Amex, Chase raise rewards for Marriott Bonvoy card rebranding

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A 2017 agreement with Marriott International that kept the hotel chain's card portfolio with American Express and JPMorgan Chase will take a brand marketing turn in February, but leave both issuers as partners.

Marriott's move to the Marriott Bonvoy brand for its travel business cards puts an end to the Starwood Preferred Guest cards that Amex co-branded, as well as the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Visa card that Chase issued. All of those cards will take on new names, rewards and loyalty perks under the Bonvoy brand.

Amex is no stranger to Marriott, having nurtured a merchant relationship for more than 50 years, and handling the Starwood co-brand cards for more than 20 years. Chase has issued the Marriott cards for that period of time.

Neither Amex nor Chase indicated if the Bonvoy card issuing arrangement changes how many cards each issuer handles. Rather, it appears that the cards the brands were issuing before will simply move into the Bonvoy portfolio.

"We are excited about this next chapter with Marriott, as we have been in a place with them where we have delivered great value for card members," said Eva Reda, executive vice president of global co-brand partnerships at American Express.

Starting Feb. 13, the Amex Starwood Preferred Guest cards convert to Bonvoy. The luxury card will become the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card; the Starwood credit card will convert to the Marriott Bonvoy Card; and the Starwood business credit card becomes Marriott Bonvoy Business Card.

In addition to various perks from credits for extra nights or extra spending money, the Bonvoy Brilliant card will have a sign-up incentive through April 24 of 100,000 points after the first $5,000 spent in three months.

The Marriott Rewards Premier Plus card issued through Chase will become the Bonvoy Boundless credit card, starting on Feb. 28 and also with a 100,000 point offer a limited time on spend.

Chase will be the sole issuer of the Bonvoy Boundless card, in addition to a no-fee consumer card later this year.

"Marriott Bonvoy is a travel program built on the belief travel enriches the individual and connects the world,” David Flueck, senior vice president of global loyalty at Marriott International, said Wednesday in a Chase press release. “With the accelerated earn and perks the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card offers, card members will be able to explore our extraordinary global portfolio of brands and indulge in incredible experiences all while enjoying the program’s rich benefits.”

The new cards don't erase last year's Marriott data breach nor the Starwood properties' restaurant and gift shop POS breach in 2015, but Amex executives talked confidently that the network security has been bolstered and that potential damage from the breach has not surfaced among its cardholders.

Still, American Express CEO Stephen Squeri acknowledged during last week's fourth-quarter earnings conference call that the Marriott/Starwood data breach is "something that it is with us to stay," and that Amex will continue to move as many transactions as possible to tokens and taking the PAN out of the process.

"We have seen no spike in fraud at all" from the breach, Squeri said during the call. Because the Starwood data breach had been unfolding three years ago, Squeri believes Amex would have seen a rise in fraud incidents shortly after that time frame.

Both Amex and Chase said the new Bonvoy cards won't have new account numbers because new cards were issued to customers affected after the data breaches. The new cards would have new expiration dates, and Amex said the Bonvoy cards would also have new card identification numbers on the back of the card.

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Loyalty and rewards Credit cards American Express JPMorgan Chase