Looks like the wait was worth it!
Earlier today, Marriott released a press note that they have inked a credit card deal with BOTH Chase and American Express (see announcement here), ending months of speculation for the future of their partnerships with the credit card issuers, as Chase did carry Marriott, and AmEx had SPG prior to their merger.
This credit card update follows Marriott's earlier announcement ending status buyback after 2018, as well as starting to offer like-kind features between Marriott and SPG. It looks like they are getting the groundwork in place for a unification of SPG into Marriott completely sometime in 2019, possibly a creation of a new loyalty program, as well as merge their technology backend to handle all Marriott/SPG/Ritz-Carlton reward programs into 1.
According to the press brief, they intend to break their customer portfolio into two segments: "mass consumer and premium consumer co-branded products" from Chase, and "super-premium consumer and small business co-branded products" from American Express.
It is interesting they decided to split the empire this way. Starwood has been a very important co-branded American Express product line, just behind Delta Airlines, while chase leverages one of the biggest mass market banking franchises in America today. The combined business of Marriott and SPG is a giant hotel organization, so it is not completely surprising both Chase and AmEx managed to stay on board, albeit the terms which hasn't been released, may reveal how hard each bank had to negotiate for this account.
We do not have any new card product specific info released today, but they did announce business will continue as normal for most of 2018.
My take on this is that we will have one more year of excellent earning opportunity with a very rewarding SPG program, and potentially AmEx will continue to offer decent value out of the combined programs of Marriott/SPG. After all, Marriott did place several SPG lieutenants into their Membership Rewards program all throughout 2017 that I think they see SPG's credit card partnership and offerings to be a success and to be intergrated into Marriott's structure going forward.
Chase would also likely issue cards that may offer low cost, low signup bonus without free nights type of cards with their mass market segment, but they may offer decent reward earning for use at Marriott to entice people to take a chance at their "mass market" card. Depending on what the future of Marriott/SPG is like, it will be interesting how they will appeal to consumers.
I will also suspect they will loosen application requirements for the Marriott cards on Chase's side. Currently Marriott's personal card is under the 5/24 rule of Chase, and to me it would seem silly if they made it exclusive to people who had more than 5 inquiries, yet going after a mass market strategy at the same time.
This may also be an excellent time to get existing cards on offer right now, as American Express has a lifetime signup bonus language on their cards, any new cards offered will allow for new bonus earn opportunities. I would suspect the current SPG cards offered by AmEx may not be available for much longer.
What do you think will happen to the future of Marriott and SPG? What features would you like to see in the new cards offered? Comment below!