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If you are a loyal member of the Starwood Preferred Guest program, your benefits will be better in 2016 than ever before.
A few years ago, Starwood chose to focus on its most loyal customers who spend at least 50 nights in Starwood locations, offering enhanced benefits and rewards. Here is a look at what you can expect from the program and how to maximize your rewards.
What the Marriott Merger Means for Your Starpoints
Marriott closed on its merger with Starwood on September 23, 2016. And the news for now is that there will be no change to either the Starwood rewards program or rewards credit card through 2017.
Not only do you get to enjoy your current rewards program until 2018, you also get some additional perks out of the merger.
- Keep Accounts and Points: You will be able to maintain your current accounts with both Starwood and Marriott. You also will retain all your Starpoints and Marriott Rewards points.
- Link Accounts: You will be able to link your existing Starwood and Marriott loyalty accounts.
- Status Match: You will have your highest status with either program honored at all Starwood and Marriott hotels.
- Points Transfer: You can earn points in one program and then transfer them to the other. Three Marriott Rewards points will equal one SPG Starpoint, and vice versa.
- Keep Your Rewards Card: Both the Starwood Preferred Guest Card and the Marriott Rewards Premier Card will remain active.
- More Choices: You will have more choices to choose from, as you can now stay at any Marriott and Starwood properties (including Ritz-Carlton hotels).
Enhanced Benefits for Gold and Platinum Members
As a Starwood Preferred member, you will earn 2 Starpoints per $1 spent, while earning credit toward elite status on paid and Award stays and getting free Night Awards and Award Flights with no blackout dates.
Becoming a Gold or Platinum member takes these benefits to new levels. Elite members in the Starwood Preferred Guest program. enjoy greater benefits, with rewards based upon the number of nights you stay with Starwood and your program level.
Gold members (10 stays or 25 nights a year) will enjoy a welcome gift at check-in, 4 pm checkout time, and enhanced rooms (such as a corner room or a view), when available. The Starpoints awarded per dollar spent is also boosted to 3 points per $1.
Platinum members (25 stays or 50 nights a year) will enjoy these same benefits along with room upgrades at check-in, complimentary in-room high-speed internet and complimentary Sheraton Club and Executive-level privileges. SPG Nights Benefits offer even greater rewards when you stay with Starwood more than 50, 75 or 100 eligible nights per year.
Gold and Platinum members can earn up to 30,000 Starpoints per contract, while members who achieve SPG 75 Nights Benefits or higher can earn up to 40,000 points.
Spend More Nights, Get More Rewards
Starwood has also upgraded it’s rewards for frequent travelers. Below is a guide on which rewards you’ll be entitled to after spending various amounts of time at Starwood locations:
Nights Stayed at StarwoodBenefits
5010 Suite Night Awards for room upgrades754 Starpoints per dollar spent, check-in around the clock100Access to personal ambassador to customize hotel experience250 (and 5 years of elite status)Lifetime Gold status500 (and 10 years of platinum status)Lifetime top-tier status
Of course, you won’t be limited to just 1 of the mentioned rewards. As you reach each tier, you’ll have already qualified for the rewards of the previous tier. So, if you have spent 75 nights at Starwood locations, you’ll be eligible for room upgrades, 24-hour check-in and 4 points per dollar spent.
24 Hour Check-In
As mentioned, some Starwood Preferred Guest members will be eligible for 24-hour check-in. Starwood is officially calling this “Your24.”
Your24 offers those who spend at least 75 nights at Starwood locations the opportunity to check-in at any time. This is a great deal when compared to virtually every other hotel known to man, as the industry standard is 3 p.m.
This service will be good for eligible guests at all Starwood locations. It also allows the member to remain for the full stay, meaning that you won’t be penalized for checking in later. So, if you arrive at 11PM, you can check-out at 11PM on your departure date - not noon or some other pre-scheduled time.
How to Enhance Your Benefits
To take advantage of the mentioned benefits, you’ll have to spend a lot of time at Starwood locations. If you are going to be there anyway, you may as well gain even more rewards for doing so.
The card lets you earn up to 5 Starpoints per $1 spent at Starwood locations. You can also take advantage of a great promotion worth up to 25,000 Starpoints, or $250. You can get 10,000 bonus Starpoints when you make your first purchase and another 15,000 points when you use your card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 6 months. For the first year, the annual fee of $65 is also waived.
This card also comes with bonus points and other perks. For all the details, click here.
Will These New Benefits Work For Me?
With the relatively high count of nights that you’ll have to stay to receive the mentioned benefits, Starwood is targeting frequent travelers. This means that your 2 night stay each year in Cleveland to visit Grandma probably won’t get you very far in terms of high-end benefits.
However, if you travel frequently on business or for other reasons, you’ll have a good chance of cashing in on these new rewards. For example, if you spend 5 nights per month on the road, you’ll be at 50 nights in 10 months. You’ll be eligible for room upgrades at that point and will be cruising towards even more benefits at the 75 and 100 night thresholds. If you’re going to be on the road that much, anyway, the benefits are among the best out there.