Starwood Award Nights Now Count Towards Elite Status!

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Update: Starwood apparently will only count paid nights to qualify for the platinum challenge. Award nights will count towards qualifying for Platinum status that requires 25 stays, but not for the challenge which only requires 15 nights.

That’s always been a pet peeve of some Starwood credit card users that use their points for hotel stays instead of transferring the points into airline miles.  They earn tons of points and stay in Starwood hotels worldwide but they don’t get good recognition or upgrades when they stay in hotels because they always stay for free with points.

Until now only paid nights counted towards elite status. So even if you found hotel nights for $80 each, you were still looking at laying out nearly $1,700 to attain Platinum status.

Effective 10/01 Starwood will start counting award nights and stays towards elite status.

Starwood has a few levels of elite status. Status earned in 2011 will last until 02/28/13. Status earned in 2012 will last until 02/28/14.

Having the Starwood American Express Consumer card gets you 2 stays and 5 nights credit right off the bat. Having the Starwood American Express Business card does the same. So if you’re like me and have both that’s already worth 4 stays and 10 nights towards elite status.

Here’s a rundown of status levels:

-SPG Preferred Plus status is attained simply by having a Starwood American Express card. It gets you a preferred room upgrade and 4pm late checkout.

-SPG Gold status can be attained in a few ways. You get it free if you have an American Express Platinum charge card. You also get it free if you spend $30,000 in a year on the Starwood American Express card. Otherwise it required 10 stays or 25 nights in Starwood hotels. It gets you 50% bonus points on Starwood hotel stay in addition to the benefits offered by Preferred Plus status.

-SPG Platinum is where it’s at though. If there is a standard suite available at checkin it’s yours for free. I’ve had very good luck getting upgraded to incredible suites for free as a Platinum member.  You get free lounge access and free internet/wifi access at Starwood hotels. You also get 250 points or 500 points at full service hotels as a Platinum for each stay in addition to the benefits offered by Gold status. Room availability is guaranteed. The Platinum concierge team is very good as well. You need to make 25 stays or 50 nights in Starwood hotels to earn this status.

Another way for folks who aren’t currently platinum to earn SPG Platinum is by calling SPG to enroll in a challenge. With a challenge you need 15 nights within 90 days to earn Platinum status.

What would it cost to become or requalify for Platinum with only award stays?
The following assumes that folks have both Starwood cards, thus lowering their needs to 21 stays, otherwise you will need 2 if you have 1 Starwood card or 4 more stays if you have no cards.
It also assumes that non-elites will enroll in the challenge and it doesn’t factor in credit cards as those don’t count for the challenge nights.

Sample hotels:

Sheraton Bandara Hotel, Jakarta, Indonesia
Cash and points award nights:

For non-platinums:
15 nights at 1,200 points+$25.
Total of 18,000 points+$375 to qualify for SPG Platinum via challenge.
21 stays at 1,200 points+$25.
Total of 25,200 points+$525 to requalify for SPG Platinum.

For current platinums:
21 stays at 1,200 points+$25.
Less 21 x 500 points Platinum amenities.
Total of 14,700 points+$525 to requalify for SPG Platinum.

Weekend nights:

For non-platinums:
15 nights at 2,000 points
Total of 30,000 points to qualify for SPG Platinum via challenge.
21 stays at 2,000 points
Total of 42,000 points to requalify for SPG Platinum.

For current platinums:
21 stays at 2,000 points
Less 21 x 500 points Platinum amenities.
Total of 31,500 points to requalify for SPG Platinum.
——————————————————————
4 Points by Sheraton Pittsburgh Airport
Cash and points award nights:

For non-platinums:
15 nights at 1,200 points+$25.
Total of 18,000 points+$375 to qualify for SPG Platinum via challenge.
21 stays at 1,200 points+$25.
Total of 25,200 points+$525 to requalify for SPG Platinum.

For current platinums:
21 stays at 1,200 points+$25.
Less 21 x 250 points Platinum amenities.
Total of 19,950 points+$525 to requalify for SPG Platinum.

Weekend nights:

For non-platinums:
15 nights at 2,000 points
Total of 30,000 points to qualify for SPG Platinum via challenge.
21 stays at 2,000 points
Total of 42,000 points to requalify for SPG Platinum.

For current platinums:
21 stays at 2,000 points
Less 21 x 250 points Platinum amenities.
Total of 36,750 points to requalify for SPG Platinum.
——————————————————————
Sheraton Cleveland Airport:
Cash and points award nights:

For non-platinums:
15 nights at 1,600 points+$30.
Total of 24,000 points+$450 to qualify for SPG Platinum via challenge.
21 stays at 1,600 points+$30.
Total of 23,600 points+$630 to requalify for SPG Platinum.

For current platinums:
21 stays at 1,600 points+$30.
Less 21 x 500 points Platinum amenities.
Total of 23,100 points+$630 to requalify for SPG Platinum.

Weekend nights:

For non-platinums:
15 nights at 3,000 points
Total of 45,000 points to qualify for SPG Platinum via challenge.
21 nights at 3,000 points
Total of 63,000 points to requalify for SPG Platinum.

For current platinums:
21 nights at 3,000 points
Less 21 x 500 points Platinum amenities.
Total of 52,500 points to requalify for SPG Platinum.

HT: aussiebochur, via Gary.

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21 Comments on "Starwood Award Nights Now Count Towards Elite Status!"

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fred

@dan
This is cool! I’m just afraid that they will say the chalenge can’t be met with reward stays. I don’t want to be the korbon to find out the hard way. Is there any way to verify that point?

Dan

@fred:
From my understanding there will be no difference in stay/night credits between paid or award stays, so I don’t anticipate that being an issue.

Starwood hasn’t even announced this change yet though, so there’s no way to confirm that yet, but after 10/01 you should be able to get some sort of confirmation in writing.

Fan of dan

If I book a starwood hotel with hotels.com which is a long story why I would do that would I earn points and or credits for that? How about getting upgraded? I’m gold.

Dan

@Fan of dan:
You only get points and stay credit if you book on SPG.com.

If you chat up the front-desk agent and show your SPG Gold card you might get an upgrade, but generally SPG Gold doesn’t get much in the way of upgrades unless you get lucky.

Fan of dan

I’m staying at Sheraton in CDG Paris so guess we will try. We are there to short to make the Westin worthwhile. Thanks

jack

Dan,

Thanks for spelling out which hotels would make it the easiest to obtain status.

however how can I get checked without being there?

canon guy

wow this is amazing pretty easy now to stay platinum thanks dan for the update

canon guy

btw im platinum for over a year and stayed in over 20 hotels and i never got a suite so dont keep your hopes up abt the suite upgrade unless u take lessons fron dan how to get upgraded

Dan

@jack:
Be creative.

@canon guy:
Wow, you must have really bad luck. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t get a suite at a SPG property!

Be more proactive. Have the Platinum concierge make your reservation and put in notes to get an upgrade or send an email to the hotel before your stays.

Why do you stick with Starwood instead of Hyattm or another chain if your luck with SPG is that bad?

Yehuda

Does SPG do status matches? I have Hyatt Diamond…

Yehuda

Also..are there suite upgrades for platinum members on reward nights/cash and points nights?

Dan

@Yehuda:
Not anymore.

@Yehuda:
Sure, as long as a suite is available.

Chaim

I am currently platinum through 2/28/13.

When do I need to book the 21 stays (have both SPG consumer and business cards) to re-qualify and make it last through 2/28/2014?

Do stays made in 2011 count or only those during 2012?

fred

@dan:
Is there any rule to phantom stays? Or is it just ymmv with the hotel?

Dan

@Chaim:
Those stays would have to be for 2012.

@fred:
YMMV unless you make an arrangement first.

fred

@dan
Can you explain. How do u make arrangements first? Or is this not the right forum for this discussion? Thanks

SPG Platinum

How many more platinums will this make and thus how much more difficult will it be to score a suite upgrade?

Im afraid it is not good for those of us who easily qualify for Platinum the old fashioned way. Maybe we need a Platinum Plus and/or Titanium level to further identify and ensure suitable recognition.

Easy

Do the new rules apply retroactively? Can one book with points and not stay the nights and still get the upgraded status?

sarah

Just got a consumer and business starwood cc. Do I automatically qualify for free nights?

joro

fyi Marriott just gave me a challenge to become platinum if i stay 18 paid night from tomorrow night until 1/31/12. it takes overnight for it to go into effect but platinum starts tomorrow not at the end of 18nights.

also, does anyone have any good ideas how to spend Marriott points

shlomie

i called up about 4 yrs ago, told them some code for the platinum charge card which had already been expired, they have been sending me a new gold card every feb 28 since , and iv’e got some great suite upgrades like a duplex in the Equinox.

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