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On the heels of having my Delta rollover Medallion Qualifying Miles post the other day, I was checking my other points and miles balances and I noticed that the annual elite nights and stays credits I get from carrying both the personal Starwood Preferred Guest card from American Express and the business version have posted for the year as well. Without any SPG stays so far in 2014, I already have a total of 10 nights and 4 stays credit – meaning I’m already almost halfway to Gold status for 2014 (10 stays, 25 nights), though I already have lifetime Gold status so it is Platinum or bust for me.
As you can see, it posts kind of oddly, with the stays listed individually and then the nights grouped together for each card – with no specific numbers, but the correct numbers are reflected in my elite balance (4 stays and 10 nights).
That credit card perk, along with others like earning an extra SPG point per $1 at Starwood hotels and the ability to transfer SPG points to over 30 airline partners (and getting a 5,000-mile bonus on 20,000-mile transfers), plus the fact that both award nights and Cash & Points nights in addition to paid nights count towards elite status qualification with Starwood.
In 2012, I requalified for 75-night Platinum status, which includes the following perks:
1. Continental breakfast for the entire length of stay, including one in-room guest. This will be eligible at all brands and all hotels. Must be in the on-site restaurant (not room service). Hotels have flexibility to determine what this means, but generally continental breakfast is juice/coffee/breads/cereals – they will be allowed to offer a full breakfast for an up-charge beyond $15. If property has a club that serves food, you still have access as a Platinum guest, so you could also choose the 500 Starpoints.
2. 500 Starpoints (250 at aloft, Four Points and Element)
3. Local gift (For ex. wine, olive oil, artisan piece)
50 Night Platinums
Platinum members who surpass the 50-night mark earn 10 Suite night awards. You can use them to confirm certain suites and premium rooms beginning 5 nights prior to arrival, subject to availability. For more information on these awards and how to maximize them, check out this post.
75 Night Platinums
When you hit this threshold, you get still more perks, including a lucrative earning bonus bump to 4 Starpoints per dollar.
1. 4 Starpoints per dollar spent- 2 base points that all SPG members get, plus 2 points for being a “75 nighter” (regular Platinum members get one extra points per dollar). As always, you can bank an extra 2 Starpoints per dollar if you put your stay on the Starwood American Express card.
2. YOUR 24- The ability to check in any time you want and check out 24 hours later.
I was actually a 100-Night Platinum in 2013, so I got the additional perk of a Starwood Ambassador. These Ambassadors are the highest level of Starwood phone reps and will act as your personal concierge to make sure your reservations are exactly what you want and will even help you plan activities and resolve any customer service issues. However, my experience with mine left a lot to be deserved, so I decided for 2014 to just go for 75 nights since I value the perks like YOUR24 (when it works) that allow me to get to the hotel and right into my room when I occasionally show up at odd times thanks to global flight connections (like arriving in Europe or Asia first thing in the morning), and the bonus Starpoints per dollar of spending.
That way, I can also free up 25 nights of stays to earn elite status with other chains or to book stays with other options like Airbnb or VRBO, where I can also maximize my points earning and redemption. In fact, I had more than 25 nights freed up since I also traveled with friends a lot this year and used Starwood’s policy where a member can earn points and elite credit for up to 3 rooms as long as he/she is staying on one of the rooms and pays for them all. That way I earned points and stay credit on multiple rooms several times this year and got to 75 nights faster.
Credit Card Elite Boost and Earning Bonus
Although some competing cards offer status outright, like the Hyatt Visa (Platinum status), and the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve card (Gold status), both SPG cards give you 2 stays or 5 nights worth of credit towards elite status qualification.
As I mentioned, I go for top-tier status when I go for status at all, but if you just want Starwood Gold statu, you’ve got a few options without spending $30,000 in a calendar year on the SPG Amex (though that is an option). You can also carry the Mercedes-Benz Platinum card from Amex, which, like the personal Platinum card and the Business Platinum card both confer automatic SPG Gold status on cardholders, and that’s a shortcut as well. Just note that if you are going for Starwood Platinum status, you still have to complete all the stays you would anyway – you don’t get a status shortcut with your Platinum card.
For more information, check out these posts: