There has been lot of chatter about the upcoming enhancements to the Starwood Preferred Guest program at the Platinum level. When you deal with close to 1000 properties and need to keep them informed, there are always going to be some leaks even when the corporate tries to control the release of the information. I have already written about the breakfast and the Suite Night Awards. Now I have more clarity of these benefits. I believe that Starwood is releasing the info officially in the next 24 to 48 hours.
Website being partially “refreshed”
Now properties like Westin’s, W’s, St Regis’, Luxury Collection, aLoft’s and other brands without lounges don’t have to offer a complimentary breakfast for Platinum members. This has become a competitive disadvantage for Starwood when all the Hyatt’s and Hilton properties (excluding the one in Maldives) are offering this to their Diamond members, and Hilton even for Gold ones.
Apparently the breakfast is going to be an amenity choice in some of the brands/hotels. It is a no brainer to choose the breakfast every day over 500 SPG points per stay, especially if this would also apply for award stays. Some might say that most of the hotels are already offering a free breakfast for Platinum members. This is really country specific. Good luck getting a breakfast in Bali just for being a Platinum member at W, Westin, Luxury Collection Laguna, or St. Regis.
2. Suite Night Awards
You would get ten Suite Night Awards per year that you could apply for paid, cash + points, or pure award stays. Confirmable 5 days to 1 day before arrival. If the upgrade doesn’t clear in advance, it will be put back into your account. You would be then eligible for space available suite upgrades as of today.
The terms and conditions indicate that this would be benefit of those that stay more than 50 nights yearly. Not sure if this just an oversight, or if Starwood is starting to distinguish between Platinum members that just make it by having 25 stays and those that spend considerably more nights than that.
Overall, I don’t think that this benefit is make or break. I would be eligible for it as I spent more than 110 paid stays with Starwood last year. Ten confirmable suite upgrades would allow me to confirm in advance about 9% of my stays.
Probably the hotels that are already good at upgrading Platinum members would continue to do so under this program. Hotels are already provided a list of incoming Platinum members on a daily basis and preferable upgrade order.
Hyatt has already had complimentary suite upgrade awards for their Diamond members for couple of years. You will get four upgrade certificates per year that are valid up to 7 days each. These are valid on all points eligible paid stays and can be confirmed in advance. Some Park Hyatt’s have unannounced discontinued their participation to this program. These suite night awards are not valid on award stays.
3. SPG Lifetime
Now they are also bringing a more long-term incentive to credit stays to SPG program once you have passed the requalification requirement.
Hyatt requires $200000 spent that is credited to Hyatt Gold Passport points to get a lifetime Diamond status. You can call Hyatt and ask how many BASE points you have earned. You need a million base points to qualify. The lifetime points earned on Hyatt.com only shows the points earned with all possible promotions. These are not paid points.
Marriott also has a lifetime Platinum, Gold, or Platinum status up for grabs. It requires 1000 (Platinum), 800 (Gold), and 600 (Silver) nights, and 2000000 (Platinum), 1600000 (Gold), and 1200000 (Silver) Marriott Rewards points earned from ALL sources i.e. hotel stays, credit card, buying points etc. You also need to be a member for 12+ years and have qualified for the status at least once at the lifetime level.
What is going to be the criteria for the lifetime Platinum status with Starwood? I don’t have the answer before this is announced. But, considering what Hyatt and Marriott is requiring, I would imagine it to be in the 1000 nights range. Last year SPG already introduced a lifetime night counter on Starwood’s website. Not sure how closely the have measured the spending aspect, but it would be easy to calculate from the number of points earned before any bonuses.