New Marriott / SPG card restrictions

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As has been rumored for a while, View from the Wing has confirmed new restrictions coming on the Marriott and Starwood credit cards. In a nutshell (more details to follow), those who have opened new Marriott, SPG, or Ritz credit cards in the last 2 years or who had one within the 30 days prior to applying will not be eligible for most new Marriott/SPG welcome offers. This is going to effectively lock most of us out from these bonuses for the next couple of years and make it difficult if not impossible to stack together multiple cards for multiple annual free night awards in the future.

Gary Leff has screen shots of the official chart guidelines from Chase. Here I’m quoting his summaries in bold italics with my reactions in blue. See his post for his full analysis and the official charts.

Amex SPG rules

To be eligible for a new ‘Luxury Card’ initial bonus you cannot be a current Ritz-Carlton cardmember (or have had that card in the last 30 days), have signed up for a new Chase-issued Marriott card in the last 90 days, or received an initial bonus or upgrade offer for a Chase-issued Marriott card in the past 24 months.

My reaction: This hurts those who hurried to sign up for the Ritz card before it died, though I still think opening the Ritz card now was a better value play for those who would not have otherwise qualified for status with Marriott based on this year’s activity. I’m more surprised that those who received an upgrade offer in the past 24 months are excluded. That seems kind of harsh after pushing those upgrades as hard as Chase has. It certainly changes the calculus moving forward for those who have not upgraded and were considering it.

To be eligible for a new Starwood Amex card initial bonus (the personal card that will be available only until the programs rebrand next year), you cannot have (or have had in the last 30 days) a Chase-issued Marriott.

This effectively means that in the future, you will not be able to stack multiple free nights by opening all of the various cards. However, those who currently have multiple versions of the various cards (Starwood consumer, Starwood business, Marriott Premier Plus personal, Marriott business) will get a free annual night certificate on each card (that will be true for the Stawood cards after your next anniversary post-8/1/18 and for the Marriott business card when the benefits change later next month). That might make it more advantageous to keep multiple cards if you value those free night certificates highly.

To be eligible for a Starwood business card initial bonus, you cannot have a Chase-issued Marriott business card (or have had one in the last 30 days), have signed up for one in the last 90 days, or have received a new cardmember bonus for one in the last 24 months.

Again, this makes it hard to have multiple cards in the future. The good news here is that it seems the Starwood business card will not be restricted for those who have opened / upgraded Chase-issued Marriott personal cards.

Chase rules

To be eligible for a new Chase Marriott personal card initial bonus you cannot be a current Starwood American Express cardholder (or have had that card in the last 30 days), have signed up for a Starwood American Express card in the last 90 days, or received a new cardmember bonus for a Starwood American Express card in the last 24 months. 

Again, those with any Starwood credit card (business or personal) are locked out of Chase Marriott personal cards. It’s notable that the restrictions from Chase and Amex include both having signed up for a new card in the past 90 days or received a new cardmember bonus for the past 24 months (on top of those who currently hold the cards). This makes an impressive effort to make sure that they close most loopholes you could dream up.

To be eligible for a new Chase Marriott business card initial bonus you cannot be a current Starwood American Express cardholder (or have had that card in the last 30 days), have signed up for a Starwood American Express card in the last 90 days, or received a new cardmember bonus for a Starwood American Express card in the last 24 months. 

Same as above – locks out anyone with a Starwood card now, who signed up in the last 90 days, or who got a bonus in the last 24 months.

To be eligible for a new Chase Ritz-Carlton Rewards Visa Infinite, you must have a time machine.

Ok, Gary didn’t really say that last one. But it’s true. Ding dong the Ritz is dead for new applicants. Existing cardholders will continue to have the card, though it’s certainly possible that Chase will sunset it someday.

Interestingly, Gary reports that it’s not Chase and Amex sharing information, it’s Marriott sharing with each issuer which members have which credit cards (or, in their words, sharing “who is eligible for a new cardmember bonus”). That obviously means that there is some expense for Marriott in this. While that wouldn’t be surprising to me on its own, it is surprising (to me) in an environment with two banks competing for Marriott’s business.

While it had been previously announced that Chase would issue a mass consumer card and Amex would issue a business and ultra premium personal card, it was notable to us in hindsight that the press releases did not say any of that would be exclusive (even if that was insinuated, the continued issuance of the Ritz card and SPG personal cards indicated that perhaps too much had been read into the exclusivity of those parameters). The death of the Ritz card yesterday and these restrictive moves indicate that the card portfolio will eventually line up with what was announced and it is going to be much harder to qualify for most new cards.

Keep these restrictions in mind when evaluating your next moves with regard to keeping, cancelling, or upgrading.

H/T: View from the Wing

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