I’ve requalified for top tier status with both Hyatt and Starwood this year (Diamond and Platinum, respectively), and am in the process of planning my stays for the rest of the year.
Back in 2012 Starwood introduced a suite of new benefits to their SPG program, which drastically improved the program. Not only did they add continental breakfast as a Platinum amenity and give Platinum members earning at least 50 elite qualifying nights 10 suite night upgrade awards, but they also added incremental benefits for exceeding 50 nights per year.
The next threshold after 50 night is 75 nights. For staying 75 nights, Starwood offers pretty concrete perks:
SPG 75 Nights Benefit
- 4 Starpoints for every eligible US dollar spent – a 100% bonus over the Preferred level, and the richest earning bonus in the hotel industry.
- Your24™ – have the flexibility of choosing your check-in. For example, check in at 9 p.m. and check out 9 p.m. day of departure.
There’s no doubt those are some nice benefits, though at the same time probably not worth totally going out of your way for. An extra Starpoint per dollar spent is nice, but it’s not a huge difference; the earnings rate of Starpoints for hotel stays has always been a weak point of the SPG program. If you spend $10,000 per year at Starwood properties, that’s an extra 10,000 Starpoints.
Meanwhile, the Your24 benefit has the potential to be really valuable. It’s nice not to be restricted to traditional check-in and check-out times. Admittedly the benefit is also based on availability, so won’t be available all the time. And for that matter I’ve had pretty good luck getting early check-in when available, so I’m not sure how often it would actually prove useful.
Still, it’s a nice benefit to have.
Most interesting to me, however, are the benefits that Starwood offers for staying 100 nights:
SPG 100 Nights Benefit
Our highest level of service. Imagine having a single point of contact who can help make everything fall into place when you travel. That’s exactly the kind of personalized service SPG ambassadors provide. They handle everything from room preferences to restaurant reservations to special occasions. Just tell them what you need, and they’ll work to make it happen any day of the year.
While that might sound nice to some, it’s of limited use to me, at least on the surface. I call Starwood maybe a handful of times a year, and ultimately would rather handle everything online than having to call anyway. I just don’t have that many requests that can’t automatically be processed.
But I think the question is whether treatment is actually different for Starwood 100 night Platinum members. In other words, do 100 night Platinum members get better treatment at hotels, and if so, is it because they have a great contact point at Starwood, or just because their profile shows that they’re a 100 night Platinum?
Anecdotally I’ve actually been told at the Sheraton Gateway LAX that they keep the corner suites for 100 night Platinum members, so it does seem to at least make a difference at some properties.
To those of you that are 100 night Platinum members with Starwood, what has been your experience? Have your stays gotten better, and if so, is it because of the intervention of your “agent,” or just because the hotels see the frequency with which you stay?
I’ll be going for it either way. Starwood awards elite night and stay credits for award stays, so I’ll reach it regardless without much additional spend with them, and will certainly report back.
But I’d love to hear experiences from those of you that have already put in 100 nights!