Trying to Determine Whether SPG Gold Is Worth Pursuing

Discussion in 'Starwood | Preferred Guest' started by Captain Oveur, Dec 22, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    I'm a Marriott Plat, and I'm aware I could do a status match, but I don't want to abuse that privilege (would prefer to reserve that opportunity if and when I commit full-time to SPG).

    Have eight stays this year so far. I'm projecting to be around 12 in 2012, with about five of them being multi-night stays. The other seven will be 12-hour airport Sheraton overnight stays.

    Would appreciate feedback from people to see if you think redeeming two stays on points next week is worth the SPG Gold status.
     
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  2. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    I have spg gold via Amex Plat and find the program to be decent. The earnings bump and late check out are valuable. Some properties will upgrade golds, but it is less than reliable (nor are upgrades a promised benefit).
     
  3. misterbwong

    misterbwong Silver Member

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    What's the reason you want SPG Gold-are you thinking about fully switching programs? Gold is nice but depending on where you go, it can get you an upgrade or it could mean squat because of the sheer number of Golds out there (e.g. Amex Plat holders).

    With the number of stays you're quoting, you could come pretty close to Plat on SPG (25 stays). Platinum upgrades are WAY more regular than Gold upgrades in SPG world. If you're just getting Gold and not planning on staying with them in the future, I'd say don't spread your points too thin and use those stays towards keeping your Marriott Plat.

    Personally, I like SPG hotels better and value SPG points highly, so I'd rather bank my points and stays in SPG than Marriott. That's more of a preference than a $$ value, though.
     
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  4. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    SPG does not match any more, they offer challenges which do not seem to be once in a lifetime.

    Gold is great for the late checkouts, but Plat gets meaningful upgrades plus free Internet and lounge access. You can get Gold with AmEx Plat regular charge card, centurion, and IIRC still some airline top tiers.
     
  5. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    Being so close to it, really. Want to determine whether going the extra mile is worth it.

    Fully switching? Not yet. Would actually like to see what it's like from a Gold perspective, then assess whether I want to ask for a status match.

    Honestly, the Marriotts I frequent are better in location and in price for the cities I go to regularly. There are a few where Sheratons are better. And I'm employing a new strategy in a city I go to regularly in staying at the Marriott downtown, but staying at the Airport Sheraton the night before I leave (because the hotel is in the airport, and I like the 7am flight out). That said, I do have a trip next month where I am just staying at the airport location for a couple of nights.

    But between the two, everything considered, Marriotts suit me a little better.

    One of the things that has me thinking about Sheraton is how I like the decor in their rooms. Marriott has gotten bland, and while I am far from being an interior designer, the couple of Sheratons I go to regularly, I like the interior.

    Great point.....didn't know about that.

    I've got about 20 rollover nights on Marriott coming my way for 2012. I'm not angry at them, though one Marriott property I stay at regularly sometimes doesn't meet my expectations. I like points, but it's not the deciding factor for me.

    I don't have a feeling that I need to maximize every single hotel point out there (that said, I do use my SPG AMEX and Marriott Visa regularly). While upgrades are nice, I know they're not a right. And perhaps I needed to phrase my question better, wondering if upgrades are worth it.

    One of the things I do like about Marriott is the Concierge Lounge. Do Sheraton Lounges compare? I know that's kind of subjective to each hotel, but thought I'd throw that out there.
     
  6. riverchica
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    riverchica Silver Member

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    I also have SPG gold through my Plat Amex. I am really underwhelmed compared to my Hilton gold status. Free internet? Ever getting upgraded? Breakfast?
    I wouldn't go for Gold if it weren't comped.
     
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  7. SPG Champion
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    SPG Champion Official Representative

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    Two things would be important to note here. There is no status challenge policy to get to Gold...only Platinum.

    And, it is a one-time only deal.

    Best regards,

    William R. Sanders
    Social Media Specialist
    Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

    spgchampion@starwoodhotels.com
     
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  8. LAXtraveler
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    LAXtraveler Gold Member

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    I am SPG Gold for the past number of years and have been consistently underwhelmed as well. The only meaningful upgrade I ever received was at the Sheraton in Cabo (thanks!). Otherwise, barely any recognition.
     
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  9. dc_traveler
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    dc_traveler Silver Member

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    The #1 benefit of SPG gold is the guaranteed late checkout. Platinum is way better -- free internet, routine upgrades (at least if you ask), and overall better service. I was able to make Starwood Platinum this year by focusing on stays. As misterbwong says, SPG points are great. I also agree you may be able to make platinum if you get the SPG Amex (which awards you two stays) and are willing to move around to different Starwood hotels on multi-night stays. (For example, earlier this year I did a three-day trip to Chicago and switched hotels three times, earning three stays.) It will be even easier to make platinum because award stays and cash & point stays now count. Of course, that means there will probably be a lot more platinums. Whatever you decide, good luck!
     
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  10. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    Hey....whoa, I have the SPG AMEX card (the red one). I'm supposed to be credited with two stays with that? I just looked at my online statement and they just count the eight physical stays I have so far in 2011, no bonus stays for having the AMEX card.

    Am I missing something here?
     
  11. dc_traveler
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    dc_traveler Silver Member

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    You are supposed to get two stays, I believe.

    Here's what I pulled from the Starwood Amex web site (at http://www304.americanexpress.com/getthecard/learn-about/Starwood-Preferred).

    Reach the next level of SPG elite status faster


    • Receive credit for 5 nights and 2 stays toward SPG elite status each year.15 That's just 20 nights away for SPG Gold status and 45 nights away for SPG Platinum status in a calendar year.
    The footnote says:

    Upon opening your Card Account and, by February 15th of each subsequent calendar year it is open, you will receive from Starwood credit for 2 stays towards your Starwood Preferred Guest elite status and credit for 5 nights toward your Starwood Preferred Guest Elite status. This benefit is limited to one annual 2 stay credit and one annual 5 night Elite status credit per Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card account. You will not receive additional 2 stay or 5 night Elite status credits if you have multiple Card Accounts. Credits and status are subject to the terms and conditions of the Starwood Preferred Guest program.

    Hope this helps -- it's definitely worth checking as it sounds like the annual two-stay credit should get you to 10 stays for 2011.
     
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  12. Bluto
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    Bluto Silver Member

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    On my US stays, I have had no luck getting upgraded as a SPG Gold. However, at some places in Europe (e.g. the Sheraton Frankfurt Airport Hotel) they seem to upgrade Golds like they do Platinums.
     
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  13. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    Worldwide, it is highly property specific. And even then, agent specific.

    I had two stays at the Sydney Westin in the course of a week. First time, I asked about a Gold upgrade, and the agent said "we don't upgrade golds." Next checkin (later that week, after a run down to Melbourne, upon checkin in Sydney, they offered...unprompted by me...that "because you are a gold member, we've upgraded your room." Same hotel. Same week. Same corporate rate.

    Domestically, i find the W in Westwood to be very generous with upgrades, same with W FLL.
     
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  14. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    Thanks everyone for the replies. I'm going to contact AMEX to see what's up there.

    One final question....do SPG Golds get Club Lounge access?
     
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  15. TAHKUCT
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    TAHKUCT Gold Member

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    Not as an official benefit. But YMMV.
     
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  16. Pizzaman
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    Pizzaman Co-founder

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    I don't use the late checkout benefit very often. When I do, I constantly feel like I have to negotiate it. YMMV, obviously, but this is one of the things I enjoy Hyatt's consistency on.

    Based on the situation you lay out, SPG Gold seems worth it. With the credit card nights, you're there. And, you should get enough incremental benefits to make it worth your while.
     
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  17. doc
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    doc Silver Member

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    Hi William

    Just wanted to say 'hey'..
    Trust your very well..
    It's been too long...

    If your ever back in the NYC metro area, please do hit me up!
    Miss you from back at TOBB :)

    Hope your havong a super holiday! :)
    All the best,
    "doc"/Mark
     
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  18. doc
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    doc Silver Member

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    FWIW, I'd say yes, although Starwood generally treats all their customers pretty well.. much like Marriott does ..

    I'm now only a 'lowly' SPG Gold myself, and it's not quite like when I was SPG Platinum in the past -
    but the status is surely nice to have & worth it IMHO, I assure you :)

    Honestly however, if I were still SPG Platinum, I'd surely stay more at Starwood hotel ptoperties.

    Travelling less now, it's made it nearly impossible to retain top tier status at all the major hotel chains, as I used to .. so I've admittedly been inclined to stay where I have the higher status, ie elsewhere, myself..

    Have a great one in any case .. happy holidays :)
     
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  19. SPG Champion
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    SPG Champion Official Representative

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    Thanks, doc. Unfortunately, I don't get to travel much anymore, so I'm not sure when I'll be back in the NYC metro area. But, happy holidays to you and yours and best wishes for a prosperous and happy New Year as well.

    Best regards,

    William R. Sanders
    Social Media Specialist
    Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

    spgchampion@starwoodhotels.com
     
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  20. adamlile

    adamlile Silver Member

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    I have made SPG Platinum for a few years now and am very impressed with SPG as a program and the treatment/upgrades that come with being Platinum. My fellow travelers that I speak with continually question why I am so loyal to SPG because they have a similar "underwhelmed" feeling that has been voiced here as SPG Gold.

    It is unfortunate that Gold is so easily acquired, 10 stays or sign up for a credit card (Plat. Amex). Because of that I don't think that Gold is something to strive for unless you ultimately will reach Platinum.
     
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  21. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    Everybody, thank you for the feedback.

    I looked into the stay credit, and AMEX did properly credit me already, so being at eight is the proper count for me (online, I simply counted by the "Book Now" boxes in the account activity, but I had two additional boxes, one for bonus points and another one as a goodwill gesture on a subpar stay at a Sheraton).

    After reading all the feedback, I thought for my use Gold isn't worth burning points to achieve. I would rarely need the late checkout ability, and if there's eleventy billion Golds out there by virtue of AMEX Plat card membership, I'll just wait until I earn it the old-fashioned way in 2012.

    Again, thanks to everyone for the feedback. Travel safely, and happy new year.
     
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  22. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    For what it's worth.....

    I made Gold a few months ago via stays.

    My experiences fell in-line with what people have said earlier in the thread. Had to say I was disappointed that, as a Gold, I wasn't offered a bonus at two stays at the Sheraton I earned most of my stays at (BUT....maybe it was because of the special company rate I was at, I don't know). Filled out one of those "Your Way" forms slipped under the door with the bill....never heard anything back.

    The other Sheraton I frequent did acknowledge my status and asked me if I wanted bonus points, but I did not get any sort of upgrade.

    Acknowledging what people said about late checkouts, that was offered to me for all my stays as Gold, but I rarely need those (but I think they do better at that than Marriott, where, even as a Plat, seems like I'm asking them for a blood sample).

    Have to say what was nice, even before I got to Gold, that one of the Sheratons acknowledged my overall 100th stay with SPG, that was a nice touch. Nice chocolates and sparkling water with a note. Didn't even know it was my 100th stay.
     
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  23. SPG Champion 3
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    SPG Champion 3 Official Representative

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    I believe it would be easier for you if you reach out to SPG to find out the real reasons you did not receive the bonus points for the two stays you have mentioned.

    spgchampion@starwoodhotels.com

    Thyetus Lee | Social Media Specialist
    Starwood Customer Contact Centre (AP) Pte Ltd
     
  24. Aditya Vyas
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    Aditya Vyas Silver Member

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    Why wouldn't SPG want to get loyalty and do status match to other program plats like Priority club etc?
     
  25. SPG Champion 3
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    SPG Champion 3 Official Representative

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    There used to a status match program months ago(not for Priority Club members though) but it has been discontinued. As to the reasons why it has been discontinued, I am afraid I don't have the answer.

    spgchampion@starwoodhotels.com

    Thyetus Lee | Social Media Specialist
    Starwood Customer Contact Centre (AP) Pte Ltd
     

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