Starwood Preferred Guest Luxury Card Review
The SPG Luxury Card offered by American Express is one of the few premium hotel credit cards on the market today. It is also the only premium credit card offered by Marriott at the moment, as the Ritz-Carlton card is no longer available to apply for.
The SPG Luxury card offers a 75,000 point sign-up bonus after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months, along with a hefty $450 annual fee. Now, lets jump into the analysis on this card and see just how good of a premium card it really is.
The SPG Luxury card really packs a punch when it comes to the benefits and perks offered. You will earn 6x Marriott Rewards points on eligible purchases at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards hotels. You also earn 3x points at US restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines. Every other purchase with this card will earn 2x points.
By far my favorite perk of this card is the annual $300 statement credit. You can earn this credit by using the card on eligible purchases at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards hotels. Eligible purchases include room rates. This perk is great because it effectively lowers the annual fee from $450 to $150. Read how I used this great perk to book an Executive corner suite on New Year’s Eve for $71 at the Adolphus hotel in Dallas.
Another great benefit of this card is the annual free night award after your card account anniversary. This award can be used for one night at a Marriott hotel with a redemption value of up to 50,000 points (valued at roughly $500). You don’t earn this free night in the first year of having the card, which shows that Amex and Marriott are trying to provide some incentive to keep the card past one year.
Card members also receive complimentary Gold Elite status. It is possible to earn Platinum Elite status after making $75,000 in eligible purchases on your card in a calendar year. Marriott Gold Elite status isn’t worth much these days, but it should at least earn you free breakfast at most hotels.
Also beginning in 2019, card members will earn 15 elite qualifying night credits per year. This is really only beneficial if you stay enough nights in Marriott hotels to earn status with the program.
Similar to most premium travel cards, the SPG Luxury card offers Priority Pass Select membership. This membership provides unlimited access for you and up to two guests into any of the 1,200 airport lounges around the world. This is a valuable benefit, considering you don’t already have it with another card like the American Express Platinum or Chase Sapphire Reserve.
You also receive a statement credit for the application fee of either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. Both of these perks are essential for frequent travelers because of the amount of time you can save waiting in long security lines. I recommend applying for Global entry because it automatically enrolls you into TSA PreCheck as well. This benefit is valid once every four years, which is how long each benefit is valid for before requiring renewal. If you already have Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, you can use the application fee statement credit to sign up your friends or family members.
This card also provides access to over one million Wi-Fi hotspots with the free enrollment into the Boingo Preferred plan. There is nothing too special about this perk, but it is nice to have for those occasional hotels/airports that use Boingo Wi-Fi and charge a fee to access the network.
The biggest drawback to the SPG Luxury card is no doubt the $450 annual fee. This is the standard annual fee for a premium travel credit card, but it can still be tough to fork over $450. As I mentioned earlier, the sign-up bonus, $300 statement credit, and annual free night starting year two make this hefty annual fee not quite as intimidating.
I am also unimpressed with the sign-up bonus on this card. Mainly because the regular SPG card and Marriott Rewards Premier card from Chase offer the same sign-up bonus, with just $95 annual fees. And don’t forget Marriott limits the sign-up bonus on all of their cards to just one bonus per 24 months. This means if you sign up for the SPG Luxury card and earn the sign-up bonus, you are ineligible to earn another bonus from ANY Marriott card for 2 years, so plan accordingly.
Is This Card Right For You?
So with all that being said, should you apply for this card? The answer is… it depends. If you are a Marriott loyalist who plans on staying multiple nights in a year, then this is a great card for you. Even if you only stay a few nights a year at a Marriott hotel, this card is justifiable. The $750 value from the sign-up bonus and $300 credit easily makes up for the annual fee in the first year. And the annual free night and $300 credit still creates positive value in year 2 and beyond. Marriott points can also be transferred to travel partners at a ratio of 3:1, meaning the points you earn from the sign-up bonus are not limited to just Marriott hotels.
I personally love this card and plan on keeping it for the foreseeable future. I’m by no means a frequent Marriott customer, but its easy to get my money’s worth with this card in just 2-3 nights a year.
With that being said, if you have no ties to Marriott and are looking for a premium credit card that offers more flexibility, I would stick with the American Express Platinum or Chase Sapphire Reserve. Both of these cards offer similar premium benefits, but allow more avenues to redeem points for travel.
I will be posting reviews of both the Amex Platinum and Chase Sapphire Reserve in the near future, so make sure and stay tuned to the blog. And sign up for the Rethink Travel Newsletter to get notified when a new blog post is uploaded.
Do you have the SPG Luxury card? Comment down below and let me know your thoughts and opinions on the card!
If the SPG Luxury card is right for you, click the “apply now” button below (referral link) and start earning Marriott Rewards points today!