Canadian SPG Amex Elite Qualifying Nights Announced
A couple of weeks ago we learned details of changes coming to the American Express Cards in Canada, effective August 4th, 2018, just after the merger of Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest is complete. Shortly after that post, I received some mail from Amex going over the changes, which seemed to be no different than the email they sent the previous week, though admittedly I only glanced at the letter. However, reader Jayson pointed out that the letter actually had a flip side, and on the back Amex has indicated that elite qualifying stays are coming soon! We’ve never seen Canadian SPG Amex elite qualifying nights, with the now discontinued Chase Marriott Rewards card previously offering this benefit, so this definitely makes the new SPG cards more appealing despite their devalued earnings on everyday spend.
Unfortunately Amex is being vague on what’s being offered, though I think it’s probably safe to assume we will see 15 elite qualifying nights on both the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card and The Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card (though probably not stackable similar to the American products).
American Express hasn’t announced when this benefit will be launched, other than to say we can expect it by the new year, which hopefully means before the end of 2018 for 2019 status, though I’m only cautiously optimistic that will be the case.
Strategy To Take Advantage Of Canadian SPG Amex Elite Qualifying Nights
If you don’t have the SPG Amex:
I would suggest waiting to apply for a card until Amex offers a more lucrative welcome bonus. Currently new cardmembers are eligible to receive a $100 statement credit after spending $1,500 in the first three months of membership, and an additional $150 after charging at least $200 to the card at any participating Marriott Hotel. I predict we will see a new and improved welcome bonus as of July 18th, as indicated by some language on the referral page (we’ve seen similar language on other cards which resulted in changes to both the referral and welcome bonuses).
I honestly can’t see the welcome bonus getting any worse than this, and fully expect Amex to offer some sort of points bonus once the new program launches with a new name (they still haven’t announced that). My best guess: 50,000 Marriott points after spending $1,500 in the first three months of membership.
If you do have the SPG Amex:
Definitely hold on to it for now, as I suspect the annual free-night certificate could be posted on August 4th when the new card benefits kick in. If not, you can always cancel and re-apply once a new welcome bonus is being offered, especially considering the elite qualifying nights benefit isn’t expected until the end of the year.
All said, this is probably a card worth having for most, despite the devalued earnings on everyday spend. An annual free-night up to 35,000 points and elite qualifying credits probably justify the fee, and that’s not even considering whatever welcome bonus will be offered beginning July 18th.
If you currently have the SPG Amex, I would hold on to it for now to see if the free-night certificate posts on August 4th. If not, you can always cancel then and re-apply for the improved welcome bonus and elite qualifying nights before the end of the year. If you don’t have the SPG card, you’ll definitely want to check back on the 18th to see what American Express is offering!
What do you make of the SPG Amex elite qualifying nights? Is it enough for you to keep the card despite the poor return on everyday spend?