Starwood Offering Elite Status Challenges But Only Through June 30

Starwood Preferred Guest eliminated elite status matches in March 2011 and replaced them with ‘status challenges’. I wrote about the change right before that happened, and it’s what prompted Lucky from One Mile at a Time to start staying with Starwood. He’s since done 500 nights with them.

Status challenges let you earn status more quickly — fewer nights in a compressed period of time — though in Starwood’s case they don’t advance you the status while you’re working on the challenge.

The challenge program is no longer a secret, information passed from frequent flyer to frequent flyer, or something you stumble upon if asking Starwood whether there’s a way they can help you move your business to them from another chain.

Instead last year they launched a dedicated web page advertising SPG status challenges.

You do not have to have elite status with another hotel chain to do a Starwood challenge. You just have to never have done a challenge before, and you cannot challenge a status level you’ve earned in the last 5 years (if you’ve earned Gold you cannot challenge Gold but you can challenge Platinum).

When the offer launched it advertised running through December 2017 however the page has been updated with a new end date. They didn’t extend it through end of 2018, perhaps they’re thinking that could create confusion late in the year if they’re successful launching a new combined loyalty program for Starwood, Marriott, and Ritz-Carlton for 2019.

Instead it’s been extended with a new end date of June 30, 2018.

Simply register by phone or email to and choose a three month period in which to stay the required nights. You can start the challenge retroactively, start in the month you register, or start in the following month. Award nights do not count towards the challenge though like regular status you can credit up to 3 rooms at a time on a single stay.

  • Choose January through March, February through April or March through May right now.

  • I advise waiting until after March 1 to complete the challenge so that your status lasts through February 2020 (rather than just through February 2019).

  • They have allowed people to sign up for both Gold and Platinum challenges at the same time.

W Union Square

Terms and conditions:

Terms & Conditions

Registration: Between January 1, 2018, and June 30, 2018 (by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time), eligible SPG® members will have the opportunity to register for the SPG Gold or Platinum Status Challenge (the “Status Challenge”) by calling SPG Customer Service to register. Members must choose either the Gold Status Challenge or the Platinum Status Challenge.

Offer: MMembers must register by June 30, 2018, and choose a consecutive three-month (3-month) earning period (the “Challenge Period”) from the options provided at time of registration. For example, if a member registers in February 2018, the Challenge Period options from which to choose are: January-March 2018, February-April 2018 or March-May 2018. Platinum Status Challenge participants must complete 18 Eligible Paid Nights at participating SPG hotels and resorts within their Challenge Period. Gold Status Challenge participants must have nine (9) Eligible Paid Nights within their Challenge Period. SPG Award Nights do not count as Eligible Paid Nights for the purpose of the Status Challenge. Only eligible paid nights consumed within the selected Status Challenge period will count toward the Status Challenge.

Eligibility: Status Challenges are not available to members who have earned SPG elite-level status within the five years prior to the current year. Specifically, SPG members who earned Gold or Platinum status in or after 2013 are not eligible for the Gold Status Challenge, and SPG members who earned Platinum in or after 2013 are not eligible for the Platinum Status Challenge. Members who have successfully completed any prior SPG status challenges may not register for this Status Challenge. Members may register and attempt to participate in the Status Challenge again if they fail to complete the Status Challenge. If a member completes the Gold Status Challenge and is successful, he or she is able to come back to register for the Platinum Status Challenge. Members may not, however, repeat a Status Challenge that they have already successfully completed. SPG members who reach SPG Gold or Platinum status by linking their SPG and Marriott Rewards® accounts will not be eligible for the Status Challenge offer.

Earning: Members who meet all terms and conditions and successfully complete the Gold Status Challenge will be upgraded to Gold status. Upgrade to Gold status will occur within 5–7 days of the stay posting to the member’s account with the ninth (9th) Eligible Paid Night completed. Members who meet all terms and conditions and successfully complete the Platinum Status Challenge will be upgraded to Platinum status. Upgrade to Platinum status will occur within 5–7 days of the stay posting to the member’s account with the 18 Eligible Paid Night completed. Once an SPG member reaches elite membership status, the applicable benefits will commence during the member’s Status Challenge Period. The Elite Status Challenge entitles members to one full year of elite status, from one renewal period to the next. If a member is upgraded via the challenge on or before February 28th, 2018, they retain status until February 28, 2019, the following year. If they are upgraded on or after March 1, 2018, they retain status for the remainder of the year, all of 2019, up until February 28, 2020.

Not responsible for omissions or typographical errors. Marriott International, Inc. and its affiliates reserve the right to modify, change or terminate any of the terms and conditions of the Status Challenge in its entirety at any time, without notice. An Eligible Paid Night is a night at any of the more than 1,500 participating SPG hotels and resorts paying an Eligible Rate during the Status Challenge Period. Nights do not have to be consecutive and can be accumulated across multiple stays. An Eligible Rate is any rate that is eligible to earn Starpoints® in the Starwood Preferred Guest® program. SPG hotels and a description of Eligible Stays and Eligible Rates can be found at under Terms & Conditions of the SPG Program. Eligible Paid Nights do not include those nights reserved through a third-party online agency, such as Expedia, Priceline, Hotwire, etc. Please see Terms & Conditions of the SPG Program for more information on what qualifies as an Eligible Night. Void where prohibited.

(HT: Loyalty Lobby))

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, 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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  1. […] Simply contact SPG Customer Care to register and validate eligibility. Then select your three-month challenge period and start earning at any of the 1,500 participating SPG hotels and resorts. If you’re looking for a way to earn even more Starpoints, you may want to consider the Starwood credit cards, Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express and the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express. Hat Tip: View from the Wing […]


  1. I’m seeing all in rates at rates near me for $75 a night, so for $1350 you can get Plat status which also gives you Silver on United. Not a bad deal, and that assumes you have no nights with them already.

    @Michael, it looks like you would need to match for the Marriott challenge, with SPG you don’t need status on another program. It also looks like Marriott will only let you go up 1 level, so you would have to be Gold already.

  2. @Ken, correct, but there are a number of credit cards that give you either Marriott Gold or SPG Gold (which then maps to Marriott gold) so this is relatively easy and available for many folks, so it’s worth mentioning in the article that provided you qualify, it’s a much easier and cheaper path.

  3. @Ie check the challenge terms but it’s my understanding at least previously that up to 3 rooms will count. Not sure if still the case for regular status or for challenge so you will need to verify this.

  4. Are the hotels in the Marriott portfolio eligible for this challenge or do I need to spend my 18 nights at exclusively at SPG properties?

  5. As a lifetime Gold, if I select the Platinum challenge during the March through May period then would I be upgraded to Platinum during my first stay in March, or not until I’ve completed 18 nights?

    I have a month of leisure travel coming up in April/May and was planning to stay at Hyatt properties…. unless any stays I book would be as an SPG Plat.

  6. @Michael,
    Your suggestion is to apply and be approved for a Marriott cc which will automatically grant Gold status then do a challenge for Marriott Platinum and wait until two programs merge then will be entitled to Platinum status.
    Is it a better approach than doing a status challenge with SPG after being approved for a Marriott cc? Nine stays means staying nine nights with them? A reservation of three conservative nights will count as three stays? Or a stay means one separate reservation at one different location? After successfully completing the challenge, what is the requirement to maintain an annual Platinum status? Thanks

  7. so i see a few people keep mentioning this:

    “January – March, February – April or March – May”. If the last day to register is June 30th does that mean i can choose any other 3 months prior to after May? ie May – July, June – August etc etc?

  8. @globe trotter, negative. I’m not suggesting to go get a credit card just for the challenge. I’m saying lots of people already have the Amex Platinum or Ritz card which grants Gold status in the first year, or spend $30k on the SPG card to automatically get Gold status. I’m saying none of this was mentioned in the article and that is another path. I completed the challenge this summer. 9 separate stays, so I made sure to plan in advance and hop hotels when needed. As long as your SPG and Marriott accounts are linked any status updates in one updates the other one instantaneously.

  9. So if you are already gold from Amex play, do you need to stay 9 or 18 more nights to get platinum? Thanks

  10. @Ie, each program has a challenge. SPG has an 18 night challenge for anyone who wants to sign up. Marriott has a Platinum challenge for people who are already Gold, and they can complete it and get platinum after 9 stays.

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