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Marriott’s takeover of Starwood threw into question the future of the hotel chain’s credit card contract. Marriott has traditionally had its co-branded cards issued by Chase while Starwood has had a long association with Amex and we’ve been waiting to hear what the outcome of recent negotiations would be.
Now we know.
Marriott has announced that it has reached new agreements with Chase and Amex which will cover the Marriott Rewards and Ritz-Carlton Rewards Visa credit cards from JPMorgan Chase, and the Starwood Preferred Guest credit cards from American Express
Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson had this to say:
Marriott’s co-brand credit cards have been a meaningful contributor to the success of Marriott’s loyalty programs and a sign of the extraordinary value of our portfolio of brands
We are pleased to bring together the power of JPMorgan Chase and American Express with our global portfolio of brands to continue to provide consumers with choices. We expect our loyalty program members, owners and franchisees, and our shareholders will see significant incremental benefits from these new agreements.
New Cards Coming In 2018
Marriott says that it expects to launch new co-branded cards in 2018 with “enhanced member benefits”
American Express will be introducing ‘super-premium and small business co-branded products” while Chase will offer “premium consumer co-branded products”
In the meantime both Chase and Amex will be keeping their current portfolios and will continue to issue the cards we already see in the market.
The CEO of Chase Cards services is quoted as saying:
We are excited to build on our long-term partnership with Marriott and look forward to continuing to serve our mutual customers with the products and experiences they love
Together, we also plan to invest in new mass and premium consumer products that will bring choice and variety to the marketplace, along with the depth and breadth of Marriott International’s portfolio of brands.
Glenda McNeal, President, Strategic Partnerships at American Express is quoted as saying:
The American Express relationship with Marriott dates back more than sixty years and we are pleased to continue an important component of our partnership
We’ll continue to provide our Starwood Preferred Guest Card Members with the award-winning benefits, services and experiences they have come to enjoy on their existing product, while building our portfolio within the family of Marriott brands to serve affluent travelers and small businesses.
It sounds as if we can expect to see American Express releasing a high annual fee co-branded card at some point in 2018 (referred to as a “super-premium” card in the press release) and that in itself is quite interesting.
The only high-fee card that’s currently linked to the Marriott portfolio right now is the Ritz-Carlton card….which is issued by Chase. As we’ve been told that both Amex and Chase will be keeping their respective client portfolios it sounds as if Amex will be allowed to compete with Chase for the “super-premium” market.
The fact that Amex will still be keeping a presence within the Marriott portfolio once Starwood has been absorbed is good news – it means that Chase’s 5/24 rule won’t be as big an issue for those looking to apply for a new Marriott/Starwood card as, if you’re barred from applying through Chase, you’ll still have Amex as an option.
I’m going to be interested to see how my Marriott is getting from this new credit card deal as clearly neither Amex nor Chase were willing to pay the price for exclusivity – this is starting to look a lot like the deal American Airlines did with Citi and Barclays when the US Airways takeover went through.
I’m also looking forward to finding out what Amex has planned for its “super-premium” card – I’m almost certainly downgrading my Citi prestige card when the annual fee comes due so I’ll have space in my wallet for another high-fee card if the benefits make it worthwhile.