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Updated March 31, 2016

SPG Gold: How to Get SPG Gold Status

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While you could easily visit a travel site and book the cheapest room, that strategy could actually cost you money. You could be better off taking advantage of the many rewards programs offered by most major hotel chains. And of those programs, the Starwood Preferred Guest might just be the best of the bunch.

Starwood Preferred Guest (or SPG) is the loyalty program that serves 9 brands, including Sheraton, Westin, and St. Regis. Combined, those brands equal more than 1,100 hotels in nearly 100 countries. So yeah, you’ve got options.

W Hong Kong: We love SPG
W Hong Kong: We love SPG © Matt_Weibo (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr

Just starting out with SPG, you’ll be given what it calls “Preferred” status, which obviously sounds better than “Bottom” or “Keep Trying” status. Even at this level, you’ll find it relatively easy to enjoy extra benefits (hey, Wi-Fi!) and you’ll be able to start racking up Starpoints for future rewards.

A quick note about Starpoints: they are the currency of the SPG universe. With Preferred status, for each dollar you spend with SPG hotels, you’ll get 2 Starpoints in return. Starpoints can be redeemed for things like free rooms or they can be transferred to other travel partners, including airlines. You’ll want them. Lots of them.

SPG Preferred status will do a lot to upgrade your hotel experience. But because you should never rest when it comes to your relaxation, let’s take things up to the next level and look at Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status and see whether it’s worth your effort.

Why Go Gold?

Gold is SPG’s mid-tier status. You go Gold after you’ve achieved 10 stays or 25 nights in a year. You can get there quicker by getting the Platinum card (from American Express, a CreditDonkey advertiser), which gives you Gold status.

The immediate benefit of Gold status is a 50% bonus on Starpoints: you’ll now get 3 Starpoints for each eligible dollar spent at participating SPG & Marriott Rewards hotels (instead of the 2 Starpoints you get with Preferred). Other benefits that add to the value of SPG Gold include:

  • 4 p.m. late checkout, when available
  • Welcome gift at check-in (like a complimentary beverage or Starpoints bonus)
  • Enhanced room, when available (think corner view)

Having Gold status can make the difference between a good trip and a bad one. Because hotels have so many variables (location, amenities, food), your experience can vary wildly from property to property. Gold status ensures a consistent treatment that Preferred status does not. And a late checkout means you’ll actually have the time to enjoy that treatment.

SPG Platinum Status

You’ll have to pack for a lot more trips if you want to achieve Platinum, SPG’s top-tier status. To get Platinum, you’ll need a minimum of 25 stays or 50 nights in a year. Unfortunately, there is no way to automatically receive Platinum status, so you’ll have to do it the old-fashioned way and earn it.

Platinum includes all the benefits of Gold status, plus a little bit more. You still get the 50% Starpoint bonus, late checkout, and welcome gift. You’ll also get Platinum-only perks like:

  • Room upgrades at check-in, including Select Standard Suites
  • Club- and Executive-level privileges, where available
  • Additional benefits after 50, 75, and 100 nights

Platinum status can definitely be your protection against a negative hotel experience. Automatic room upgrades are a traveler’s dream, and club access means food and drink that Gold status just can’t provide. And after 75 nights, you’ll be able to earn 4 Starpoints for each eligible dollar you spend.

Lifetime Status

You like getting the perks from having Gold or Platinum status, so why not lock them in for life? Starwood will give you SPG Lifetime Gold if you tally 250 eligible nights and 5 years of elite status. Lifetime Platinum can be yours for 500 eligible nights and 10 years of elite status. Once you achieve Lifetime status, you’ll continue to get the benefits even if you don’t meet the minimum yearly requirements.

American Express SPG

As mentioned, you can get Gold status with the American Express Platinum. But if the annual fee for that card is too steep, then the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express also provides a shortcut to status.

If you spend $30,000 in a calendar year using your SPG Amex, you’ll get automatic Gold status. To hit that number, you’ll need to spend an average of at least $2,500 a month.

You’ll earn 2 Starpoints® for each dollar of eligible purchases spent on the Card at participating SPG® & Marriott Rewards® hotels. You earn 1 Starpoint for all other purchases.

That bumps up your Preferred status earning power to 4 to 5 Starpoints at participating SPG hotels. (2 Starpoints for which you may be eligible as a Card Member in addition to the 2 or 3 Starpoints for which you may be eligible as an SPG member.).

Also, once you've opened your account, you receive credit for 5 nights and 2 stays toward SPG elite status each year. You can use this credit towards your Starwood Preferred Guest elite status.

Bottom Line

Status matters, especially when with hotels. Airline perks are nice, but the real value comes from getting the most of your destination. SPG elite status removes a lot of the worries of traveling and lets you enjoy your stay.

While Platinum provides obvious advantages, SPG Gold is the real standout. The requirements are low enough so you won’t need to make staying in hotels a full-time job to achieve it.

Terms and limitations apply.

Ross Frasier is a research analyst at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and financial education website. Write to Ross Frasier at ross@creditdonkey.com. Our data-driven analysis has been recognized by major news outlets across the country and has helped travelers make savvy financial and lifestyle decisions. (read more)

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

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CreditDonkey is a credit card comparison website. We publish data-driven analysis to help you save money & make savvy financial decisions.

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