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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 Apr 17, 18, 11:09 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 21
Letís talk about alternatives to the SPG Amex after the massive Marriott devaluation

While everyone in this forum is debating the differences between the SPG/ Marriott loyalty program merger, the one thing that is an undisputed fact is that SPG points earned through the SPG Amex will be devalued significantly. In the past, $1 spent equaled 1 SPG point or 3 Marriott Reward points. After August, $1 spent will equal .67 SPG points or 2 Marriott Points. If you are like me who used the SPG Amex for “ALL” spend, you are probably wondering if there are better alternatives.

I would like to start this thread to discuss alternatives to the SPG Amex. I think most who valued the SPG Amex program did so because of the 20,000 points to 25,000 miles transfer rate to airlines. After August, spending $20,000 will only net you 40,000 Marriott reward points instead of 60,000 since now you will only receive 2 Marriott points per dollar spent. (By the way, I am assuming everyday spend for sake of this thread). So in order to get 60,000 Marriott points, which will also net 25,000 miles, you will have to spend $30K instead of $20K.

The intent of this thread is not to debate the differences between the SPG/ Marriott programs. The intent is to see if there are better credit cards out there to maximize spend. In other words, where can I get more bang for my buck if I spend $20k.

Let's make this a productive discussion.



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I've taken the liberty to try to compile some options that FlyerTalk members have proposed in this thread to make it easier for readers. Please note that these are only suggestions and that I take no responsibility on what you decide to do. This is also not an all inclusive list. These are just suggestions that seem to be the most recurring. There are many suggestions in this thread that might be worth considering. I will continue to update these suggestions as they come in.


1. Become part of the Ultimate Rewards Program with Chase. Currently there is a promotion where you can apply for a fee free Chase Freedom Unlimited Card that will allow you to earn 3 UR points for every dollar spent for a whole year. These points can then be transferred to Ultimate Reward Points using the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve cards. (Note that there are rumors that Chase might put an end to the ability to transfer points between cards.)

2. If you travel a lot, apply for the Amex Platinum Card which pays 5x membership reward points on airfare and 5x membership reward points for hotels booked through amextravel.com

3. If you want to ditch Marriott altogether, apply for the Hilton Aspire card which pays 14 points per Hilton dollar spent, 7 points for airlines, car rentals and dining and 3 points for everything else. Plus you will become a Diamond member instantly which will also generate an additional 20 HHonor points per hilton $1 spent. Don't forget you also get hotel lounge access plus other perks as well. Marriott is getting rid of lounge access for Gold Members which is key to many business travelers.

4. Amex Every Day spend card give 1.5 membership reward points per dollar spent. This is a great card for non-bonus spend.

5. If you want cash back, the Fidelity Rewards Visa is a great choice. This card will give you 2% unlimited cash back on all spend.
J S, renila, ESpen36 and 16 others like this.

Last edited by digimon; Apr 27, 18 at 11:26 am
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Old Apr 17, 18, 11:11 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Programs: CX Diamond, AA Gold, Bonvoy Platinum
Posts: 421
Originally Posted by digimon View Post
While everyone in this forum is debating the differences between the SPG/ Marriott loyalty program merger, the one thing that is an undisputed fact is that SPG points earned through the SPG Amex will be devalued significantly. In the past, $1 spent equaled 1 SPG point or 3 Marriott Reward points. After August, $1 spent will equal .67 SPG points or 2 Marriott Points. If you are like me who used the SPG Amex for ďALLĒ spend, you are probably wondering if there are better alternatives.

I would like to start this thread to discuss alternatives to the SPG Amex. I think most who valued the SPG Amex program did so because of the 20,000 points to 25,000 miles transfer rate to airlines. After August, spending $20,000 will only net you 40,000 Marriott reward points instead of 60,000 since now you will only receive 2 Marriott points per dollar spent. (By the way, I am assuming everyday spend for sake of this thread). So in order to get 60,000 Marriott points, which will also net 25,000 miles, you will have to spend $30K instead of $20K.

The intent of this thread is not to debate the differences between the SPG/ Marriott programs. The intent is to see if there are better credit cards out there to maximize spend. In other words, where can I get more bang for my buck if I spend $20k.

Let's make this a productive discussion.
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Old Apr 17, 18, 11:16 am
  #3  
formerly cooltyler
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: San Francisco, CA Starwood Gold, IC RA, PC Plat, Hilton Gold, UA Premier Gold 1MM, Amex Centurion, Hertz Gold 5*, AA EXP, Hyatt Diamond
Posts: 302
I'm leaning towards the Amex Everyday Preferred Card. 1.5x Membership Rewards seems pretty close to 3 Marriott Points and definitely more valuable than 2 Marriott Points. Thoughts?
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Old Apr 17, 18, 11:17 am
  #4  
J S
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 462
I agree. Not sure what my card of choice will be after August, but it won't be my SPG Amex. I will be very interested to see what others are suggesting.

Also, I haven't seen much discussion about availability under the new program. My experience has been that SPG availability is very good while Marriott availability is very poor. Given that, I may just shift my spend to a cash back card like Chase Sapphire Reserve that effectively gives me 1.5% back.
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Old Apr 17, 18, 11:17 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Programs: CX Diamond, AA Gold, Bonvoy Platinum
Posts: 421
Will likely be closing both personal and business SPG cards. Chase Reserve at 3X travel and dining, 4.5 cents of travel spend. E.g. $100k spend allows $4,500 in travel spend, and not tied to SPG.
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Old Apr 17, 18, 11:21 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Seattle
Programs: SPG Platinum, Marriot, Alaska Air, AAdvantage, Hilton Honors Diamond, British Airways
Posts: 146
There is some good news for those with the business version of the SPG Amex. 4 pts at U.S. Restaurants, Gas stations, wireless phone and shipping. Again... Only for U. S. Based purchases. This isn't great for those of us that travel internationally a lot and spend big $ at restaurants. However.... We will be getting what is effectively 1.33 SPG points on these purchases.

Perhaps Chase will beat this deal as they seem to be quite competitive with their offers. Their new premiere plus card doesn't do it but perhaps they'll be more offerings in the future.

Amex can't be happy with this.
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Old Apr 17, 18, 11:33 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Seattle
Programs: SPG Platinum, Marriot, Alaska Air, AAdvantage, Hilton Honors Diamond, British Airways
Posts: 146
One other thing to consider... We don't know what these points are going to be worth until the award charts come out in August. I'm waiting until August to decide where my daily spend is going. In the meantime...I'm making my hotel reservations for next year's travel between now and August.
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Old Apr 17, 18, 11:36 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: CLE
Programs: SPG/Marriott (Plat)
Posts: 29
Count me in for this discussion. I've got business and personal cards, and will likely cancel both on August 1st. Not sure if I should go straight cash-back or move to either a Membership Rewards or other point-based card.
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Old Apr 17, 18, 11:38 am
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 21
Originally Posted by dqdude View Post
One other thing to consider... We don't know what these points are going to be worth until the award charts come out in August. I'm waiting until August to decide where my daily spend is going. In the meantime...I'm making my hotel reservations for next year's travel between now and August.
This holds true only if you value the credit card as a hotel credit card. But many SPG Amex holders used the card for the lucrative airline transfer rate. And Marriott has made the devaluation crystal clear when it comes to earning 2 point per dollar vs 3 points per dollar spent. If you are someone who values the SPG Amex for airline miles, you are almost better off going with an actual airline partner. At least you'll get dollar for dollar points to miles. So $30K spend will most likely equal 30K miles versus 25K miles with Marriott.
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Old Apr 17, 18, 12:09 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Seattle
Programs: SPG Platinum, Marriot, Alaska Air, AAdvantage, Hilton Honors Diamond, British Airways
Posts: 146
You are correct as I value my spg cards for hotel use only.

Wouldn't the CSR be better for airline miles regardless?


Originally Posted by digimon View Post
This holds true only if you value the credit card as a hotel credit card. But many SPG Amex holders used the card for the lucrative airline transfer rate. And Marriott has made the devaluation crystal clear when it comes to earning 2 point per dollar vs 3 points per dollar spent. If you are someone who values the SPG Amex for airline miles, you are almost better off going with an actual airline partner. At least you'll get dollar for dollar points to miles. So $30K spend will most likely equal 30K miles versus 25K miles with Marriott.
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Old Apr 17, 18, 12:15 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Programs: Marriott, IHG, Delta, United
Posts: 276
I currently have both the personal SPG AMEX and personal Marriott Chase cards.

Since the 15 nights from the cards are not stackable, I am debating about the value of keeping both. I realize they each will provide a free night, so presumably two cards equates to two free nights, which is better than one free night. But aside from the second free night, what is the benefit in having both?

Just curious if I am missing something.
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Old Apr 17, 18, 12:29 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 16
I already have two CC (costco for costco, food, and gas and SPG for everything else) that I use. I want a card where I don't have to think, so I am leaning towards the fidelity or citi cards that give 2% cash back on everything and no annual fee.
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Old Apr 17, 18, 12:39 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Programs: MR-Amb, Hyatt-Globalist, AA-EXP
Posts: 1,494
I'm sure I'll sign up for the new cards for the bonuses, but at the end of the day I'll likely shift all my spend to Chase Sapphire Reserve (and Chase Freedom for the 5x bonus categories). A large portion of my charges are travel and restaurant anyway, and the incremental difference on base spend that I might get from a cash back card likely isn't worth the hassle. Then I'll keep using Amex platinum for airline charges.

I have enough SPG points to cover my airline transfers for the next few years, and other than occasional JAL and Asiana transfers, I've been able to handle my typical international air travel reasonably well using Ultimate Reward points. It will be a little weird because the SPG card has been my go to since the early 2000s, but I don't need the annual night credits anymore since I'll have lifetime platinum anyway, and I'm not sure the other benefits will be worth carrying the card if my spend is going to be minimal.
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Old Apr 17, 18, 12:54 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: YVR
Programs: Aeroplan
Posts: 91
Anyone know how the program is/might be changing for Canada? I was planning to get a Amex SPG personal/business this year.....is it still worth it?
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Old Apr 17, 18, 1:14 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: YVR
Posts: 1,780
Originally Posted by YVRStarFlyer View Post
Anyone know how the program is/might be changing for Canada? I was planning to get a Amex SPG personal/business this year.....is it still worth it?
I've been searching for info on this all morning - nothing.

In Canada, there are a lot of implications. Think about the fact that us Canadians just got over the loss of our beloved Marriott Chase Visa, and then were offered the SPG Amex as an alternative. Well, that alternative may not even be around much longer. Amex in Canada must agree to rebrand the card. And I would assume they have until Feb 2019, when the SPG website will disappear forever.

For me, this announcement comes with a lot of uncertainty, because I hold both the SPG Amex and the new Cobalt Amex. The Cobalt earns Tier MRs (which are MRs, but cannot be transferred directly to airline programs - but can be in a roundabout way by being transferred to SPG 2:1). So...what happens when SPG is officially the combined program in August? Will they still be able to be transferred to SPGs until the SPG program is officially wiped? Or will the ability to transfer be taken away?

I'm annoyed that this announcement gave all the answers to US credit card holders, but left Canadian credit card holders in the dark....
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