Starwood elite status is one of the best in the business, and even though the clock is very much ticking on how long more SPG will exist as a separate, stand alone program, we know that its safe for 2018 at least.
Many people think that elite status with hotels is unattainable because they don’t travel enough. It’s true that you have to travel a fair bit to maintain elite status, but getting it the first time can be significantly easier thanks to the existence of status challenges.
SPG offers a status challenge that does not require you to have any status with a competing hotel chain to participate in. The SPG status challenge is available for signups from now till 30 June 2018 (it originally expired 31 December 2017 but it’s since been renewed). You can find the full T&C here.
Here’s what you need to “win” the challenge
- SPG Gold: 9 nights in 3 months (normally 10 stays/25 nights in 1 year)
- SPG Platinum: 18 nights in 3 months (normally 25 stays/50 nights in 1 year)
Upon registration, you can select which three calendar months you want your challenge to cover. Don’t worry if you’ve already made some stays in January- if you specify Jan-March they’ll count all stays in January even if they were completed before you requested the challenge.
Also remember that SPG grants elite credit for up to 3 rooms per night. So, if you were traveling with two people who don’t care about such things, you could conceivably book their rooms for them with your SPG number and complete the Platinum challenge in 6 nights. Do let me know if you find such people.
If you complete your status challenge in or after March, your status is valid till February 2020 (versus February 2019 if you complete in Jan or Feb). For this reason, I’d strongly recommend holding off completing the challenge till after March. You can start it now, sure, but only complete it when March is over.
You can apply for both the SPG Platinum and Gold status challenge at the same time, even if your ultimate goal is Platinum. Why would you want to do this? Imagine your stays are spread out over the 3 month period. First you have 10 nights, then 2 nights, then 1 night, then 5 nights. After your first stay of 10 nights, you’d already qualify for SPG Gold. You’d then be able to enjoy that status during your 11th-18th nights. That means late check out, room upgrades and perhaps more importantly, a 50% points bonus. If you were to only apply for the Platinum challenge, you’d be living out nights 1-18 with no status at all.
Registration is simple: just contact Starwood through one of their channels and request for a status challenge. To expedite the process, include the following information
- Your SPG number
- Which 3 months you want the status challenge to cover
- Whether you’re requesting a Gold or Platinum challenge (or both)
Jon has written about his experiences qualifying for SPG Platinum via the challenge, in case you’re interested. I did my status challenge all the way back in 2013. Unlike Hilton’s ongoing status challenge program, you don’t get any status for the duration of your challenge, but Hilton’s challenge requires existing status with a competing chain.
If you think you might have a short burst of travel this year, it’s certainly worth thinking about this.