** The SPG Amex Canada changes are now live. Read my review of the SPG Amex and SPG Business Amex now.

Today, we got official confirmation of changes coming to the Canadian Amex SPG Card. These changes were totally anticipated since a few months back, Marriott announced that SPG and Marriott Rewards are merging in August. This change to the rewards program immediately affected the Amex SPG Card in a negative way when it came to the referral and signup bonuses, but the new changes announced today are positive in my opinion.

Changes Coming to The Canadian Amex SPG Cards

Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card changes

  • 5 points per $1 spent on eligible purchases at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards properties
  • 2 points per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Free Night Award (redemption value of up to 35,000 points) with NO spend requirement
  • Complimentary upgrade to Silver Elite Status
  • Complimentary Gold Elite Status after spending $30,000 in eligible purchases on the Card each year
  • No annual fee on supplementary cards
  • $30 in cash back when you apply for the SPG Amex card via Great Canadian Rebates (see link below)

Apply Now for the SPG credit card from American Express

Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card changes

  • 5 points per $1 spent on eligible purchases at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards properties
  • 3 points per $1 spent on eligible gas, dining and travel purchases
  • 2 points per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Free Night Award (redemption value of up to 35,000 points) with NO spend requirement
  • Complimentary upgrade to Silver Elite Status
  • Complimentary Gold Elite Status after spending $30,000 in eligible purchases on the Card each year

How do these changes affect you?

Technically speaking, the card has been devalued. Currently, you earn 1 SPG point per $1 spent which you can convert to Marriott Rewards at a 1:3 ratio. In other words, $1 spent was equal to 3 Marriott Reward points. Under the new system, you’re earning 2 Marriott Rewards points per $1 spent so your earnings potential has gone down by a third.

That being said, you actually come out ahead in August since the annual free night award no longer has a minimum spend requirement and it has a redemption value of up 35,000 points and can be used any night of the week. This free award night is similar to what was offered before by the Chase Marriott Card, but SPG the SPG version has a higher redemption value. To be clear, the free award night could potentially be worth a few hundred dollars which put the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card back into my list of the best travel credit cards in Canada.

Getting Silver Status is nice since the SPG Amex currently doesn’t include it for Marriott Rewards members, but the old Chase Marriott Card did, so you’re really just getting a perk back.

I should that although the changes are happening in August, there is no exact date announced yet.

Additional changes coming in August?

What I listed above was released officially by American Express, but I did confirm a few additional things from them.

There will be a new signup bonus when the new loyalty program is launched that will be engaging and relevant. Until that new program is official, the statement credit for new applicants remains. In other words, you’re probably better off waiting until August before you sign up for the SPG card if sign up bonuses is your top priority.

Amex also told me that they plan to evaluate the best way to engage cardmembers when it comes to any potential change to the referral bonus. I should note that I specifically asked about the new apply before July 18th referral bonus date, and they gave me the same corporate line. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.

The new transfer ratio of American Express Membership Rewards to Marriott Rewards points has now been announced which will become effective as of August 4, 2018.

  • 1,000 Amex Membership Rewards = 1,200 Marriott Rewards

This is a slight devaluation as it used to be 2:3 but now it’s 2:2.4.

Finally, American Express will continue to offer the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card as the Canadian Card for the new loyalty program. The card’s name won’t change until 2019 when the new program name is in place. Effective August 2018, Marriott Rewards members and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards members will be able to apply for the SPG Credit Card from American Express for Canada using their loyalty account number.

Don’t forget to check out my list of the best travel rewards credit cards in Canada.