 100% more now than it was yesterday.

the big takeaway... if you have a big negotiation coming up, hire the chase negotiating team. the amex team should be drawn and quartered... by amex even more than us.
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Old Aug 18, 18, 6:41 am
  #554  
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Originally Posted by uncommonsensical View Post
Your beef with the VERY CORRECT title of this thread is a failure of imagination on your part, coupled with a failure to look at the simple math...

It's a 50% devaluation. by definition this is massive- validating the thread title.
of those of us who coveted the card, i'd posit that a large number put >$50,000/year on the card. $50k= 100k MR points plus a free night that expires vs 150k MR points for you to use as you please without limitations, conditions and expiration. further, if you spend points as i do, i'm either getting outside value on Cat 1/2, or i'm doing 5 night stays to get 5th night free. ergo, the free night is worth well less than its 'face value'.

if someone sock drawer'd the card, the new structure is a win.

if you put 7 figures on the card per annum (what i meant by 'failure of imagination'), this is a crushing and massive devaluation.

ironically, it produced the same result for both groups: a sock drawer'd card and some splainin for amex to do on their quarterly conference call when their spg #'s take a tumble. meanwhile, Chase, whose previous card only had value up to a finite point for people manufacturing status, will see an uptick because their card is worth 100% more now than it was yesterday.

the big takeaway... if you have a big negotiation coming up, hire the chase negotiating team. the amex team should be drawn and quartered... by amex even more than us.
Hi, bud, you can't even do the math right. With SPG card dropping from 1 SPG to 2 MR, it is 1/3 de-valuation, not 50%. Simple math.

We get a total of 6 SPG cards. I was in the process closing some of those cards before the change of free night. I did not and won't run my spending through those cards. This is what I said the AmEx SPG was over-valued to start with. There are better cards to earn AmEx MR and Chase UR reward points. If you value the flexibility of SPG points and do not want to work hard to maximize the value of other reward systems, I understand it. The SPG --> airline won't give you 2.7 cents value. The airline redemption value of 10 cents/mile has nothing to do with SPG card, but with your airlines.

I did not make the mistake of putting 7 figure spending in this SPG card. So the change has no impact to me. If you maximize all the reward cards, this should have little impact to you too.

As the other members just said, the best value of the SPG points are hotel redemption, either SPG or Marriott.
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Old Aug 18, 18, 6:45 am
  #555  
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Originally Posted by mhdena View Post
60K SPG = 75K airline miles
60K Points = 75K airline miles

You're surprised because you didn't realize the air transfers are the same values.
If I run $60,000 spending on my AmEx BBP card, I get 120,000 MR points and I can transfer to Singapore airline for 120,000 miles. This is one of the examples. Then I work my way of the Star Alliance system.

75,000 miles or 120,000 miles??
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