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TPG reader Mark sent me a message to ask about hotel elite status:
“I’m currently Hilton Gold, but am thinking of switching over to Starwood. What’s the easiest way to get SPG Gold status without the 25 nights/10 stays?”
The easiest way is to get the Platinum Card from American Express, which offers SPG Gold status as a benefit. The Amex Platinum has an annual fee of $550, but you get $200 in airline fee credits, which I personally use to get four $50 American Airlines gift cards each year, effectively bringing that fee down to $350. You also get a $100 credit toward a Global Entry application, and access to Centurion Lounges across the country, which are awesome. A new one just opened up in Miami, and another is coming soon to Seattle.
As an Amex Platinum cardholder, you can upgrade to Starwood Preferred Guest Gold Status without meeting any stay requirements. Simply call Amex Platinum Concierge and they can set things up for you. Amex doesn’t really advertise this benefit, but it does exist, and is really easy to obtain with just a phone call.
Even as a lower-tier elite status, SPG Gold can be pretty valuable. It gets you room upgrades (but not suites), premium internet, a 50% bonus on Starpoints from your stays, late check-out (when available) and more. If you’re considering the Amex Platinum card already, these benefits definitely make the card more worthwhile.
Another option is to get the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express. You can earn SPG Gold Status after spending $30,000 or more in eligible purchases on the card in a calendar year. It also gives you two stays and five nights of elite credit annually, so you get a head start toward SPG Gold status if you do decide to earn it through hotel nights and stays.
Finally, you could always just email Starwood and ask. Explain that you have Hilton Gold status but you want to switch to Starwood, and see if they’ll offer you a status match or challenge. You can also try reaching out on Twitter. Although Starwood doesn’t officially have a matching program for SPG Gold, it can’t hurt to try.