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Strictly speaking, there’s no longer such a thing as a proper SPG status match these days, but you can still get a big short-cut to Gold or Platinum status.
Starwood Preferred Guest offers an official status challenge, that is set to run through until 30th June 2018 . You can find the SPG status match / challenge landing page here.
Signing up is simple and your options are either to:
- Go for Gold – requires 9 nights in 3 months
- Aim for Platinum – requires 18 nights in 3 months
There are a few good and a few bad things about the SPG status match / challenge that you need to be aware of:
- You DO NOT need to already have elite status with another hotel loyalty programme to request a challenge. This makes the SPG challenge a great option for many beginners.
- It’s the number of nights that counts towards status rather than the number of separate stays.
- You can receive qualifying night credits for up to 3 rooms at once, which is great if you are also booking rooms for friends, family or colleagues. If you booked 3 rooms for a single 3-night stay you could complete the Gold challenge, for example.
- When you sign up, you get to choose which 3 month period you would like your challenge to cover. For example, if you registered in February 2018, the challenge period options from which to choose would be: January-March 2018, February-April 2018 or March-May 2018. This means that you can actually qualify retrospectively, using stays that you’ve already completed – so long as they were only a month ago.
- If you don’t succesfully complete a challenge, you can re-apply again in future.
- You do not receive status benefits during the challenge – only after you have completed it.
- Only cash stays count towards the challenge – you can’t use Points or Points + Money.
- For the Gold challenge, you must not have held SPG Gold or Platinum status in the last five years.
- For the Platinum challenge, you must not have held Platinum status in the last five years.
If you are interested in the fine print, you can read the full terms and conditions here.
Your account should be upgraded to reflect your new status within 5-7 days of the 9th/18th night posting to your account.
Important – keep your status for 2 years, not 1
If a member is upgraded via the challenge on or before February 28th, 2018, they retain status until February 28, 2019. If they are upgraded on or after March 1, 2018, they retain status for the remainder of the year, all of 2019, up until February 28, 2020.
Basically, even if you register now, do not complete your 9th/18th night until 28th February at the earliest. That way, you get to keep your shiny new status for a whole extra year!
As with any status match or challenge, it really depends on your own specific circumstances how much you’ll get out of it.
Considering that the standard method for reaching Gold status requires 10 “stays” in a year (reward or paid) and Platinum status with 25 stays (reward or paid), this status challenge will be most attractive to those who will be spending several consecutive nights in the same SPG hotel.
SPG Gold isn’t great in itself, but it also gets you Marriott Rewards Gold as well these days, which is excellent. SPG Platinum is superb.
I’ll be writing about how to get a short-cut to elite status with Marriott Rewards (and therefore also indirectly with SPG) very soon, and looking at the circumstances where it might be best to pick one route over the other.
Anyone taken up the SPG status challenge yet this year? What’s your strategy to complete it?