It’s no secret that I am a big fan of the MBNA spg credit card. With SPG and MBNA parting ways, I have been waiting in eager anticipation what the new replacement would feature. It was speculated that American Express would take over the Canadian portion of the program as they have a similar program in the US. It appears that our suspicians were correct, and American Express is now an SPG partner.
For the unveiling of the new card, an American Express representative contacted me to attend the formal dinner to give feedback on the new offering. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it, but I did manage to grab the details from their website to share with you.
If you’ve never heard of SPG (Starwood Preferred Guest), it’s a popular hotel rewards program (Sheraton/Westin/Four Points etc) that gives you great bang for your buck. In fact, the old MBNA card could potentially give you a 6% return on your spending depending on how you use the points.
Here are the features of the new American Express SPG credit card:
- Receive 10,000 bonus Starpoints® — enough for up to three free nights.
- Earn 1 Starpoint for every CDN$1 in purchases charged to the Card.
- Receive a Free Weekend Night Award when you reach CDN$40,000 in purchases on the Card each year.
- Earn Gold Preferred Guest status when you reach CDN$30,000 in purchases on the Card each year.
- Extended Warranty, Purchase Assurance, Baggage Lost/Delay Insurance, Car Rental Damage Waiver, Flight Delay Insurance, and Hotel Burglary insurance.
- Take advantage of many American Express Card membership benefits, including Front Of The Line®* access to some of the hottest events.
- Enjoy the flexibility to pay balances in full or over time.
- CDN$120 annual fee.*
I like how the card gives 1 starwood point for every dollar spent from the get go. The old card gave 1 point for every $2 spent, but gave bonuses when reaching spending thresholds. Another attractive feature is the automatic Gold Status upgrade when reaching $30k in spending. Gold Status potentially gives you upgrades and late checkout during SPG hotel stays.
As a fan of credit card included insurances, it doesn’t get much better than the offering on this credit card (except perhaps the Visa Infinite Cards). Flight/baggage delay is a nice addition to the common credit card insurances offered.
Unfortunately, there are significant set backs to this new card as well. As someone who doesn’t believe in paying an annual fee for a credit card, the $120 annual fee on this credit card is relatively high. As well, even if we try to put every expense through the card, AMEX just isn’t accepted everywhere which lowers the return. That is unless you do a lot of shopping at Costco.
I was really hoping the continuation of a no fee SPG credit card to continue my loyalty to the SPG program. However, with the $120 annual fee and the reduced AMEX acceptance, I don’t think I’ll be signing up for this card. I’m going to wait to see what MBNA does with their replacement card, then go over my credit card options from there.
Edit: I have signed up for this card to continue collecting SPG points and take advantage of the sign up bonus. I may cancel the card upon renewal.
For those of you already collecting points, note that your SPG points will expire 1 year from your last activity. For me, I have a substantial amount of points accumulated, so if I don’t collect any SPG points (via hotel stays/dinners) before Feb 2011, I will be transferring them to Aeroplan (20k SPG points = 25k Aeroplan).
For you SPG fans out there, what are your thoughts on the new card offering?
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