Navigating Marriott’s Byzantine Credit Card Rules

Starting August 26th, Marriott and SPG credit cards will have new rules regarding who is eligible to receive a welcome bonus.  View from the Wing revealed these charts from Marriott:

Complicated? Indeed. Thankfully, the above charts aren’t quite as complicated as Marriott’s free breakfast rules, but still…

I created a new matrix to try to simplify things.  Just pick out the card you want to get (across the top), and then look down to see if you encounter any roadblocks:

Matrix Key:

Offers Available On/Around August 26th

Sometime around August 26th, we expect the SPG Luxury card to appear on the scene with a 125K welcome bonus.  We also expect the four other cards to have 75K bonuses.  Here are the anticipated welcome bonuses (click each card link to view current card details):

Are you eligible before August 26?

The above rules become effective August 26.  Until then, the usual old Chase and Amex rules still apply.  In other words, with Amex, you can’t get the bonus if you’ve ever had the same exact card before (unless you find a targeted offer that doesn’t have this lifetime language).  And with Chase, you must no longer have the card and 24 months must have passed since you last received a welcome bonus. Plus you need to keep in mind Chase’s 5/24 rule which applies to the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus card, but not to the Marriott Rewards Premier Business card.

Chase's 5/24 Rule: With most Chase credit cards, Chase will not approve your application if you have opened 5 or more cards with any bank in the past 24 months. Some exceptions that are NOT subject to the 5/24 rule include: British Airways, Hyatt, IHG, Iberia, Aer Lingus, and Marriott Business.

To determine your 5/24 status, see: 3 Easy Ways to Count Your 5/24 Status.

Is it a good idea to apply before August 26th?

The SPG cards don’t currently have useful welcome bonuses, and the SPG Luxury card isn’t yet available, so don’t bother with those.  The Marriott Rewards Premier Plus and Marriott Rewards Premier Business cards, though, are both available with 75K bonuses.  Are they worth getting now?

Marriott Rewards Premier Plus: If you get this card now, it would make you ineligible for the SPG Business or SPG Luxury card for the next 24 months after receiving the bonus.  Both SPG cards are arguably better options if you can qualify for them after August 26th.  Unlike the Marriott card, neither SPG card will increase your chance of a Chase shutdown, and the SPG Business card will not add to your 5/24 count.  And the SPG Luxury card is expected to have a 125K welcome bonus (but it will add to your 5/24 count).  Bottom line: Only apply for the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus card if you’re under 5/24 and you would already be ineligible for the SPG Business and SPG Luxury cards due to other considerations.

Marriott Rewards Premier Business: If you get this card now, it would make you ineligible for the SPG Business card until you cancel this one and wait 30 days.  It would also make you ineligible for the SPG Luxury card for the next 24 months after receiving the bonus on this one.  Bottom line: This is a good choice if you won’t be eligible for the SPG Luxury card due to other considerations.  And, as a business card, this one will not add to your 5/24 count.  If you apply before August 26th, you’ll not only get the welcome bonus but also 15 elite nights towards status.  This year only, those 15 nights will stack with elite night credits from other cards.

Post 8/26 Workarounds

In response to Nick’s post about the new Marriott / SPG card restrictions, several readers proposed workarounds.  Let’s look at each:

Use a new rewards account

View from the Wing’s post stated that Amex and Chase won’t share data directly, but rather Marriott itself will be the gatekeeper to determine if a person has met the rules.  Playerx therefore suggested that it might be possible to circumvent some of the rules by creating a new rewards number for your application.  For example, if you want the SPG Luxury Card, but you have recently received a welcome bonus or upgrade bonus for the Chase Marriott Premier Plus card, you might be able to get the SPG Luxury Card by applying with a new SPG account which is not tied to your Marriott account.

This approach would work if Marriott only uses your rewards number to decide if you’re eligible.  If they match you with other criteria, then it won’t work.  My guess is that it won’t work.

Estimated chance of success: 25%

Multiple concurrent applications

Stannis asks “What if you haven’t had any of these disqualifying cards, could you … get all the cards simultaneously?”

I don’t think this will work.  My guess is that Marriott’s determination of whether you are eligible for a bonus will not be in real time during the application process.  Therefore, by the time they check to see if you have certain other cards open, the answer will be yes.

Estimated chance of success: 5%

Don’t complete upgrade spend requirement

Via Frequent Miler Insiders, a reader said that they had upgraded from the Marriott Rewards Premier to the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus, but hadn’t spent any money on the card yet in order to receive an upgrade bonus.  They wondered if they could get the SPG Luxury card bonus by applying for that card before getting the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus upgrade bonus.

If we assume that this reader had received the bonus on the Marriott Rewards Premier more than 24 months ago, then there’s a chance that they can qualify for the SPG Luxury card bonus.  It all hinges on whether or not the upgrade date is considered the date of acquisition for their card.  If so, they would have to make sure to wait 91 days from the upgrade date before applying for the SPG Luxury card.

Estimated chance of success: 30%

Don’t complete welcome bonus spend requirement

This is a variation of the upgrade scenario above.  Suppose you want to get both the Marriott Rewards Premier Business card and the SPG Luxury Card.  The question is whether you can sign up now for the business card, but wait until after getting the SPG Luxury card to meet minimum spend on either.

This one would be extremely tricky to pull off.  Once you open the business card, you have 3 months to complete the spend, but you also have to wait 91 days to be eligible to open the SPG Luxury card.  This seems to make this approach impossible. In practice, according to Doctor of Credit, Chase is known to give people up to 115 days to complete spend requirements, so it is theoretically possible to get this done.  I think the trick would be to wait until the Luxury card is available, then sign up for the Chase business card, and then secure message Chase to ask when is the last day you can complete the spend requirements for the welcome bonus.  If the last day is more than 90 days away, you could theoretically go ahead and sign up for the SPG Luxury card on the 91st day after opening the Chase business card and before completing minimum spend.

Estimated chance of success: 5%

Upgrade instead

If you don’t qualify for the SPG Luxury card due to other cards you have, you could get rid of those other cards and wait out the 1 month, 90 days, and 24 month restrictions.  Alternatively, if you have the SPG consumer card, you could wait to receive an upgrade offer from Amex.  My guess is that an upgrade offer would be something like 50K points.  That’s a far cry from the expected 125K welcome bonus, but some bonus is better than none.

My card situation

I’d like to get the SPG Luxury Card, but I can’t qualify for the bonus without getting rid of my Ritz card and then waiting 31 days.  I’m not ready to do that yet.  It’s been well over 24 months since I’ve received welcome bonuses on any Marriott or SPG cards, so I’d be good to go on that front.  The main issue for me is that I want to upgrade my Marriott Premier to the Premier Plus.  If I accept the 20K upgrade offer, though, the 24 month clock would reset to make me ineligible for the SPG Luxury Card bonus.  That’s not good.

My wife is in a better position to get the SPG Luxury Card.  She doesn’t have the Ritz card, and it has been over 24 months since she received welcome bonuses for her Marriott and SPG cards.  She just need to avoid accepting the Marriott Premier Plus upgrade offer until after she gets the SPG Luxury Card.

Next, I’ll have to decide whether I want to keep the Ritz card long term (or at least until the card is sunset).  A good option for me may be to cancel the card at some point in the future, wait 31 days, and then apply for the SPG Luxury card.  This, though, is still contingent on me not accepting the Marriott Premier Plus upgrade beforehand.  And that upgrade offer expires at the end of this year.  Should I give up an easy 20K points for the upgrade in order to qualify for the likely 125K SPG Lux offer?  Yeah, probably.

Another option would be for me to wait to see if a SPG consumer refer-a-friend offers return.  If so, even though I can’t get a signup bonus for the card (since I’ve had it before), my wife could refer me to the SPG consumer card (she still has the card open) in order to pull down maybe 20K or so referral points.  Then I’d wait for an upgrade offer to the SPG Luxury card.  This option requires several pieces to fall into place, though, so I’m not betting on this approach.

I’m pretty sure that I’ll end up cancelling my Ritz card and getting the SPG Luxury card 31 days later.

What will you do?

Please comment below.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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DaninMCI
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DaninMCI

I could qualify for the SPG Lux card but currently have the regular SPG and Marriott cards. I think I’ll take a wait and see approach but if I had to pull the trigger I’d apply for the LUX card in August and hold the others to wait for upgrade offers. Even with these rules in place they may send out upgrade offers which you could document through the process. They’ve also made it so complicated many may just wait them out and see how these rules hurt marketing. They may relent later. I’d look to the Amex side to cave first as Chase seems worse for rules. Although I don’t trust either bank much. The new account scenario above won’t work as they will likely track this by SS number, email address and physical address.

Ash
Guest
Ash

Great post! That chart is so helpful. Thank you!

I canceled my ritz card a few months ago, when the annual fee hit, so I am looking at the SPG Luxury card… but have to wait till October, since I received a bonus on my Marriott biz card almost 2 years ago.

Rob
Guest
Rob

I ran through a lot of these options myself as you have done, and about midway through I had this thought…why am I wasting my time with this because these cards all kind of stink now anyway because of the gutting of the earning rate. So ultimately for me it is just boiling down to a sign up bonus and an annual limited category free night for roughly a hundred bucks a yr, which hardly feels worth expending any more of my energy on.

Pam
Guest
Pam

Completely agree about ditching the Marriott cards for non-bonus spend. Marriott is figuring a lot of people won’t use their cards as much since the earnings rate went down & will instead rely on the big new-card bonuses – they are, of course, trying to tighten that up as the main vehicle for award stays.

I don’t like all the new restrictions & issuing bank collusion, either, Marriott is, however, now the world’s largest hotel operator (& owner of wonderful Starwood properties), so I think it’s important to still maintain a cache of MRs. I guess that now involves keeping a flowchart at hand to implememt best practices!

Ava
Guest
Ava

I can’t get any more Chase cards right now, and have gotten a welcome bonus on the SPG consumer, SPG business, and Marriott business cards within the last 24 months so I’m not eligible for the SPG Lux. My wife doesn’t have any Marriott or SPG cards, so I’ll probably have her apply for the SPG Lux when it becomes available. After that, I’m moving on. I’m not loyal enough to any one hotel brand to deal with navigating all of these rules. I’ll try Hyatt if Chase will approve me for it, or Hilton.

Dan
Guest
Dan

Are we confident that Marriott can tell the difference between a retention offer and an upgrade/sign-ups bonus on the SPG cards? With retention offer amounts so variable, I would expect at least some retention offers would appear as upgrade/sign-ups bonuses and disqualify people despite not being included in the terms.

Matty tailwinds
Guest
Matty tailwinds

First paragraph. Illegible? A customer who is unreadable? 😉

Do customers have to wait for Aug. 18th to book SPG hotels with Marriott nights + flights packages?

Jim F.
Guest
Jim F.

Let’s say I have the SPG personal card (which will no longer be as valuable for otherwise unbonused spend) and want the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus. Your very nifty chart says I must/should “wait 30 days after cancelling or product changing.” Assuming I’m under 5/24, it appears this means I have two options: (1) cancel my SPG card, wait 30 days and then apply for the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus – assuming I’m under 5/24 or (2) product change my SPG card, wait 30 days and then apply for the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus card. If I want to go the second route, what should I product change my SPG card to?

TMouse
Guest
TMouse

I currently have the ritz card, just got it a month or so ago. So, if we cancel the Ritz: 1) What happens to my current category 1-4 certs and club level upgrades? Would I get to keep those? 2) Am I going to get flagged from chase as a churner? 3) How long do you think the spg lux bonus will be available for since I would need to wait my 30 days since cancelling Ritz? I’m most concerned about #1!!!

TMouse
Guest
TMouse

Ps #4) Super important: would I still get to keep my new platinum status in the new program bc of the ritz card? I get Plat status bc of this card Aug 1, 18, or 26? Confused now!….is the spg lux card going to morph over as platinum status?

DW70
Guest
DW70

I applied for the Marriott Premier Rewards card in March. The offer was 120K points for spending $12,000 within one year. The 120K points don’t come as a lump sum, but every month as I spend. Does it still count as sign up bonus for the purpose of qualifying for SPG Lux?

Hadley V. Baxendale
Guest
Hadley V. Baxendale

Probably. Read the exclusions in the chart above.

It does not say that you are excluded if you received a sign up bonus — it says that if you received a Welcome Bonus within the last 24 months.

A Welcome bonus likely refers to any bonus you received when being a new applicant. Chase offered an unprecedented offer of 10 points/$ for spend.

It all likely hinges on whether or not they pay attention to your signing up for the card, or your spend that might identify something as an out of the ordinary lump sum. The former, no dice, the latter, you may slip through.

Obviously, no one will have a clear cut answer for you here.

Sit back and see what develops.

Knoblauch
Guest
Knoblauch

Got a SM re: 20k referral bonus saying 30 day wait after statement close and am getting the run around on a Prem+ 100k. Do you think Chase or Marriott are purposefully dragging their feet or are they just overwhelmed with activity? Every other bonus I’ve gotten with Marriott/RC has posted 1-7 days after statement close.

Pam
Guest
Pam

I am printing out your chart – you are THE BEST!! Thank you for simplifying yet more Marriott mayhem.

WR2
Guest
WR2

I have SPG personal and have had SPG Biz. I really wanted to like the SPG Luxury card, but to me it’s pretty meh. It’s a much worse value prop than the Aspire, for example. 125k for $5k spend is not very exciting. I think I will wait and see if their launch flops and they are forced to up the offer.

Also, I posted elsewhere about possibility of bypassing rules by a) applying without loyalty#, and b) changing your loyalty acct address. Marriott will not have your SSN, so they can only go by name, address, and loyalty #. I don’t see how they could disqualify you on name alone.

Dan
Guest
Dan

There is a typo in the first sentence. The word should be eligible. FYI

Probably
Guest
Probably

All good. Because of all the various Amex and Chase rules before these new Marriott rules I’m not eligible for any other Marriott cards anyway. The only one I can get from the list is the luxury. I already have five Amex ccs and won’t go down to four until next year. By then the sign up bonus might go down. Similarly, Marriott might do their annual category hotel bumping so at least that would give me a fair idea of how useful the card will be for my situation.

RRR
Guest
RRR

Is the restriction 24 months after you received the bonus? Or 24 months after you applied and were accepted for that card?

James
Guest
James

This is just for intro offer right? Got the Ritz for its platinum status in the new program and want SPG lux. Am willing to get it and eat the opportunity of getting the sign up bonus.

Sophia
Guest
Sophia

Thanks for the chart and going over everything! You’re the best!

Stu
Guest
Stu

I think I may have a good shot of acquiring the SPG Luxury Card bonus through “don’t complete welcome bonus spend requirement” on my Marriott Premier card.

I opened my Marriott Premier card on June 4, but it got lost in the mail and Chase agreed to extend my bonus spending date until Sept. 27. So theoretically, I should be able to open the SPG Luxury Card after Sept. 5 (90 days after opening the Marriott Premier), and still qualify for the bonus as I hadn’t yet received it, and then complete the spending on my Marriott Premier card? Thoughts?

Stevelpaso
Guest
Stevelpaso

Within the last month I CHANGED my Marriott Reward card to the new Marriott Rewards Premier Plus card. I was wondering if this is considered “getting a new card” and therefore doesn’t allow me to apply for any cards to get new bonuses. I wouldn’t have done the “upgrade” if I would have realized as I didn’t get any bonus for the “lateral move.” I assumed this was “required” as I got a postcard and think an email. Thanks

Tammie
Guest
Tammie

Does the 90/24 designation also require that you no longer hold the card like the 24 month designation?

JohnB
Guest
JohnB

Thanks for the chart! At least I understand what I would need to do to get a new Marriott card.

I can’t see how this complicated of a system works out well for Marriott. Example: If a person was a SPG frequent guest, because of their employer, it would be a natural for them to have a Amex SPG. So after the merger/new program, this person wants the new Chase card. Unwittingly to most guests, they would get denied. Now, how is that good business? Remember Marriott makes money off the points they sell to Amex/Chase.

I just don’t see how this is going to be good for any of the stakeholders. It is too complicated! The only reason I have a legacy SPG card was for the points transfers. I can’t see myself going out of my way to stay at these properties to earn less useful Marriott points. My employer ended their contract with SPG. Now all the discounts are very much property specific. I think Marriott is going to end the mile transfers. I know they say there are more partners, yadda, yadda….but Marriott is a cheapskate organization. After a while, like a year, Marriott will see that this new program is costing them too much. And the cuts will start. This complicated system for getting a credit card is not a good beginning.

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

Excellent chart , thank you

I am wondering if I would be eligible to get any of these cards under circumstances saying that I am ineligible if I am willing to forego the sign up bonus.

I am also wondering if having received a sign up bonus for a Canadian credit card, either the spg one or the now defunct American one makes me ineligible in the same way that the similar American credit card would.

Thank you

BombayMike
Guest
BombayMike

Wow! Great job with the chart, Greg. Distills down the complicated dependencies into a nice little look-up table. I won’t be surprised if Marriott makes a copy to give their credit card partners as training material since it is easier to use than their own descriptions 😀

James
Guest
James

Two ways to go for lux if restricted.

1. Hopefully it comes out on the 18th and one would have a one week window before the restrictions take effect 26 Aug?

2. Get SPG personal now and product change when lux comes out.

Would the community weigh in on the viability of either?

Much appreciated!

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[…] helpful post: Navigating Marriott’s Byzantine Credit Card Rules. If only I had an intern to come up with nifty matrix things like […]

eli104
Guest
eli104

Ar one point or another, a number of years ago, I had an SPG Business card that I cancelled (back in 2014). Any idea if I would be able to get the “new” Welcome Bonus on this “new” card? Is it a product change for Amex, or will they hold it to the old rules (i.e. Not In Your Lifetime)?

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[…] Link to Full Article on Marriott Cards […]

Malcolm Wells
Guest
Malcolm Wells

All totally pointless since it only focussed on the USA. These are international brands, why ignore the rest of the world?

Christine Bonfante
Guest
Christine Bonfante

What if you are signed up for these cards before August 26th but minimum spend is fulfilled and signup bonus points are actually issued after August 26th?

Churner
Guest
Churner

Great write up! How does this 30 day language work, on 8/26 will it immediately go back 30 days? I have SPG personal and had SPG biz in the past (over 2 years ago). Is my play to open the Marriott personal and biz now, before the 26th, and then SPG luxury when it comes out? Or will applying to the 2 marriott cards exclude me from the luxury for 24 months, even though I got them before these rules officially went into play?

MRW
Guest
MRW

I have a SPG business card since March and have no Marriott cards. Reading off your chart, you are saying I have to wait 24 months to get the Marriott business? or are you saying I am eligible to get the Marriott business and may get the bonus if I apply before August 26?

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[…] I published “Navigating Marriott’s Byzantine Credit Card Rules,” a week ago, I had resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn’t be able to get the new […]

NinjaX
Guest
NinjaX

greg. appreciate ur new chart, but its way more confusing. maybe its just me, but you really need different icons and a better legend. not talking shit, but im just saying the marriott table with words make a lot of sense vs ur chart.

for example, getting the lux card if you have the RC, u currently note a Hand Sign with 30 days. thats way more confusing. you can NOT currently hold the Ritz OR have cancelled the RC within the last 30 days, BUT its OK if u got the RC bonus within the past 24 months.

now, i dont get the last part. how can getting the RC bonus recently still be OK if its outside of the 30 day window? that must be a mistake. i expected RC bonus makes Lux bonus not eligible. or maybe i didnt read a recent update somewhere.

furthermore, the chart should talk about the potential 3 day window, but make it clear that its just a best guess. that optimistic view doesnt sit well with me because the bonus will come AFTER the 3 day window and after the CC approval which would make u ineligible for the bonus anyway. one could argue the CC was applied for and approved w/ old TC before aug 26th, but the reality is that all CC holders have the new rules apply on the 26th. nobody is grandfathered in. therefore, i dont understand that 3 day window bonus logic.

meaning, if u have the RC then app the Lux before aug 26th then meet spend ASAP, the RAT will see u already have the RC after the 26th. so no bonus. thats my thought.

anyway, i just wanted to mention that because ur chart is really useful but it needs some adjustment.

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[…] rules that begin 8/26 are complicated, so check out this post for full details: Navigating Marriott’s Byzantine Credit Card Rules.  The basic idea is that you may not be eligible for a Chase Marriott welcome bonus if you have […]

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[…] Keep in mind the restrictions that are outlined here by Frequent Miler for the SPG/Marriott Cards: […]