Anyone who wants to request a status match from Starwood needs to do so in the next few hours.
Here are the details that we know.
The folks at SPG want to give advance notice to the MilePoint community that there will soon be a change in policy regarding status match requests from competing frequent stay programs. Starwood Preferred Guest is evolving its policy on status matches to Platinum to a Stay Challenge format beginning April 1, 2011.
Any contacts regarding a Stay Challenge offer will be done via email to the Platinum Concierge department. Any member wishing to apply for a Stay Challenge beginning April 1, 2011 can contact them at email@example.com in order to request consideration.
Members will be advised on the full requirements of their Stay Challenge and then contacted to advise if the Stay Challenge has been met. Should a member not successfully complete a Stay Challenge, they may request another once the original Challenge has expired.
Now, I wouldn’t call 7 hours (based on Starwood headquarters time) a whole lot of “advance notice.”
All status match requests received on March 31 will be considered. Beginning April 1 they will start entertaining requests for a Stay Challenge. And we don’t know what that will entail yet — whether it’s temporary status and stay a certain number of times to keep the status, or status earned more quickly (granted after a certain number of stays). And we don’t know how many stays or nights will be required, or what the criteria will be for determining who is eligible.
So tons of questions and very few answers today (more will be known within a few days no doubt) about what Starwood will do in this area going forward.
But we do know that right now there’s still an opportunity for Platinum members of Marriott Rewards, Diamond members of Hyatt Gold Passport, and Diamond members of Hilton HHonors who have never held Starwood Platinum status to request complimentary Starwood Preferred Guest Platinum.
If you want to do this you need to submit a copy of your elite membership card and a printout of your online account statement along with your Starwood account number to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to (512)997-9046.
Presumably they’re doing this because of abuse of status matches in the past. Matches used to be processed within hours or a couple of days, but the past few years have taken weeks to a month, Starwood implemented a system of actually verifying your status with some programs (like Hyatt and I think Hilton, but possibly not Marriott) — too much fraud. Folks doctoring statements or credentials. And they even managed to get a couple of programs to help them hunt down the fraud, surprisingly enough because normally you wouldn’t expect programs to cooperate as one tries to poach valuable elites from the other.
At least that’s one theory for the change, Starwood of course hasn’t explained why or very much at all. Developing…
(Thanks to Carol for the prompt that I should be sharing this change which was just announced a couple of hours ago, in case anyone wants to get in under the wire.)