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American Express and Starwood enhance cobrand credit card benefits

American Express and Starwood enhance cobrand credit card benefits

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Old Apr 14, 16, 7:51 am   -   Wikipost
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This thread is for discussion of the new benefits & fee structure announced in June 2015. For general discussion of the SPG Amex, see SPG American Express [Master Thread].

Will the additional cardholders on my Starwood Business Amex account get access to the Sheraton Club lounge? What about guests in additional rooms I'm also paying for?
"This benefit is for Basic Card Members only on Starpoint Eligible Rate reservations...Sheraton Club lounge access is limited to the eligible Card Member and a guest staying in the same room for the duration of the stay, regardless of how many rooms have been reserved." (See Starwood FAQs.)
Which hotel brands with the Sheraton name will offer the lounge benefit?
The benefit is offered at all Sheraton-branded properties, including Sheraton Grand hotels, with the exception of any Luxury Collection property. It is not available at Four Points by Sheraton hotels.
Wiil I still get Club access if I book my stay with points or cash+points?
Per Starwood Lurker in post #104, yes.
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Old Jun 6, 15, 9:49 am
  #121  
 
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Originally Posted by mahasamatman View Post
Yes, it does.


Does it matter?
Well considering most people get the SPG amex for spg points, I guess you must prefer the card for other reasons. If that's the case, then I guess it doesn't matter that you can earn spg points without a FTF.

Kind of wondering why you would get this card in the first place then. Please help my curiosity.
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Old Jun 6, 15, 10:07 am
  #122  
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Originally Posted by Dasanii View Post
Well considering most people get the SPG amex for spg points, I guess you must prefer the card for other reasons. If that's the case, then I guess it doesn't matter that you can earn spg points without a FTF.

Kind of wondering why you would get this card in the first place then. Please help my curiosity.
Simple.

Just because your overseas spend might offset the increased $30 for the annual fee does not mean that everyone's overseas spend will offset that.

Inasmuch as SPG has many more North American products than in any other region indicates that the focus was primarily to US consumers who would likely use the card more in North America than elsewhere.

I have no data but I would hazard a guess that most of those who hold the card will not be able to offset the increased fee with overseas spend and the rest of the perks are window dressing or putting lipstick on a pig.

Funny that SPG is taking this tack when its' stock is in the dumps and it recognizes its need to diversify its brands fast.

Last edited by NJUPINTHEAIR; Jun 6, 15 at 10:16 am
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Old Jun 6, 15, 10:25 am
  #123  
 
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Originally Posted by NJUPINTHEAIR View Post

Funny that SPG is taking this tack when its' stock is in the dumps and it recognizes its need to diversify its brands fast.
You made me look. HOT closed Friday at $84.55, close to its 52 week high. Not exactly in the dumps IMHO.
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Old Jun 6, 15, 11:46 am
  #124  
 
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Originally Posted by seawolf View Post
Am I understanding the "enhancements" correctly?

As a SPG Platinum as well as SPG AMEX Personal and SPG OPEN member, I'm getting no FTF/Boingo in exchange for more crowded lounges and slower/more congested Internet and higher AF?!?!?

Really seems like SPG is diluting SPG platinum benefits by signing off with AMEX on these changes.

Is there even a reason I should qualify for SPG platinum anymore? Seems like the only thing missing is suite upgrades and the amenity. Not really much incentive to do 25/50 a year for qualification when I can just pay $95 for the SPG OPEN.

These changes doesn't make any sense to me. Increase my AF but lose at least 25/50 nights to another chain. How does that even add up from SPG perspective?
After concentrating my hotel stays at Starwood properties for about 5 months I reached platinum. After having it for a year I realized that it isn't worth the hassle of staying at Starwood properties when others make more practical sense, so I dropped back down to gold. Haven't really noticed much difference.
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Old Jun 6, 15, 12:00 pm
  #125  
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Originally Posted by geclub1 View Post
You made me look. HOT closed Friday at $84.55, close to its 52 week high. Not exactly in the dumps IMHO.
This is FT. Never let facts get in the way of a good rant...
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Old Jun 6, 15, 12:01 pm
  #126  
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Originally Posted by Dasanii View Post
Kind of wondering why you would get this card in the first place then.
I'm not a one-trick pony. I like to diversify.
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Old Jun 6, 15, 12:02 pm
  #127  
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The hypocrisy on this board entertains me

For eons now, people have complained about the SPG Amex having the forex fee, which precludes its value for use internationally at SPG hotels or for general spend.

Now SPG Amex has eliminated the forex fee and increased its annual fee by $30--putting its annual fee right in line with most transferrable point earning cards. Anyone who has any issue with this is a fool IMHO. This is a good move, and I applaud SPG/Amex for making the change. The $30 increase is more than made worthwhile for the eliminated forex fee.

If you don't travel internationally, then you can decide if you want to get rid of the card--except that its annual fee is now exactly the same as all of the other cards you might consider.

In addition, the extra $30 fee gives access to premium internet at any SPG hotel and free Boingo worldwide. Not too shabby.

For those who are whining about the Sheraton Club access for the SPG Business Amex, thinking it somehow devalues the Club access for SPG Plats, I am laughing at you.

First, this differentiates the Business Card, which is a great move for both SPG and Amex to get more business spend on the card and potentially get more cardholders. Smart business.

Second, this benefit only applies to Sheraton hotels, so it's not exactly a devalue for any SPG elite except at Sheraton hotels. A substantial proportion of SPG Business Amex cardholders are likely elite or will be elite with SPG, anyway, so I doubt this waters down much of anything.

Finally, this is a smart move in conjunction with SPG's new plan to improve its Sheratons and drive more business to Sheraton. Get an SPG Business Amex and you can automatically save money with Sheraton Club access--that is certainly a factor to push more hotel stays to Sheraton for business travelers. While a few SPG elites may be discouraged to stick with SPG, as evidenced by the whiners here on this thread, there likely will be far more Sheraton business from people who might now get this card and switch business to SPG and Sheraton because of this important perk. That's a win for Sheraton, a win for Starwood, and not much of a loss overall. Net big win for Sheraton, IMHO. I doubt the Clubs will be noticeably more crowded--there are a lot of Sheraton Clubs, and there's going to be more.
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Old Jun 6, 15, 12:39 pm
  #128  
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Originally Posted by geclub1 View Post
You made me look. HOT closed Friday at $84.55, close to its 52 week high. Not exactly in the dumps IMHO.
Well, it WAS in the dumps.

Glad you made out well, but that is only because the entire company is now in play.
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Old Jun 6, 15, 12:49 pm
  #129  
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Originally Posted by bhrubin View Post
The $30 increase is more than made worthwhile for the eliminated forex fee.
For some people.

Originally Posted by bhrubin View Post
its annual fee is now exactly the same as all of the other cards you might consider.
Except all those cards with no annual fee.

Originally Posted by bhrubin View Post
the extra $30 fee gives access to premium internet at any SPG hotel and free Boingo worldwide. Not too shabby.
Platinums already get the first. And I'm not sure the second is worth anything. Pretty shabby.

Originally Posted by bhrubin View Post
For those who are whining about the Sheraton Club access for the SPG Business Amex, thinking it somehow devalues the Club access for SPG Plats, I am laughing at you.
This one I agree with.
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Old Jun 6, 15, 1:14 pm
  #130  
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Originally Posted by mahasamatman View Post
Except all those cards with no annual fee.
Except some of those no-fee cards don't let you transfer points to rewards programs--unless you have an annual fee card. Chase Freedom and Ink Cash don't unless you have Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus. Amex Everyday does and Citi ThankYou Preferred do, but those points aren't nearly as valuable and don't transfer to as many partners as do SPG points. SPG points are more valuable, and the toughest to accumulate for a reason. Using the SPG Amex to accumulate more is not surprisingly associated with the $65 and soon $95 fee.

If you don't like it, cancel the card. If you use the SPG Amex enough, you can also get an annual fee credit or offer for more points--as I always have. If you don't use it enough, then there's no reason for the complaint.

For me, having no forex fee means I can now use the SPG Amex cards for non-bonus spend when I travel abroad to accumulate more points.

Every change has some winners and losers. I strongly suspect this change makes far more winners than losers. And I know it is more of a win for SPG, as well.

Platinums already get the first. And I'm not sure the second is worth anything. Pretty shabby.
I'm Plat. But I'll happily take the free Boingo wifi plan. I travel a lot internationally, and the Boingo access is very useful abroad.

This one I agree with.
At least we found one area of agreement!

Ultimately, things change, whether we like it or not. Everyone knew that SPG Amex was eventually going to get rid of its forex fee, and everyone knew that the annual fee would increase when that fee was removed. At least SPG Amex offered a few extra perks on top if it. The SPG Amex Business Sheraton Club benefit helps me not all since I'm already Plat, but it's nice to know I can now use it for my SPG stays everywhere--which is the reason for me to have the SPG card in the first place.
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Old Jun 6, 15, 2:54 pm
  #131  
 
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Originally Posted by NJUPINTHEAIR View Post
I don't have an issue with your calculations or where you spend your lodging $$, only your original assertion that the IHG card annual fee was a lot more than it actually is -- You said it was $95.00 and it is $49.00 and it gives you 1 FREE NIGHT at ANY IHG PROPERTY.

Therefore, it is far less than the $95.00 that you had claimed and it gave you 1 free night that you totally omitted.

All of the above all have no Foreign Transaction Fee as will the SPG card.

Inasmuch as your point was that the increased annual fee of $95.00 for the new SPG card w/o a transaction fee was a fair offset to you -- that is fine, but then you compared it erroneously to a number of other credit cards that had no FTF while stating that they, too, charged a $95.00 AF.

As demonstrated above, many of those that you had mentioned -- and some that you did not -- DO NOT CHARGE A $95.00 AF, AND NOT ONLY DO THEY PROVIDE NO FTF, YOU ALSO GET 1 FREE NIGHT AT VARIOUS OF THEIR PROPERTIES.

That is a much better straightforward deal than the new SPG card, period.

I can accept that SPG points are more valuable to you and that the increased fee will be more than offset by your spending overseas, but by tying to make your case, you undid your argument for same by providing erroneous information and by not providing the other benefits that comparable FTF free hotel cards provide.

Therefore, comparing the new SPG card to the competition it still comes up lacking, although the improved benefits may work for you -- they certainly won't work for most, especially when a straight comparison is made between the products being offered.

Again, the SPG card comes up short.

It may work for you but the card as proposed is still inferior to what is currently on the market.

I just don't understand AMEX anymore.

Now, they are raising the annual fee on the SPG Amex by almost 40% for very little value in return for most American customers who won't spend all that much overseas, anyway.
You are correct, I erred when describing the annual fee of the IHG card. So many of my cards charge $95, I forgot IHG was less.

However annual fee is just one way to analyze a cards worth. As you correctly identify you must look at the benefits offered. With IHG you are given a free night. Let's assume the value of that night is $300. So with IHG you pay $49 and get $300 in value plus when you redeem points you earn approx $.01 per point.

Let's assume you spend $2,000 per month on your card. This gives you 24,000 points (more if some of your spend is actually at IHG properties). But for simplicity - let's assume it all isn't. That is worth $240 dollars in redemption (+ the $300 free night) for a total of $540 annually.

For SPG the same spend gets you 24,000 points but since Starwood points are worth more (about $.03 per point) you get $600 in value. More than IHG - but of course since the annual fee is more ($95) you must subtract that. That makes the SPG card worth $554 in value. So at this spend - about break even without considering the other benefits. Starwood allows you to transfer to Airlines at 1:25 to 1. A nice perk over IHG. And of course if you spend more than $2,000 per month the Starwood card is even better. Now not everyone does and I'll be the first to admit this is a rudimentary analysis. But my point is that you cannot just look at the annual fee. You must look at your spend pattern and then what points are valued at to identify which is better for you.
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Old Jun 6, 15, 2:55 pm
  #132  
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Everytime I hear someone excited about free Boingo, I honest to God think that they a Boingo employee going incognito.
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Old Jun 6, 15, 3:05 pm
  #133  
 
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Do you need to pay for a stay with the SPG Business Amex to get the club lounge benefit, or just have the card?
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Old Jun 6, 15, 3:15 pm
  #134  
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Originally Posted by TravelinSperry View Post
With IHG you are given a free night. Let's assume the value of that night is $300. So with IHG you pay $49 and get $300 in value plus when you redeem points you earn approx $.01 per point.
I think $300 is a bit much. Let's be more conservative and say $250.

Originally Posted by TravelinSperry View Post
Let's assume you spend $2,000 per month on your card. This gives you 24,000 points (more if some of your spend is actually at IHG properties). But for simplicity - let's assume it all isn't. That is worth $240 dollars in redemption (+ the $300 free night) for a total of $540 annually.
IHG points are worth 0.7 cents so the value here is $168. With the free night, total value is $418. Subtract the annual fee of $49 and you're at about $370.

Originally Posted by TravelinSperry View Post
For SPG the same spend gets you 24,000 points but since Starwood points are worth more (about $.03 per point) you get $600 in value. More than IHG - but of course since the annual fee is more ($95) you must subtract that. That makes the SPG card worth $554 in value. So at this spend - about break even without considering the other benefits. Starwood allows you to transfer to Airlines at 1:25 to 1. A nice perk over IHG. And of course if you spend more than $2,000 per month the Starwood card is even better. Now not everyone does and I'll be the first to admit this is a rudimentary analysis. But my point is that you cannot just look at the annual fee. You must look at your spend pattern and then what points are valued at to identify which is better for you.
The value of an SPG point is 2.4 cents. The 1:25 to 1 airline transfer ratio is already baked into the value of the points.

So 24,000 points is worth $576. Subtract the $95 annual fee and you're at about $480.

So Starwood wins this battle. That being said, most people aren't putting 24k spend on a card. They are putting less than 10k. So for most people, it is likely that the IHG is a much better value b/c of the annual free night award.

If you're a big spender, the value of the SPG points will trump almost all points on the market.
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Old Jun 6, 15, 3:46 pm
  #135  
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Really? Values vary from person to person

Hey guys, I realize everyone has their preferred valuation for different points/miles, but everyone also should recognize that everyone's valuations are their own and only their own. Differences between your calculations matter little when you use different values for different points/miles.

The question here is for those who already have the SPG Amex or want to get that card: is the $30 extra fee worth the value add/value for you?

If it isn't, then don't get or keep the card. As you all realize, you have plenty of other hotel credit cards from which to choose.

If it is, then get or keep the card.

All this constant whining and bellyaching about which card is best for everyone or "best overall" is just plain silly. There is no such thing.

I also think that people's opinions of hotel cards varies partly because of where their travels take them most (and which hotel chains best serve those locations) and what kind of travel you prefer. If you like free hotel nights and/or often stay in budget/midscale hotels, then SPG and thee SPG Amex may not be the best for you. If you like premium travel, then it's likely the SPG card is going to appeal...because the SPG points permit airline transfer for premium awards and because SPG has more upscale/luxury hotel options than the other major chains. If you value points towards upscale/luxury hotels, then it's likely the SPG Amex and Chase cards are of more appeal because SPG and Hyatt hotels have the best upscale/luxury hotels in more locations. But if you travel to or want to travel to places where SPG And Hyatt don't have those hotels, then they may not appeal as much.

We all have different travel budgets, travel patterns, travel preferences, and travel priorities, just as we have different spending patterns and preferences. All of these create scenarios where any of the many different hotel or transferrable point cards have different relative values to each of us.

So get the one that has the best value to you. And shut up about the fact that others will see it differently.

If everyone agreed with whatever valuation you use, then everyone would drop other cards and get the same cards as you, and use them as you do, which would force your hotel/point system to more quickly devalue what you so prefer. Be happy that people don't always agree!
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