The SPG Status Challenge – how I intend to get Platinumized

Status challenge is one of many ways for hotels and airlines to boost their elite ranks and memberships. However it is also a quick way to attain that normally elusive top tier status. Is this my chance for Platinum?

Ever since I got acquainted with The Milelion blog, the concept of miles, points, lounges, air fares, status etc have internalized in me. My spending pattern and the way I use my credit cards (I really need a ‘gu-niang’ long wallet now) have changed dramatically. Gone are the UOB One card and the Citibank Cashback card and welcome in the UOB PPV, UOB PRIVI, Citibank Rewards etc. Sorry I digress but I guess you get the point.

The SPG offers a status challenge and so does Marriott (unpublished). But ever since the Sept 2016 acquisition of SPG by Marriott International and the status matching offered by the two programs, this whole status thingy looks a sweeter deal. In essence, the status challenge allows SPG members to attain Gold or Platinum Preferred status by completing stays within a 3-month period (or 90 days):

  • 9 nights to attain Gold status
  • 18 nights to attain Platinum status

The terms and conditions are stated right here. You have to contact SPG to inform that you wish to take part in the challenge. The challenge is valid for the whole of 2017 in any 3 consecutive months for the nights to be attained in any SPG participating hotels. With more than 1300 properties worldwide, you can definitely choose your pick. But the key questions lie in; does it make sense to take part in the challenge and whether the benefits of the status outweigh the costs and efforts to spend those nights. Granted that there are tens of thousands of hotels and Airbnbs worldwide that provide accommodations, should I commit the money to one hotel chain?  For me, I am already in the Gold status so the next higher will be Platinum which in normal circumstance require 25 stays or 50 nights in a year to attain, something that is difficult for me to get there. Currently this is how far away I am from Platinum going by the usual qualification.

In my personal view if it does not cost me an arm or a leg to spend those 18 nights, I think I should be able to do it. Considering that the SPG Platinum status is able to match to the Marriott Platinum status, I take it roughly as a ‘buy one get one free’. Platinum status is attained a week after successfully completing the last night in the challenge. The Platinum status is valid through Feb 2019.

So 18 nights is quite a few nights of stay in hotels so it is important to do some prior planning before calling up SPG to sign up for the challenge. I have signed up to the challenge from 1 Oct to 31 Dec 2017, in view of the year end holidays. The school holidays are round the corner and it has been traditional for me to bring the family in tow with my parents for a short holiday. For a group of 5 pax, I will naturally require two hotel rooms or a Airbnb house/apartment that can fit everybody in. But since the holiday destination is planned for Hong Kong/Macau, then it probably makes more sense to put up in hotel rooms. SPG ones do not sound too bad, given that most of the hotel rates are comparable in land-scarce Hong Kong. And I have always wanted to visit Penang again (since my last visit almost 30 years ago) which is renowned for its street food and heritage culture. Maybe for this challenge I will bring the fam for two holidays instead of one.

After my application for the challenge and asking a few questions on the T&Cs, I have planned to do the following:

One important factor that you should know and is pivotal for me here is that SPG allows members to earn qualifying stays and nights for up to three rooms. For this challenge I am set for Platinum as long as I:

  1. book the rooms under eligible paying rate,
  2. stay in one of the rooms, and
  3. pay for all the rooms

Planning the travel and hotel stays are the easy part. But how much does it cost me to put up 18 nights in those SPG properties? 3 of the 18 nights are for business travels so they should not count into my budget. But for the purpose of understanding how these 18 nights will theoretically cost:

So that is nearly SGD$4,000 thereabouts for 18 nights in those SPG properties. Is it too much? Not forgetting there are air fares to consider to get to so many people to those destinations. Of course one can argue that you can spend all 18 nights in a local SPG hotel and probably that will cost only SGD$3,600 all in. Sure you can, but for me the challenge is not a means to an end. The holidays have to be done so if I can manage the the stays under the SPG properties that are still within my budget, then I have a win-win situation. In addition I am also registered for the bonus Starpoints so it is a little icing on the cake.

So there you have it. These 18 nights require some planning and some budget nonetheless and cooperation from whoever you are travelling with. I know of people who will never put up at Aloft or Four Point properties so… After I am platinumized, I will be waiting for my suite upgrade. Are you taking up the status challenge too?

Jon Lee
Jon Lee
Jon is in love with food, cooking and travel (who isn't?). Apart from cooking up a storm in his kitchen and worry about the calories, he is blessed to be able to do occasional travels around the region for his work. Sharing is caring, he feels. And this is how he shows that he cares for mankind.

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hi. i know of someone who actually pays for a series of rooms in the cheapest hotel in asia in order to get his desired status. eg. booking a room for 20 nights in hyatt bandung (eg $60 per night). the only hitch is that he has to check in on the first day and check out on the final day. in between he just leaves the room empty. can work in your case?


yes it can. many ways to play the game.


Just to check, if I just want to maintain my gold status, I can do a status challenge as well?


No. If you are existing SPG gold, you can only do status challenge to get platinum status.


Achieving 18 nights in SPG group is not that difficult, you can always use Aloft & Fourpoints to get your cheaper room rate and also can “buy” nights from some cheapest SPG hotel nights in some countries, Check in and out is also not a problem by using mobile check in and you can even call the hotel to do your check out. The problem is to maintain the status for the next year, once you got it, you probably don’t want to lose it. Like myself I got my Platinum status by completed the 18 night challenge a few… Read more »

Louis Tan

To maintain… could possibly consider matching back and forth different chains? Might be harder to achieve the number of nights for other chains, though (e.g. I think Hilton doesn’t count multiple rooms booked towards elite nights).


the same issue is after you matched the elite status of other chains, how can you maintain it? most of the chains only allow you to match once.


If you complete the challenge, how long do you get to enjoy this SPG plat status?


Feb 2019

Aaron Wong

suppose I finish the challenge now in october 2017. I will then have status until feb 2019. during 1 jan 2018 to 31 dec 2018 i must stay 50 nights/25 stays in order to requalify until feb 2020. starwood status always expires end feb.


Grand Sheraton Macau is one of the best value hotel rooms imo, the upgrades given even for gold are great! Just a thought, for HK, if you don’t mind travelling, Meridien Cyberport at ~1200HKD is a quieter, great property. Ovolo at ~1000HKD is another good option.


thanks for the suggestions! with old parents in tow, convenience is one main factor in this trip.


Hi, noobie question. If we book hotel stays from agents like expedia, will it count towards the eligible nights?


Likely not. Because SPG requires you to book under ‘eligible paying rate’. Don’t think SPG will be so kind to OTAs.



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