All the Details
This offer runs for three months, expiring on October 18, 2017, and it’s the first time I’ve ever seen a special offer of any kind on the SPG cards. The signup bonus has been 20,000 Starpoints for as long as I can remember, so the current signup bonus can really be considered a one-of-a-kind event.
Under the current promotional terms, the annual fee of $120 on the personal card and $150 on the business card continues to be not waived for the first year, meaning that you’re effectively buying 25,000 Starpoints for that amount out-of-pocket.
I won’t rehash all the benefits and perks I discussed on the individual articles for the Personal and Business SPG Cards, but as a reminder, the following all make for amazing value redemptions with Starpoints:
- Top-tier hotels with Marriott after transferring Starpoints to Marriott Rewards at a 1:3 ratio
- Lower-tier hotels with Starwood Preferred Guest
- Airline transfer partners, with a 5,000-point bonus for every 20,000 Starpoints transferred
- Transfer 40,000 Starpoints to Asiana Club for a one-way flight in Lufthansa First Class
- Transfer 20,000 Starpoints to Korean Air SKYPASS for a round-trip flight from Canada to Hawaii
- Transfer 20,000 Starpoints to Aegean Airlines Miles+Bonus for a round-trip flight from Canada to anywhere in the Caribbean
Read the full guide to Starwood Preferred Guest for a rundown of all the sweet spots of the program.
Meanwhile, both cards offer SPG Gold Elite status upon spending $30,000 within one membership year, as well as a free weekend night at a Category 1-4 hotel upon spending $40,000 within one membership year.
There’s certainly something curious about the timing of these offers, given that Marriott Rewards and SPG are due to merge into one combined program by 2018.
As of this point, no one knows what the new program will look like, let alone what’s going to happen to the American Express SPG credit card portfolio in either Canada or the US.
The cards could be rolled forward within Amex into the new combined program’s co-branded credit cards, or they could be discontinued entirely, with another financial institution taking over.
I certainly don’t think Amex would be throwing out an increased Canadian signup bonus if they knew that their SPG card portfolio was due to be winded down.
Instead, my best guess for what’s happening is that they’re hoping to ramp up their existing customer base by upping the welcome bonus, in order to best position themselves in the upcoming round of negotiations for the combined Marriott/SPG rewards program’s co-branded credit cards.
Of course, this is pure speculation, so don’t take my word as gospel. But imagine that it’s already set in stone that Amex is either losing or retaining the new program’s card portfolio. Then in either case, launching a limited-time signup bonus wouldn’t make much sense, especially given that the signup bonus has been 20,000 Starpoints since forever.
That’s why I think this move by American Express is part of their fight to keep their partnership with what is to become the world’s largest hotel chain.
If you're a fan of Prince of Travel, I'd be immensely grateful if you considered signing up for the American Express SPG Card or Business SPG Card through my referral links, since that really helps me keep the blog going.
The alternative is to apply through Great Canadian Rebates, which is offering a $30 rebate for the Personal SPG Card. Obviously, if you already have a Personal SPG Card and want to apply for the Business version (or vice versa), you should use your own referral link to snag the referral bonus of 10,000 Starpoints as well!
The American Express SPG Card and Business SPG Card are offering unprecedented signup bonuses of 25,000 Starpoints, which is 5,000 higher than the usual bonus, until October 18, 2017. If you've been eyeing either one of these cards, now is the time to apply!
(Tip of the hat to PointsNerd)