How to Earn SPG Elite Status

SPG Thrifty Traveler

If you read Thrifty Traveler you’ll quickly realize I’m a fan of the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) hotel loyalty program. Is it better than the highly rated Marriott or Hyatt programs? I’d say they’re all on a nearly equal playing field. The primary reason that I chose SPG is because of the two co-branded American Express cards, which have great sign-up bonuses, and help you to attain elite status. I outlined my top 10 favorite aspects of the SPG program in an earlier article, which also includes some great tips. The best way to maximize the value of the SPG program is to attain Platinum status. Attaining status isn’t easy and there are very few shortcuts to get you there. Let me show you some tips and tricks on how to earn SPG Elite status.

 

SPG Thrifty Traveler

 

Earn SPG Gold

To earn SPG Gold status you must have 10 stays or 25 nights. There few shortcuts to earning SPG Gold status except for the stays and nights offered by the co-branded American Express SPG cards. Each SPG credit card offers 5 nights and 2 stays towards your annual status. So if you have both SPG (personal and business) you’d already be at 10 nights towards your status.

Shortcut: You can also earn Gold status by spending $30k on one of the co-branded SPG American Express credit cards, or by being an American Express Platinum Cardholder. Utilizing the SPG and Platinum American Express cards can give you SPG status without ever spending a night in a Starwood hotel.

Benefits of SPG Gold

  • Earn three Starpoints for every dollar spent
  • 4 pm late checkout, if available
  • An upgrade to an enhanced room at check-in — corner room, higher floor, or a better view.
  • Your choice of welcome gift upon arrival – choose from bonus Starpoints, complimentary premium in-room internet or a beverage on us.
  • Complimentary in-room, premium Internet access
  • Register to earn one Starpoint per dollar spent with Delta Crossover Rewards on eligible Delta or Emirates flights.
  • Earn one Starpoint for every $2 spent on group for any occasion, business or pleasure.
  • Lifetime Gold – Achieve 250 eligible nights total and five years of elite status, and you’ll earn SPG Lifetime Gold status.
  • Register and earn with Uber. Earn 1 Starpoint per U.S. dollar spent with Uber every day, and 3 Starpoints per U.S. dollar spent with Uber during your stays with SPG.

So how often should you expect room upgrades as an SPG Gold? I’d say somewhere in the 25-50% range. I will say I’ve gotten some great upgrades in the past as just a lowly SPG Gold. One in particular that stands out was an upgrade to the Extreme WOW Suite at the W Boston. It is the largest room in the entire hotel, and definitely one of the best upgrades I’ve ever gotten. I still can’t figure out how I got such an amazing upgrade. So even as a SPG Gold you can still score some sweet (suite, hehe) upgrades.

 

Earn SPG Platinum

To earn SPG Platinum status you must stay 25 stays or 50 nights. There are no shortcuts to earning SPG Platinum status except for the stays and nights offered by the co-branded American Express SPG cards. Each SPG credit card offers 5 nights and 2 stays towards your annual status.

  • Earn three Starpoints for every dollar spent (same as gold)
  • Your choice of welcome gift upon arrival — choose from bonus Starpoints, continental breakfast or local amenity.
  • An upgrade to best available room at check-in — including a Standard Suite.
  • Complimentary in-room, premium Internet access.
  • Complimentary health-club, Club-level and Executive-level access.
  • Guaranteed room availability when your room is booked by 3 p.m., 72+ hours prior to arrival.
  • Register and earn with Uber. Earn 1 Starpoint per dollar spent with Uber, and 3 Starpoints per U.S. dollar spent with Uber during your stays with SPG.
  • Register to earn one Starpoint per dollar spent with Delta Crossover Rewards on eligible Delta or Emirates flights. Plus, enjoy elite in-airport benefits, including priority check-in, priority boarding. Delta includes one checked bag free.
  • Earn one Starpoint for every $2 in eligible revenue when you book a group for any occasion.
  • SPG Nights Benefits
    • After 50 eligible nights in a calendar year, you will be able to choose a benefit:
      • 10 Suite Night awards (great benefit to upgrade you automatically to a suite in advance)
      • Gift gold status to a friend or family member
      • $85 Credit to TSA Precheck application
    • After 75 eligible nights:
      • Earn 4 Starpoints for every eligible dollar spent (best bonus in the hotel industry)
      • Your24 — have the flexibility of choosing your check-in. For example, check in at 9 p.m. and check out 9 p.m. on the day of departure.
      • Plus, earn 4 Starpoints per dollar spent with partners like Uber.
    • After 100 eligible nights, enjoy SPG Ambassador service.
    • Achieve 500 eligible nights total and 10 years of Platinum status to earn SPG Lifetime Platinum status. (the holy grail)

So how often have I gotten upgraded as an SPG Platinum? I’d say it’s in the 50-75% range, but it really depends on a lot of factors. I’ve spent quite a few weeks in New York City and upgrades have been sparse. Other cities I’ll typically get upgraded every time. My favorite Platinum benefits are the free breakfast for two daily, 10 Suite Night awards, and Your24. The Suite Night award is what I used to book our room at the Westin Paris this summer, as well as the St. Regis Washington, DC.

Thrifty Tip #1: Each American Express SPG credit card offers 5 nights and 2 stays towards your annual status.

 

Bottom Line

I recommend trying out the SPG program by signing up for both of the American Express cards (30k bonus until 9/14/15). You can start building a stockpile of SPG points and test out some of the Starwood hotel brands. If you like what you see, put all your daily spending on the SPG card (requires $30K) to earn SPG Gold status and go from there. Don’t forget that you can transfer SPG points to almost any airline and if you transfer 20k points, you receive a 5k bonus! Transfers to airlines is how you really maximize the value of SPG points. Keep reading Thrifty Traveler for more SPG tips!

 

 

Starwood Preferred Guest by American Express – (Card Review) – TOP STARTER CARDSPG Card thrifty traveler

  • 30k bonus after $3,000 spend in 3 months (Limited time offer until 9/14/15)
  • No annual fee the first year, then $95
  • If you transfer over 20k miles to an airline program you get a 5k bonus (25% points bonus)
  • Spending over $30k per year will get you SPG Gold Status
  • New: No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • New: Receive free in-room, premium internet access
  • New: Enjoy complimentary, unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi on up to four devices at more than 1,000,000 Boingo hotspots worldwide
  • Provides 5 nights towards status per year
  • This is my everyday spending card when I’m not working towards a spending bonus

Starwood Preferred Guest Business by American Express – (Card ReviewSPG Card Thrifty traveler

  • 30k bonus after $5,000 spend in 3 months (Limited time offer until 9/14/15)
  • No annual fee the first year, then $95
  • If you transfer over 20k miles to an airline program you get a 5k bonus(25% points bonus)
  • Spending over $30k per year will get you SPG Gold Status
  • New: No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • New: Receive free in-room, premium internet access
  • New: Enjoy complimentary, unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi on up to four devices at more than 1,000,000 Boingo hotspots worldwide
  • New: Free access to the Sheraton Lounges
  • Provides 5 nights towards status per year

 

Have any questions on how to earn SPG Elite status? Leave them in the comments below!

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