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Many of us have been waiting anxiously to learn what will happen on the co-branded credit card front for Marriott and Starwood Preferred Guest as they move forward in their merger. We recently got confirmation that the programs will remain separate in 2018, but beyond that, it is quite possible that a combined program is on the horizon, potentially as early as 2019.
We don’t know those details yet, but we now have learned a lot more about what will happen on the credit card front. Like most of the other developments from this merger, this seems to be good, albeit slightly complex, news.
American Express and Chase have both signed multi-year agreements with Marriott which will allow them to issue specific co-branded cards for the Marriott family that includes Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest, and Ritz Carlton. In other words, this will be a dual issuer scenario similar to what we saw in the past for Hilton and what we see today for American Airlines.
Generally speaking, more issuers means more (new!) products, and more products mean more opportunities for us!
We don’t yet know all the details, but here is what we do know from today’s announcement that you can read in its entirety here:
- Amex and Chase will both issue co-branded Marriott card products.
- There will be a new Marriott consumer premium card issued by American Express.
- There will be an enhanced small business card issued by American Express.
- Those with the consumer Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card will be able to continue using their cards as usual. Note that the same is not specifically said of the SPG Business card, so read into that what you will.
- Additional details on the future products will be shared in 2018. In the meantime, both companies will retain their existing portfolio of accounts and continue to offer their current products. Again, it is not said that existing products will be available to new customers into perpetuity, so read into that what you will, too.
So, what do you do with these pieces of information if you are not wanting to miss out on the chance to get a co-branded Marriott/Ritz/SPG product that is available now, but may not be at some point in 2018?
Obviously, the easiest piece of advice is not to wait too long to get a product and bonus that you want. If you have never had the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card, maybe getting it in the near term is a good idea. The same could be said of other cards like the Chase Marriott Rewards Visa. Perhaps some of these products will live on more or less in their current form while others do not. We don’t know exactly yet what will happen to the existing products or when some of them might close to new applicants, but we do know that some co-branded cards have historically disappeared without notice. I wouldn’t wait until you are told a card is going away on a certain date before going for it as it may just silently disappear one night.
Believe it or not, I’ve actually never had a Chase Marriott card, so I hope to get one of those in the near-ish term…just in case. Worst case, I can transfer the points to Starwood at a 3:1 ratio and use their award chart that I know and love now before it potentially undergoes big changes as they work towards a combined loyalty program. I need to do a count to check my current Chase 5/24 status as the personal Marriott card does fall under those rules, though the personal Ritz Carlton card historically does not, so that is another potential idea.
I’ll share more about all of this as I learn more and do a round-up of the currently available Chase/Marriott/SPG cards so you can do some strategizing. In the meantime, how does today’s announcements impact your Marriott and Starwood co-branded card strategy?
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.