A Hotel Club Lounge Elite Members Can Access Without A Stay

I tend to think that a lot of airline and hotel loyalty programs are too transactional. In other words, if a business feels that you’re a loyal customer and worthy of a certain status (using whatever metric they decide), it would be nice if you were always treated that way, rather than only under certain circumstances.

On the plus side, it’s an area where some loyalty programs are improving over the past several years. For example, most hotel loyalty programs award all elite benefits and even elite qualifying nights and stays on award bookings, which I think is a great policy. You should feel like a valued guest even if you’re redeeming points for a free stay. Similarly, some airlines offer complimentary upgrades even on award tickets, which is a nice gesture as well.

While minor, two of my favorite historical benefits that truly reward loyalty include:

  • British Airways used to have an “open door policy” for their Gold members, where they’d grant them lounge access even if they were flying other airlines; that was discontinued in 2011
  • In select regions, Radisson used to offer free coffee & internet to elite members even when they weren’t staying at their hotels, which seemed like a great way to build additional brand loyalty without incurring much cost; that was also discontinued

Anyway, there’s at least one hotel that allows elite members lounge access even if they’re not staying at the hotel. It’s a property I frequent, but I didn’t realize this benefit exists.

LoyaltyLobby reports that the Sheraton Frankfurt Airport offers free club lounge, shower, and sauna access to SPG Platinum members, even if they’re not staying at the hotel.

Sheraton Frankfurt Airport club lounge

Personally I love the Sheraton Frankfurt Airport, as it’s by far the most convenient hotel at Frankfurt Airport, and also has newly renovated club rooms.

Sheraton Frankfurt Airport entrance

As luck would have it, the club lounge is also really nice. It has an extensive breakfast spread, great snacks throughout the day, and heartier offerings and complimentary drinks in the evening.

Sheraton Frankfurt Airport club lounge evening spread

Sheraton Frankfurt Airport club lounge evening spread

I could definitely see there being some value in this perk:

  • If you’re waiting for someone at the airport and have time to kill
  • If you have a long layover but don’t have airport lounge access
  • Even if you do have lounge access, this might be a nicer place to sit than many airline lounges

While the SPG Business Amex gets you Sheraton club lounge access when staying at the property, I would guess that the card in and of itself won’t get you access if you’re not staying at the hotel. I certainly could be wrong, but this seems to exclusively be a Platinum benefit.

Bottom line

As an SPG Platinum member I’m a big fan of the Sheraton Frankfurt Airport, even though I had no clue about this benefit. This is an extremely generous offering on the part of the hotel that I could see potentially being useful.

Hopefully people don’t abuse it to the point that it’s eliminated (we’ll try not to tell the guy who recently visited the Emirates lounge in Frankfurt a couple of days in a row). 😉

Could you see yourself using this benefit? Do you know of any other hotels with a policy like this?


  1. I think hotels would add a lot of value by adding that or by selling it. I belong to a non hotel related private club group. While they have a full service restaurant, the part of it I use most is basically just like an airport lounge or hotel lounge. I would happily visit the local hotels in my area as an office away from the office or a place to get coffee and a light brekky.

  2. Will the SPG business card get you access to a Sheraton club if you are staying on points? Or do you have to pay a qualifying rate?

  3. I was recently in the Paris CDG Sheraton, and it’s lounge food is just a shadow of what on offer at the Frankfurt FRA Sheraton. On that evening, staff seared an evening hot item — get this — of tiny, industrially-produced breakfast sausages. A French guest in the lounge complained to staff that she had stayed at the CDG Sheraton many times, has lifetime SPG Platinum, and was shocked with the drop in food quality, the “pigs slop,” the hotel was serving in the lounge. It’s a shame to see the CDG Sheraton take a turn for the worse. It’s a beautiful property, in my opinion, and brilliant in the way it’s constructed with perfectly proportioned, silent rooms, in the center of terminal 2 and directly above the TGV train station, and yet the hotel is completely sealed from noise from planes and trains. With the hotel commanding nightly rates well north of 200 Euros, I hope Sheraton will reconsider their move to downgrade this hotel.

  4. Cathay also offered this benefit to high tier Marco Polo members but discontinued it as part of its relentless cost cutting, which is now showing through and causing premium passengers to buy tickets on other airlines.

  5. I don’t get the incentive for a hotel to offer something like this. I get that the marginal cost is low and fine, there’s a small amount of goodwill to be generated. However, I doubt this drives any positive bottom line result.

  6. Jumeirah used to allow their gold tier members this benefit at all their lounges, again discontinued. The lounges in the UAE are fantastic, and I knew people who worked in the Emirates towers in Dubai who would use the lounge daily or more as the hotel was in the other tower (maybe why benefit discontinued). Gold is compel on Amex centurion, one of their better benefits if you want to use their hotels. When they ran Essex House in NYC I used to get upgraded to a park view suite most stays.

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