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I’ve been a fan of the Starwood Preferred Guest program for a long time, but it looks like I just moved on up from being a fan. In fact, I just received a package from SPG confirming that I’m officially a SPG Lifetime Platinum member.

IMG-spg-lifetime-plat-coverMy favorite part of this package — other than the actual card, which might be the heaviest metal card I’ve ever received — is the map on the front of the welcome materials. It shows all the different places where I’ve personally stayed at an SPG property over the years. That’s pretty cool.

Further inside is a booklet listing all the perks I get as a Lifetime Platinum, which include room upgrades at check-in (including standard suites), late checkout, high-speed internet, Club and Executive-level privileges, guaranteed room availability, access to the Platinum Concierge line and a welcome gift at check-in for each stay. I can choose bonus Starpoints for my welcome gift if I want, but another choice is free breakfast, which is substantial at some SPG properties.

While I’ll get all those perks no matter how many times I stay at SPG hotels going forward, I’ll still have good reason to go for 50 nights a year or more, even with Lifetime Platinum. That’s because at 50 nights each year, I get 10 Suite Night Awards, which are upgrades that I can confirm in advance depending on availability.

St. Regis Princeville Resort, Kauai, Hawaii
I’ve used Suite Night Awards to upgrade to a junior suite at the St. Regis Princeville Resort in Kauai, Hawaii.

At 75 nights in a year I also get an extra Starpoint per dollar spent, plus access to Your24, which theoretically allows me to choose my own check-in time and stay a full 24 hours from that point (though I’ve only gotten Your24 honored about half the time I requested it in the past). And at 100 nights in a year, I’ll get all of the above plus a personal SPG Ambassador assigned to me to handle any requests or issues that might arise.

How to Get Lifetime Platinum Status

So what did I have to do to make Lifetime Platinum? Well, there are two requirements. First, I had to earn SPG Platinum status for a minimum of 10 years — matched status from Marriott doesn’t count. You earn Platinum status with either 25 stays or 50 nights at SPG hotels in a calendar year. That’s a decent chunk of time at SPG hotels, but it’s easier to achieve than Hyatt’s World of Hyatt requirements which, like SPG, now counts award nights toward elite status but no longer offers the option to make status with stays, and requires 60 nights to make it to top-tier Globalist.

(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)

Also, thanks to the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express and the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express, I got a jump start each year on my stay requirements. That’s because each of those cards earns me 2 stays and 5 nights per year, and I can even stack the two cards together to get 4 stays and 10 nights, which is already 20% of the way toward Platinum status before I’ve spent even one night at a hotel.

However, in order to earn Lifetime Platinum status, you also have to stay a total of at least 500 eligible nights from the time you joined the SPG program. “Eligible nights” are paid or award nights in a participating SPG hotel or partner hotel, so the nights from the credit cards don’t count in that case, nor do any award nights before October 1, 2011. That means if some years you qualify for Platinum status with only 40 nights (plus the credit card nights), you’ll either need to have other years in which you stayed more than 50 nights, or you’ll have to take more than 10 years to earn the Lifetime status.

IMG-spg-lifetime-plat-dashboard

In my case, I earned well over 500 nights in the last 10 years — in fact, my SPG Dashboard shows I’m over 700. I do stay at a lot of SPG properties, but one of the ways I’ve been able to increase my nights over the years is by booking rooms for friends who are traveling with me, since you can get credit for up to three rooms on one SPG reservation.

While we don’t know yet what’s going to happen with the SPG program in 2018 and beyond given the merger with Marriott, the heads of both SPG and Marriott told me a year ago that they would “treat the lifetime status very carefully” when it eventually comes to matching from program to program. I’ve got high hopes on this, especially since the combined company has made it super easy to match yearly elite status from one program to the other. So while I’m sure I’ll miss SPG when it eventually goes away, I’m optimistic that Marriott will do the right thing when combining lifetime elites.

Starwood Points are the most valuable points currency out there.
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

 

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More Things to Know
  • Earn a $100 statement credit after you make $1,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Plus, earn an additional $100 statement credit after your first purchase on the Card at a participating SPG® or Marriott Rewards® hotel within your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • From now through July 31, 2018: Earn 2 Starpoints® for every dollar of eligible purchases on the Card at participating SPG® and Marriott Rewards® hotels. Earn 1 Starpoint for all other eligible purchases.
  • On August 1, 2018, SPG will convert every one Starpoint in a loyalty member account to three points. In general, corresponding redemption changes will occur. Visit members.marriott.com for details.
  • Effective August 1, 2018: Earn 6 points for every dollar of eligible purchases on the Card at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards® hotels. Earn 2 points for all other eligible purchases.
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