As fall arrives and the leaves begin to change, many of us in the points game anticipate the temporary increase in bonus for the SPG Amex cards. Around this time of year, Amex typically increases the bonus on both the personal and business Starwood cards from 25,000 to 30,000. Last year, we saw the offer as high as 35,000. This year, however, is a very different story. Instead of increasing the value of the bonus, Amex released a disappointing offer.
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New Bonus Offer
The new bonus, released yesterday, offers two nights at participating Category 1-5 hotels and resorts. Comparing this to the standard offer of 25,000 SPG points, most people would agree that the new offer is worse. Category 5 properties, the highest redeemable with this offer, cost 12,000 – 16,000 points per night. If you maximized the redemption value, you could squeeze out 32,000 points worth. However, with 25,000 points, you have the flexibility to book more nights at lower category properties. For example, Category 1 properties cost only 2,000 – 3,000 points per night. The 25,000-point bonus would allow you to book up to 12 nights at a Category 1!
Additionally, since the new offer does not give any points, you cannot take advantage of the airline transfer benefit. SPG points can be transferred to airlines at a ratio of 20,000:25,000, making them some of the most flexible points in the game.
Thoughts and Speculation
Disclaimer – This section is just my opinion and speculation on the future. With the Marriott-Starwood transaction looming over us, this new bonus seems to be a bad omen. Since the purchase was announced, many have speculated that Marriott will implement negative changes to the Starwood Preferred Guest program. I may be reading between the lines too much, but this “no-points” offer makes me worried that we may lose the ability to transfer points to airlines in the future. I am not suggesting that you should run out and transfer your points immediately, but you should keep an eye out. If anything changes, we will report it quickly!
With the release of the lower offer, it seems we can stop looking for the 30,000 point bonus this year. If you have been holding off applying for a SPG card, I recommend grabbing the 25,000 offer now. You can apply for the Personal or Business version of the card via the links below. Keep in mind, you don’t need an official business to get a business card. Cheers!