Starwood just sent an email to a family member that was downgraded to Gold status this year that he could request a new membership card to be send out. Apparently SPG no longer mails cards out without request.
I am not sure if this only applies for Gold members, as I have not received (qualified SPG Platinum) any emails from Starwood yet regarding 2013 credentials.
SPG could use somewhat more cryptic URL’s for these links, but you could clearly see that this specific version had only been sent to those that didn’t qualify and had been downgraded this year.
If you prefer having some kind of SPG card, you can just click the link and personalize your card with your favorite hotel photo. You can then choose to have it store it in your device, downloaded to your computer, or mailed out to the address that you have on file with SPG.
I am not sure when was the last time that I had to show my SPG card at the hotel. The only reason could be if your reservation is not properly linked with your SPG number and your status info hasn’t transferred to the hotel.