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TPG Editor-in-Chief Zach Honig recently earned his 50th night credit with Starwood for 2015. Here’s how he chose to redeem his annual Elite Choice Benefit.

Earlier this year, Starwood confirmed a change to the benefit elite members will receive after staying 50 nights in a calendar year. Rather than automatically receiving 10 Suite Night Awards, which SPG first introduced in 2012, Platinum members can now opt for an alternative perk, instead.

Platinum members can now choose an annual benefit.
Platinum members can now choose an annual benefit.

Once you achieve 50 nights, you’ll receive an invitation to choose your perk. After you sign in, you’ll be presented with the options below.

SPG Platinum benefit options.
SPG Platinum benefit options.

Thankfully, 10 Suite Night Awards are still an option, and considering the alternatives you can pick from, those upgrades are by far the most valuable pick. TPG Contributor Nick Ewen pegged their value at $500, and I’d agree that they’re worth at least that amount, depending on where you choose to redeem them.

So, here are your options:

– 10 Suite Night Awards – $500 value
– Gift Gold status to a friend – $319 value
– $100 Amazon gift card – $100 value
– Four $25 Uber rides – $100 value
– $100 UNICEF donation – $100 value
– Five years of TSA Precheck – $85 value, but there are plenty of other ways to get it.

Unless you always book suites anyway, the other options are far less valuable. Gold status could make for a nice gift, and includes perks like a 50% point bonus, 4pm late check-out, modest room upgrades and up to 250 points at check-in, but the other options give you just $100 (or less) in value.

My Suite Night Awards appeared in my account instantly.
My Suite Night Awards appeared in my account instantly.

Of course, I chose the 10 Suite Night Awards, which posted to my account instantly once I made my selection. They’re valid for the rest of the year in which you earn them, plus the entire following year, so my upgrades won’t expire until December 31, 2016.

As a reminder, Suite Night Awards can be requested at any time on paid, award or cash & points reservations. If your reservation isn’t upgraded, the upgrades are returned to your account. Unlike Hyatt’s Diamond status, which awards four upgrades that can be confirmed at booking, SPG upgrades will only be processed beginning five days before your arrival, at which point Starwood may upgrade you to a suite based on current inventory. Additionally, one Suite Night Award is good for one night, not one stay, unlike Hyatt’s four upgrades, which each cover up to seven consecutive nights.

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

There’s no telling how much longer these cards will be around and available for new applications because of the Marriott takeover, so now might just be the perfect time to apply. Apart from hotel redemptions, you can transfer Starpoints to over 30 airline partners, and now also transfer points from Starwood to Marriott Rewards at a 1:3 ratio, opening up even more redemption options.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 2 Starpoints® for each dollar of eligible purchases spent on the Card at participating SPG® & Marriott Rewards® hotels. Earn 1 Starpoint for all other purchases.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on International purchases.
  • Receive free in-room, premium internet access. Booking requirements apply.
  • Redeem Starpoints® at over 1,300 participating hotels and resorts in over 100 countries and for flights on more than 150 airlines with SPG flights, all with no blackout dates.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms and Conditions apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR
Regular APR
15.74%-19.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
Balance Transfer
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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