Do I Earn Choice Benefits for Completing a Status Challenge?
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available – Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
TPG reader Sam sent me a tweet to ask about elite benefits:
“Do I get a choice benefit if I complete the SPG Platinum challenge? How about the Delta Platinum challenge?”
Last year, Starwood Preferred Guest announced a new selection of benefits available to certain Platinum elites. These members used to automatically receive 10 Suite Night awards, but there are now a number of other options, including TSA PreCheck, free Uber rides and the ability to gift SPG Gold status. These SPG Nights Benefits are similar to the Choice Benefits offered to Delta Platinum and Diamond members on top of the standard Medallion perks.
Sam wants to know whether SPG Nights Benefits and Choice Benefits are available to members who complete a status match or challenge. Unfortunately, for Starwood the answer is no. You can reach Platinum status with either 25 stays or 50 nights, but SPG Nights Benefits are only available to members who reach 50 nights (affectionately known as P-50s in the Starwood vernacular). Completing a status challenge doesn't give you credit for the normal night/stay requirements — your status will be bumped up, but your account will continue to reflect your actual hotel activity for the year. That means you'll get Platinum status and all the normal benefits, but you won't get "P50" status (or the SPG Nights benefit that comes with it).
Of course, you're still eligible for the extra benefits if you reach 50 nights, and there are some shortcuts to earning hotel elite status that may help. The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express each offer credit for 2 stays/5 nights toward SPG elite status. Those credits stack, so you can get 4 stays/10 nights total between the two cards, which puts you 40% of the way to requalifying for Gold status or 20% of the way toward Platinum. Aside from that, you'll have to earn your elite credits through actual stays.
For more insights into maximizing SPG Nights Benefits, check out TPG Editor-in-Chief Zach Honig's post on how he decided to redeem after reaching 50 nights in 2015.
For its part, Delta offers the same Platinum Medallion benefits regardless of how you earn them. That means you will receive a Choice Benefit whether you earn status by flying or by completing a status challenge. However, you're not eligible during the 90-day qualification period — you'll only get the Choice Benefit when you meet the MQM or MQS requirements of the challenge. There are plenty of shortcuts to earning Delta status as well, but you won't need them if you complete the challenge in time.
Check out these posts for more info on Choice Benefits, as well as Starwood Preferred Guest and Delta Medallion elite status in general.
- Which Delta Platinum Medallion Choice Benefit Should I Choose?
- Which Delta Diamond Medallion Choice Benefit Is Best?
- What is Delta Air Lines Medallion Status Worth?
- How Much is Starwood Preferred Guest Elite Status Worth?