The Starwood Preferred Guest program (SPG) is the loyalty program of the Starwood Hotels group. Under this program, members are able to earn and redeem points at a number of hotels under the Starwood banner, which includes the likes of the Sheraton, Le Meridien, W Hotels, Westin and Four Points by Sheraton chains.
Membership of SPG is open to all, and membership of the program is free, You are able to sign up for the SPG program on the SPG website. Once you have successfully enrolled, you will receive your SPG membership number immediately. If you would like a card, you are able to request this through the website as well.
Once you have enrolled, you are able to earn points during stays at SPG affliliated properties, or when you dine in an SPG restaurant, even when not staying at the hotel.
Points do have an expiry though, and you will need to have point activity in each year in order to keep your points alive. If you do not have any acivity, then any accumulated points will expire.
SPG members booking their rooms through official SPG channels are entitled to a free basic wi-fi offering.
As with a number of loyalty programs, SPG has a number of tiers that you progress through as you stay at Starwood properties. The base level, is called the ‘Preferred’ level, Above that are the Gold and Platinum levels. The Platinum level has a small number of sub levels applicable to members that have a serious number of nights at Starwood hotels.
Starwood has two measures to assess your level within the program. The first of these measureds is the number of stays made at Starwood Hotels, while the second relates to the number of nights spent at a Starwood Hotel.
A Stay may consist of a number of consecutive nights at the one hotel, and is basically a count of the number of check-ins. The Stay requirement allows those with frequent short stays to achieve status, while those that stay on longer stays will likely reach the Nights hurdle. Note that checking out and checking back into the same hotel on the same day does not create a new stay.
Unlike some programs, there is no pathway based on points earned or spend.
The entry level tuer is known as the ‘Preferred’ Level. At this level, you will receive 2 StarPoints for each US Dollar (or equivalent) on hotel stays, including the room rate, and incidentals charged to the room.
In addtion, you are able to earn points when dining at a hotel restaurant even when not staying at the hotel. Making this deal even more enticing, is the ability to obtain a discount at many bars and restaurants in SPG Hotels simply by showing your membership card.
Members also receive their fifth night free when redeeming Starpoints and staying for at least five consecutive nights in the one property, and along with free in-room Internet when booking directly through Starwood.
After you have achieved 10 stays or 25 nights in a calendar year, you will be eligible to move from Preferred to Gold Preferred status.
At the Gold Preferred level, you will receive a 50% boost in the number of points earned, now earning 3 StarPoints for each US dollar (or equivalent) speng in SPG Hotels.
On top of the boosted earn rate, at this level, some status benefits become available. This includes an upgrade to a preferred room. This would, for example, be a room on a higher floor, or a room with a better view, or possibly a corner room.
In addtiton, you will have a choice of welcome gift that yoy can make, Choices of welcome gift include bonus StarPoints, a welcome drink, or an upgrade to the hotels Premium wi-fi offering.
It may take a little time to accumulate, but if you hold a Gold Preferred status for any 5 years, and achieve a total of 250 nights with Starwood, you will be awarded SPG Lifetime Gold.
At the top of the pack is Platinum Preferred, and this becomes available once you have had either 25 stays or 60 nights in a calendar year. While the earn rate remains the same as at the Gold Preferred level, at 3 StarPoints per US Dollar, there is a significant improvement in the benefits available.
First up, there is the upgrade, Platinum Preferred guests are eligibel to receive an upgrae to the best available room at check-in, which may include standard suites (except at Aloft and Element properties).
There is still a choice for welcome gift, and in Platinum Preferred Guests get to choose from from bonus Starpoints, local amenities or a continental breakfast. Club level and executive level benefits including any hotel lounge privileges, where available, are on offer, regardless of the room type that’s been booked.
Extra Perks after 50, 75 and 100 nights
For the serious road warrior, SPG offer extra perks after staying at their hotels for a total of 50, 75 or 100 nights in one year. While still at the Platinum Preferred level, there are some extra benefits at these levels.
After 50 night, there are a range of options made available (some of which are not useful to Australians!), including:
- 10 Suite Night Awards™
- Gift Gold status to a friend or family member
- SPG® $100 donation to UNICEF
- $100 Amazon.com gift code (US Members only)
- $85 credit for the TSA Pre✓® application fee (US Members only)
- 4 Uber® ride credits for up to $25 each (US Members only)
Of these the Suite Night Awards is possibly the most useful, and can be used for Suite Upgrades on paid stays
After 75 nights, a boost to the earnings kicks in, with Starpoint earning getting a boost to 4 StarPoints per US dollar. In addtion, the Your24 program allows some flexibilty in adjusting check-in and check-out times to better suit business travel.
At 100 nights, SPG assigns an Ambassador The SPG Ambassador is assigned to take care of things such as your room preferences, restaurant reservations and special occasions.
As with Gold, there is a Lifetime Platinum level, This requires you to accumulate a total of 500 nights over the life of your membership, and also to have held held Platinum Preferred status for any 10 years.
While the above has covered off the basic earnings and status benefits of SPG, it has not addressed what you can do with your points. The first, and obvious, redemption option is to redeem for room nights.
For room nights, it is possible to simply use the SPG website to locate available rooms. It is possible to redeem standard rooms using juts points. There are also options form making Points + Pay bookings, which will show up in the search results as well.
Another option is to trade points for airline miles. Starwood has a range of airline partners that you can funnel points to, and these include Virgin Australia, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Emirates. In most cases, Starpoints can be sent across on a 1:1 basis. Even better, whern sending 20,000 StarPoints across, Starwood will provide a 5,000 point bonus.
Note that Qantas is not a transfer partner from SPG, so you will not be able to send points from SPG to the Qantas Frequent Flyer scheme.