a bedroom with a large mirror and a couch
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Marriott Bonvoy has released official details for their new UK credit card, scheduled to soon replace the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express card in the UK. The Starwood (SPG Amex) card was a clever choice for those in the UK points game, thanks to strong earning bringing 1 airline mile with a variety of airlines from every pound spent, or 3 Marriott Bonvoy Points, plus nice little perks like Silver Elite status with Marriott.

That’s changing, but some new perks make the card an interesting topic. Here are the winners and losers with the new Marriott Bonvoy UK American Express Card, and how to look at the changes for your personal circumstances…

a building with a pool in front of itWinners With New Marriott Bonvoy UK Amex Card

The new Marriott Bonvoy UK American Express Card offers one extremely helpful benefit which the previous version of the card did not: elite night credits. Consider this a turbo boost to the number of nights you stay with Marriott each year.

All Bonvoy Amex cardmembers receive 15 nights toward their elite status qualification each year they hold the card. Marriott Bonvoy elite tiers work off of nights spent in hotels, and to climb the ranks…

  • 10 nights earns Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite.
  • 25 nights earns Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite.
  • 50 nights earns Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite.
  • 75 nights earns Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite.
  • 100+ nights and $20k spent earns Marriott Bonvoy Ambassador elite.

With 15 night credits earned annually via the new card, you only need 10 nights in actual hotels to earn Marriott Gold Elite. Previously, the SPG Card offered no elite night credits. This is a huge benefit for someone who would’ve typically fallen just short of a higher level, like Platinum, or Titanium.

Don’t forget, even nights where you redeem points count towards your stay tally.

For people who care about Marriott Bonvoy elite status as the key benefit, you’re a winner with this new UK rewards credit card by picking up a big head start on qualification, and only losing out on general points earning.

The card also offers a free night (up to 25k points) with Marriott when you spend £25,000 annually on the card. That’s a lot of spend for not a lot of return, but if you can justify the £75 annual fee on other merits, this is a nice bonus, which can easily be worth £200.

a bedroom with a large bed and a mirrorLosers With Marriott Bonvoy UK American Express

No one specifically “loses” with the card, but it will be less attractive to some who don’t participate in Marriott Bonvoy actively, and simply used the card as a clever way to earn airline miles.

The “earn rate” on a card is without doubt one of the most important deciding factors for continued spend. People should always pull out the card which rewards them the most points per pound spent on the loyalty currency they find most rewarding.

The previous Starwood (SPG) Amex offered earnings of 3 Marriott Bonvoy Points per pound spent, which could also be converted into airline miles at a 3:1 ratio. Basically, you earned 1 airline mile of your choosing (more than 25 airline choices) with each pound spent on the previous card.

Unfortunately, the new card (effective Feb 26th) only offers 2 Marriott Bonvoy Points per pound on general spend, which means you’re losing out on considerable earning. In fact, most other cards from Amex will better reward your spending, if you’re looking for airline miles, rather than Marriott Bonvoy Points.

If you’re purely looking for Marriott Bonvoy Points, the card is still solid – and you do earn 6 Marriott Points per pound (£) spent at any Marriott properties, same as before.

a view of a town and the ocean from a rooftopMostly Good News For Frequent Marriott Guests

Both the old version of the card, and the new version, offer Gold Elite if you spend £15k a year, and with the 15 night credits, you’re nearly there anyway. If you’re a loyal Marriott Bonvoy fan, you simply lose 1/3 of your earn rate on non Marriott Hotel spend, but pick up a great chunk of ground on getting to a higher status with the new card.

Changes will kick in automatically on February 26th, 2020.

If you were someone who primarily held the card so that you could transfer Marriott Points into airline miles, and didn’t typically climb the ranks with Marriott in any meaningful way, you’re losing 1/3 of the key crucial benefit for holding the card.

Card Fees Remain The Same

The new Marriott Bonvoy American Express UK Credit Card still carries the same £75 annual fee, and for 15 nights counted towards your tally, that can be worthwhile on its own, not to mention the instant silver elite status, which also remains the same.

Basically, it’s just the earn rate that you’ve lost with the new card. For some, that’s worth moving to a different card, but for most who actually use the card for participation in Marriott Bonvoy, the benefits should well outweigh the £75 annual fee.

I really wish Marriott could’ve kept the earn rate in tact and made this an all positive card announcement, but for Marriott loyalists, it’s a win overall. It’s always nice starting the year with 15 nights completed. If you get the card before Feb 26th, you’d enjoy the higher 30,000 Marriott Bonvoy Point bonus after £1k in spend in 3 months, versus 20,000 points for £3k in the first 3 months come the 26th…

What’s your take on the changes?

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Do you know if you can combine the elite nights with a US CC too? Ie both personal or does one have to be business?

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