New Welcome Bonus On The American Express SPG Card In Canada

2018-08-21T15:56:26+00:00 August 21st, 2018|American Express, Credit Cards, News, Reviews|

Introduction

The merger of Marriott and Starwood is now complete, after months of updates we finally have a new welcome bonus on the American Express SPG Card in Canada.

A few months ago Amex changed the welcome bonus from SPG points to a lousy statement credit, and more recently made the card unavailable for new applications. However, they had shared news about a month ago on updated to the card to be launched when the merger finalized, and overall I would say the changes were net positive!

New Earning Rates For SPG Cards in Canada

For the Personal SPG Card:

  • Earn 5 points for every dollar at eligible Marriott and SPG properties
  • Earn 2 points for every dollar on everything else

For the Business SPG Card:

  • Earn 5 points for every dollar at eligible Marriott and SPG properties
  • Earn 3 points for every dollar on gas, dining, and travel
  • Earn 2 points for every dollar on everything else

While these look ok on the surface, it’s actually a devaluation from the previous earning rates, since those SPG points could be transferred to Marriott at a 1:3 ratio.

As a reminder, previously you would earn:

  • 2 points for every dollar at eligible Marriott/SPG properties
  • 1 point for every dollar on everything else

The SPG card didn’t get much use for everyday spend, so overall I wasn’t too worried with the negative changes to the earning rate. Where the new card shines, however, is in the benefits by being a cardmember.

Cardmember Benefits

A big positive for the new cards are the anniversary free-night certificates. Previously, American Express SPG Cardmembers were eligible for a weekend free-night stay after spending $40,000 per year on the card. This was valid on weekends only, up to a category 4 hotel, or 10,000 SPG points.

That is being replaced on both the Personal and Business SPG cards, which will now receive a complimentary one-night stay on the anniversary date with a redemption value up to 35,000 points with no minimum spend requirement.

This, on the surface, is definitely a huge improvement, and is probably reason enough to keep the card and pay the annual fee. Marriott was more generous than many expected when releasing their revised award categories, and the free-night certificate will be available at some really great properties around the world, not just budget friendly hotels in secondary destinations, like some suspected.

Also coming later this year are night-stay credits towards status. Previously this was offered by the Marriott Chase Visa Card in Canada, so it’s nice to see Amex offering this benefit now.

New Welcome Bonus On The American Express SPG Card In Canada

The big news today was the introduction of a real welcome bonus on the American Express SPG Card in Canada. For the last couple of months Amex has been offering a truly pathetic statement credit, which led me to believe the card could be discontinued.

As of today, new cardmembers are eligible to receive 50,000 Marriott Reward Points (or whatever they might be called under the new program) after spending $1,500 in the first three months of membership. These could be redeemed for:

  • 5 nights at a category 2 property
  • 1 night at a category 6 property

Depending on your travel goals, this could represent really good value, even without a first year annual fee waiver. Consider applying through Great Canadian Rebates to earn $30 cash back on approved applications.

Hi-Lo Portland Standard King Room

Redeem Marriott Points For A Stay At The Hi-Lo Hotel In Portland

While I haven’t heard any specific data points regarding applications for this card, I suspect previous SPG cardmembers will be eligible for the sign-up bonus, despite terms and conditions suggesting applicants are limited to one bonus per card per lifetime (this has yet to be enforced on the Membership Reward cards, in my experience).

Referral Bonus

Previously the American Express SPG Card in Canada participated in the generous referral program, with each eligible referral receiving SPG points, up to 150,000 per year, per card. That changed to a statement credit a couple of months ago, and now doesn’t seem to be available with the new card.

I suspect this is temporary, and predict we will see these cards return to the referral program in the coming days or months, and wouldn’t be surprised to see 10,000 points offered as a referral bonus.

Until the referral program is relaunched, consider applying through Great Canadian Rebates to earn $30 cash back in addition to the 50,000 points after spending $1,500 in the first three months of membership!

Bottom Line

Overall I’d say this is a solid new welcome bonus on the American Express SPG Card in Canada. While I would have liked to see an increased welcome bonus, or maybe first year free, 50,000 Marriott points is enough for a 1-night luxury stay, or multiple nights at a more budget friendly property.

Also keep in mind that cardmembers are eligible to receive an anniversary free-night certificate and status credits just by being a cardmember, which makes this card worth keeping longterm despite the annual fee.

What are your thoughts on the new welcome bonus on the American Express SPG Card in Canada? Is it a card you plan to get?

About the Author:

Champagne taste on a beer budget has always been reminiscent of Tyler’s travel style. Raised in British Columbia, Tyler has an unquenchable thirst for more adventure, which is fueled by leveraging airline and hotel loyalty programs to travel the world in luxury and style. Want to learn how you can travel the world on points, like Tyler? Check out the ebook for more expert advice.

2 Comments

  1. Ty August 23, 2018 at 11:49 am - Reply

    Do you know if there is any change to the transfer rate from SPG to their list of partner airlines? If I recall, it was 1:1 to many airline rewards programs. If this is still the case, I think 50k SPG points as a welcome bonus would be definitely worth it to get the card, just to transfer it to an airline at a later date.

    • Tyler Weatherup August 23, 2018 at 12:34 pm - Reply

      Hey Ty,

      The transfer rates have changed, but not really – let me explain.

      Previously you could transfer SPG -> Airline at 1:1, with a 5,000 mile bonus for every 20,000 SPG points converted, essentially 1:1.25

      Under the new program, you can convert Marriott -> Airline at 3:1, with a 5,000 mile bonus for every 60,000 Marriott points converted, which is essentially still 1:1.25.

      Keep in mind that the new welcome bonus on the SPG card are the new Marriott Reward points (a bit confusing, I know), so 50,000 points would transfer to roughly 16,667 airline miles, though it would be much wiser to wait until you had 60,000 points to transfer for a total of 25,000 miles.

      Let me know if you have any questions!

      -Tyler

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