Update: Added “unofficial” Starwood Ambassador benefits for SPG members that stay 100 nights.
Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) is truly a trendsetter when it comes to benefits for elite members. Last year Starwood announced that ALL stays, including Points & Cash and award stays, count toward elite status. And with the new promotion that they are rolling out, Starwood appears set to maintain its position amongst the loyalty program elite.
Starwood Preferred Guest has just announced their new elite benefits to Gold and Platinum members, effective March 1st.
SPG Gold members (usually 10 stays/25 nights) receive a choice of one of the following welcome amenities:
- Bonus Starpoints. Receive 250 bonus Starpoints® per eligible stay at St. Regis®, Luxury Collection®, W®, Le Méridien®, Westin® and Sheraton® and 125 Starpoints per stay at AloftSM, ElementSM and Four Points® by Sheraton.
- Complimentary In-Room Internet Access. Surf, stream and stay connected in the convenience of your guest room with free.
Complimentary Beverage. Sit back and relax with your favorite cocktail in the hotel’s restaurant or bar. (Up to a $15 value, or the House Cocktail.
This past fall I visited a couple of Starwood properties to try out my newly-minted SPG Gold Status, thanks to American Express. At one of the hotels I visited, the service seemed to be stingy at best. When the manager was reluctant to give me a “Preferred” room upgrade as a Gold Member, I should have known more drama was to ensue.
I went up to the room and was able to use the internet on my laptop to get some work done. To my horror, the next evening upon return to my room I found I had no longer had internet access! The system suddenly blocked out me out! I went down to the front desk and informed them that I was disappointed about not having internet access, especially as a valued elite member. To my disgust, they even denied that I ever had internet access.
I share this doom and gloom story about sudden divorce of a network connection and my computer, because with the new SPG Gold internet benefits, it appears it is now a thing of the past. Well, theoretically, assuming I don’t run into another stingy Sheraton hotel staff.
Internet access appears to thebe the amenity of choice if you are going to use the internet access as a Gold member, especially on multi-night stays.
SPG Platinum (25 stays/50 nights) members have a choice of one of the following:
- Continental Breakfast (May be left to the hotel’s interpretation…)
- Bonus Starpoints (500?)
- “Local” Ameinity
Starwood has also announced benefits for those who stay an extreme number of nights.
- “Suite Life”- Suite life. Stay with us at least 50 eligible nights in a calendar year and receive 10 Suite Night Awards™ to be used for confirmable room upgrades to a suite or premium room.
- “SPG 75 Nights” – Complete 75 eligible nights in a calendar year and earn four Starpoints® for every eligible U.S. dollar spent. That’s the richest elite benefit in the industry — and a 100% bonus over Preferred membership.
- 100 Nights – Receive a Designated Starwood Ambassador. This benefit, which is not supposed to be public knowledge, is a dedicated concierge to handle all of your Starwood travel needs as well as concierge service throughout your stay. In addition they will track your preferences, and arrange them in advance for better on-property service.
Also, finally there are some new lifetime status benefits:
- SPG Lifetime Gold – Enjoy Gold membership status for life when you achieve 250 eligible nights total and any five years of elite SPG status since joining the program.
- SPG Lifetime Platinum – Enjoy Platinum membership status for life when you achieve 500 eligible nights total and any 10 years of Platinum SPG status since joining the program.
I am not sure how valuable either the nights benefits or the lifetime status will be to me.
Due to the extreme nature of the 50-night and 75-night thresholds, I probably won’t be taking advantage of those. Given the effort required to gain these benefits for me, I just don’t think it is worth it. However, if you a road warrior that stays at a lot of Starwood properties, these benefits would be INCREDIBLY valuable to you.
As for the lifetime status, I already receive SPG Gold status as a benefit of my American Express Platinum card, for as long as I am a card member.
The kicker for me though, is SPG Platinum status. Due to less-stringent requirements for top-tier status (25 stays for SPG and Hyatt vs. 75 nights for Marriott) I plan on switching over my loyalty. So, if I were to manage 500 nights with SPG and 10 years of Platinum, it would allow me to hedge my bets with other programs, while still keeping top-tier status.