The End Of An Era – Saying Goodbye To Our SPG AMEX Cards

by joeheg

It was a day I knew was coming but I didn’t think it would get here so soon.

As part of the rearranging of the Marriott Bonvoy co-brand credit card portfolios, American Express lost the right to issue the entry-level Bonvoy personal card. Now, if you want a Marriott personal card with a sub-$100 annual fee, you’ll have to apply for the Bonvoy Boundless card from Chase.

American Express could no longer market the card to new members but everyone with the card was allowed to keep it. The card was given the very exciting name “Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card.”

Cardholders were told to keep using their old cards until they would be replaced when the cards were approaching their expiration dates.

SPG Amex

I still occasionally use my SPG Amex card but it’s a shell of its former self. The card used to earn one Starpoint per dollar on non-Starwood charges. After the merger with Marriott, you could transfer Starpoints to Marriott Rewards at a 1:3 ratio so you were still earning 3 Marriott points per dollar.

Then the card earning was “normalized” and all Bonvoy cards started to earn 2 points per dollar on charges not made at Marriott or Starwood properties. Add to that the constant increase in how many Marriott Bonvoy points it takes for a free night, off-peak and peak pricing algorithms and just the idea of being “Bonvoyed” and using the card lost almost all of its appeal to me.

But when I looked at it in the drawer, I remembered all the good times I had that were due to the points I earned with the card.

I’ll admit, it was a bit strange that the SPG and Starwood names aren’t used anymore but there are still thousands of people out there using credit cards promoting the brand. What a waste of free advertising and brand awareness.

I guess AMEX (or probably Marriott) wanted to fix that problem. I received notice that Sharon and I were receiving new cards for our Marriott Bonvoy American Express accounts. Even though our cards weren’t due to expire for at least another year, these cards were to be used immediately and our old cards would be deactivated shortly after we received the new ones.

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

Honestly, I kind of like the design of the card. IMHO, It’s much nicer than the Bonvoy Brilliant AMEX card which, besides being heavy, is just boring looking.

Even so, it’s time to say goodbye to my purple SPG card (which the numbers wore off within 6 months of use) and Sharon’s red SPG card (remember that one, she still had it).

The new Bonvoy Amex cards will take their places inside the drawer until I decide if I want to keep so many cards that provide free night certificates. These cards are at risk of being cut because Marriott’s peak and off-peak pricing model may make them less useful. It all depends on how Marriott’s computers classify properties each month. Once I see this, then I’ll have to make the decision to keep or cancel the card. Right now I’m leaning towards keeping it and closing the Chase Marriott card instead because I need to keep the AMEX RATs happy.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


playalaguna August 28, 2019 - 6:51 pm

The new American Express BONVoy cards may have value for the free night other than that, they keep my socks company. Neither it or the Chase BONVoy merits a place in the wallet.

Marc August 29, 2019 - 2:39 pm

When can we start using the free night benefit though?

joeheg August 29, 2019 - 6:39 pm

The free night certificate should show up in your Marriott Bonvoy account shortly after you pay the annual fee each year.

John Farrish (@jfarrish11) August 30, 2019 - 8:46 am

I look at my cancelled SPG Amex with fond memories. I got the card around 2004 and used the points earned to travel the world with free business class flights (through transfers to AA) and hotel rooms. Now it’s worthless and I cancelled after the earning value was cut by a third. RIP.


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