Starwood Elite Status Challenges are Now Public

Starwood Preferred Guest elite status matches in March 2011 and replaced them with ‘status challenges’.

Instead of giving you elite status because you’re an elite with another hotel chain, they let you earn status more quickly — fewer nights in a compressed period of time — though they don’t advance you the status while you’re working on the challenge.

That program is no longer a secret, information passed from frequent flyer to frequent flyer, or something you stumble upon if asking Starwood whether there’s a way they can help you move your business to them from another chain.

Instead there’s now a dedicated web page advertising SPG status challenges.

You do not have to have elite status with another hotel chain to do a Starwood challenge. You just have to never have done a challenge before, and you cannot challenge a status level you’ve earned in the last 5 years (if you’ve earned Gold you cannot challenge Gold but you can challenge Platinum).

The offer runs through December 2017 (and may be extended of course, especially if Marriott determines that Starwood will last through much of 2018).

Simply register and choose a three month period in which to stay the required nights. You can start the challenge retroactively in the month prior to registration, start in the month you register, or start in the following month. Award nights do not count towards the challenge.

W Union Square

Terms and conditions:

Terms & Conditions

Registration: Between January 1, 2017, and December 31, 2017 (by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time), eligible SPG® members will have the opportunity to register for the SPG Gold or Platinum Status Challenge (the “Status Challenge”) by calling SPG Customer Service to register. Members must choose either the Gold Status Challenge or Platinum Status Challenge.

Offer: Members must register by December 31, 2017, and choose a consecutive three-month (3-month) earning period (the “Challenge Period”) from the options provided at time of registration. For example, if a member registers in February 2017, the Challenge Period options from which to choose are: January-March 2017, February-April 2017 or March-May 2017. Platinum Status Challenge participants must complete 18 Eligible Paid Nights at hotels and resorts that participate in the SPG program within their Challenge Period. Gold Status Challenge participants must have nine (9) Eligible Paid Nights within their Challenge Period. SPG Award Nights do not count as Eligible Paid Nights for the purpose of the Status Challenge. Only eligible paid nights consumed within the selected Status Challenge period will count towards the Status Challenge.

Eligibility: Status Challenges are not available to members who have earned SPG elite-level within the five years prior to the current year. Specifically, SPG members who earned Gold or Platinum status in or after 2012 are not eligible for the Gold Status Challenge, and SPG Members who earned Platinum in or after 2012 are not eligible for the Platinum Status Challenge. Members who have successfully completed any prior SPG status challenges may not register for this Status Challenge. Members may register and attempt to participate in the Status Challenge again if they fail to complete the Status Challenge. If a member completes the Gold Status Challenge and is successful, he or she is able to come back to register for the Platinum Status Challenge. Members may not, however, repeat a Status Challenge that they have already successfully completed. An SPG member who reaches SPG Gold or Platinum status by linking their SPG and Marriott Rewards accounts will not be eligible for the Status Challenge offer.

Earning: Members who meet all terms and conditions and successfully complete the Gold Status Challenge will be upgraded to Gold status. Upgrade to Gold status will occur within 5-7 days of the stay posting to the member’s account with the ninth (9th) Eligible Paid Night completed. Members who meet all terms and conditions and successfully complete the Platinum Status Challenge will be upgraded to Platinum status. Upgrade to Platinum status will occur within 5-7 days of the stay posting to the member’s account with the 18th Eligible Paid Night completed. Once an SPG member reaches elite membership status, the applicable benefits will commence during the member’s Status Challenge Period. The Elite Status Challenge entitles members to one full year of elite status, from one renewal period to the next. If a member is upgraded via the challenge on or before February 28th, 2017 they retain status until February 28th, 2018, the following year. If they are upgraded on or after March 1st, 2017 they retain status for the remainder of the year, all of 2018, up until February 28th, 2019.

Not responsible for omissions or typographical errors. Starwood reserves the right to modify, change or terminate any of the terms and conditions of the Status Challenge in its entirety at any time, without notice. An Eligible Paid Night is a night at any of the more than 1,300 SPG-participating hotels and resorts paying an Eligible Rate during the Status Challenge Period. Nights do not have to be consecutive and can be accumulated across multiple stays. An Eligible Rate is any rate that is eligible to earn Starpoints® in the Starwood Preferred Guest® program. SPG-participating hotels and resorts and a description of Eligible Stays and Eligible Rates can be found at under Terms & Conditions of the SPG Program. Eligible Paid Nights do not include those nights reserved through a third-party online agency, such as Expedia, Priceline, Hotwire, etc. Please see Terms & Conditions of the SPG Program for more information on what qualifies as an Eligible Night. Void where prohibited.

(HT: Rob B.)

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. What elite will spend 18 nights without status to get SPG Platinum? Seems like a pretty lame challenge without status during that time.
    This will only appeal to people who already decided to go for SPG status. I suspect the canabalism rate on this is close to 90%.

  2. @Deltahater yes — this is meant to push someone over the edge, incentivize them at the margin, they’re wanting to move to SPG and the full year’s stays to get status is too high a barrier so a lower barrier gets them to move.

  3. If you’re aiming for platinum, get an Amex Platinum card so you start with gold status. Problem solved.

  4. I am in the middle of this status. We have been SPG gold for years via spg Amex 30,000 spend. We had 9 nights scheduled already in February. So we signed up for this challenge only needed 9 more paid nights in 2.5 months. We will accomplish this with help from SPG stay 2 nights get third night free codes and the citi prestige fourth night free benefit. SPG platinum, marriott plat, united silver, and delta silverlite for 9 more nights was enough to push us over the margins to accept and complete this challenge.

  5. Of course there are many other ways to get SPG/Marriott Gold and Plat status that don’t require so many nights:

    (1) Ritz credit card from Chase – automatic Gold for first year
    (2) Marriott meetings = 10 EQN per meeting
    (3) UA status -> Marriott Gold -> SPG Gold

  6. Hmmm….the requirement that you hadn’t had SPG Plat in the last five years seems counterproductive. Isn’t this what a high volume customer that might want to come back look like?

  7. Em – This is actually really good if you’re an SPG Gold (and that’s your normal level) as you can just arrange the window for your peak travel, and you’ll DEFINITELY achieve the goal, which gives you plat for almost two years, in-house it’ll just get you room upgrades, but if you look at the Delta CrossOver Rewards benefits it equates to low-level silver (which does include free luggage) AND you get Marriott Platinum as well so that means United Silver too. 🙂

    If you’re Gold anyway, it’s a no-brainer if you are going to be leaving your job, or taking lots of leisure travel or just want nicer rooms

  8. what if I have 10 nights already from the SPG biz and SPG personal cards posting nights to my account? do these count in the challenge, meaning I would only need 9 more nights to get to platinum?

  9. I am very sad to see this happen now, and not 2 months ago.

    Due to a unique situation with my job, I’ve spent Monday-Friday ever week for the last 5, changing hotels every single day in order to get to 25 stays, instead of waiting for 50 nights.

    At least I’m almost there. I’ll be platinum when I check out this Friday morning.

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