From this Flyertalk thread, it seems that Starwood was lenient this year and decided to extend Platinum status for some people who didn’t hit the 25 stay/ 50 night qualification requirement. I’m not sure what the threshold was, but it’s clear that Starwood wants to retain people’s loyalty- even if it means bending the rules a little bit.
A lot of airlines do this, but give “soft landings” to the next elite level down. If you didn’t qualify for elite status for any program in 2010, try writing an email asking to be extended for the following year. I can’t guarantee it’ll work, but it can’t hurt to try.
I certainly would- I can’t imagine traveling without elite status!
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