SPG Amex Canada Review

If you’re an SPG or Marriott fan like I am, then you’re going to want to read my SPG Amex Canada review. What makes the Starwood Preferred Guest credit card from American Express appealing is that you can earn a bunch of loyalty points when staying at SPG or Marriott hotels. These points can be used to redeem free nights or transferred to select airline loyalty programs for free flights.

With the formal merger of SPG and Marriott now complete, the changes to the credit cards are also mostly done. I can now safely say that the SPG Amex Canada card has rejoined my list of the best travel credit cards in Canada. Read my SPG Amex Canada review now for the full details.

SPG Amex Canada Review

Starwood Credit Card Canada benefits

  • $120 annual fee
  • 50,000 Bonus points when you charge $1,500 in the first three months
  • 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)
  • Complimentary upgrade to Silver Elite Status
  • Elite nights towards status (amount to be determined)g
  • Complimentary Gold Elite Status after spending $30,000 in eligible purchases on the Card each year
  • Travel insurance
  • No annual fee on supplementary cards

One thing to note right away is that you get a generous signup bonus of 50,000 points. If you were you use those points on a category 4 hotel which normally costs 12,500 points per night, you’d actually get 5 nights out of it since Marriott has an ongoing book 4 nights get the 5th-night free promotion. Depending on the hotel, that could be a real value of $1,000+, but you’d be paying just $24 a night. As you can see, the sign up bonus alone makes it worthwhile to apply for the card (referral link).

The annual free night award can be redeemed for a room with a value up to 35,000 points. I took a quick look at hotels in New York and there are many category 4 hotels which normally cost $350USD a night, but only require 35,000 points for a redemption. You can easily see how valuable that annual free night is and easily makes the $120 annual fee.

As for the earning potential, this card is clearly aimed at people who stay at SPG and Marriott properties since you’ll earn 5 points per $1 spent on eligible purchases at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards properties. Keep in mind that with this card, you automatically get Silver tier status so you earn 10% more points or 5.5 points per $1 spent at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards properties.

All other purchases earn you 2 points per $1 spent.

American Express had already announced that elite nights that count towards your status will be included with the card, but they have not released the exact amount yet.

Finally, if you charge the full airfare or car rental to your SPG Amex Canada card, you instantly get travel accident, car rental theft and damage, flight delay, baggage delay, lost and stolen baggage, and hotel/motel burglary insurance. It should be noted that travel medical insurance is NOT included. This doesn’t change the fact that the SPG Amex Canada is one of the best American Express credit cards in Canada.

amex spg

Converting your SPG points to airlines

One of the reasons people overlook the SPG Amex Canada card (referral link) is because it’s tied to a hotel chain. If you don’t use hotels, why would you bother with a co-branded credit card right?

What you might not realize is that the Starwood Preferred Guest program allows you to transfer your points to 40 airlines.

Since this is a Canadian card, most people are probably thinking about converting their SPG points to Aeroplan. The regular transfer rate is 3:1, however, for every 60,000 SPG points you transfer, you’ll get an additional 5,000 points. In other words, 60,000 SPG points can be transferred for 25,000 Aeroplan points. That’s a 25% bonus that comes with your SPG Amex Canada card.

In other words, this credit card can be used as a co-branded credit card for 40 airlines without having a formal affiliation. That’s a pretty sweet perk if you need to transfer a few extra points to make a flight redemption.

How Marriot Rewards works

Marriott Rewards is the biggest loyalty program in the world and it’s arguably the best. As you can imagine, this is a hotel loyalty program, so your points are best used for claiming free nights, but as you just learned, you can also use your points for flights.

I’ve written a post about the fine details of Marriott Rewards, but essentially you’ll need 7,500 – 100,000 points to claim a free night. 100,000 points may sound insane, but you only need that many points for the highest categories of hotels found throughout the world. Many hotels fall in the 17,500 – 50,000 points per night category which is quite reasonable.

Beyond hotels and flights, you can also use your points for moments experiences which are things that can enhance your vacation. Experiences include live shark cage diving in Gansbaai, South Africa to sports events like the Super Bowl.

Final word

My SPG Amex Canada review is positive and ranks as one of the best travel credit cards in Canada. Marriott is the largest hotel chain in the world and their rewards program is excellent. If you like free nights or free flights, then you need to consider the Starwood Preferred Guest credit card from American Express.

Apply Now for the SPG credit card from American Express

By |2018-10-06T16:09:14+00:00September 13th, 2018|Credit cards, Personal Finance, Travel|

45 Comments

  1. Mike June 20, 2017 at 12:18 pm - Reply

    Hi Barry,

    Thanks for all the great posts.
    A few questions here: If I refer my wife, who already has a supplementary SPG Amex card, will I still get the referral bonus points? Will the supplementary card my wife holds prevent her from getting the signup points? Thanks!

    • Barry Choi June 20, 2017 at 1:22 pm - Reply

      Hi Mike,

      I don’t know for sure, but I don’t see why you wouldn’t get the bonus points for referring your wife. There’s really no reason why she wouldn’t be approved. In the even she is not approved for that reason, just remove her as a supplementary user from your card.

  2. Mat January 31, 2018 at 7:54 am - Reply

    What can 25,000 aeroplan points get you? Ive never used aeroplan as i prefer cash back cards

    • Barry Choi January 31, 2018 at 8:32 am - Reply

      Hi Mat,

      25,000 Aeroplan points gets you a return flight to anywhere in the continental US and Canada. Note that you still have to pay taxes and fuel surcharges.

      You’re commenting on the SPG post, so for reference, 25,000 SPG points is enough for two nights in a Category 5 hotel which is worth anywhere from $300 – 600.

  3. Angela February 11, 2018 at 1:05 pm - Reply

    Hi Barry,

    Just came across your blog (love it!) and the sign up bonus is a great incentive! After receiving the bonus, am just debating the use of the card outside of Canada with the foreign transaction fees.

    If we are a SPG Preferred Plus Member and automatically get 2 points per dollar per stay … if we use our SPG AMEX Card to pay for our stay, does that give us 2x points or 4 points per dollar at all Starwood properties?

    Thanks!

    • Barry Choi February 11, 2018 at 1:19 pm - Reply

      Hi Angela,

      I personally wouldn’t use this card for foreign purchases due to the exchange fees. You’re better off using a credit card with no foreign transaction fees.

      As for your question about 4X the points. I’m not sure about that, but I suspect that you wouldn’t get double the points. That being said, you should probably check with American Express directly for confirmation (and SPG for that matter).

  4. Angela February 11, 2018 at 2:36 pm - Reply

    Hi Barry,

    I checked with SPG and they confirmed yep, 1 point for every $1 after Feb 15/18 with SPG card PLUs 1 point for every $1 if using SPG AMEX Card = 2 points for every $. As you suggested, this would only be good using the SPG Amex Card in Canada for the extra points 🙂

    fyi, I checked AMEX link and it looks like AMEX special offer of 2 points for every $ expires Feb 15/18

    Earn 2 Starpoints for every dollar of eligible purchases charged to the Card at participating SPG®* and Marriott Rewards®* hotels from November 15, 2016 through February 15, 2018

    Thanks Barry!!

    • Barry Choi February 11, 2018 at 2:48 pm - Reply

      Hey Angela,

      Thanks for sharing that update. I’m actually a bit shocked that they’re letting you double as that’s pretty rare.

      Also, thank you for alerting me about the expiry date of Feb. 15, 2018. This seems to be a pretty crap deal as you’re essentially earning 50% less points at Starwood / Marriott properties which kind of defeats the purpose of having the card.

    • Angela February 11, 2018 at 2:49 pm - Reply

      Sorry Barry, to edit above, I think it’s 2 points per US$ for SPG Preferred Members + 1 point per $ for SPG AMEX Canada card = 3 points per $ if charged on the SPG Amex Card.

      The SPG Chat person told me 1 point per US$ for Premium members… yet their website says 2 points per US$.

      If you can explain it better, please let me know 🙂

  5. Chris Beardall March 3, 2018 at 8:37 am - Reply

    When you reach 40k in purchases in a single year with the SPG AMEX… you earn a category 1-4 hotel stay/voucher. Is there an expiry date on this voucher?

  6. John Wilmott August 20, 2018 at 11:15 am - Reply

    Good review. As a Canadian Marriott member, I used the old Marriott Card because it did not charge the 2.5% foreign exchange fee. Of course the points were also important.
    The new SPG card charges the 2.5% .
    So is it still a good deal for Canadians?

    • Barry Choi August 20, 2018 at 12:36 pm - Reply

      Ho John,

      If you frequent Marriott Hotels or like to collect hotel points, then the Marriott card is still an excellent choice. Wait a few days as I imagine Amex will have some new announcements since SPG / Marriott just formally merged over the weekend.

  7. Gerry Lee August 21, 2018 at 6:49 pm - Reply

    Just to clarify. You don’t have to spend $1500 to get the 50,000 points which it will automatically get awarded to you?

    • Barry Choi August 21, 2018 at 7:09 pm - Reply

      Hi Gerry,

      That’s correct, you need to charge $1,500 to your card in the first 3 months to get the 50,000 points which are automatically credited to your account.

  8. Gurman August 22, 2018 at 4:51 am - Reply

    Hi there Barry, I was wondering if you think marriott/SPG /Amex will include no FX fees in the next little bit as their still implenting changes to the card such as elite qualifying nights credit. I’ve learnt so much from your articles and comments, thanks for making me wizer ☺️ I have a good feeling that they will but possibly in a premium version of the card with a higher annual fee and a couple other perks.

  9. Gurman August 22, 2018 at 5:00 am - Reply

    Is it just me that noticed this (2-3 days ago it said $3000 hot purchases required for the signup bonus and just today or yesterday it was changed to $1500 credit card purchases required for the signup bonus) Marriott/SPG might be making changes based on feedback. Or maybe im just dillusional and that change didnt happen.

    • Gurman August 22, 2018 at 5:00 am - Reply

      I meant *hotel not *hot

      • Barry Choi August 22, 2018 at 6:42 am - Reply

        Hi Gurman,

        I confirmed with Amex that the no forex fee is not coming back (this was a Chase thing). I’m pretty sure a referral bonus will be coming eventually instead of a statement credit. As for the minimum spend, it’s definitely $1,500 in the first 3 months now.

  10. Marc-Andre Lapointe August 22, 2018 at 7:11 am - Reply

    Hi Barry, do know know if the free night award is given in the first year (when we sign up for the card) or it’s given on year 2 when the card is renewed (after one year has passed)? Thanks

    • Barry Choi August 22, 2018 at 9:57 am - Reply

      Hi Marc,

      From what I understand, it’s given at the anniversary so after one year.

  11. John Wilmott August 23, 2018 at 11:40 am - Reply

    Barry. Thanks for prompt response to my last question on the SPG card for Canadians.
    I need clarification on Marriott Rewards points.
    Are the points you receive from the new SPG Amex card in addition to the normal points for just being a Marriott Rewards member?
    Otherwise when I check into a Marriott Hotel as a rewards member, do I receive those points plus the points from using the SPG Amex card?
    (Does this make sense?)

    • Barry Choi August 23, 2018 at 12:08 pm - Reply

      Hi John,

      Marriott and SPG points are effectively merged now. You earn 5 points per $1 spent on eligible purchases at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards properties. Those points are separate from any additional points you may earn e.g. a welcome bonus because of status.

      If I haven’t properly answered your question, send me an email via my contact form.

      • John Wilmott August 23, 2018 at 2:24 pm - Reply

        Barry: If I stay at a Marriott Hotel and pay cash I get Marriott points because I am a Marriott member.
        If I pay with a brand new SPG Amex Credit Card are the Credit Card points (5 points per $1) IN ADDITION TO the Marriott Membership Points?

        • Barry Choi August 23, 2018 at 2:37 pm - Reply

          John,

          They stack. Currently you earn 5 or 10 points per $1 USD spent at Marriott Rewards / SPG properties as a Marriott Member + any bonus points for status.

          With the SPG card you earn an additional 5 points per $1 CAD spent at SPG / Marriott Rewards properties

          • John Wilmott August 23, 2018 at 3:27 pm

            Thanks that’s what I reallywanted to hear.
            Too bad SPG Card adds the 2.5% onto the Foreign Exchange.

          • Barry Choi August 23, 2018 at 3:28 pm

            Can’t win them all right? I LOVE how the card comes with an annual free night award now

  12. Rafa August 26, 2018 at 7:33 pm - Reply

    If my memory doesn’t fail me, I believe they used to add a 250$ statement credit. Do you know if they still do that?

    • Barry Choi August 26, 2018 at 7:35 pm - Reply

      Hi Rafa,

      There was, but the $250 statement credit was replaced by the 50K sign up bonus

  13. Bryce Fleming August 27, 2018 at 4:43 pm - Reply

    Hi Barry–for some reason the referral code doesn’t seem to be working. Thoughts?

    • Barry Choi August 27, 2018 at 5:52 pm - Reply

      Hi Bryce,

      Right now all referral links for the SPG cards are down. I suspect a new signup bonus may be coming and they’re just working out the kinks on the backend.

      • Bryce August 27, 2018 at 9:23 pm - Reply

        Ah, right—perfect. Thanks, Barry. Love reading your site! Keep up the good work.

  14. Erika August 28, 2018 at 11:11 am - Reply

    Thanks for the review Barry. Do you or anyone reading know if they pay the welcome bonus even if you’ve had the card before (but not currently)? The footnotes / terms and conditions say we’re ineligible but from time to time other offer credit card companies still pay out to returning/previous card holders. Thanks!

    • Barry Choi August 28, 2018 at 12:15 pm - Reply

      Erika,

      Many people have received the welcome bonus on more than one occasion. If you cancelled the card more than 6 months ago, you’ll likely get the bonus after applying and meeting the minimum spend requirement. That being said, technically speaking, they can also deny you that bonus.

  15. Mark August 28, 2018 at 9:33 pm - Reply

    Hi Barry. Great review. Question. Once I spend my &1500 in over first 3 months and get my 50k in pts, can I transfer the points to Marriott points at a 1:3 ratio. For example, 50k spg pts = 150k Marriott pts….

    • Barry Choi August 28, 2018 at 10:12 pm - Reply

      Hi Mark,

      SPG and Marriott Rewards merged on August 18th so there is no more 1:3 transfer. The 50K points can immediately be used to redeem a free night at any SPG or Marriott Rewards property

  16. David Munro August 28, 2018 at 11:15 pm - Reply

    Since the merger is anyone else having problems with SPG AMEX points posting with Marriott. For the last 10 years my points post on the 25th of each month. They posted July 25th. The merger takes place and the new SPG AMEX card changes went into effect August 4th, but coincidentally nothing posted August 25th. I contacted AMEX and they can confirm that more than 20,000 points were sent to Marriott/SPG on August 24th, but still no post, almost a week after normal. Anyone else finding the same?

    • Barry Choi August 29, 2018 at 7:54 am - Reply

      Hi David,

      I was told by Marriott that if your statement ends between August 1 – 18, your points would be held temporarily while the merger goes through. I suspect that the full merger is taking longer than expected which is why your points have not been “released” yet.

  17. David Munro August 29, 2018 at 11:37 am - Reply

    Thanks Barry. Certainly the merger is taking longer than expected in that regard. Just would be nice to have a heads-up or a little more info on that. I know it’s a unique situation. The Canadian SPG AMEX went under the new terms Aug 4th. The merger occurred Aug 18th and my statement ended Aug 24th. So in theory I had about 2 weeks (July 24-Aug 4th) under the old conditions, which I tried to max out. And then about 2 weeks (Aug 5-Aug 24th) under new conditions. All the while a merger was taking place August 18th. Granted none of that really matters, since AMEX was doing all the valuations and sent them the correct number of Rewards Points on August 24th. So still concerned as to why it has not yet been posted, when normally it is the next day.

    • Barry Choi August 29, 2018 at 1:44 pm - Reply

      Hey David,

      Considering they had to merge 100 million users, I’m surprised that there haven’t been more issues. I personally am missing 2 travel packages from my account, but I’ll give it another few weeks since I don’t need them right now.

      As you’ve stated, Amex has sent the info, it’s like just taking time for SPG to get it in the system.

  18. David Munro August 29, 2018 at 1:56 pm - Reply

    Thanks. If you hear of anything more re: posting, either going through, or further delays, please let me know. #GreatJob

  19. […] interest rate for balance transfers will help you reduce your debt. You could also consider the SPG Amex Canada card or the American Express Platinum card if you prefer something that offers more […]

  20. Laura Tucker October 13, 2018 at 8:32 am - Reply

    Hi, Great site! I’m an instant fan. Do you know anything about when the free night is available for existing cardholders and how to redeem it? I’ve combed through my SPG account and can’t find it. Thank you!

    • Barry Choi October 13, 2018 at 7:12 pm - Reply

      Hey Laura,

      I believe the anniversary stay will be awarded on your anniversary in 2019.

  21. […] Starwood Preferred Guest card from American Express comes with a 50,000 point sign up bonus, that’s enough for 5 free nights at a category 2 hotel […]

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