When Do Consecutive Hotel Reservations Earn Double Stay Credits?
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"Reader Questions" are answered three days a week — Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays — by TPG Senior Writer Julian Mark Kheel.
TPG reader J.J. is looking to double up on SPG elite stay credits for an upcoming trip, and sent us an email message asking if this plan will work...
[pullquote source="TPG Reader J.J."]If I were to book back-to-back nights in two separate Starwood hotels in the same city two blocks apart, would they consider that two separate 'stays?'[/pullquote]
There are two methods of earning Starwood Preferred Guest elite status — spend a certain number of nights in Starwood hotels each year, or make a certain number of stays at SPG properties. Since each stay can encompass multiple nights, the threshold for stays is lower for each tier level than the number of nights. For instance, SPG Platinum status can be earned with 50 nights at Starwood hotels, but just 25 stays. So if you can turn a trip in one city into two stays, you'll get to elite status faster.
J.J. wants to know whether booking separate reservations in separate SPG hotels will count as separate stays, even if they're in the same city and come one night after the other. The answer is absolutely yes — as long as you're changing hotels, it doesn't matter if they're across the street or across the country from each other. A different property is a different stay, so if you're willing to move hotels, feel free to use the opportunity to earn extra stay credits. In fact, if you have three nights in that city, you could even switch back to the original hotel for the third night and get three stay credits for that one trip. It just depends on how much inconvenience you're willing to put up with in order to earn elite status.
Of course, this begs the question — what if you book back-to-back reservations at the same hotel? Will that also count as separate stays? Unfortunately, this is where our luck runs out. Because if we take a look at the SPG Terms and Conditions, the company states in no uncertain terms...
In the old days, sometimes this rule wasn't enforced terribly well, but hotel computers have gotten pretty smart about counting consecutive reservations at the same hotel as one stay, and most other hotel chains have rules similar to SPG. So to make this work, you definitely have to switch hotels. Also, since we're on the subject of terms and conditions, you might also notice it states in the subsections above that the SPG Member must actually stay in the room, meaning you can't just book a room and not show up. But you do earn credit for booking up to three guest rooms as long as you're personally staying in one of them. Remember also that the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express and the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express each come with 2 stays and 5 nights of elite status credit, which is another way to build your elite credit balances.
So, J.J., you've got the green light for your plan as long as you're willing to physically switch hotels, and thanks for the question. If you're a TPG reader with a question you'd like answered, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.