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I’m primarily loyal to two hotel chains — Starwood Preferred Guest and Hyatt Gold Passport. I’ve had top tier status with both chains for several years now, even before I lived in hotels full time. While neither chain has the global footprint of Hilton, IHG, or Marriott, I find that they have significantly better elite benefits than the competition.
Before I lived in hotels full time it was a real struggle to qualify for top tier status with both chains, though. Each requires 50 nights for top tier status, so that’s a 100 nights in hotels, between the two brands.
Awesome Starwood Amex elite shortcut perk
One awesome perk that comes with both the personal and business co-branded Starwood Amex credit cards is that you get two elite qualifying stays and five elite qualifying nights towards SPG status annually just for having the cards.
This includes these two cards:
- Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
- Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Card from American Express
The benefit is stackable, so if you have both the personal and business versions of the card, that means you start every year with four elite qualifying stays and 10 elite qualifying nights towards status. That’s a huge boost, and basically means that you need just 21 elite qualifying stays or 40 elite qualifying nights to earn SPG Platinum status.
For what it’s worth, the annual benefit has already posted to eligible SPG accounts.
In addition to the stays I’ve already made, I now already have eight stays and 14 nights towards SPG status for the year.
It’s not too late to get this benefit for 2015
Even if you don’t yet have the personal or business card, you can still get the elite stay/night credit for 2015.
If you apply for the cards now you can still have those credits posted to your account and qualify towards status for this year. Now is a great time to start thinking about your status goals for the year, and if they include status with Starwood, it might make sense to pick up these cards.
The credit can be valuable even if you qualify for status anyway
Even though I live in hotels and easily do more than 25 stays with Starwood per year, I still find it worthwhile to have the cards for the annual elite stay/night credit benefit alone.
On the most basic level, you can qualify for Platinum with 25 stays, but Starwood offers incremental benefits beyond that:
- If you earn 50 elite qualifying nights, you earn 10 Suite Night Awards, each of which can be used to confirm a suite upgrade up to five days in advance
- If you earn 75 elite qualifying nights, you earn an extra Starpoint per dollar spent, plus get access to Your24
- If you earn 100 elite qualifying nights, you earn Ambassador status
Use a Suite Night Award to confirm an upgrade at hotels like the W Guangzhou
I ended up just missing Ambassador status for last year, though should make it without trouble this year.
Starwood Platinum is already one of the most valuable top tier elite status levels, and thanks to this trick you can make it even easier to earn.
The first year’s annual fee is waived on both the SPG Amex Personal and SPG Amex Business, and even beyond that the annual fee is a very reasonable $95. I’ll gladly pay $180 per year to earn four elite qualifying stays and 10 elite qualifying nights towards status annually.
Do you use the SPG Amex annual stay/night credit perk as a way of qualifying for status?