Once the news went public that Chase would no longer accept new applicants for its Amazon Visa card earlier this year, finance-savvy Canadians saw the writing on the wall. A few sharp GreedyRates readers noticed immediately in early September when the application links for Chase’s Marriott Rewards card stopped working, unceremoniously disappearing from the provider’s listings.
We contacted Chase’s American media rep to see if she could clarify the situation for Chase’s existing Canadian cardholders, but she seemed unaware that Chase rewards had ever had operations in Canada of any kind.
Official statement or no, it seems we can safely assume that Chase is shutting down its Canadian credit card portfolio. So, will there be fallbacks for current cardholders?
What Does This Mean for Recent Applicants & Existing Cardholders?
For those of you who don’t remember or aren’t aware of the Chase Marriott Rewards card (R.I.P.), here’s a quick rundown of what it was all about and why Canadians are up in arms over losing out on its benefits:
- The Marriott credit card came with a tremendous welcome bonus. New members got 30,000 points just for using their cards once without any minimum spending. That’s about equal to a four-night stay in a tier 1 hotel!
- Absolutely no foreign transaction fees; a major boost for travelers and international shoppers.
- Yearly free night anniversary present
- Annual fee waived for the first year
- Elite status
- 5 points for every $1 spent at Marriott locations, 2 points at select locations, and 1 point everywhere else
As you can see, that was a pretty juicy offer, and if Chase does end up abruptly cancelling all of its Canadian accounts, card swipers everywhere will be anxious to fill the void. Here are some alternatives to the Chase credit card that offer similar benefits:
- The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card (SPG)
The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card is a good starting replacement for the Marriott Rewards card. It offers great incentives for travelers including:
- 25,000 points as a welcome bonus for new members upon purchase. This gives you two free nights in a category 5 hotel.
- 2 points received for every $1 spent at participating locations and 1 point for everything else
- An annual free night upon hitting the $40,000 spend mark
- Upgrade to the Gold status when you hit the $30,000 annual spending mark
- 10,000 points for referring a friend
Some of these benefits aren’t as exciting as the Marriott card, while others outshine it by a lot.
- MBNA’s Best Western Rewards Mastercard
MBNA’s Best Western Rewards Mastercard also has some great benefits that make it a hot pick for Canadians. Sign up and receive:
- No annual fee, ever!
- 5 points for every $1 spent at Best Westerns and 1 point everywhere else
- 20,000 in welcome bonus points just for signing up and making any purchase. We’re talking a package of Rolos. A package of Rolos is enough to stay totally free overnight at the tier 3 hotel of your choice (or longer for lower tier accommodations).
- Upgrade to Gold status
These perks, in addition to a super-low balance transfer rate of 1.99% for the first 10 months, will make a transition over to the MBNA card very profitable.
- Rogers Platinum Mastercard
The Rogers Platinum Mastercard is a no-fee card with a 1.75% flat cash back rate. That’s a tremendous acceleration from the rest of the competition that averages around the 0.25% range. Foreign transaction fees are subsidized via a 4% cash back rate on purchases made abroad, and new cardholders are greeted with a $25 welcome bonus.
- FIDO Mastercard
Rogers FIDO Mastercard provides a slight twist on its Platinum card:
- $50 cash back welcome bonus (rather than $25)
- 1.5% cash back (rather than 1.75%)
- No annual fee
- 4% cash back on foreign purchases
- No caps or limitations on how much cash back you can earn
Will Amex Scoop Its Own Marriott Partnership?
We can’t help but wonder if American Express will capitalize on this opportunity to grab many of Chase’s forsaken Canadian cardholders, who rely on the hotel-credit card partnership for major savings on travel expenses. This is more than a random guess given Amex’s latest business dealings, which appointed the credit card company as the sole distributor of Hilton cards starting in January.
And let’s not forget that last year American Express launched the Starwood Preferred Guest card after Starwood was bought by Marriott. So it’s a seemingly natural move for Amex to scoop up the vacant Marriott partnership in Canada.
Even if Chase decides to pull the plug on Canadian account holders, Canadians aren’t up the creek without a paddle. There are plenty of great card options out there.