Amex and Chase Announce New Marriott Credit Cards for 2018

Ever since Marriott announced the closing of the merger with the SPG, a lot of people have been eagerly awaiting to see what is going to happen to the Marriott and SPG co-branded credit cards. The merger of the awards programs likely wont be completed until 2019 but we finally have an answer as to what the plan is with respect to the future of Marriott cards and it’s pretty exciting news.

Currently, American Express offers both a personal and a small business SPG credit card while Chase offers both a personal and small business Marriott card in addition to the premium Ritz-Carlton Rewards card.

But all of that’s about to change.

The new Marriott credit cards

Going forward in 2018, American express will launch “super-premium consumer and small business co-branded products” for Marriott while Chase will have “mass consumer and premium consumer co-branded products.”

These cards are also supposed to come with “enhanced member benefits.” That’s all we know right now as, “[a]dditional details on the future products will be shared in 2018.”

I take this to mean that we will see two new Marriott cards from American Express. It’s unclear if/when SPG cards will be transitioned into these new Marriott cards. It seems very unlikely that $95 annual fee SPG card would be converted to a super-premium card but it could happen with the business card. If that occurs, then it might make sense to cancel your SPG card(s) before that so that you’ll be able to earn the sign-up bonuses for the new Marriott cards.

What Chase is planning on doing is a little less clear.

The reason is that “mass consumer and premium consumer co-branded products” already fit the description of their current Marriott/Ritz-Carlton products. It’s possible that these will be revamped versions of their current Marriott and Ritz-Carlton cards but they could also be entirely new products that may or may not replace their older cards.

If they are new products, then I wouldn’t be surprised to see them fall under 5/24 though the Ritz-Carlton does not fall under 5/24 so you never know. Also if the old cards are going to be automatically converted to new cards/products, then once again it might make sense to cancel your Marriott/Ritz cards with the hopes of earning new sign-up bonuses. 

At this point, we just have to wait to hear more details before anybody can make an informed decision so I don’t think I would speculatively take any actions as of right now.

Super Premium?  

The new “super premium” card from American Express really intrigues me because I’m not sure what super premium entails. Since cards like the Platinum Card from American Express already offer SPG/Marriott Gold status I’m wondering if a super premium card will offer Platinum status or at least a nice short cut to it. Or it might offer “Platinum-like benefits.” Perhaps upgrade certificates? We”ll have to wait and see.

No changes for right now

Right now, there will be no changes to Marriott’s existing co-branded credit cards. So those with the Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Visa credit cards from JPMorgan Chase, as well as the Starwood Preferred Guest credit cards from American Express will continue to earn and redeem points as usual.

When will the new Marriott and SPG rewards program begin?

According to the press release, it looks like we can expect the technology for the new rewards program to be in place in late 2018 and that the new loyalty program will be “one step closer” which to me means a likely 2019 start (though 2020 is probably not out of the picture).

 In late 2018, Marriott expects to launch a single technology platform for Marriott Rewards, which includes The Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and SPG. This should enable the company to synch the technology-dependent components of each program, further reducing costs. The new technology platform will also take Marriott one step closer to the goal of having a single loyalty program for the company’s 100+ million members in the current Rewards and SPG loyalty programs.

Final word

Overall, this is very exciting news that I think is an overall positive development. We just don’t know a lot of specific details about the new credit cards and how those new cards will be implemented. I’d keep a close eye on these developments so that when the time is right you can make an informed decision on whether or not you should apply for the old cards before they get phased out or cancel the old cards before they get converted to new ones.