Free and Instant Starwood Status

Starwood Preferred Guest’s top status level is Platinum.

You can earn Platinum status with 25 stays, with 50 nights, or with $100,000 in meeting spend in a year.

The folks at SPG were brilliant when they added benefits two years ago that required staying additional nights to earn those benefits.

  • 50 night Platinums get suite upgrade awards
  • 75 night Platinums earn more points and get 24 hour check-in/out on a space-available basis
  • 100 night Platinums get a dedicated concierge.

They didn’t create a ‘level’ above Platinum, and in the process didn’t alienate their 25 stay members as much as they might otherwise have.

Below Platinum is Gold which requires 10 stays or 25 nights in a year and gets you a 50% bonus on points earned, guaranteed 4pm late checkout (except at resorts and convention properties where it’s subject to availabiltiy); choice of free internet, beverage, or bonus points; and an ‘upgrade’ which may be a better view or higher floor (helps you avoid the worst room in the house).

Gold comes free with the American Express Platinum card.

The Starwood American Express and Starwood American Express Business Card each give you 2 stays and 5 nights towards status, and spending $30,000 in a year on either earns you Gold status as well.

Here’s the thing. There’s an unpublished level below Gold that comes with most of its benefits.

It’s called ‘Preferred Plus’. You get it:

This level comes with the same 4pm checkout that Gold gets, and gets the same (extremely modest) upgrade benefit. It doesn’t get free internet or a bonus on in-hotel spend (but if you’re not staying enough to earn Gold, the points loss will be relatively modest).

Loyalty Lobby posted a link to sign up with the business program giving you instant Preferred Plus status.

Presumably the company whose business account gets tied to the offer will earn corporate points but you don’t lose any of your own points in the process.

Of course anyone who has an American Express Platinum card, a AAA membership, a Starwood co-brand American Express card, or signs up as a business in their business progam should already have the status or higher. So my guess is this will be most useful for those outside the U.S. [who don’t have as many easy avenues] and it is most useful for 4pm late checkout.


About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. I have the SPG consumer card and the Chase Hyatt card. I have always been disappointed that I have to pay for an internet connection at SPG hotels even though I have their $65 a year card. In contrast having the $75 a year Hyatt card gets me free internet.

  2. @Harv – yes Hyatt Visa gets you Hyatt Platinum (bottom tier of elite status) which comes with free internet. SPG Amex doesn’t get you Gold status which is what would be required for free internet.

  3. I am not familiar with the spending $100K for platinum. Could you please explain. Is it on the SPG AMEX?

  4. Yea, I get about $600,000 of spend per year and have never gotten anything other than a bit of extra help and preferred treatment when I call customer service with help in making a reservation. Please forward link to the particulars.

  5. I always cringe when I read “guaranteed late checkout”.

    Not being an elite with the chain, I’m anticipating getting to the hotel for a standard 2 or 3 pm check-in, and having to wait until 5 or 6 pm for my room to be available. Waiting around for it to be cleaned after the person in the room before me checked out at 4pm is something I’m hoping to avoid.

    Does non-elite status equal “guaranteed late check in”?

  6. I responded to this “script” about 20 min ago. The gist of comment pertained to “$600,000 spent”. It gives the impression he spends $600,000 at Starwood a year. At minimum he would earn 600,000 pts. 10,000 pts per points night would get him over 50 nights. Earned nights alone makes him Platinum the next year. The dialogue does not sound like anyone that travels, more like a trite way to tell about the rewards program. No real people could be so naive. On the plus side, the first objective of advertising is to get someone to respond. You got me! If I had that many pts a year, I could easily spend 50 nights on the club floor, many of them in a suite. Actually, I would shoot for 75 nights a year, qualifying for no set check in or out time. That’s probably the best perk any rewards program has come up with!

  7. @Robert

    Not all, before I joined the Fairmont program I popped into their San Francisco property, at around 12 noon just to drop off my bag but as they had a room available they allowed me to check in early and have access to my room.
    For those with non elite status it probably depends on the availability of the room and possibly the person behind the desk.

  8. Thanks. I do see I am a Preferred Guest Plus, but when I click to view my benefits, I do not see anything about late checkout or upgrades.

  9. Three things I’d like to emphasize since it usually comes up:

    (1) Having both SPG Amex Personal & SPG Amex Business will give you 4 stay and 10 night credits annually.

    (2) Getting SPG Gold through a shortcut like Amex Plat will not reduce requirements for attaining SPG Plat (still have to get 25 stays or 50 nights on your own).

    (3) If you travel with family/friends and book multiple rooms (or simply doing a mattress run), you can get stay & night credits for up to 3 rooms as long as they are in your name/SPG account and you pay for them.

    Note: just in case you are wondering, SPG does NOT grant credits for staying in multiple hotels at the same time (in the same city or different cities — doesn’t matter).

  10. Strange to learn about this. My SPG account indicates I am at Preferred Plus (I’m assuming through my personal SPG Amex) but I have stayed at three properties since getting the card and have never been offered an upgraded room or late check-out. In fact, on my last stay, I was told they would only extend a checkout to 1:00PM. Am I supposed to request these perks at check-in?

  11. My experience is identical to JDH. I have been Preferred Plus for several years but have never been offered a 4pm checkout or any upgrade benefit. As I recall the one time I asked for a later checkout I was given the standard 1PM.

  12. @Ivan Y

    “Note: just in case you are wondering, SPG does NOT grant credits for staying in multiple hotels at the same time (in the same city or different cities — doesn’t matter).”

    That is not my experience.

  13. @ Keith — I’m glad you got credited ( 🙂 ) but there was a long discussion on FT about a guy who was on vacation in city A with family but had to go to city B for a few days — he didn’t get a double credit (and points, IIRC) for overlapping period. SPG lurkers chimed in and said those were the rules.

    Now, of course, everything is YMMV and the automatic computer system may let some things slide; however, I just wanted to point out that AFAIK the rule is no credit in that situation. So, for example, if you have 3 rooms and don’t get credits automatically — you can complain and get them eventually; if you have overlapping stays — may not be successful.

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