It’s official folks, with great disappointment MBNA Canada has officially discontinued its popular Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Credit card (thanks to Nabeel for the heads up). For those of you who are fairly new to the blog, the MBNA SPG credit card is my favorite credit card and I use it for every purchase possible. When points are redeemed prudently, the return on money spent can be upwards of 6%.

Here is the official news from flyertalk:

As of August 31, 2009 SPG will no longer offer the SPG MasterCard from MBNA in Canada. SPG is creating an exciting new credit card that will be announced soon on

You will continue to be able to earn Starpoints and receive benefits as you normally do through February 28, 2010 on your current SPG/MBNA MasterCard. Sometime between March 1 – March 30, 2010, MBNA will send current SPG/MBNA cardholders a new MBNA credit card and the account will automatically transition to that new credit card. It will not, however, earn Starpoints as bonuses or from usage.

If you have any other questions about your current account, please call MBNA at 888-877-6262.

Pulling info from the quote above, existing card holders have until the end of February to collect points and will be issued a new MBNA credit card shortly after.  Rumor has it that SPG will continue its relationship in Canada, but it is unknown as to who the credit card issuer will be.

If the new credit card issuer is reading, this is what I would like to see in the new card:

  • Signup bonus
  • $1 point for every dollar spent (right now only bonuses make it $1 for every $1 spent)
  • No annual limit (currently $30k limit to receive bonuses)
  • No annual fee (must)
  • Same insurance package – Purchase assurance, extended warranty, car rental insurance.

I guess it’s time to move onto my cash back credit card come February if the new card doesn’t meet the high standards of the current SPG credit card.

Do you use the SPG credit card?  If so, what card will you move onto next?


  1. AndrewP on September 2, 2009 at 10:14 am

    I personally use the MBNA SPG card. It’s been great. My wife and I have reaped the rewards on several occasions!

    My first thought is to get a PC Points MasterCard, but that decision would be purely made out of convenience:
    • I almost always do groceries at Loblaws,
    • I have a PC Financial no-fee checking account already, and
    • I love points!

    I will have to do a little more rate-of-return investigation (or check back to the research that’s presented on this site already!). 1-1.5% return seems mediocre.

    Overall, though, all I can say is, “BLAST!!!”

  2. mike on September 2, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    I use Options Martercard from Canadian Tire
    (1% on every purchase
    a bit more for gas if you buy it at canadian tire gas stations
    ), willing to get this card based in my readings on this blog, now because of these news, I gonna continue the previous one until a better solution appear

  3. Trevor on September 2, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    Well that sucks. I am actually using all my Starwood points when I go to Europe next week and they have lots of Starwood hotels there that I am staying for free. Thanks MBNA!

    Does anyone know about another MBNA card with 3% cash back? I was reading about it a while back and was looking at switching at the time. Now I might…

  4. Daniel on September 2, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    Bah! Of course they discontinued it! We just signed up about a year ago and have been accumulating points like crazy. That’s unfortunate, too, because we’re planning a round-the-world trip in 2011. We’ll likely follow Starwood to whatever provider they go with here in Canada—let’s just hope it’s settled before March—and it maintains the same standards!

  5. Nabeel Jafferali on September 2, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    Trevor: You may be thinking of the MBNA Smart Cash MC. 3% back on gas/groceries upto $600 spend per month, 1% back on everything else. The gas/groceries is 5% for the first six months.

  6. Frugal-Wannabe on September 2, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    I just signed up with the MBNA Smart Cash MC – looking forward to getting some ‘cash back’! I think it has a lower interest rate (not that I carry a balance, but still) and no annual fee.

  7. Stephen on September 2, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Yes, I too use this card. I have yet to redeem my starpoints for any significant reward other than a 1000 point upgrade to the top floor of the Sheraton Centre hotel in Toronto with access to their amazing club lounge which I booked on Priceline. That was an amazing deal. $67/night for one of their best rooms and all you could eat expensive hors d’oeuvres (think caviar, etc) and an awesome free breakfast while overlooking the city through their massive glass windows in one of the tallest buildings in the city. Thank you Starwood!!!

    I am just shy of the 70,000 point mark that my wife and I were going to use for a trip for two to Paris next year with the nights and flights. I may have to delay that trip though due to family circumstances. Still hoping I will have the opportunity to go before they devalue the points or change the program. Here’s hoping that there will be a new SPG credit card and it won’t be that much worse than the previous one. They always get worse don’t they … or am I just a pessimist?

    I’ve been using the card since 2006. My immediate replacement will be the MBNA Smart Cash because I already have one with hopes that something better will come along.

  8. Ray on September 2, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    Are you serious? I guess they were giving away too much. I know I hit the $30,000 bonus level every year for the last 3 years. Used the points for hotels in Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia, Paris, London, Hawaii… we get at least 2 free trips a year based on these points – no wonder they would cancel it.

    I’ll be watching this blog to figure out where the best place to move my $30,000/year in spending, so just let us know.

    By the way, MBNA just yesterday sent me a notice that my credit card information had been compromised (along with tons of others) and that they are quickly rushing me a new card number. I guess I have to change all the pre-authorized payments after that, what a hassle. I hope it’s not related to the cancellation of this program in some way…

    Thanks for the ride!

  9. Henry on September 2, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Andrew P: For gas and groceries and insurance needs, MBNA Smart Cash Platinum Plus Mastercard is a great card with 3% Cashback and 1 million common carrier travel accidental insurance. For other purchases, 1% Cashback is mediocre, but workable. Overall MBNA Smart Cash Platinum Plus Mastercard is better than PC Mastercard. PC Mastercard holders sometimes get special coupons for PC affiliated supermarkets, but I have only seen it like twice a year.

    I hope that the new card will have an excellent program as well. This might have something to do with Starwood hotels performing well despite the recession. As a result, Starwood feels it no longer needs to give additional incentive for people to stay at Starwood hotels.

  10. FrugalTrader on September 2, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    Guys, this is the review that I wrote a while back on the MBNA Smart Cash card that everyone is raving about.

  11. guinness416 on September 2, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    I am seriously pissed, we’ve been collecting these damn points since we first got SPG amexes in new york years ago. What are the chances the new issuer will be fee-free and award the same no. of points I wonder? Regardless, not happy.

    I’ll be watching this blog to figure out where the best place to move my $30,000/year in spending, so just let us know.

    Aye aye. Come and compete for me, credit cards!

  12. Ms Save Money on September 2, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    I feel the same way you do guinness416 – credit card companies don’t seem to value their customers very much and we create business for them. :)

  13. Steve on September 2, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    Actually, most of the people in this thread don’t carry balances and don’t ever pay interest so you are costing them money. You are a drain on the profitability of their business, you are not important to them.

    It’s the less financially responsible people that are subsidizing your rewards while they pay extremely high interest on their debt.

  14. FrugalTrader on September 2, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    Steve, I think that most of the reward expenses are covered by the 3% they charge the merchant for every transaction.

  15. FrugalTrader on September 3, 2009 at 7:04 am

    Steve, I think that most of the reward expenses are covered by the 3% they charge the merchant for every transaction.
    Sorry, forgot to add great post! Can’t wait to see your next post!

  16. 35mm Slide Conversions on September 3, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    Yeah, merchants typically pay between 1.5% and 3% of EVERY transaction on your credit card, along with you paying the interest & annual fee. Believe me, they aren’t hurting. Google gave me a figure for australia (I assume they would be similar to canada) of $232,380,000,000 in credit card spending per year, so their take would be a round 3.5 billion, or $160 for every person in the country.

    Compare that with Canada (higher population) and you get about 5 billion in fees alone… obviously infrastructure & other costs are there, but thats a huge chunk of change for “processing” our payments, and THEN they add our annual fees & interest for people carrying balances.

    I highly, highly doubt they are hurting. They can afford a LOT better (although AMEX isn’t accepted in many places due to the higher transaction costs (they are up near 3% when I checked), although they give their users better rewards…

    Anyway I’m certainly disappointed that this card is gone, I use this as a primary and my GM visa (3% earning towards GM cars) as a backup (first card, don’t want to cancel).

    I’m about 20k in spending away from getting all the nights & flights + extra points I need for a trip to Europe with flights & hotels. Hopefully I hit that before Feb, as owning my own new business proves to be a pain in the ass getting credit cards.

    I’ll probably try to get the new card for my wife & I, keep the MBNA card long enough to get the bonuses and then switch it out. I really want to figure out how to get an American Amex though!!!

  17. canabiz on September 3, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    I got this card last year but locked it up soon in a safe soon after because I got the 0% balance transfer promo put on it.

    I haven’t used the points for anything, not that there are many points on it to begin with but it seems like this is another one of those *all good things must come to an end* stories.

    I am sure something else comparable will come along. I am using a low-limit RBC Rewards VISA card that I have got for about 10 years but i may look at the MBNA SmartCash.

  18. London Rental Man on September 4, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    My favourite read was “The Trouble with Rewards Points”
    Thank you for recommending them, I find this kind of link list with short summaries very usefull. thx

  19. anon on September 5, 2009 at 2:12 am

    Blah, I just got this card 2 weeks ago. :(

  20. used tires on September 7, 2009 at 4:12 am

    I am not a big fan of credit cards, I have one just in case of extreme emergencies, so I don’t personally have a favorite one, but this credit card sounded like a great one, maybe that is why they got discontinued it? Because it was so good that they were losing money from it, compared to the others? hehe

    Till then,


  21. leeloo76 on September 7, 2009 at 11:26 pm

    What about the SPG reward card offered by Amex?

    Is it a suitable replacement to the SPG Mastercard?

  22. FrugalTrader on September 8, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    My understanding is that the SPG Amex is available to U.S residents only.

  23. sneaky88 on September 27, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    There are Canadians with SPG Amex. You just have to be persistent !
    It can be done…. heh heh.

  24. Medved on October 15, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    To sneaky88,
    Please, give us some hints… How you submit an app w/o US Social Security Number or ZIP code/State?

  25. Mark on November 5, 2009 at 11:23 pm

    Just a few more months to wait…

  26. CreditCard Junkie on November 10, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    I will probably switch to the Shopper Optimum MasterCard it is offered by MBNA and should be easy to switch over plus It is anywhere between 3-6% cash bach depending on shopping habits at and outside of Shoppers Drug Mart

  27. coachdave on November 20, 2009 at 4:42 am

    This is ridiculous…don’t know who to blame more MBNA or Starwood.

    This was a great No Fee card…I wouldn’t be with MBNA otherwise…their credit card information was compromised last year as well when a new card was issued to me. Is this a regular occurrence at MBNA?

    The new Card needs to be NO FEE. For the love of God, do not make it an Amex…other than Costco who in the hell accepts American Express??

    If the new Starwood Credit card is Amex or has a hefty fee, I’m considering the Marriot Rewards Visa. I haven’t run the numbers yet, but I have enjoyed my Marriot stays and the rewards are easy to redeem and tie in with the places we visit. Thanks for this blog – I’ll keep watching for updates… I hope those idiots at MBNA and SPG read these posts. I’m sure the Hyatt Gold and Marriott folks are happy.

  28. David on December 17, 2009 at 11:44 am

    SPG has announced a few details on the new Amex card scheduled to be released in Q1.

  29. FrugalTrader on December 17, 2009 at 11:53 am

    Yes, I received the email as well. Perhaps I will post about it so that everyone will have the heads up.

  30. Daniel McLaren on December 17, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    I just got the email as well and it looks like I’ll be shopping for a new card. Fail.

  31. Ray on December 17, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    An AMEX piece of crap? Has anyone done the analysis on how many of the typical Canadian vendors that we bill pay, etc, can not be done on an AMEX? That would be a great post – a post showing that a Canadian cannot survive with *just* an AMEX because it is not accepted at X number of places. So now we have to do some hybrid thing? This AMEX for Front-of-the-line and whatever place will accept it and then the next best cash-back Visa/Mastercard for everything else. Given that several other programs convert to starpoints now at 1:1 like Aeroplan Miles, do we have some options there for our 2nd card?

  32. David on December 17, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Ray: Agree – trying to use Amex as the main credit card is a pain in the butt. You raise an interesting point about conversions. I see that it’s possible to convert Starpoints into Aeroplan, but not the other way around. Is it possible to convert ANYTHING into Starpoints? SPG seems to have the best hotel deals.

  33. Ray on December 17, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    Yes you can. Aeroplan miles can be converted into Starpoints by logging into Aeroplan, clicking on Earn Miles | Conversion Programs | Travel | Starwood.

    You can also convert Reward Miles into Starpoints. No shocker that Reward Miles is the program used by AMEX. Aaargh.

  34. Ray on December 17, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    Oops, you are right the conversion goes the other way around. And is a horrible option.

  35. Ray on February 25, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Ok, the information is out. Looks like $120/year annual fee with the AMEX. I’m waving Goodbye to the SPG program I guess. It was nice to have a free way to slowly gather SPG points, but I guess it was too good. Off to the Smart Cash card.

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