Last Chance to Get $1,075 from these 2 Credit Cards?

These 2 Cards May Disappear with the Marriott/Starwood Merger

Marriott and Starwood are in the process of merging. One likely outcome is that Chase and AMEX will discontinue a couple of currently available Marriott/Starwood credit cards with nice signup bonuses (worth $488-$587 in travel). If you’re interested in these cards, you should consider grabbing them before they’re potentially gone.

2 credit cards stuck in the sand

Here are the cards that folks in the know speculate will disappear:

Starwood Preferred Guest Personal card, worth about $587

Doctor of Credit, View From The Wing, and Million Mile Secrets believe that the days to open the personal version of the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) card are numbered.

The card comes with a signup bonus of 25,000 Starpoints points after spending $3,000 on purchases in 3 months. The card’s $95 annual fee is waived the first year.

25,000 points may not sound like a lot. But Starpoints are extremely valuable. I value them at 2.31 cents/apiece. At that valuation, I estimate the card is worth $587 in the first year:

DescriptionCalculationTotal
Total First Year Value$587
Signup bonus25,000 x $0.0231$578
Plus the value from meeting the minimum spend$3,000 x $0.0231+$69
Minus the opportunity cost of not putting the
minimum spend on a 2% cash back card
-$3,000 x $0.02-$60

Among the many uses of Starpoints, three common uses are:

  1. Redeem them directly for stays at Starwood hotels. (Many of my best hotel stays have been at Starwood properties.)
  2. Transfer them at a 1:3 ratio to Marriott, thereby giving you 75,000 Marriott points. Use those points for stays at Marriott properties.
  3. Transfer the points to one of 35 airlines. Starwood gives you 5,000 bonus miles for every 20,000 Starpoints you transfer to airlines.

To have a shot at receiving the bonus for the card per AMEX’s rules, make sure that:

  1. You haven’t received the card’s bonus before (or at least not in the past 7 years).
  2. You currently have 4 or fewer AMEX credit cards. (Charge cards are different and don’t count.)

You can see my full breakdown of the Starwood Preferred Guest Personal card on my Best Credit Card Signup Offers page. And you can apply for the card here.

Marriott Rewards Premier Business card, worth about $488

Doctor of Credit believes that Chase will stop issuing the Marriott Premier Rewards Business card despite an inside source telling him that Chase will continue to offer the card. I’m not sure why he thinks the card will be discontinued, and he may be wrong. But he’s a very reliable source, and it may be better to be safe than sorry.

The card comes with a signup bonus of 80,000 Marriott points after spending $3,000 on purchases within 3 months. The card’s $99 annual fee is not waived the first year.

I value Marriott points at $0.78 cents/apiece. At that valuation, I estimate the card is worth $488 in the first year:

DescriptionCalculationTotal
Total First Year Value$488
Signup bonus80,000 x $.0078$624
Plus the value from meeting the minimum spend$3,000 x $.0078+$23
Minus the card's annual fee- $99
Minus the opportunity cost of not putting the
minimum spend on a 2% cash back card
-$3,000 x $0.02-$60

You could use the 80,000 points to stay at Marriotts. Or you could convert them to 26,000 Starpoints (and use those points to stay at Starwood properties or transfer them to one of 35 airlines, as described above).

To have a shot at receiving the bonus for the card per Chase’s rules, make sure that you haven’t received the bonus on the card within the past 24 months.

Fortunately, the Marriott Rewards Premier Business card is not subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule. (That rule, which doesn’t apply in this case, prevents you from opening most Chase cards if you’ve opened 5 or more cards with any issuer in the past 24 months.)

You can see my full breakdown of the Marriott business card on my Best Credit Card Signup Offers page. And you can apply for the card here.

Conclusion

As I discussed in my “How to Travel for Free” series, if you pay your credit card bill off in full each month, signing up for credit cards with strong signup bonuses is a relatively easy way to travel more and/or to divert funds you would otherwise have spent on travel to other priorities.

It isn’t known for sure if or when these cards will be discontinued. And both have had higher signup bonuses in the not-too-distant past: 35,000 on the Starwood card and 100k on the Marriott card. So it could be worth waiting to see if larger bonuses return.

But no one knows if the higher bonuses will return, and waiting carries with it the risk of missing out entirely.

If you qualify for both cards but are only going to open one (at least for now), it makes sense to get the Starwood personal card as the likelihood of that card being discontinued seems higher. But it’s certainly possible to get both cards for a total score of about $1,075.

Question: What questions do you have about these cards or applying for them? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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2 thoughts on “Last Chance to Get $1,075 from these 2 Credit Cards?

  1. Hi Brian,

    How often is it advisable to cancel a credit card?

    I’ve had the chase sapphire preferred for probably 4-5 years. Great card. But last spring I signed up for the sapphire reserve due to the great incentives (and it helped pay for a trip to Italy!). But now I don’t really need both and would be interested in canceling the sapphire preferred before the renewal date in about two months. Any downsides I should consider before taking this course of action?

    Joe

    • Hi Joe,

      Good question. Much to the surprise of most people, you can cancel cards fairly often with little negative effect. In cases where a card’s annual benefits do not outweigh its annual fee, I recommend closing or downgrading it. You can read more here: How to Decide Whether to Keep or Close a Credit Card.

      In your particular case, you might consider “product changing” (“downgrading”) your Sapphire Preferred to a no-annual-fee card rather than closing it. Doing so will have zero (rather than merely “little”) negative effect.

      You should be able to downgrade your card to the Chase Freedom card (probably my top choice) or the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. You might be able to downgrade it from the Chase Sapphire Preferred to the plain old Chase Sapphire (non “Preferred”), but they again you may not be able to as Chase has a relatively new rule that you can only have one Sapphire card of any variety.