Why I Didn’t Cancel My Amex SPG


I was strongly leaning towards cancelling my SPG Amex because the $95 fee was due and I couldn’t justify paying it. In terms of cards with annual fees, I’ve had this one the longest. I opened it back in December of 2011 when I watched a Nightline segment that featured The Frugal Travel Guy and figured that I too could travel for free*. That December, I went to the Sugar Bowl to hit the minimum spend the old-fashioned way, spending money. Now it’s 2015 and I’m going to the Citrus Bowl. Some things never change.

Enough reminiscing, I’m not keeping the card for nostalgia. I’m keeping it because I have referred two people who were approved for the SPG personal card and I am awaiting the 10,000 points bonus. When I book SPG hotels with points, I try to get 3 cents per point. Even if the value of SPG points is a modest 1 cent, I’m still coming out ahead of the annual fee assuming those points post.

I initially considered keeping the card because I receive 2 stays towards the 25 required to requalify for platinum. This benefit may prove to be useless with the merger of Marriott and SPG. Like many SPG loyalists, I am in an interesting predicament: If Marriott guts the SPG program, my points will be worthless and so will my status. This probably would happen in 2017.

The next question is whether it is worth going for platinum again or if I should focus my efforts on preserving my Hyatt Diamond status. That’s a question for another day.

Le Royal Meridien Shanghai: Platinum upgrade
Le Royal Meridien Shanghai: Platinum upgrade


  1. Thanks for the content. However, I would have to disagree with the rationale. Given that you have incentive to keep the card with 10K points from referrals, many of us do not. It might be worth keeping because of the +2/5 stay/night benefit; however, given the annual fee, and the merger, it may not be worth it. I am likely to cancel this card as as long as you have it January 1, 2016, you get the +2/5 credit anyways. Leveraging the other Chase cards or loyalty cards is just as beneficial now, given that we are also unable to MS points easily (at least those who live in major cities since there are no Walmarts).

    • Yes, I would agree with you if I didn’t have 10k coming. I didn’t recommend anyone else to keep it. As I said I couldn’t justify the $95 before. I also said the same thing that the merger is going to ruin the platinum business. So I don’t see what you’re saying different than what I said.

  2. Don’t forget Amex Sync benefits. I have my SPG and an authorized user card for my wife and saved over $310 in 2015. This is a big enough reason for me to pay the $95 fee.

    • I don’t really use them but recognize there can be good deals. And I have 4 other amex cards. I heard they’ve cracked down on multiple offers.

  3. A little Xmas irony here, with me attempting to convince a travel blogger to keep a credit card, but here goes:
    I presume that you get enough stays without the card, so that in itself is a non factor. Amex offers can be pretty nice, so keeping the card would almost certainly offer some value there. If the card will mutate to some other type of card if Amex partially or completely gets the boot from Marriott, Amex may feel compelled to make some unusually good offers to retain cardholders, on the order of Barclay’s AA card. Meanwhile, Amex should be tossing out referral bonuses to hook as many new customers as possible, and you being a blogger, you should be able to get a fair number of referral bonuses. I know that I’m looking to get the personal SPG card in March or April, so if there’s a referral, I’d be glad to give it to you.
    It ain’t much, but combined, I’d say that it’s worth hanging on to for a year to see what’s going on.

    • Thank you for raising some valid points. I recall when US Bank lost Northwest and like you said Barclays US Air and the opportunities those created.

      I would of course appreciate getting a referral bonus. Every point counts!

      As for the amex offers, besides Amazon, I’ve never used any. What do I need John Varvatos discount lol

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