Last week I received Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Gold status via the American Express Platinum card. Since it was a free benefit, I called and was transferred to SPG to complete the enrollment. My status was instantly updated to gold. It took about five minutes total time.
I hesitated to sign up, because the last time I got the gold status, I never used it. I never found Starwood hotels to be a good value. More importantly, there are no Starwood properties in most of the areas that I travel, like the Philippines. And when I do find a Starwood property, the room rates are often exorbitant.
- Case in point, Starwood is currently running a promotion for AAA/CAA members. AAA members get 20% off best available rates, complementary breakfast for two, and a resort credit of up to $100 (you must reserve and complete stay by December 31, 2011). Of course, when I selected this offer with the AUTOP rate plan, for a local property, I was quoted $131.15 for two double beds plus tax; with “Automobile Association” it came out to be $84.15 per night, plus tax. That’s 252.45 SPG points. SPG points convert 1:1 to American Airlines, so that is a grand total of 252 AAdvantage miles.
- Conversely, the local Crown Plaza is $84.15 (2,000 points). However, for a booking rate of $124.99 you can get 10,000 bonus points (which converts to 2,000 AAdvantage miles) on top of the standard 2,000.
That said, SPG has some die-hard fans who will quickly recommend joining SPG and getting an SPG American Express card. In fact, the SPG Amex is probably one of the most automatically recommended credit cards because of the programs ability to transfer points from program to program.
So I scratched my head and thought there must be something of value. Perhaps I just not in tune with the promotions/discounts. So I’d try again.
If you earn gold status the “hard way,” you have to stay 25 nights or 10 stays in a calendar year to qualify. With the American Express Platinum card, you bypass this requirement.
Gold Benefits include:
- 50% bonus on points earned (3 star points for every U.S. dollar spent).
- “Enhanced” rooms – a room on a higher floor, corner room, or a room with a view.
- 4 p.m. late checkout
- Check-cashing privileges up to $300.