Loyalty program changes are announced.

Young businesswoman using laptop in hotel room

When Marriott International announced it would rebrand its loyalty program as Marriott Bonvoy on Feb. 13, 2019, it was clear that changes to the Marriott- and SPG-branded card portfolios would follow.

Now, Chase and American Express — the issuers that offer co-branded cards with Marriott — have released more details about the changes, which include new Marriott-branded card names and new benefits.

The changes also mean the two issuers will be divvying up the portfolio: American Express will become the issuer of the Marriott-branded business credit card and luxury card, while Chase will become the issuer of the mass-market Marriott consumer card and a new no-annual-fee Marriott card planned to launch this summer.

Changes to AmEx cards

AmEx’s SPG-branded credit cards will soon become Marriott Bonvoy credit cards. For the most part, core benefits are staying the same — but some perks and limited-time offers are being added, and all cards are getting new designs, which will appear on AmEx’s website as of Feb. 13, 2019. (New cardholders will still receive SPG-branded cards until the designs are officially launched.)

“We’re very excited to enter the next chapter of our partnership with Marriott, and very excited about what our collective cardmembers and customers are going to get out of that in terms of value and service,” says Eva Reda, executive vice president of co-brand partnerships for American Express.

Marriott-Bonvoy-American-Express-Card_Card-Art1Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Introductory annual fee: $0 for the first year, then $95

Positive changes: Limited-time offer for existing cardholders.

Negative changes: Will soon stop accepting applications.

Important dates:

  • Feb. 13, 2019: The card’s name will change from the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express to the Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express® Card. At this time, AmEx will also stop accepting new applications for this card, but continue to accept applications for the Marriott luxury and business cards, the issuer confirms.
  • Feb. 24, 2019: For a limited time, eligible existing Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express® cardholders will be able to register to earn 25,000 points for every $25,000 in eligible purchases on the card, up to four times, for a maximum of 100,000 bonus points, based on the total amount of purchases starting from when the cardholder registers through Dec. 31, 2019. Terms apply.
  • May 2019: The card will get a new design.

Verdict: If you want this card, you have only a short time remaining to apply for it and qualify for the welcome offer. These changes won’t affect you much — unless you’re a cardholder who can cash in on the limited-time offer.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card_Card ArtStarwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card

Annual fee: $450.

Positive changes: Limited-time offer for new cardholders, new benefits.

Negative changes: None.

Important dates:

  • Feb. 13, 2019: The card’s name will change from the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card to the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card. Also at this time and through April 24, 2019, eligible new cardmembers who sign up for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express®Card can receive 100,000 points after they spend $5,000 in the first three months of card membership. Terms apply.
  • March 28, 2019: Starting on this date, Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® cardholders can get up to $100 in property credits per stay when they use their card and a special rate code to book stays of at least two nights at The Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis. Terms apply.
  • March 2019: The card will get a new design with steel construction.

Verdict: The limited-time welcome bonus could be a boon for those who were already planning to get the card. The $100 in property credits on select stays can also be valuable for frequent travelers.

Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card_Card ArtStarwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

Introductory annual fee: $0 for the first year, then $95. (This will increase to $125 on March 28, 2019.)

Positive changes: Limited-time offer for new cardholders.

Negative changes: Annual fee increase from $95 to $125.

Important dates:

  • Feb. 13, 2019: The card’s name will change from the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express to the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card. Also at this time and through April 24, 2019, eligible new cardholders who sign up for the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card can receive 100,000 points after they spend $5,000 in the first three months of card membership. Terms apply.
  • March 28, 2019: On this date, two big changes will happen: Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® cardholders can get an additional free night award (valued at up to 35,000 points) when they spend $60,000 or more annually on the card, and the annual fee will increase from $95 to $125. Terms apply.
  • March 2019: The card will get a new design.

Verdict: On Feb. 13, 2019, AmEx will be the sole issuer of Marriott business credit cards, AmEx confirms. The limited-time welcome bonus is a generous addition, and the chance to earn an additional free night could potentially be quite valuable. But for low-spending business owners, there are more cost-effective alternatives.

Changes to Chase cards

With Marriott’s rebranding, Chase’s Marriott consumer card will also get a makeover and a new limited-time sign-up bonus. This summer, Chase will also launch a no-fee Marriott card, the issuer confirms. However, after Feb. 13, 2019, it will no longer be accepting applications for its Marriott business card.

MRRT18_BXXXXX_Boundless_VisaSig_RGBMarriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card

Annual fee: $95.

Positive changes: Limited-time offer for new cardholders.

Negative changes: None.

Important dates:

  • Feb. 28, 2019: On this date, the card’s name will change from the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card to the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card. The design will also change. For a limited time, new cardmembers can receive 100,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first three months from account opening.

Verdict: The limited-time welcome offer will soon make this card more appealing for new applicants than the current offer from its look-alike American Express counterpart, the soon-to-be Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express® Card.

Ritz-Carlton Rewards card

Annual fee: $450.

Positive changes: Slightly improved benefits.

Negative changes: None.

Important dates:

  • Feb. 13, 2019: After this date, the card’s name will change from the Ritz-Carlton Rewards card to The Ritz-Carlton card.
  • April 2019: The $100 hotel credit on paid stays that are two nights or longer will include both The Ritz-Carlton and the St. Regis when you book direct using your card starting in April. (Currently, it applies only to stays at The Ritz-Carlton.)

Verdict: This card hasn’t been accepting applications since July 2018, and these changes aren’t a big deal.

Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Business Credit Card

Annual fee: $99.

Positive changes: Slightly improved benefits.

Negative changes: Will soon stop accepting applications.

Important dates:

  • Feb. 13, 2019: After this date, you’ll no longer be able to apply for this card. At the same time, a benefit will be added allowing existing cardmembers to receive an additional free night award after $60,000 in spend each calendar year, valid at any property with a redemption value of up to 35,000 points.

Verdict: If you want this card, time’s running out to apply for it and qualify for the sign-up bonus.

New no-fee Marriott card coming soon

Important dates:

  • Summer 2019: Chase says it plans to launch a no-fee Marriott credit card at this time. We don’t yet know the details.

Verdict: A no-fee Marriott card could be good news for those looking for Marriott loyalty benefits at no extra cost.

Credit card images courtesy of card issuers.

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