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Many thanks to Loyalty Traveler for pointing out that it has been confirmed by the SPG representative on Flyertalk that you can earn points, night credit, and stay credit for up to three rooms booked at Starwood Preferred Guest hotels (Westin, W, Sheraton, Aloft, etc). This is actually kinda huge for family travelers who book an extra room or two for kids, grandparents, etc. I know I have done this at a SPG hotel before. Heck, we had four rooms for several days last year at the Swan (Westin) at Disney World, so this would have been huge!
As Loyalty Traveler points out, this benefit has actually been in effect since March 1st, but somehow it slipped by without many of us noticing. Here is a quote from Starwood Lurker on Flyertalk:
Now, a member can earn Starpoints, stay, and night credit for up to three rooms when booking an eligible rate. This means if a member buys 3 rooms for 3 nights, he gets 3 stays for 9 nights.
Why is this a big deal?
Well, in my opinion it is a big deal for two different, but important, reasons. The first is for elite status. I love my top tier Hyatt elite status as I feel my family is treated very well with free breakfasts, confirmed upgrades, complimentary upgrades, food/drink amenities, lounge access, point bonuses, etc. I want to have similar privileges with Starwood Hotels since we do enjoy many of their properties as awell. Starwood has already made achieving elite status easier by officially allowing award stays to count, and now allowing up to three rooms to count will make the goal of elite status more attainable for some families. Of course, by having more people achieve elite status, it can be argued that the benefits are then diluted.
I really want to get to 25 stays with SPG this year, but it will be a close-call as I am sitting at 10 stays on the year right now, and the year is almost half-way over. You could say I’m falling off the pace a bit. Rewarding a family for reserving multiple rooms is an awesome way to help folks like me crawl toward elite status just that much faster. Of course, it isn’t just families that can benefit. If someone is booking multiple rooms for a trip with colleagues or friends, they could benefit from this as well.
The other reason this is helpful is related to promotions. The current “Nice Choice” promotion requires 15 nights during the promotional period to earn triple points. If you take a five night vacation and book two extra rooms for the kids and grandparents, you can theoretically qualify for the 15 nights just on that one trip. The answer given on Flyertalk related to this question isn’t 100% clear, but I’m not sure how you would be given credit for the nights, but yet those nights wouldn’t count toward promotions – though I guess anything is possible. At the very least, it sounds like that would work for now, but perhaps not in the future. Clearly the promotion isn’t a reason by itself to book such a trip, but I know many families have similar plans this summer, so it is great to get a little extra reward in the process!
What’s the catch?
Starwood Lurker says that award stays on multiple rooms do not count toward stays and nights credit. The first room on an award stay would count, but not any subsequent rooms. This does strike me as a little odd since the first room would count, but I’m not complaining. Also, the person who booked the rooms and earned the credit would also have to be the one paying for the rooms. Of course, Grandma could pay you back for her room with a check after the fact if that is the arrangement you worked out, but technically the rooms must all be paid for by the SPG member who is earning the credit.
What does SPG Platinum status get you?
SPG Platinum status is reached at 25 stays or 50 nights in a calendar year. There are additional Platinum benefits that are triggered at 50 nights and 75 nights in a calendar year, but those are very far out of my own range. The basic Platinum benefits are:
- Three Starpoints per eligible US dollar spent, a 50% bonus over the Preferred level.
- Upgrades to best available room at check-in, including Standard Suites.1
- Your choice of a welcome gift with each stay. Choose from bonus Starpoints, continental breakfast (New Option!) and local amenities.
- Club- and Executive-level privileges where available.
- Complimentary in-room Internet access.
- 4 p.m. late checkout,2 so you can sleep in, relax by the pool or see more of the local area you’re visiting.
- Guaranteed room availability when your room is booked by 3 p.m., 72+ hours prior to arrival.3
- Our signature Platinum Concierge service4 at 888-625-4991 – always one call away to help you arrange just about anything regarding your visit. It’s service tailored to your needs.
Family fast-track to elite status:
Naturally this got my wheels turning, so here is a theoretical way to get cheap and easy SPG elite status. Get the Starwood Preferred Personal Guest Amex and the Starwood Preferred Business Guest Amex (you sell things on eBay, right?!). Together they will give you 4 stay credits and 10 nights toward elite status. Those two cards will also give you 50,000 SPG points as a sign-up bonus if you meet the spending requirements. Then take a trip with extended family members (or friends) and pay for three rooms with dollars from your account and quickly earn additional nights/stay credits. You could choose to use points for your room and dollars for the other two rooms. If you are trying to qualify on stays instead of nights, then you could choose to check in/out each night of a multi-night vacation and alternate nights with someone else in your party who also cares about SPG credit.
Then, to get you the rest of the way to elite status, find a Category 1 hotel where you can redeem cash and points awards for $25 plus 1,200 points per night, or on the weekends you can get award nights in a Category 1 hotel for for 2,000 points. Repeat this process until you hit at least 25 stays in a calendar year if you want Platinum elite status. This way you can leverage both the new policy and your credit card sign-up bonus to get you elite status. Note this is really just a theoretical exercise (though I know some have done similar things) – I don’t actually plan to burn many of my points just to get elite status. That said, I am not opposed to doing this a few times at the end of the year if it is what is necessary to get me to 25 stays (assuming I am already close). I don’t care one tiny bit about “being elite”, but I care very much about some of the tangible benefits that come along with elite status.
I am personally pretty excited about this development. Little C shares a room with us for now, but this is still great for when grandparents or others might travel with us. What do you think of this “new” policy? Will it help you obtain elite status with Starwood?
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