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I really thought my hardcore mattress running days were behind me. With shifting travel patterns and Hyatt moving to elite qualification on nights instead of being able to qualify on stays or nights, we just seemed to be beyond the days of checking into a hotel just for the stay credit. While that was fun at times, overall I was not sad in the slightest that the mattress running phase of my life was probably over as it always felt like a strange use of time and money, even when the math clearly worked in favor of going for it.
All that to say, I very unexpectedly find myself in a situation where I am very strongly considering a SPG mattress run. Yes, SPG. A program that I love, but have had very few stays with this year. In fact, my account is currently sitting at a grand total of four elite qualifying stays on the year, and two of those came from having the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card.
It takes 25 stays in a calendar year to earn Platinum status and it is already mid-October, so what could possibly possess me to be considering something so ludicrous when I am so far from the goal? Allow me to explain…
Going from 4 to 25 Needed Stays
I have 4 of the needed 25 stays as of today, but a week from now I will have 9. This is thanks to three upcoming SPG stays, two of which will count as double under the targeted double elite status credit promo that runs through December 15, 2017. Sadly award stays don’t count double per the terms of the promo.
Now, 9 stays is still a far cry from the necessary 25, but when you factor the double elite promo into things, I will be just 8 qualifying stays away from the prize of Platinum status. Of course, 8 isn’t a terribly small number either, but I could easily shift a couple of planned stays to SPG and drop that number to about six. That still isn’t close enough to really get me terribly motivated by itself, but there are a few other factors at play that have me thinking I probably have to do this.
Getting Big Value from Elite Status in 2018
Elite status is only worth what you get out of it, and from late December 2017 until late February 2019, when this status would expire, I already have four family trips booked at SPG resorts, with several of the stays being five nights long. These destinations include Westin Whistler, Vail Cascade, Westin Grand Cayman, and Aspen Snowmass. All of those are pricey locations where the included breakfast for two you get with Platinum status would be very, very useful. The shot at a space-available suite upgrade doesn’t hurt either, though can’t be counted on. It is also very possible we will have a few other SPG stays in that timeframe.
Keeping in mind that SPG Platinum status matches to Marriott Platinum status, we would get some extra perks at Marriotts along the way until early 2019. If I wasn’t already planning to hit United Silver status the old-fashioned way, then the status domino game would get even more interesting as Marriott Platinum status also gets you United Silver status. That said, this is a decent fallback plan in case one of my planned trips on United through the end of the year falls through.
Saving 20% on SPG Stays Thanks to Amex
To tip the scales even further towards going for this, four of my Amex cards have an Amex Offer that gives me a $60 statement credit when I spent $300+ on room rates and charges at SPG properties in the United States through 1/31/18. It doesn’t say the $300+ has to be in one transaction, so presumably, this could work to save me about 20% on my final costs at the SPG hotels both on my mattress run stays and my actual needed planned stays this fall.
There is also a SPG bonus points promotion running through January 15, 2018, that awards 1,000 bonus points per stay at St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, W, Le Meridien, Westin, Sheraton, Tribute Portfolio and Design Hotels and 500 bonus Starpoints per stay at Aloft, Element, Four Points hotels. This is on top of that regular SPG points you earn for stays and the points you would earn by paying for the stays with a rewards-earning credit card. This promo also awards 10,000 bonus SPG points if you hit 25 nights during the promo period of September 12, 2017 – January 15, 2018, but that won’t impact me at all as I would only have less than half of that total. Assuming I earn an average of 1,000 SPG points per mattress run stay, those points are worth more than $20 to us towards future travel, which helps offset the costs a bit.
What About Mobile Check-Ins?
The final deciding factor in the plan may be whether mobile keyless check-ins count for the purposes of earning stay credit if you happen to check-in virtually and then for some reason never physically make it to the hotel. There are lots of individual SPG properties and SPG brands such as Aloft and Element that now allow for mobile check-in and even keyless door access if you have the SPG app. Since I’ve been out of the mattress running world for a while, I really don’t know if this does or doesn’t work reliably in earning stay credits from home, though if you know I’d love to be brought up to date. There is a SPG property close enough to my house that I could make this work the old-fashioned way by physically checking in, but that property as a Westin will cost more than some other SPG properties out there.
As you can probably tell, I really don’t want to do this as I don’t love the concept of mattress runs. However, I’m kind of thinking that it really makes much more sense to do it than not do it, given the double stay promo and how many SPG nights we already have planned in late 2017 – early 2019.
I’d love to hear your thoughts if you have been in a similar situation!
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.