There are a few variations of the American Express SPG and Chase Marriott credit cards, but before we dive into the details, you should be aware of the “One Lane Rule.” The general gist is that you can pick either Amex SPG or Chase Marriott welcome offers, but not both.
Comparing EVERY SPG & Marriott Credit Card
Below is a chart that compares EVERY American Express SPG and Chase Marriott credit card that’s available on the market.
The J.P. Morgan Chase Ritz-Carlton card is available via product change if you have the personal Chase Marriott Premier Plus card for more than 12 months.
Free Night Award
Each Amex SPG and Chase Marriott card offers a free night certificate worth up to 35,000 points on your cardmember anniversary. The Ritz-Carlton card’s free night certificate is worth up to 50,000 points.
You must redeem the free night certificate all at once, hence the “up to” value. For example, if you book a property that costs 15,000 points per night, you will only be able to book one night, and not two.
Optimal strategy to get outsized value from free night certificates:
a) certain properties (esp. resorts/aspirational)
performances (people coming into town for headliners)
festivals (film, music, etc.)
sporting events (major league playoffs, NCAA, etc.)
unique hobby events (solar eclipses)
You’re paying $95 (annual fee) for a property with the average price of $419.
$419 - $95 = $324 expected “gain”
The free night certificate from the Ritz-Carlton card is worth up to 50,000 points.
Category 6 (50,000/night) examples:
St. Regis Langkawi (Malaysia) = $252 to $949
Naka Phuket (Thailand) = $313 to $933
Ritz-Carlton, Bali = $237 to $681
Prince Sakura Tower Tokyo = $315 to $582
Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay (Disney!) = $177 to $666
St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort (Abu Dhabi) = $298 to $1,168
Wailea Beach Resort - Marriott, Maui = $441 to $1,113
Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa = $210 to $880
One important note is that all of the Amex SPG and Chase Marriott cards earn Marriott points since the merger.
The Amex SPG Luxury card has a higher annual fee ($450), but it does have 3X point multipliers at U.S. Restaurants and flights booked directly with the airlines.
If you’re eligible for a business card, the Amex SPG Business card offers 4X point multipliers at U.S. gas stations, US. shipping, and wireless phone services directly with U.S. providers.
If status at Marriott/SPG properties is important to you, then I recommend getting the Amex SPG Luxury card to get automatic Gold status.
The Chase Ritz-Carlton card (available only via product change from the personal Chase Marriott) also offers automatic Gold status.
You can also get automatic Gold status at Marriott/SPG by having the American Express Platinum status.
Starting in 2019, only Platinum status will grant you free breakfast at select properties. You can achieve Platinum status by spending more than $75,000 on the card each calendar year.
As a side note, the card must be open to keep the hotel status active.
J.P. Morgan Chase Ritz-Carlton Card Upgrade Requirements
The Chase Ritz-Carlton card is still available via product change. You can no longer apply directly to the Chase Ritz-Carlton card.
Here’s what you need to do:
Have a personal Chase Marriott card.
Be eligible for a minimum of $10,000 credit limit on that card. Since the Chase Ritz-Carlton card is a Visa Infinite card, the minimum starting credit limit is $10,000.
The personal Marriott card must be at least 12 months old. Due to the CARD Act, banks are not allowed to change the terms of service (including the annual fee) of a card within the first 12 months.
Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, vendors or companies, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
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