As I covered in the live blog for the Marriott merger, some of our worst fears have been confirmed.
The programs will start the integration process on 8/1 and all points will be combined. Starpoints will convert into Marriott points at a 1:3 ratio.
Currently the Starwood AMEX cards earn 1 Starpoint per dollar, which is equal to 3 Marriott points per dollar.
Unfortunately this will be cut down to just 2 Marriott points per dollar (0.67 Starpoints per dollar) effective August 1st. Marriott sugar-coated it, but I won’t. That is a massive 33% devaluation for everyday spending on the SPG AMEX cards. This is exactly why I was fearful of this merger process.
I’m thrilled that Marriott will retain the value of my existing stash of Starpoints. However they have just killed the value of putting everyday spending on my Starwood card.
Frankly, I’m surprised that AMEX allowed Marriott to do this. This card will no longer be competitive with other more lucrative everyday spending cards unless you’re gunning for SPG elite status via credit card spending.
There are some new sweet benefits that will make it worth keeping the card open. But my spending patterns are going to shift even more towards the Chase Quadfecta.
The Starwood AMEX will continue to have a $95 annual fee. Starting on 8/1, it will earn 2 Marriott points per dollar everywhere and 6 Marriott points per dollar at Marriott hotels.
In the good news department, the card will come with a free anniversary night at hotels that cost up to 35K Marriott points.
Starting in 2019 the card will give 15 nights towards earning elite status, but a member can only get 15 nights no matter how many different credit cards they have.
The Starwood AMEX will also come with Silver elite status for free. The annual spend threshold for Gold status will increase from $30K to $35K starting in 2019.
The Starwood Business AMEX will also still be $95/year. However it willl lose its Sheraton lounge access benefit.
It will have all of the benefits of the Starwood consumer AMEX, but it will also earn 4 Marriott points per dollar (1.33 Starpoints per dollar) on US restaurants, US gas stations, US wireless phone services, and US shipping charges. It will also get a free anniversary night at hotels that cost up to 35K Marriott points.
In August a new Starwood AMEX Luxury card will launch with a $450 annual fee. It will earn 6 points per dollar at Marriott hotels, 3 points per dollar on US restaurants, 3 points per dollar on US airfare, and 2 points per dollar elsewhere.
With the luxury card, you will get free Gold status and can earn Platinum status with $75K in annual spend.
The card will also award in $300 annual statement credits at Marriott and Starwood hotels.
The luxury card will come with a free anniversary night at hotels up to 50K points. Priority Pass lounge membership with 2 free guests will be included. Global Entry/TSA Pre-check will be included as well.
The signup bonuses for these cards has not yet been announced.
Head spinning? Here is a quick chart highlighting the new card offerings:
|Starwood Consumer AMEX||Starwood Business AMEX||Starwood Consumer AMEX Luxury Card|
|Points earned on everyday purchases||2 (0.67 Starpoints)||2 (0.67 Starpoints)||2 (0.67 Starpoints)|
|Points earned on US airfare||2 (0.67 Starpoints)||2 (0.67 Starpoints)||3 (1 Starpoint)|
|Points earned on Marriott/Starwood hotels||6 (2 Starpoints)||6 (2 Starpoints)||6 (2 Starpoints)|
|Points earned on US restaurants||2 (0.67 Starpoints)||4 (1.33 Starpoints)||3 (1 Starpoint)|
|Points earned on US gas stations, US wireless service, and US shipping||2 (0.67 Starpoints)||4 (1.33 Starpoints)||2 (0.67 Starpoints)|
|Free elite status level||Silver||Silver||Gold|
|Elite night credits||15||15||15|
|Elite status with annual spending||Gold for $30K (2018)|
Gold for $35K (2019)
|Gold for $30K (2018)|
Gold for $35K (2019)
|Platinum for $75K
|Anniversary free night||Up to 35K Marriott points (11,667 Starpoints)||Up to 35K Marriott points (11,667 Starpoints)||Up to 50K Marriott points (16,667 Starpoints)|
|Annual Marriott/Starwood hotel credit.||None||None||$300|
|Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit||None||None||Full credit every 4 years.|
|Foreign transaction fees||None||None||None|
|Unlimited Boingo WiFi and in-room premium WiFi||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Priority Pass lounge membership||None||None||Yes, with 2 free guests|
Stay tuned for more analysis of the merger…