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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card
There are many credit cards out there that provide complimentary hotel elite status (or the ability to earn elite status through spending). In the vast majority of these cases, the card is issued as a co-branded card with the individual hotel chain, but there are a couple of exceptions. Today I want to walk you through how to take advantage of one such exception and activate your Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status as a perk of the Platinum Card® from American Express.
March 1 is when your SPG status will “reset” if you don’t meet the standard qualification criteria (10 stays or 25 nights). Since Starwood Preferred Guest doesn’t have any way of checking to see if your Amex Platinum card is still active, chances are high that your account looked like mine did when I logged in soon after the March 1 reset: no status. This also had the added effect of dropping my matched Marriott status down from Gold to Silver as well (a “soft landing” since I only had two qualifying nights in 2017).
Fortunately, American Express makes the process incredible easy to reactivate your SPG Gold status if you find yourself in the same position I did:
- Call the number on the back of your card (1-800-525-3355).
- When you’re prompted to say why you’re calling, say “Card Benefits.”
- Say or enter the last four digits of your Social Security Number.
- Say or enter the last five digits of your card.
This should get you connected to a live agent. Let him/her know that you’d like to activate your complimentary Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status included as a benefit of the card. The agent I spoke to immediately knew exactly what I was talking about and pulled up my account after verifying some of my personal information. She asked for my SPG number and then read me a short disclaimer about the benefit, including a reminder that I’d only keep the status as long as my Platinum card was active (or until American Express terminated the benefit). After just a few minutes, she had processed the request and let me know that I should receive an email within 48 hours confirming the status upgrade.
However, less than 18 hours later, the email arrived:
Notice that the email indicates that my status is valid through February 29, 2020, almost two years from now. This is due to the fact that from Starwood’s perspective, I have “qualified” in 2018, meaning my status is valid for the rest of this year and the entire following year. Since I have no intention of cancelling my Amex Platinum card due to the array of valuable perks it offers, I won’t need to call again until March 2020, though it’ll be interesting to see how the impending Marriott and SPG merger affects this perk.
Speaking of which, I had previously linked my Marriott and SPG statuses, but it did take another 26 hours or so for my Marriott account to be updated with the new status. However, it happened automatically without any action on my part. If you haven’t linked your two accounts, check out this post for full details on how to do that.
As a reminder, here are some of the benefits that you’re eligible to enjoy on Starwood stays with SPG Gold status:
- 50% bonus points
- 4pm guaranteed late checkout
- Upgrades to “enhanced” rooms at check-in
- Welcome gift upon arrival
And here are the perks you’ll be able to enjoy at Marriott and Ritz-Carlton properties:
- 25% bonus points
- Guaranteed room type
- 4pm guaranteed late checkout
- Lounge access and breakfast for two
It’s also interesting to note that the phone rep asked for my Hilton Honors account number as well so she could ensure I activated my complimentary Gold status with that program too. However, I’m already Gold through the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card, so I passed on her offer.
Hotel elite status can make a huge difference when traveling, not only for the published perks but also when it comes to honoring special requests (even those that aren’t technically within the bounds of the program). If you’re an Amex Platinum cardholder like me and found your Starwood Preferred Guest status “downgraded” as of March 1, you’ll definitely want to place a call to American Express to reactivate this benefit. It’ll only take a few minutes but will be well worth it, even if you only have one SPG or Marriott stay this year.
Know before you go.
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