Update: This challenge has changed to be 18 nights within 3 months. You can read more about the new in this updated blog post.
It used to be customary for a hotel to match your status based on your status with another hotel chain. Unfortunately, over the past few years, we have seen many hotel chains changing their policy and no longer allowing these status matches to occur. This past April, Starwood also pulled the plug on their status match option and instead started offering guests a challenge method to earn status quickly. This challenge allows guests to earn platinum status if they stay with a Starwood hotel 15 nights within a 90 day period. You must stay on a qualifying rate, which means that stays with points or third-party booking agencies are excluded. Essentially, the rule of thumb is that any stay that will earn you points for your room rate is included in the challenge.
I personally think this is a pretty generous challenge. Typically it takes 50 nights (or 25 stays) throughout the course of the calendar year to earn this top level status. Additionally, you can enroll in this challenge as many times as you would like. However, if you currently have platinum status you are not able to go for the challenge.
To enroll for the challenge, call Starwood Guest Rewards customer service (1-888-625-4990, option 2). Typically it will take a day or two for your enrollment to begin, so make sure to call a few days prior to your stay. Also, they seem to be pretty strict and will not retroactively count any stays prior to your enrollment. Upon enrolling, you will receive a confirmation email as shown below. You should receive the confirmation email within 48 hours.
Thank you for your interest in our Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Platinum membership level. We are pleased to offer you an opportunity to reach that level sooner through our Platinum level challenge.
As agreed, we will upgrade you to our Platinum level if you stay 15 eligible nights between September 22, 2011, and December 22, 2011.
An eligible night is defined as one or more nights paying a qualifying rate at a participating hotel that posts to a member’s Starwood Preferred Guest® account. A description of qualifying rates can be found at SPG.com/t&c under section 4B.4.
If you have 15 eligible nights posted to your account prior end of your stay challenge, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will be more than happy to review your account at that time. If you do not contact us, you will be contacted by a member of our liaison team at that time.
Since nights/stays count on a calendar year and not a rolling 12-month timeframe, it is worth enrolling yourself by October 1, 2011 as that will put your challenge through the end of the year.
Platinum Status Benefits:
- Earn Free Night Awards faster. Increase your rewards to 3 Starpoints for every eligible U.S. dollar spent — a 50% bonus over Preferred Guests.
- Platinum ConciergeSM. Receive unparalleled personalized service, from making reservations, requesting upgrades, redeeming awards and booking everything from opera tickets and baby sitters to getting information on local restaurants and sights: 888-625-4991
- Our Best Rooms. Expect automatic upgrades at check-in, including Standard Suites.
- 4 p.m. late checkout, when available.
- Complimentary In-Room Internet Access.
- Complimentary Access to the hotel gym and Executive and Club Level lounge at Westin, Le Méridien and Sheraton hotels and resorts where applicable.
- Complimentary welcome gift upon arrival.
- Guaranteed room availability.
- Check-cashing privileges up to $300.
Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.