Over the years Starwood has remained one of my hotels of choice. Earning status has been pretty easy and I’ve received some great benefits (free breakfast, suite upgrades, etc.). I used to be a Marriott girl when I was traveling for work every week (mostly due to the fact that there were only Marriott properties where I was staying and thats where my project had a corporate rate). Earning status there is painful and the benefits are sub-par, especially since they got rid of their buy one get one certificates. Now since I travel mostly for personal use, I’ve pretty much dropped Marriott and put all my effort into Starwood (and Hyatt actually). A year and a half ago they enhanced their program to allow award stays to count towards status. This is an awesome perk in my mind and will help those who redeem points often. Also, if you currently hold no status and have many stays coming up, they have a Platinum status challenge which is free and worth looking into.

It is also worthwhile knowing that the Starwood credit card gives you 2 stays and 5 nights towards status yearly. If you have both the personal and business card it will actually give you 4 stays and 10 nights towards status. To earn Gold status only requires 10 stays, so if you have one of the cards you will only have 8 more to go, and if you have both cards only 6 more stays to go.

What it takes to earn status?

  • Gold = 10 stays or 25 nights in a calendar year.
  • Platinum = 25 stays or 50 nights in a calendar year.
What does status get you?
  • Gold:
    • Three points per eligible US dollar spent
    • 4 pm late checkout (subject to availability at resort and conference center hotels)
    • Enhanced room at check-in, when available
    • Elite customer service phone line
    • Choice of a welcome gift, where you can choose from bonus points (250 at St. Regis, Luxury Collection, W, Le Méridien, Westin, and Sheraton; 125 at Aloft, Element, and Four Points), complimentary in-room Internet access, or a complimentary beverage
  • Platinum:
    • Three points per eligible US dollar spent
    • Upgrades to best available room at check-in, including Standard Suites (Aloft and Element hotels are excluded; Specialty Suites such as, but not limited to, premium view, Presidential, Honeymoon, and multiple bedroom suites are excluded as well. This benefit does not apply to all-suite hotels.)
    • Choice of a welcome gift, where you can choose from bonus points (500 at St. Regis, Luxury Collection, W, Le Méridien, Westin, and Sheraton; 250 at Aloft, Element, and Four Points), continental breakfast, or a local amenity
    • Club- and Executive-level privileges where available
    • Complimentary in-room Internet access
    • 4 pm late checkout (subject to availability at resort and conference center hotels)
    • Guaranteed room availability when your room is booked by 3pm, 72+ hours prior to arrival at participating hotels (Must pay regular RACK rate and black out dates do apply. Not available at resorts. Room upgrade and Free Night Award redemption do not apply when this benefit is utilized. Minimum length-of-stay requirement must be met.)
    • Platinum concierge service to help you with hotel reservations
What are the other benefits if I surpass the number of nights needed to get Platinum?
  • 50 nights in a calendar year:
    • Receive 10 suite night awards to be used for confirmed room upgrades to a suite or premium room (suite upgrades expire at the end of the following year in which they were earned, for example: if you earn the awards June 2012, they will not expire until December 2013.)
  • 75 nights in a calendar year:
    • Receive 10 suite night awards to be used for confirmed room upgrades to a suite or premium room
    • Earn 4 Starpoints for every dollar spent at Starwood hotels.
    • Ability to check out 24 hours after check in, for example: if you check in at 9pm on a Friday night, you do not need to check out until 9pm on Saturday night
  • 100 nights in a calendar year:
    • Receive 10 suite night awards to be used for confirmed room upgrades to a suite or premium room
    • Earn 4 Starpoints for every dollar spent at Starwood hotels.
    • Ability to check out 24 hours after check in, for example: if you check in at 9pm on a Friday night, you do not need to check out until 9pm on Saturday night
    • Receive a designated Starwood Ambassador – dedicated concierge who takes care of all your Starwood needs
Other ways to get status:
  • American Express Platinum card gives you automatic Starwood Gold status
  • If you spend $30,000 yearly (calendar year) on your Starwood American Express card you’ll earn Gold status

Key Links:

 

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.

  • Craptacular9 said,

    Also worth mentioning, if you have the platinum Amex card, they will upgrade you to Starwood Gold status. Just call and ask.

  • dealswelike said,

    @Craptacular9 – Thats correct! One of the perks of the Amex Platinum card is SPG Gold status. Thanks for reminding me and letting other readers know!

  • lenny said,

    wrong platinum link…

  • gary rosen said,

    If I get gold from plat amex do I only need 15 nights to get platinum spg?

  • Ron B. said,

    Would Gold status benefits apply to award stays? C&P stays?

  • dealswelike said,

    @Ron B – absolutely! You’ll get the same benefits regardless if paid or free night stay (all points or cash and points)

  • guest said,

    yr platinum challenge link is for AA! please correct it

  • guest said,

    one pain about spg gold status from the amex plat card though: spg I.T. has a bug wherein your gold status shows as ending a year early. they just will not fix this! so for example, i get amex plat card today. this is like ‘earning’ spg gold this year, so gold status is good for this year & next year & expires in feb 2014. all fine & correct. but now next year – 2013 – i still have my plat amex. if i call spg right then saying hi i just got amex plat card, status should then be good thru feb 2015, but doesnt show that way online at spg.com. it will say ‘xxx stays needed until gold’. in other words, you have to call in every year, & you have to wait until after march. the nearly 2-yr status only works for the first yr carrying the amex plat. they could make it far less of a pain at spg.com

  • dealswelike said,

    Thanks all for pointing out the incorrect link for the platinum challenge terms. It has been updated.

  • dealswelike said,

    @gary rosen – Only the Starwood American Express card (personal and business) give you points/nights towards gold or platinum status. Unfortunately no other american express cards give you this perk for Starwood. The Platinum Amex, however, does give you automatic gold status for starwood.

  • dude26 said,

    If I understood correctly, starwood no longer does status match at all? even for gold? is there any way around this?

  • dealswelike said,

    @dude26 – that’s correct. Now they have a challenge to earn status.

  • Mike H said,

    For per dollar spend while in status what does “on qualified purchases” mean. Is this 3x on Starwood spend or 3x on all purchases which would normally only earn a single dollar? Thx!

  • dealswelike said,

    @Mike – Typically you get 2 points per dollar on your Starwood hotel bill. This is your base points earned. If you have Gold or Platinum status, you’ll earn 1 more point per dollar spent. If you have the Starwood credit card you’ll earn 1 more point per dollar spent as well. If there is ever a promotion giving you double or triple points, it is off of your base points. Does that help?

  • TK said,

    You can easily get Gold status for free w/o having to sign up for a CC or having any type of existing status! Platinum you have to do the challenge though.

  • Glenn said,

    Also note that the stays or nights you get credited for having one or both of the Amex SPG cards do NOT count towards a Platinum Status Challenge. You’ll still have to actually book into a hotel for 18 nights in a 3 month period.

    They DO count towards normal Gold/Platinum status of course.

    Do I call Amex or SPG to get automatic Gold for an American Express Platinum Card?

  • dealswelike said,

    @Glenn – That’s correct. The platinum challenge only includes paid nights during the three month period.

    For the Amex Platinum card gold status perk, you need to call Amex and they’ll call SPG.

  • Jen said,

    Found this on the AmEx app link — and it’s surely a bummer, as 2 stay credits was the main reason I added the Business Card:
    Upon opening your Card Account, and by February 15 of each subsequent calendar year it is open, you will receive from Starwood credit for 2 stays toward your Starwood Preferred Guest Elite status and credit for 5 nights toward your Starwood Preferred Guest Elite status. This benefit is limited to one annual 2 stay credit and one annual 5 night Elite status credit per Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card account. You will not receive additional 2 stay or 5 night Elite status credits if you have multiple Card Accounts. Credits and status are subject to terms and conditions of the Starwood Preferred Guest program.

  • Roseweath said,

    Can i get the platinum card if i’ve already paid for 25 stays or 50 nights in a calendar year?

  • Roseweath said,

    can i get the platinum card membership if i’ve already paid for the 25 stays or 50 nights in a calendar year

  • dealswelike said,

    @Roseweather – Not sure exactly what you mean? You must have actually stayed at the hotel (check in/check out) and not just pre-reserved/pre-paid.

  • Roseweath said,

    If I have pre-paid for my stay and the stay is more than 50 nights what kind of starwood membership am I eligible for? How do the points get fed into the system or updated on the membership card?
    Why is it required that a person needs to actually start from the day of book when the money is already paid for.

  • dealswelike said,

    @Roseweath – You must complete your stays before the points, nights, and stays credit to your account. It doesn’t matter that they were pre-paid for.

  • George the travel monkey said,

    Interesting article. I status matched to Club Carlson from Le Club. I hope can with Starwood also. I will let you guys know

  • Joe Fan said,

    I’m in the middle of the Platinum challenge right now. And have learned a few caviats to the types of nights that qualify towards the challenge. Nights awarded for Amex CC do not count towards the 18 nights. Also nights must be either booked directly through the hotel or spg.com to qualify towards the challenge. Stays booked through sites like Expedia or Travelocity do not count towards the challenge. I was unsure of prepaid rates so I gave Starwood a call and they do count towards the challenge as long as it was booked through SPG.com or the hotel. Good luck everyone!

  • jim said,

    can I use united travel certificate ( online gift card) ON UNITED AWARD TRAVEL?
    i couldn’t find the option

  • Rachel said,

    Jen – are you serious? That blows. That was one of the reason I got two Amex cards too. All of the blogs have been saying otherwise. Are you sure? Because if that’s true a lot of blogs need to change their info.

  • Baby Songer said,

    I think what Jen is referring to means that you cannot have 2 personal cards and get 4 stay credit. A business counts as a separate card account. I had a Personal from 2009 and this year just got a business. I have 4 stay and 10 night credits for this year. It took about a week for the business card stay credit to show up.

  • dealswelike said,

    @baby songer – that’s correct

  • gary said,

    I also had a personal card and applied and got a Starwood business card this year. They said (and I talked to three different associates) that the two stays/five nights for my business card only applied on the anniversary date of my business card – next year. Is anyone else having this problem?

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