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Should you apply for a Marriott or SPG credit card now?

Summary

Should you apply for Marriott and SPG cards before they go away?

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Starting on Feb. 13, Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty programs will be replaced by the new Marriot Bonvoy™ program. Along with this update, SPG and Marriott cobranded credit cards from Chase and American Express will see all sorts of new changes. Among these changes are some exciting new offerings – including 100,000-point, limited-time sign-up bonuses on several cards. Unfortunately, other cards are closing applications completely.

With the deadline approaching to apply for certain Marriott and SPG cards, it is important to consider what expiring cards have to offer. While a limited-time sign-up bonus is tempting to jump at, should you wait to apply for a new offer or apply for an expiring card before time runs out?

Upcoming changes: At a glance

With new names, card art and sign-up bonuses launching over the next couple months, it can be hard to keep track of all of the upcoming changes. Here is a quick breakdown of what is coming for SPG and Marriott cobranded cards.

Change date
Changes
Feb. 13, 2019
  • Marriott Bonvoy program debuts and rebranded card names take effect.
  • Applications close for the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Business credit card (rebranding as Marriott Bonvoy Premier Plus Business Visa Signature) and The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express (rebranding as Marriott Bonvoy Card from American Express)
  • Limited-time, 100,000-point introductory bonuses debut for Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card from American Express (rebranding as Marriot Bonvoy Brilliant Card from American Express) and the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card form American Express (rebranding as Marriot Bonvoy Business Card from American Express)
Feb. 28, 2019Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card relaunches as Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card, offering a limited-time 100,000-point intro bonus
Mar. 28, 2019New features are added to the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card and the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card
Apr. 24, 2019Limited-time intro bonuses on Marriot Bonvoy Brilliant card and Marriot Bonvoy Business card end

Expiring Marriott and SPG cards

Both the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Business card (soon to be the Marriott Bonvoy Premier Plus Business) and the Starwood Preferred Guest Amex (soon to be the Marriot Bonvoy Amex) will be closed to new applications on Feb. 13, 2019. However, they will still enjoy a few new features for cardholders who apply before that date.

Marriott Bonvoy Premier Plus Business card

After Feb. 13, the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Business card will be relaunched as the Marriott Bonvoy Premier Plus Business card with new card art for all new and existing cardholders. The sign-up bonus will remain the same – 75,000 points if you spend $3,000 in the first three months. In addition to the card’s current perks, users will have the opportunity to earn a second free night award annually if they spend $60,000 in a calendar year.

Marriott Bonvoy Amex

Other than an updated card name, not much is changing on the Marriott Bonvoy Amex on Feb. 13. The introductory bonus will remain at 75,000 points (if you spend $3,000 in the first three months) for cardholders who apply by the expiration date. However, the relaunched card will include a limited-edition design.

Changes to other Marriott and SPG cards

For the Marriott and SPG cards that are not closing applications, even more changes are coming in the next few months.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex

On Feb. 13, the Starwood Preferred Guest Luxury card will relaunch as the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex. Along with its new name, it will offer a limited time introductory bonus of 100,000 points for cardholders who spend $5,000 in the first three months. This offer will expire on Apr. 24, 2019. The card will also add a $100 luxury credit for dining and spa purchases at Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis properties (on stays of two nights or longer) starting March 28.

Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex

The Starwood Preferred Business Amex will relaunch as the Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex on Feb. 13. This card will also come with a limited-time intro bonus – 100,000 points for cardholders who spend $5,000 in the first 3 months (expires Apr. 24, 2019). Beginning on Mar. 28, the card will add a second free night award annually for users who spend more than $60,000 in a calendar year. Unfortunately, the annual fee will also increase on Mar. 28, from $95 to $125. However, cardholders who apply before the fee increases will have the fee waived the first year and only pay $95 in their second year, meaning you won’t have to pay the increased fee until your third year of membership.

Marriot Bonvoy Boundless

On Feb. 28, the Marriott Premier Plus card will relaunch as the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless. Like other Bonvoy cards, it will come with a limited-time 100,000-point introductory offer for cardholders who spend $5,000 in the first three months.

Comparing new and expiring Marriott Bonvoy offers

While it is true that some cards are going away, this rebranding and slew of card changes is largely a result of the SPG and Marriott merger. Despite some offers ending, changes to remaining cards ensure there is still a card for every kind of spender.

Marriott Premier Plus Business vs. Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex

Though the Marriott Premier Plus Business will be closed to new applications on Feb. 13, the updated Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex will include a lot of the same features. For example, both cards are offering a second annual free night award for heavy spenders. The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex will have a slightly higher annual fee come March, but cardholders who apply before Mar. 28 will actually pay less for the first two years of membership.

 Marriott Premier Plus Business card
Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Business credit card
Marriott Bonvoy Business card

Marriott Bonvoy Business Card from American Express

Rewards rate
  • 6 points per dollar at participating SPG and Marriot hotels
  • 4 points per dollar on gas station, restaurant, shipping, internet, cable and phone service purchases
  • 2 points per dollar on general purchases
  • 6 points per dollar at participating SPG and Marriot hotels
  • 4 points per dollar on U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, wireless phone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping purchases
  • 2 points per dollar on other purchases
Annual fee$99$95, $0 first year ($125 starting Mar. 28, 2019)
Introductory offer75,000 points if you spend $3,000 in first 3 months100,000 points if you spend $5,000 in first 3 months (2/13/19-4/24/19)
Features
  • Annual free night stay at category 1-5 hotel
  • Additional annual free night for users who spend $60,000 in a calendar year (starting Feb. 13)
  • 5th night free when you redeem 4 nights
  • Annual free night at category 1-5 hotel
  • Additional annual free night for users who spend $60,000 in a calendar year (starting Mar. 28)
  • 5th night free when you redeem four nights

SPG Amex vs. Marriott Bonvoy Boundless

The upcoming Marriott Bonvoy Boundless from Chase will offer essentially the same benefits as the current SPG Amex, as well as a 100,000-point intro bonus for a limited time.

 SPG Amex
The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

Rewards rate
  • 6 points per dollar at participating SPG and Marriott hotels
  • 2 points per dollar on other purchases
  • Terms apply
  • 6 points per dollar at participating SPG and Marriott hotels
  • 2 points per dollar on general purchases
Annual fee$95, $0 first year$95
Introductory offer75,000 points if you spend $3,000 in first 3 months100,000 points if you spend $5,000 in first 3 months (starting Feb. 28, 2019)
Features
  • Anniversary free nights at eligible hotels (up to 35,000 points)
  • 15 elite night credits toward next level of elite status
  • Anniversary free nights at eligible hotels (up to 35,000 points)
  • 15 elite night credits toward next level of elite status

However, if having an American Express card is a priority – and you don’t want to spring for the luxury card – you should apply for the SPG Amex before the cutoff date.

Should you apply for a Marriott or SPG card now?

If you are interested in the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury card, SPG Business card or Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Visa, you should wait to apply until limited-time intro bonuses debut later this year. As for the cards that are expiring, there are a few things to consider.

The Marriott Bonvoy Premier Plus Business card is going away on Feb. 13, but the new Bonvoy Business Amex comes with similar perks, and you can take advantage of a limited-time intro bonus. Plus, if you apply before Mar. 28, you’ll retain the $95 annual fee into your second year of membership. However, if a lower annual fee in the long run is important, you might want to sign-up for the Premier Plus before the deadline.

If you are hoping for a Marriott Bonvoy card with a lower annual fee, the Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless will soon be your only option. If having an American Express card is important, sign up for the SPG Amex before applications close on Feb. 13. Just keep in mind the new Bonvoy Boundless will include similar benefits and a limited-time bonus offer.

See related: Chase to offer 100K bonus points with new Marriott Bonvoy Credit Card, Marriott Rewards guide: The best ways to earn and use Marriott points

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