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Though technically this offer is only good for American Express Platinum cardholders, I won’t debate the ethics of possibly getting status when you actually don’t have a Platinum card, but since I know so many of my readers have the Platinum card, it’s worth mentioning:
Simply call 1-888-625-4990 and mention code UI (or if they reject that code, use SN). If they ask for clarification, just tell them you have an American Express Platinum Card and Gold Starwood status is part of the offer. Once you provide them your Starwood number, your account should show Gold status immediately which will give you benefits like 50% points bonus, nicer rooms, and 4 pm late checkout.
Amex may make you fax a statement to show proof of Platinum card ownership, so don’t be surprised if asked.
Tip of the hat to Frugal Travel Guy for this one.