Starwood Hotels: Starwood Elite Status (4/5)

LivingProof

The following is the fourth article of a five part series covering points earned for Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) hotels. The following was written by my brother, an avid travel hacker who has qualified for Platinum Elite Status in the SPG program.

Introduction

FI Fighter has asked me to share some of my Travel Hacking tips for hotels! I have extensive experience with staying in Starwood Properties: AloftElementFour PointsLe MeridienSheratonWestinWSt. Regis, and The Luxury Collection.

I’ll cover the following:

  1. Earning Starwood Points
  2. Redeeming Starwood Points
  3. The Value of a Starwood Point
  4. Starwood Elite Status
  5. My Starwood Strategy

Starwood Elite Status

Starwood has 3 main Elite Status Levels: Starwood Preferred Guest, Gold, and Platinum:

ScreenHunter_33 Jun. 27 12.16

Gold vs. Platinum:

Gold elite status doesn’t really give you much more value. Gold does give free internet and 4:00pm late checkout, which is nice, but by no means will this keep me loyal to Starwood hotels! However, things quickly change once you reach Platinum. By achieving Platinum elite status, many more perks become available! The three that I value the most are: Suite upgrades, free continental breakfast, and Club Lounge access. This triple crown of perks is what keeps me loyal to Starwood hotels!

How to Earn Elite Status Quickly:

1.a Sign up for the AMEX SPG Personal credit card

      • Receive credit for 5 nights/2 stays toward elite status each year

1.b Sign up for the AMEX SPG Business credit card

      • Receive credit for 5 nights/2 stays toward elite status each year

2. Free Night awards, Fifth Night Free awards, and Cash + Point awards all count towards elite status! Other hotel programs do not count award nights toward elite status.

3. Book multiple rooms for Family/Friends on same trips!

      • Total of 3 rooms will count toward elite status
      • SPG member must pay for the rooms (but get reimbursed later at 5x!)
      • Other two rooms could potentially get Elite Status perks (Suite upgrade and free breakfast!)

Tip: If you spend $30,000 in one year on either the personal or business AMEX SPG credit card, than you will automatically get Gold Elite Status.

Using the 3 methods above:

  1. I only need 40 Nights to qualify for Platinum status every year, and the Nights can be at any category hotel.
  2. I always use Starwood points to pay for hotel nights. Usually Cash+Points!
  3. I offer to book multiple rooms to get Night credits when traveling with Family/Friends!

Stays Vs. Nights:

If I stayed at a hotel for four straight nights the visit would count as one stay and four nights toward elite status. If I stayed at a hotel for one night it would count as one stay and one night toward elite status. People who have a lot of one night reservations would qualify for Platinum through Stays easier, since it only requires 25 Stays. On the other hand, if you have reservations which last multiple nights, than it would be easier to qualify for Platinum through Nights. I like to stay at one hotel for multiple nights, so I prefer to qualify for Platinum elite status through Nights. Plus, I get the 10 Suite Night Awards!

10 Suite Night Awards:

These Suite Nights Awards are given to Platinum members who reach 50 Nights in one year. These are confirmed Suite upgrades which you can request 5 days prior to check-in. They aren’t guaranteed to clear, but typically do. I like to use these Suite Night Awards for the vacations which I absolutely need a Suite room – usually for special occasions.

Under the Starwood terms and conditions, Suites are only given to Platinum members if there is availability. I would say about 60% of the time I do get upgraded to a Suite. However, with the Suite Night Awards, you can confirm the Suite upgrade before arriving at the hotel. It gives you a peace of mind before the trip, and one less thing to stress about!

Is It Worth It?

One of my all time favorite Starwood points redemption was at the Sheraton Waikiki. I booked a Fifth Night Free award in a City View room (280 sq. ft.)ScreenHunter_28 Jun. 28 00.59At check-in, I was upgraded to a Kai Ocean Suite (1,112 sq. ft.)! The Suite had two balconies! One with a superb view of Diamond Head, and the second balcony was oceanfront! The living space was as large as my first 2/1 condo investment in the Bay Area! The regular rate for this room would have cost $895 a night!

ScreenHunter_28 Jun. 28 00.39I was totally blown away by the Suite, but there were still more perks for being a Platinum member! Free Valet, Free goodies bag – which we got a bottle of red wine, and a free souvenir picture! There was also Club Lounge access, with HOT breakfast every morning, and wine/cheese in the evening! Is Platinum Elite Status worth it? Heck Yeah!!!

ScreenHunter_28 Jun. 28 01.21

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Living Proof

Living Proof is an avid real estate investor with a strong case of Wanderlust. He enjoys talking about his crazy lifestyle of collecting frequent flyer miles and hotel points. Within the next year, he hopes to declare early FI and to travel the world!

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Starwood Hotels: Earning Starwood Points (1/5)Starwood Hotels: The Value of a Starwood Point (3/5)Starwood Hotels: Redeeming Starwood Points (2/5)Starwood Hotels: My Starwood Strategy (5/5)Living Proof Recent comment authors
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No Nonsense Landlord
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Great Tips!

All I have to do now is get the time to travel…

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