Both Pizza in Motion and View From The Wing have written in the past couple of days about their struggles using Starwood Platinum Suite Night Awards (SNAs). While SPG Platinum members get unlimited suite upgrades based on arrival at check-in, SNAs can be used to confirm upgrades up to five days in advance, pending availability. Essentially it puts you at the front of the queue for an upgrade.
For those of you not familiar, those who earn at least 50 elite qualifying nights with SPG in a calendar year have the option of selecting SNAs as a gift. There are actually several options you can choose from when you surpass that threshold. These choices include the following:
- 10 Suite Night Awards
- Gift Gold status to a friend or family member
- SPG donation to UNICEF
- Free rental up to 5 days with Silvercar – unlock a silver Audi A4 using your smartphone
- Free Night Award – enjoy a night on us, at any Category 1-5 hotel or resort
- 5 Elite Qualifying Nights – get an extra boost toward re-earning elite status
- 40% off your favorite hotel bed, including the iconic Westin Heavenly® Bed
Many will find some of the other options more compelling, like five elite qualifying nights towards status, a five day Silvercar rental, a free night award valid at up to a Category 5 property, etc. While I think selecting one of those over the SNAs can make a lot of sense, I’m also a bit surprised to hear that others have virtually all of their SNAs expiring unused this year.
When I read those posts I went back and looked at my SNA requests, and noticed that they had all cleared. It’s entirely possible that those upgrades would have cleared anyway, but I value the peace of mind of having those confirmed in advance. I’d like to think that I go in with very reasonable expectations:
- I try to redeem my Suite Night Awards at properties where I have a chance, so I’m not trying to redeem them for a stay in Hawaii over Christmas
- Instead of applying them based on when I think I otherwise have the lowest shot of getting an upgrade, I apply them based on the stays where having a suite would add the most value; this typically includes trips where I’m traveling with others (Ford, my parents, etc.), or stays where the difference between a standard room and the confirmed suite is biggest
That hasn’t failed me once so far this year.
I most recently used two SNAs at the Sheraton London Park Lane, where we got a lovely suite.
Prior to that I used two at the St. Regis Rome.
Then I used one at the St. Regis San Francisco.
Prior to that I used two at the St. Regis Moscow.
And then prior to that I used four at the St. Regis Bali.
Funny enough, the last time an SNA didn’t clear for me was at the Park Tower Knightsbridge, where they weren’t selling any suites in the week leading up to the stay. However, I guess there was a cancelation last minute, because we still got a suite and didn’t have to use SNAs — score!
I’m not sure if I’m just lucky, or if I’m just largely traveling places during off peak periods (which could very well be the case). The one difference in approach I take to View from the Wing is that I don’t think of SNAs in the context of how likely I am to otherwise get the upgrade (which he references in regards to stays at the W Doha and St. Regis Abu Dhabi, which often upgrade Platinum members to suites anyway).
To me the biggest benefit of an SNA is the peace of mind of knowing you’ll have a suite before you arrive. So that’s why I choose them on the stays that matter most to me, where a suite would make the biggest difference in the quality of my stay.
To fellow 50+ night SPG Platinum members, what has been your success rate applying SNAs, and how do you decide which stays to apply them on?