Getting Starwood Gold Status Without Meeting the Stay Requirements

Several readers, including Delta Points, emailed me this morning about an offer for free Starwood Gold status after one stay in the Asia Pacific region paid for with a World Mastercard. (The full list of participating properties is here.)

As New Girl in the Air observes, if you aren’t already a Starwood Preferred Guest gold member and since you have through March 31 of next year to use this promotion, it’s worth registering just on the if-come.

Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status basically gets you:

  • 50% bonus on points earned on-property
  • 4pm late checkout, guaranteed, although subject to availability at resort and conference properties
  • Avoid the worst room in the house (they call it an upgrade to a better room in the same category, I suggest you more or less avoid the room over the HVAC as your expectation but sometimes do much better)
  • Amenity of choice — 250 point bonus, free internet for your stay, or a welcome drink

Two credit cards offer Gold status as well.

You receive free complimentary Gold status simply by being an American Express Platinum cardholder, I provided a rundown of the benefits of that card in January and it’s one I carry myself primarily or the extensive airline lounge access (Delta and American when flying those airlines same-day, US Airways, and also several international lounges plus Alaska via Priority Pass Select which is provided free).

The standard Platinum card comes with a 25,000 point signup bonus, the Mercedes Benz co-branded version of the card comes with a slightly higher fee but 50,000 points as a bonus.

It used to be that you’d just call American Express to get the Gold status code, call up Starwood and give them a two-letter code, and you’d instantly be Gold. You can imagine how this was abused… So now Starwood requires proof you actually have the card before giving you Gold.

Meanwhile, the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express will earn Gold status if you spend $30,000 in a year, and the card also provides you with 2 stays and 5 nights towards qualifying for status (and you can get another 2 stays and 5 nights with the small business version of the card).

I reviewed the Starwood Amex extensively in December (not even mentioning Gold status from spend, since Gold status only got much more valuable in my opinion March 1 with the introduction of free internet).

Note that the Amex Platinum and Starwood Amex cards do offer credit to me if you use my links to apply, which I appreciate but of course you’re under no obligation.

Starwood has also been known to partner with airlines to send out targeted instant Gold status paired with airline direct deposit, that is, if you’re a Delta elite you may get a mailing offering you Gold provided that you automatically deposit the Starwood points you earn through hotel stays into your Delta frequent flyer account. I haven’t seen these sorts of promos since the new Gold benefits were announced, but they may well return in the future.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I just googled it and it seems to be a certain TYPE of card I get this “” I’ve never seen anyone with this card.

  2. A World Mastercard is a similar concept as a visa signature. The Citi TY premier is a world mastercard for example (assuming you have the MC version of course).

  3. @BRL no, the T&C say you have to pay a qualifying rate which won’t be C&P, it references a section in the program’s T&C to define qualifying rate that doesn’t exist. But I’m confident C&P won’t count.

  4. Thanks for the update. Ironically, I just started a thread on flyertalk today after realizing I had been downgraded to “preferred” status after probably a dozen years as gold (never earned through stays).

    The problem with trying to earn gold is that the benefits are too modest to make it worth much effort. I guess if I don’t get comped some other way, I’ll try to do the Asia promo later this year when I’m in Asia. I assume I’d have to buy a room direct through SPG, as opposed to through a travel agency?

  5. I currently have a cash and points room booked in Asia this coming January. The value of the cash and points is $40. I could book a night at the hotel for $110. Is it work paying $70 to be gold? When will my gold membership last till? Will it be one year or will I get all of 2013 and 2014?

    Thanks in advance!

  6. Awesome! I had no idea this existed. And @Ryan from MA. . . I was pleasantly surprised to see that both MC’s in my wallet are WORLD.

  7. I just received my Gold status for a stay in Japan where I paid with my Visa card. I guess the specific card used doesn’t really matter.

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