50 SPG nights down, 25 more to go?

While I requalified for both Hyatt Diamond and Starwood Platinum status a bit earlier in the year, I finally passed 50 nights with Starwood for the year with my stay this past weekend at the St. Regis San Francisco.

In the past there was no distinction between qualifying for Platinum status on (25) stays or (50) nights, though earlier in the year Starwood added new benefits, whereby Platinum members that qualify based on 50 nights receive 10 confirmed suite night awards. These can each be used to confirm a room upgrade up to five days in advance, and is a nice incentive to qualify for Platinum on nights instead of stays. Of course I got a lot of help from my Starwood credit cards, since the personal and business cards each offer two stays and five nights towards status, so that’s an easy four stays and ten nights annually right there.

For many of my stays I don’t care about upgrades since they’re one night stays at airport hotels, but it sure is nice to be able to confirm upgrades in advance for the stays that matter (those at nice hotels for more than a night).

So the next “threshold” is 75 nights, and I just can’t justify the additional nights based on the benefits offered. For the 75 nights you get four Starpoints per dollar spent (an additional Starpoint per dollar over “regular” Platinum members), plus the ability to check-in at any time you’d like.

The extra Starpoint per dollar spent sounds exciting, though assume I spend $5,000 on Starwood hotels next year (which is way high, but whatever), that’s an additional 5,000 Starpoints. I value Starpoints at 2.2 cents each, so that’s an additional $110 of “value” to me. That’s hardly an amount worth mattress running over.

The “Your24” benefit is only moderately useful, in my opinion. Basically you can check-in any hour of the day and be guaranteed the room for 24 hours. The reason it’s not totally awesome is because if you check-in before 9AM you don’t receive the guaranteed 4PM late check-out.

In other words, if you have a redeye and want to guarantee the room for 8AM, you’ll only have it till the next day at 8AM. If, on the other hand, you chance it and they let you check-in at 8AM without the “Your24” benefit, you can still use the guaranteed 4PM check-out the next day.

To those with 75 SPG nights, have you found the benefits worthwhile? Is it worth striving for? Any benefits beyond the above?

I probably have another 20 or so hotel nights this year, so I guess I could focus them all on Starwood and then mattress run a few times if it were truly worthwhile, though otherwise I’d choose between Hyatt and Starwood each time based on which brand has a better hotel in each city.

Comments

  1. It’s worth going for SPG 75 IMO. I LOVE the Your24 benefit. I’ve used it about 10 times this year – great benefit when you fly internationally and need an early check in. I’ve never been asked by any hotel to check out at the same time I’ve checked in. The 4pm checkout has been extended to me in every case.

  2. Since you don’t get incremental suite upgrade nights, staying beyond 50 nights isn’t really worth it. I think they ought to provide an additional 5 suite nights for every 25 nights you stay over 50. Without that, your confirmed upgrade percentage goes DOWN…

  3. If you are flying international and staying in cat 6 and 7 hotels, early check in is worth a lot. If not, it is not… I would reach for it if I was at 70ish stays, but beyond that I wouldn’t worry. When you get a shower and a fresh set of clothes on after 20 hrs of travel, you will thank yourself!

  4. i always get early check in for free as a SPG plat (25 stays, but almost 50 nights) i just e-mail the hotel before I come . i’ve checked in as early as 7am due to an early flight

    who needs YOU 24?

  5. “assume I spend $5,000 on Starwood hotels next year (which is way high”

    Your average night is under $100 or next year you don’t plan on requalifying for Plat? You don’t exactly seem to spend a lot of time in Four Points and element, so your spend is really impressive unless I misunderstood.

  6. clayd333, I totally forgot about free nights qualifying now. 75 nights a year for under $1k is even more impressive. That is racking up a lot of SPG points without paid stays.

  7. Y24 is great – even though I was denied it due to high occupancy at the LM Etoile a couple weeks ago, they still got me in very early that morning – show’s you’re a Plat+.

    Bonus 4th point is quite nice as well.

  8. I am wondering how dtarwood is allowed to use the ambassador term as its part if intercontinental program!!!i really find all thise benefits ridiculous compare to IHG royal ambassador:24 hours when the royal gets 36h with no prior arrangement,free internet and minibar,countless suite abd lounge upgrade and garanteed 24h room.

  9. @ qbrain — As clayd333 said, between “cash and points” and outright point redemptions, I don’t pay for all that many stays.

  10. @lucky Thanks for the explanation.

    It might be an interesting post to some (like me) at the end of the status year if you broke out some of the more interesting stats, like MR nights, cash+points, points, paid stays, suite upgrades, etc broken down by program, or at least for Starwood.

    Until today I never even considered award stays making much impact on SPG status, but for you and clayd333 it sounds like the paid stays don’t make much impact on your status.

  11. @Lucky I am exactly in the same boat as you. I qualified for Hyatt Plat on stays and SPG Plat on nights and have about 20-25 nights left the rest of the year and trying to decide if I should go for SPG75 or not. I am giving up my HH Diamond for this year and not even qualify for HH Gold.

    I guess the current SPG Better By the Night promo give a little bit of incentive to go for SPG75. Let us know what you end up deciding.

    I live about 20 miles up north from your new place. Welcome to the area.

  12. I’m at 47 nights now and temporarily not traveling for work so I’m afraid I won’t qualify for SPG75 this year but that definitely was my goal. If you’re planning another 20-25 nights this year anyways, I can hardly see a better option than Starwood considering their current triple points promotion. The only better promotion is Marriott’s free night for two stays but that runs till 1/15 so you could do it later.

  13. @qbrain – great idea! I started to break mine down in an excel spreadsheet. It is a little hard to get all of the info, especially where you used a card overseas to avoid transaction fees. But I should have mine together soon. I spent a lot more $ than I thought I did on business travel. I also wish I had logged the best available rate so that i could get a true CPP number. Will post my info when done..

  14. Aloha,

    I am an SPG Platinum member who has reached the SPG 100 Nights level and assigned my own dedicated SPG Ambassador. Here are my impressions and experiences at this level:

    BENEFIT: 10 SUITE NIGHT AWARDS:
    For me, this perk provides little to now value. I usually work with my SPG Ambassador and/or a General Manager I know to personally contact the GM of the property I will be staying at to facilitate getting the best available suite. As such, I haven’t used any of my Suite Night Award and still have all 10 remaining unused. I wish Starwood would allow members to gift these awards to friends and family.

    BENEFIT: 4 STARPOINTS FOR EVERY ELIGIBLE US DOLLAR SPENT:
    This is a great benefit, especially when used in conjunction with the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Credit Card.

    BENEFIT: Your24™
    This is great perk when travelling internationally or when checking after 7 PM. By default, Platinum members already have the option for a late checkout of 4 PM which for me is one of the best perks of being an SPG Platinum.

    Note: There was one instance when I was told that I had to check out no later than 2 PM the following day since I was upgraded to the Presidential Suite and was told it takes a lot more time for housekeeping to clean and prep the room and someone had that room reserved the following day. That was okay with me and was more than happy to comply.

    BENEFIT: PERSONAL SPG AMBASSADOR:
    I have mixed opinions on the value of this perk. I tend to do things myself and rarely use Concierge perks such as those provided by the SPG Ambassador or similar services such as Amex Platinum Concierge services. My expectations of having an Ambassador to have them personally reach out to the property in advance to arrange for a suite upgrade and VIP treatment. So far, I have found that many Starwood properties are not even aware of the Ambassador program and that upon check-in, they have no notes on my reservation that my Ambassador had contacted them in advance.

    Note: The SPG Ambassador program is evolving and I have been actively working with SPG to provide feedback and suggestions on how they could improve the Ambassador program. One suggestion is to implement a team approach so I could be guaranteed access to an Ambassador 24/7 (live in Hawaii, so most of the time my Ambassador has already left for the day). Also, when making a booking over the weekend which I often do, I can’t reach my Ambassador. I have also suggested that Starwood add a new elite tier above Platinum. For example: GOLD, PLATINUM, and AMBASSADOR

    That’s my two cents 🙂

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