For certain hotel enthusiasts, Christmas is coming early this year: The hotel giant Marriott International has announced it reached new multiyear agreements with American Express and Chase. New co-branded products from each issuer are planned to launch in 2018, with details forthcoming.
This isn’t just Marriott news. It also affects cards from other hotel loyalty programs. Currently, the brands in the Marriott portfolio include:
- Starwood Preferred Guest (acquired by Marriott in 2016)
Each program has its own co-branded credit cards. The Marriott and Ritz-Carlton cards are issued by Chase, while the SPG cards are issued by AmEx.
The new deal won’t affect current cardholders at this time. But it could shape the future of loyalty programs and credit cards owned and operated by Marriott. Here’s what it may mean for you:
More co-branded hotel cards are coming
If you’re thinking about getting a new hotel credit card, you might soon have more — and better — options.
Marriott announced in its news release that new co-branded products will soon be launched. NerdWallet has confirmed with AmEx and Chase that these co-branded products, which will be announced in 2018, include:
- A new consumer premium card from AmEx, which issues SPG cards
- An “enhanced” small-business card from AmEx, which issues SPG cards
- A midmarket consumer card from Chase, which issues Marriott and Ritz-Carlton cards
- A mass-market consumer card from Chase, which issues Marriott and Ritz-Carlton cards
Based on information from these issuers, we know that AmEx’s cards will cater more to the high-end premium crowd, while Chase’s cards will be designed to appeal more to a broader audience. These new cards will give consumers looking for hotel cards plenty of good options.
Your SPG card won’t change (for now)
If you have one of the SPG credit cards issued by AmEx, you can breathe a sigh of relief: Your card benefits will remain the same, for now. So will the benefits on other co-branded cards from brands owned by Marriott and issued by Chase.
However, changes to the loyalty programs associated with those programs are in the works. Marriott’s news release noted that in late 2018 it expects to launch “a single technology platform for Marriott Rewards, which includes The Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and SPG.” It notes that this will take it closer to having a single loyalty platform, which will reduce costs.
It’s too early to say what impact this will have on the SPG loyalty program, one of the most valuable hotel loyalty programs in the U.S. SPG points are worth a whopping 2.3 cents each on average, while Marriott and Ritz-Carlton points are worth 1 cent each and 0.9 cent each on average, respectively, according to NerdWallet valuations.
Currently, you can transfer 1 SPG point to the Marriott or Ritz-Carlton programs to get 3 points in return, or you can turn 3 points from Ritz-Carlton and Marriott into 1 SPG point. The three programs also now offer status-matching, so having a high loyalty status in one program can help you earn valuable benefits in the other programs.
Judging from Marriott’s announcement, it sounds like the programs will remain the same through much of 2018. If you have SPG points to redeem, you still have time to get plenty of value out of your rewards.