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In 2012 Starwood introduced a suite of new benefits for elite members, which really propelled them to one of my favorite hotel loyalty programs. From the perspective of a Platinum member, the two most significant improvements were as follows:
- Platinum continental breakfast: Platinum members can choose continental breakfast in lieu of their 500 Starpoint welcome amenity
- Suite Night Awards: Platinum members earning at least 50 qualifying nights in a calendar year receive 10 Suite Night Awards, each of which can be used to confirm a suite upgrade for a one night stay five days prior to arrival
Earlier this year Starwood further expanded the scope of the 50 night Platinum benefit, by offering alternatives to the 10 Suite Night Awards. Apparently some members were having issues with them clearing, which is why they decided to introduce alternatives. Personally I’ve gotten quite a bit of value out of the Suite Night Awards, so would need a compelling alternative to forgo them.
Well, a week ago I passed 50 nights for the year with Starwood, and received an email prompting me to follow a link to select my SPG Platinum 50 night benefit.
Once logged in I was presented with six options for my 50 night benefit, including:
- Suite Night Awards: Receive 10 Suite Night Awards that you can redeem for upgrades to suites and premium rooms.
- Gift Gold: Make every stay more rewarding for a family member, friend or colleague with Gold status in the SPG program.
- Amazon.com gift code: With $100 to spend at Amazon.com, what will you buy? The selection is huge. The prices are right.
- TSA Pre-Check: Save valuable time and money with expedited airport screening for up to five years (an $85 value).
- Uber rides: 4 Uber rides of up to $25 each (or its foreign equivalent currency). With the Uber app, you’re just a tab away from a reliable ride.
- SPG donation to UNICEF: Pay it forward with an SPG $100 contribution to UNICEF — the world’s leading children’s organization.
For me this was an easy choice. I value a Suite Night Award at way more than $10 each, which are what four of the six choices are worth (at most). SPG Gold status is potentially worth more, though at the same time can also pretty easily be had through the The Platinum Card® from American Express.
So I chose the Suite Night Awards. After clicking the button for the SNAs I was brought to a page confirming all the terms associated with them.
And after that, the 10 Suite Night Awards appeared in my SPG account instantly.
I still have nine to spend this year, but frankly I just haven’t found there to be much need to use any until now. Most of my SPG stays have been either at US airport hotels (where I really don’t care what kind of a room I get), or at international SPG properties (which are known to be good with upgrades).
I’ve been very happy with Suite Night Awards from Starwood, and for me they’re a reason to go for 50 nights rather than just 25 stays. Fortunately that’s made a bit easier by the four elite stay credits and 10 elite night credits you get for having both the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express.
Does anyone plan on selecting something other than the Suite Night Awards as their 50 night Platinum benefit?