Everything You Need To Know About Sheraton Lounge Access With The SPG Business Amex

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In my opinion both the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express are worth acquiring for the sign-up bonuses and the return they offer on everyday spend. They also offer other ongoing perks, like free Boingo wifi, complimentary premium internet at Starwood properties, and two elite stay credits and five elite night credits towards status annually, which helps me requalify for Platinum status.

But there’s one benefit that really sets apart the business version of the card for anyone looking at applying. I know a lot of people are already familiar with this benefit, but even so, it’s a benefit I constantly get questions about.

Primary cardmembers on the SPG Business Amex receive executive lounge access whenever staying at Sheraton properties. This is a huge perk, possibly one of the biggest perks offered by any hotel credit card.

Lounge access is otherwise reserved for Platinum members and those paying for access, so this is a great way to get one of the biggest benefits of top tier status without actually having to put in the nights.

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Club lounge at the Sheraton Grand London Park Lane

I figured I’d share some FAQs about this benefit, for those not familiar with the rules:

Do additional cardmembers also qualify for Sheraton club lounge access?

No, only the primary cardmember is eligible for this benefit. In other words, you can add employee cards to the SPG Business Amex, but those cardmembers wouldn’t be eligible for Sheraton club lounge access. Only the person paying the $95 annual fee (which is waived the first year) would be eligible.

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Club lounge at the Sheraton Salzburg

How many guests can I bring in a Sheraton club lounge?

This benefit is available to the primary cardmember as well as up to one guest registered to stay in the same room. So at most two people can use the lounge. In the case of hotels which have different rates depending on single or double occupancy (this isn’t uncommon in Europe), you’d have to pay for double occupancy for two people to be able to use the lounge.

Do Free Night/Points & Cash stays qualify for Sheraton club lounge access?

Absolutely! If you book directly with Starwood you’ll be eligible for this benefit, regardless of whether it’s a paid, corporate, free night, or Points & Cash stay.

What if I booked through Priceline/Hotwire?

Third party bookings technically aren’t eligible for this benefit. So you have to book directly through SPG or an approved travel agent if you want this benefit. In practice some hotels may still honor the benefit, but that would be out of generosity, and not because they have to.

Can I use a Sheraton lounge when not staying at a hotel?

No. You actually have to be staying at the property with a reservation in your name in order to use the perk.

Does the Sheraton club lounge benefit apply internationally?

Yep! It applies at Sheraton hotels around the world.

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Club lounge at the Sheraton Maldives

Do I have to pay for my stay with the SPG Business Amex to use this perk?

Nope, you can pay with any credit card you’d like and still take advantage of this perk.

How will the hotel know I have the SPG Business Amex?

Your SPG account should automatically be notated for this benefit. As the primary cardmember with your SPG number linked to the credit card, your account will reflect that you’re eligible for this benefit, and you should automatically be offered club lounge access at check-in. There’s no need to show your card, etc. Instead your actual room key will be programmed to get you lounge access.

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Club lounge at the Sheraton Skyline London Heathrow

Does this benefit apply at other SPG brands as well?

No, this benefit only applies at Sheratons. It doesn’t apply at Westins, Le Meridiens, or any other SPG or Marriott brand.

What impact will the Marriott merger have on this benefit?

Marriott’s takeover of Starwood closed several months ago, though for the time being Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest are still being run independently. Marriott’s target is to integrate the programs in 2018, though if that happens, it’s unlikely to be at the beginning of the year.

We still don’t know what the future of Marriott’s credit card agreement will look like. American Express has the Starwood contract, while Chase has the Marriott contract. It’s entirely possible that American Express will take over the whole thing, that Chase will take over the whole thing, or perhaps even that they’ll have cards issued by both American Express and Chase long term.

The point is, for now it’s “business as usual,” so there are no changes in sight for the SPG Amex.

What should I expect of a Sheraton club lounge?

Starwood is in the process of rebranding Sheraton, as they sort of realize the brand is tired and lacks an identity.

The Sheraton brand can be pretty inconsistent, and the same is true of the quality of their club lounges.

Generally speaking U.S. Sheraton club lounges are pretty basic. You can expect a continental breakfast with maybe one hot option, then maybe soft drinks and packaged snacks during the day, and then appetizers and an honor bar in the evening (meaning you have to pay for alcohol).

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Club lounge at the Sheraton Miami Airport

However, outside the U.S. there are some really nice club lounges. For example, you could literally have all your meals in the club lounge at the Sheraton Salzburg, if you were so inclined. They have a hot breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffet, with complimentary drinks (including alcohol) available for most of the day.

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Club lounge at the Sheraton Salzburg

But beyond that, I find club lounges to be a great place from which to work, so whether you’re between sightseeing or trying to get some work done, they’re a great place to come and relax, grab a drink, and use your laptop.

So yeah, the quality does vary significantly, though there are some nice Sheraton clubs out there.

Bottom line

The SPG Personal Amex and SPG Business Amex have great sign-up bonuses and a generous return on everyday spend, so that’s enough reason to pick up these cards.

But if you’re trying to decide between cards or are focused on perks beyond that, I think the Sheraton lounge access on the business version of the card is worth specifically pointing out, as I know many people have gotten a lot of value out of the benefit since it was introduced in 2015.

If you have the SPG Business Amex and aren’t a Platinum member, have you gotten a lot of value out of the club lounge perk?

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Comments

  1. I’m planning on booking with points through the chase travel portal for the Sheraton Maui cause the redemption rate with the CSR is currently much better than the 20,000 starpoints a night. Would my Sheraton Club access work with the SPG Business in this case? If not, I paid for the first night through spg and booked the rest of the nights in the same type of room through chase would this be a possible work around? Thanks!

  2. I’ve never had this benefit without asking about it. Most hotel clerks have no idea, I have to specifically mention it. Some even doubt it and then have to get permission from a GM to give me lounge access.

  3. I’ve had the same experience as @Hao internationally, though within the US the front desk folks generally seem more aware. I’ve never had a stay where I didn’t eventually get the lounge access, but I have definitely had to fight for it – and wait for manager approval – many times.

  4. From what I understand, the main thing to know, actually, is that your check in experience will be delayed by a dumbfounded clerk who has no idea what you’re talking about, only to perhaps be given this alleged “benefit” as an “exception” like they are doing you a favor.

  5. @Larry and @Hao +1. My best experience using this benefit was at the Sheraton Maui, which I had to show my SPG Amex Biz every time to get entry. I’ve never been proactively offered this benefit and almost every time except Sheraton Maui had to involve the GM…

  6. @Larry, @Hao and @A – count me in the same group!

    I have NEVER EVER be provided this benefit proactively. Always have to ask for it and the clerk asked to see the SPG business card AND photo ID.

    How it is practiced at the individual hotel level is FAR FROM Smooth as Lucky wrote. He probably has NEVER used this benefit because he is SPG Plat.

  7. I only stayed at Sheratons twice since I have this card. At the Sheraton San Diego I was told at check in where the lounge was, their hours, etc… and that I had access because I had the Amex SPG Business card. At the Sheraton Seattle I was not told anything and I asked where the lounge was located which I was just told but they never mentioned I had access because of the card. I went up and my room key card gave me access to the lounge so it was all behind the scenes and I never had to show my card.

  8. I stayed at the Sheraton Roma in Rome in July as an SPG redemption, they had no clue what I was talking about when I asked about this benefit (after trying to get into the lounge unsuccessfully), I spoke with the manager at check-in and at the club, they were clueless even after showing them the website.
    Eventually, I called SPG and had them call the property and guide through the process of adding it to my room key.

  9. This is a rather irresponsible post. Hop over to FT and you can easily see that many, if not most, have serious issues when checking in re this benefit. I’ve used it 4 times and it has NEVER been acknowledged at check in. Now I email the hotel first and ask them to add to my rez. Even then sometimes it’s an issue.

  10. @Beck Agreed. I have had to speak to multiple reps to be able to use this benefit. Its not like they just granted me access right off the bat. Some of the people there didn’t even know about the benefit.

  11. Sheraton in Tel Aviv had one of the best lounges that I have been to. Magnificent view of the city and the Mediterranean, 3 meals a day, free drinks, etc. The only problem: NO CHILDREN ALLOWED. I had access through Platinum, but my parents where able to get in because of having the Platinum Business card.

  12. What if you emailed the hotel in advance to clear it up ahead of time. Would that help to smooth over checking in?

  13. @Kalboz I would guess no. Check sheratonclub.com and its not listed. And from my own knowledge, the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit is a Luxury Collection property, and only uses the Sheraton name for nostalgia reasons, and its not considered part of the Sheraton brand.

  14. I’ve stayed at a few US Sheratons with the SPG Business Amex and never had to ask: San Diego Mission Valley, Minneapolis Midtown, seems like somewhere else. But the lounges were pretty underwhelming. The lounge at Berlin Esplanade was good, stylish, and some good food and beverage options. But the real prize was the Sheraton Orchid in Bangkok. I think I paid less than $100 per night for the room then got this lounge access through the SPG card, with a pretty incredible food spread (Thai and Chinese) and a bar, with a bartender, making actual cocktails using much better than bottom shelf spirits (Johnny Walker Black, Tanquerray), all with an amazing view of the river. Just like with Marriott Concierge Lounges, the best Sheraton lounges are all in Asia.

  15. I just booked a room at the Sheraton Atlantic City Convention Center on the phone using Starpoints. Starpoints for this category 2 hotel are 7000. They charged me 8500 Starpoints to have club access? To me that isn’t free. I kept bringing this around that I thought I just had to have the card and why should I have to upgrade my room, but got no where. For the reviews on the lounges, not sure I want to spend an additional 1500 starpoints. Has anyone else run into this?

  16. @Pat – You’re supposed to just book the standard room. You probably booked the club/executive room. You’ll get lounge access regardless of the room you’re on, and they’ll code your key for the lounge at check-in.

  17. I’ve had trouble at the Sheraton in New Orleans as well as Sheraton Puerto Rico and Casino. None of the employees or mangers knew anything about it. They granted me lounge access as a favor after talking to them about it for 15 minutes. Reached out to SPG on twitter and they said they would reach out to the hotel.

    I don’t think my SPG business card is attached to my SPG account so it’s a little my fault I supppse I have trouble using this benefit.

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