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Following the Marriott/SPG merger, the new Marriott co-brand cards now offer refreshed earning rates and benefits. See our dedicated post for details.
Marriott has announced that in 2018 they will be introducing new co-branded credit cards with Chase and American Express. This latest news comes just after Marriott released some details of tweaks their making to better align Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott Rewards; nothing too significant, but nonetheless, some tweaks.
Who Will Issue Which Cards?
Per the statement, the company plans on keeping the Chase-issued cards and the Amex-issued cards in different market segments.
“Marriott expects to introduce new, co-brand products starting in 2018 with enhanced member benefits – super-premium consumer and small business co-branded products from American Express and mass consumer and premium consumer co-branded products from JPMorgan Chase.”
So American Express will keep issuing super-premium high-end cards and business cards, while Chase will handle premium and mass consumer cards.
Which Cards Are Affected?
Marriott, SPG and the Ritz Carlton have 5 cards between them, with SPG cards issued by Amex, and the Marriot and Ritz cards issued by Chase.
- Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
- Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
- Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card
- Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Business Credit Card
- The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card
While Marriott has not announced specifics, some change is on the horizon. The Marriott Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card seemingly will migrate from Chase to the Amex stable of cards as it is a business card. Furthermore, Amex will probably issue a similar card to The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card which is super-premium and comes with a hefty $450 annual fee; whether Chase keeps this card or not remains to be seen.
Apart from apparent potential changes, there is some scope for a few more cards to cover the various market segments.
Does This Mean The Programs Will Be Merging In 2018?
It is safe to say no. Per the Marriott website:
“In late 2018, Marriott expects to launch a single technology platform for Marriott Rewards, which includes The Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and SPG. This should enable the company to synch the technology-dependent components of each program, further reducing costs. The new technology platform will also take Marriott one step closer to the goal of having a single loyalty program for the company’s 100+ million members in the current Rewards and SPG loyalty programs.”
The company expects to produce a single technology platform to manage the infrastructure of their program by late 2018. So in all likelihood, after the platform is up and running and successful, Marriott will start the process of merging both programs. It is a safe bet to assume that no program merger will occur before 2019.
Marriott seems to be handling its merger with SPG well; integrating the IT infrastructure before making changes is a wise move to avoid possible issues. The fact that they're taking things slow is so far turning out to be a win for everyone. Also, the new cards should present plenty of opportunities to maximize not only the current Marriott- SPG relationship but also potential new bonuses.
Only time will tell how the overall picture will pan out, but there is cause for optimism. Especially if Marriott manages to cherry pick the best elements of the different programs, like the Marriott Hotel + Air packages, or the great value of Starpoints, and combine them into one program. This new program would arguably be a game changer and force other hotel programs to take a hard look at themselves, to see how they can up their game.
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