Similar to a post I wrote last week referring to a potential loss of the Ink Bold/Plus 5X bonus at office supply stores, another unnamed reader sent me a survey he completed regarding the SPG American Express card. Fortunately, this one has some good news. It also seems far more vague about the exact package of changes being considered. I can’t imagine they would institute all of these because it’s far too generous, and in fact you can see that some of these are being presented as and/or scenarios.
I was going to pick out my favorites, but I can’t. Instead there are really only two offers that are less impressive to me: no foreign transaction fees (I have plenty of cards that offer this) and free WiFi and lounge access at Starwood hotels (I have elite status). It’s possible that offering more benefits at SPG properties would come at the expensive of providing some bonus elite qualifying nights and stays, which I currently use to boost my way to Platinum status.
Those benefits that do excite me? Here’s the list if you can’t read the screenshot:
- 2 Starpoints per dollar at any hotel — even Marriott, Hyatt or Hilton — when purchased directly from the hotel
- 2 Starpoints per dollar at restaurants
- 2 Starpoints per dollar at restaurants and at any hotel
- 2 Starpoints per dollar at select online retailers such as Amazon and Zappos
- 5,000 bonus Starpoints when you spend $10,000 in a calendar year
- 25% off one Starpoints redemption once per year
- 2 Starpoints per dollar spent on business expenses in one of four categories: computer hardware/software; shipping and computer hardware/software; office supplies and shipping; office supplies, shipping, and computer hardware/software
Any of those would be pretty cool to have and could easily double the number of Starpoints someone like me earns, who travels a fair amount but is not greatly involved in manufactured spend. Someone like Amol, however, might have quite a bit of fun.
These new benefits come at a cost. My confidential informant tells me American Express is considering raising the annual fee from $65 to between $95 and $125. This is similar to the current $95 cost of the Sapphire Preferred card from Chase, which is also reported to be subject to a possible fee increase in the near future based on some recent A/B offers to new applicants.
I might be willing to pay $125 for the SPG Amex if one or more of these new benefits are implemented, though I probably wouldn’t keep both my personal and business cards unless I continue to earn the bonus elite qualifying nights. As with all things, we’ll have to wait and see what actually happens, if anything, but it’s interesting to see that Amex is talking about rolling out new benefits while Chase is talking about taking them away.