SPG Luxury Amex
Photo: American Express

If you’re a Marriott or Starwood loyalist, or even a hotel free agent, the new Starwood Preferred Guest Luxury Card offers great benefits and a massive sign-up bonus, at least until the end of October.


Welcome Bonus

From now until October 31, 2018, the SPG Luxury Card will net you 100,000 Marriott points when you spend $5,000 in the first three months, good for stays at any Marriott or Starwood property, thanks to the two chains’ recently completed merger. Just note that you won’t be eligible for this bonus if you’ve received a welcome bonus from a Marriott Rewards card in the last 24 months, acquired a Marriott Rewards card in the last 90 days, or held a Ritz-Carlton Rewards card any time in the last 30 days.

Marriott points are obviously not as flexible as transferrable points like those you’d earn from Chase Sapphire cards, and at roughly .9 cents per point (according to The Points Guy’s most recent valuations), they’re on the low end of the spectrum in terms of point value. But still, that’s good for roughly $900 in hotel stays, and potentially more if you find a particularly valuable redemption.

Earning Points

In addition to the welcome bonus, you’ll earn six points per dollar spent at SPG and Marriott properties, three points on restaurants and flights (when booked directly with an airline), and two points per dollar on everything else. The points might not be worth a ton, but it’s easy to rack up a lot of them.

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Annual Fee

The SPG Luxury card carries a hefty $450 annual fee, which is not waived in the first year. But don’t freak out! The perks should more than cover it.

Perks

Here’s where things get really fun. Every SPG Luxury cardholder gets the following:

  • A free night award (up to 50,000 points) on your cardmember anniversary.
  • $300 in statement credits every year on Marriott and SPG purchases, which effectively chisels the annual fee down to $150 all on its own.
  • Priority Pass membership, with access for two guests.
  • A $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA Precheck credit - just charge the fee to your card, and the charge will be wiped away.
  • Unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi access - Boingo is the Wi-Fi you access on the ground, unfortunately. It’s Gogo you’d want for in-flight internet.
  • Automatic Marriott Gold status, which is bumped to Platinum if you spend $75,000 on the card (inclusive of all purchases) during the calendar year.
  • 15 elite night credits per year, starting in 2019.

You’ll notice that several of those perks overlap with those offered by the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which potentially harms the value proposition for veteran points collectors. But purely from a monetary standpoint, the anniversary night and $300 credit should cover the $450 annual fee, and that’s not even considering the hefty welcome bonus.

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If you tend to stay in Marriott properties when you travel, and are eligible for the limited time 100,000 point welcome bonus, the SPG Luxury Card seems like a no-brainer right now. The perks more than make up for the $450 annual fee, and the welcome bonus alone is enough points to stay in Category 1 properties (think airport hotels in smaller cities) for nearly two weeks, or a luxury property for at least a night, and with this card, you’ll have access to Gold Elite status perks as well.

[Apply here]


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