The SPG-Marriott-Ritz-Carlton point system merger details have been announced (officially) and articles about it can be found here and found here. Great TPG article on the AmEx Cards and the Chase Cards involved.
BLUF: On 01 August 2018 these changes will take place: New AmEx card prime for churning and paying dividends in the form of $300 hotel statement credits, and AmEx Platinum Holders still get breakfast for free at Marriott until end of 2019. The new Chase card will be offered 03 May 2018 and has a 100k Marriott points for $5k spend.
Pretty much they are going to convert all your SPG to Marriott Points at 1 to 3 points each. Then they have a single rewards chart with redemption that vary by demand:
No announcements on what hotels will be what category yet. Earning points are going to be expanded to both the room rate and incidentals, with each brand earning at a different rate:
- $1 at Marriott brands, including Ritz-Carlton = 10 points
- $1 at At Element, Residence Inn, and TownePlace Suites = 5 points
- $1 at Bulgari Hotels & Resorts = 0 points
Two new cards have been verified to be released as predicted. AmEx has a premium $450 card and Chase Has added a Plus to there existing Marriott Card:
- Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Card (Coming Aug 2018)
- six points per dollar spent at participating hotels
- three points per dollar spent on airfare and at U.S. restaurants
- two points per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases
- $300 annually in statement credits for on-property purchases
- free night award up to 50,000 points
- automatic Gold elite status
- Global Entry, and Priority Pass Select membership
- $450 annual fee (hoping AmEx fee waivers continue)
- Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card (Coming 03 May 2018)
- six Marriott Rewards points per dollar spent at participating hotels
- two points per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases
- an anniversary free-night certificate for any property up to 35,000 points
- Guaranteed Silver Elite Status
- $95 annual fee (MLA Waiver?) prob 5/24 restricted (boo)
- 100,000-point new cardmember sign-up offer after spending $5,000 in the first 90 days
- Maybe a bonus to upgrade existing Marriott Card to Plus card
The elite tiers have changed, but since I don’t really earn any status with a single hotel brand I really could care less:
What really matters is Greg from Frequent Miler asked the real question to the VP of Marriott Rewards, Bob Behrens:
Q: What level status will my Amex Platinum card give me in the new program?
A: Gold status. However, if a member has Marriott Gold status before August 1, they will have Platinum status on August 1. [So, if Bob was right about this, Amex Platinum cardholders will continue to get free breakfast until the elite year resets in 2019 as long as they use the card to get SPG Gold status AND link their Marriott & SPG accounts before August 1]
So going forward I think I am just going to stick with booking Hilton for the free breakfast after I lose Platnium status after 2019. In anticipation for the merger I went ahead an downgraded My Ritz-Carlton card via Chase Secure Messaging and got this response:
Hello Derp Report,
Thank you for contacting J.P. Morgan about The
Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card ending in XXXX. I will
be happy to review your inquiry for a product change.
Derp, our records show that you can change this card to a
Marriott Premier. We cannot do it by email, but if you
will please call us at the number on the back of your
card, we will be happy to take care of it for you.
We appreciate your business and thank you for choosing The
Ritz-Carlton Rewards credit card from J.P. Morgan. If you
have any additional questions or concerns, you may send us
a secure message or contact us at the number below.
Representatives are available to assist you.
Customer Service Specialist
Account is owned by Chase Bank USA, N.A., a subsidiary of
JPMorgan Chase & Co and may be serviced by its affiliates.
The number on the back of the card is 1-855-896-2222, and I was able to get the card downgraded from the $450 Ritz card to an $85 Marriott Premier Card. I was also told that on the renewal date of June 2018 I would get my free category 1-8 hotel room as well! What an unforeseen bonus right there.
So why would I downgrade to a product that is going to be replaced? I consider this move a backdoor rollover because I was able to get the Ritz Card under 5/24, so I can bypass the 5/24 restriction on Marriott, then I plan on upgrading this to the new Plus card if a bonus is offered. TPG reports:
Product changes from an existing Marriott card to the Plus will not be eligible for the 100,000-point bonus, though Chase suggests that an upgrade incentive may be available.
I would not have been able to get the Marriott Premier Rewards or the Plus because of my 25/24 status. This way I can continue to reap the free night benefit which is well worth the $85 annual fee.
I am going to wait a few days and then apply for a new MLA waived Ritz Card at my Chase Private Client Branch. I hope to make the spend and then get the two free tier 1-4 Ritz nights before the card goes away entirely. There was a rumor the Ritz card will become the CSR (another card that I would be ineligible for due to the 5/24 rule), because the Fairmont card became the CSP with the equitable $95 annual fee. However TPG reports have killed that rumor:
Ritz-Carlton cardholders will be able to keep their current cards with no change to perks or earning rates
If I ever get under 5/24 I could apply for the Plus Product for the 100k sign on bonus instead of upgrading, but that is unlikely to happen. TPG has also listed out the fate of the SPG Business cards, i’m sad to see that they axed the Sheraton free breakfast benefit going forward of Aug 2018. There was also mention that going forward, the Ritz Card as well as the Business Marriott would be subject to 5/24 restriction hopefully only after 03 May 2018. So I better get cracking on that application! TPG writes:
Additionally, the Marriott Rewards Premier Business Credit Card and the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card will still be available for new sign-ups for the time being, though the new Plus card will replace the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card on May 3. All new sign-ups will be subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule.
Does that mean I already missed the boat on a MLA waived Ritz Card? My reading of that paragraph suggests that only the personal and business Marriott cards are subject to 5/24. I guess I will find out tomorrow in person at Chase when I apply for my new Ritz Card!
On the flip side the existing AmEx SPG cards will now come with an annual free night worth up to 35,000 points. This is good incentive for me to keep both the Business and Personal Versions of the SPG card. But this puts me in the pickle of the 5 credit card limit, and I will need to decide on what card to kill next: Blue, Delta Reserve, Delta Platinum, Business SPG, or Hilton Aspire. It would make the most sense to kill the Blue card to make room for 3 $450 annual fee waived cards, but I have had that account for over 12 years! Second thought is to kill the Delta Reserve card since it is redundant to the Platinum Delta. I guess I have till august to decide on that one.