Choosing My 2017 SPG Platinum 50-Night Benefit

Filed Under: SPG

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Update: The Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express has a limited time offer through 11/1/2017. Learn more about best available offers here.

My single favorite hotel loyalty program is Starwood Preferred Guest. I’m certainly not thrilled about Marriott taking over SPG on principle, though so far I’ve been pleased with how they’ve handled the merger. Marriott and Starwood are offering reciprocal status matches and points transfers, and nothing has really been taken away yet.

I imagine that will change eventually, once the programs are integrated, but that hasn’t happened yet. The Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest programs won’t be integrated before the middle of next year at the earliest. Personally I think it’s more likely that it’ll be 2019 before the programs are integrated.

I’m still remaining loyal to SPG for now, and just passed 50 elite qualifying nights for the year.

Starwood’s incremental Platinum perks

One thing I appreciate about SPG is that they give you incremental perks for overqualifying for status:

  • You can earn SPG Platinum status with 25 elite qualifying stays or 50 elite qualifying nights
  • If you earn 50 elite qualifying nights you get to pick from a variety of benefits
  • If you earn 75 elite qualifying nights you receive an extra Starpoint per dollar spent, plus Your24, which lets you check-in and check-out for any 24 hour period, pending availability
  • If you earn 100 elite qualifying nights you’re appointed an Ambassador, who will help you with reservations; my Ambassador, Mike, is incredible, and I think of him as my Starwood guardian angel

I just passed 50 nights with SPG for the year

I actually haven’t been doing that many SPG nights this year. Keep in mind that the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express each offer two elite qualifying stays and five elite qualifying nights towards status annually, so in reality I’ve only stayed 40 nights with Starwood so far, as I started off the year with those 10 nights.

SPG-Amex

However, now that I’ve passed 50 elite qualifying nights for the year, I’ve just been advised that I can choose my 50 night benefit.

I received an email with a link where I could log in to choose. Early last year Starwood significantly expanded the benefits from which you could choose at 50 elite qualifying nights. I have the option of choosing between the following:

  • 10 Suite Night Awards
  • The gift of Gold status for a friend or family member
  • One Free Night Award
  • Five Elite-Qualifying Nights
  • SPG donation to UNICEF
  • 40% off your favorite hotel bed

So, how do I view each of these benefits?

sheraton-grand-london-park-lane-10
Suite at the Sheraton Grand London Park Lane

So to me the decision is between a free night at a Category 1-5 hotel, and the 10 Suite Night Awards. Are the SNAs worth more than 1,600 Starpoints each to me? I guess that’s what it comes down to. Or perhaps I should lower the value of the free night certificate a bit, given the expiration policy, that I might not otherwise redeem at a Category 5 property retailing for 16,000 Starpoints, etc.

I’m tempted to go with the 10 Suite Night Awards again, given that I’ve had good luck with them.

My Starwood lifetime status woes

I’ve never put much weight into lifetime hotel or airline status, given how much consolidation there is in the industry nowadays. I earned lifetime SPG Gold status a couple of years ago, but as I look at my account, I notice that I’m just 50 nights from the 500 night requirement for SPG lifetime Platinum. That means I should cross that number later this year.

Unfortunately the catch is that for lifetime Platinum you need 10 years as a Platinum member and 500 nights. Unfortunately I’ve only been a Platinum member for seven years.

I imagine the qualification criteria for lifetime status will change when the programs are merged, which is frustrating. Or maybe they can just wait another three years before integrating programs, please. 😉

Bottom line

I appreciate the incremental perks that SPG offers for those who stay 50, 75, or 100 nights. Personally I’ll probably go with the 10 Suite Night Awards again, though I’m tempted by the free night award as well.

As I look at my account, my bigger realization is that I’m so close, yet so far away, from lifetime SPG Platinum status.

To fellow SPG 50+ night Platinum members, which reward are you choosing this year?

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Comments

  1. If I complete Platinum status challange do you get to pick one of these benefits?

    Or

    If I complete the Marriott status challange and link my account to SPG would this trigger the benefits?

    Thanks

  2. @ Rusty — Nope, neither would get you these benefits. You have to earn 50 elite qualifying nights.

  3. As to the 5 qualifying nights — isn’t that for THIS year? In other words, you couldn’t stay 50 nights this year, get the 5, and then stay only 45 next year?

  4. @lucky, I’m having a hard time justifying staying at SPG when hyatt and Hilton have much higher earning rates: based on $200 night even with the current primotions (Hilton triple, hyatt double, spg triple)

    Hilton: 12,000 = $60 (diamond)
    Hyatt: 3150 = $57 (discoverist)
    SPG: 1600 = $40 (gold)

    Thoughts? I’m open to why it’s “your favorite hotel chain”

  5. @lucky Oh, accirdinding to your 1.5 cent hyatt valuation 3150 points is worth $47 dollars… FYI

  6. @wes : some people don’t like SPG because they’re hard to find. Hyatt is even harder to find.

  7. @Lucky I’m a longtime Marriott guy …. and have lifetime Gold status. Platinum isn’t far off for me, actually. The big difference between Marriott and SPG on lifetime status is the years thing. Marriott uses a combination of nights and points earned. Points are based on dollars spent and status. Number of years in the program don’t matter.

  8. @Lucky follow up to that …. I’d guess that you would have silver, maybe even gold, lifetime status with Marriott.

  9. I selected free night this year and redeemed at Sheraton Fisherman Wharf in SF, great stay, great breakfast! Would’ve costed 12,000 points.

  10. wow have to say with your travel I’m kind of amazed you only have 7 years of plat at SPG!
    I too was less than happy with the Marriott buy out but count myself as very lucky (hah) that this year is my 10th year as Plat (I have 617 nights already so that part I got) and I’m banking on SPG/Marriott grandfathering those that hit lifetime status when they roll out the new system as I fully expect that there will be changes to the qualifications when they merge the programs and I very much doubt they will be favorable to SPG members. ( Smisek throwback …we are making changes and…[creepy smirk] I think your gonna like them [/creepy smirk]

  11. I’m like you. Though I hit my 50nights a few weeks ago, I’m yet to decide. I still jave all 10 of ky free nights from last year becauae I seem to always get a suite and since I mostly travel along it not a big deal.

    I was actually looking forward to the car rental option again. With that said I may choose the free night and with points get a free weekend in a cat5.

  12. @Wes – first of all, HH Diamond vs. SPG Gold isn’t an apples to apples comparison, just so we’re clear there. Though both can be achieved by spend 😉 which is why neither level is that great.

    But regardless – SPG will never come out on top for pure rebate statistics. HH likely will, so if that’s most important to you, that’s your choice. But – you give up a lot by doing so.

    Those of us who treasure SPG and Starwood due for the amazing range of unique & high end properties, fantastic elite recognition, an upgrade policy that’s better & unique among all the major programs, etc. I have a dedicated representative I deal with for all issues, I get a guaranteed late check-out, unique benefits like Your24, etc.

    (BTW your calculations don’t account for other ways SPGers can easily earn points, like Make a Green Choice or the 4th point for 75 night plats, nor other random ways like Uber where I personally rack up a ton)

  13. @ Esther — Nope, they have to be used for a reservation in the name of the account holder.

  14. I agree with your reasoning however, here is my hesitation on the suite nights and I would appreciate your opinion. As a fellow platinum member and Gold for Life status, I just reached my 50 nights and will most likely reach 75 this year. Why would I choose the Suite nights when I often get upgraded to a Suite with my status? And I have no way of knowing until I check-in. I could be wasting my certificates for something I would normally receive.

  15. I think the Gold status for a spouse/friend/relative who travels frequently (and separately from you) is a great gift , because even if they have the Amex they have to spend $30k/year to keep Gold and that is simply not doable for a majority of people.

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