Tim Foolery

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My Favorite Elite Benefits – Starwood Preferred Guest

A couple weeks ago I wrote about some of my favorite Elite Benefits with United and I promised I would write about my favorite Elite Benefits with Starwood.  I am currently Platinum with Starwood.  To earn Platinum status you either need to stay 50 nights or 25 separate stays.  If you stay 50 nights in year you get an additional benefit over your 25 stay friends – you get 10 Suite Night Upgrades which can be used on paid nights, cash + point nights or award night stays.  My favorite Elite Benefits of Starwood Platinum Status are:

  • 3 Starpoints per dollar spent at Starwood Properties — while this isn’t just a Platinum Benefit, it is also a Benefit of Gold Members, but it’s still something I dig and technically use during every stay.  Earning 50% more points as Platinum (or Gold) than a regular member really starts to add up – especially if you are staying 50 nights a year.
  • Complimentary in-room internet access is something that I think should be included with every single hotel no matter how much you pay or what your elite status is.  To me, internet is like hot water, a room has to have it. Period.  Luckily as a Platinum member this is included at no charge to me.  I haven’t stayed in a hotel room in years where I haven’t at least synced up my phone or tablet to the wifi.
  • You have an option at check-in for a Welcome Amenity.  These options include: bonus points (500 or 250 star points depending on the hotel brand), complimentary continental breakfast, or a local amenity).  More often than not I’ll choose the points because the continental breakfast is usually no better than what is offered complimentary in the lounge (which you also have access to as a Platinum member, see below) and the welcome amenity can be as lame as two bottles of water and a snack to a bottle of mediocre wine).  I’ll take my points and parlay that into an additional stay in the future
  • Club / Executive Level access is something that is nice to have, but I often don’t go to the Club Lounge.  When I’m traveling, I don’t often want to hang out in the hotel and eat the free snacks or have the complimentary beverages.  I did visit the Club in Stockholm in January each day I was there to grab a quick glass of wine before bed.  I find the international lounges are usually much nicer than the domestic versions.  Like I said, access to the Club is nice, but I wouldn’t lose sleep if the hotel didn’t have one.

While Platinum is technically the Top Tier Elite Status with Starwood, there are a couple of sub-tiers within this status.  As mentioned earlier, staying 50 nights get you 10 Suite Night Upgrades, staying 75 nights earn 4 Starpoints for every dollar spent (this would be nice – getting an extra 33% more points than I do now), and what is called Your24 — which allows you to check-in at any time and keep your room for 24 hours (for example, you check-in at 10pm and you can check out the following day at 10pm — 10 hours after regulary check-out).  If you stay 100 nights a year, you are still platinum with all the previously listed benefits, but you also get your own single point of contact with SPG – an individual reservation agent/concierge.  This sounds great in theory, but I think I would probably just annoy this person so much when I’d be searching for dozens of different travel options (hotels, dates, etc) just to save a buck or two.  I prefer to keep my hotel booking neuroses between me and the SPG website only.

These are the Platinum Elite Benefits that I utilize most when traveling.  There are others out there as well, but I don’t find that I’m using them all that often, so they are really wasted on me.

What are your favorite SPG Elite Benefits?  What benefits would you love to see added to the list?