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[2012] Changes to SPG Platinum (and Gold) benefits

YYJMSP

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For those not following on FlyerTalk, or didn't see this on the SPG site, there are some changes to the benefits of SPG Platinum and Gold levels.

http://www.spgpromos.com/morepowertoyou/index.cfm?language=en_US&IM=SPGT_Annc_SPG_ENG_1

Selected highlights:

SPG Platinum now gets:
  • free continental breakfast for two (or a discount against a full breakfast)

SPG Gold (which is everyone with a developer-bought SVO property) now gets their choice of one of:
  • free in-room internet
  • a free drink
  • SPG points (250 to 125 depending on property family)


If you stay more than 50 eligible nights in a year (including award and cash/point nights), you get 10 Suite Night Awards, each of which let you get a confirmed upgrade night prior to arrival if available (they check from 5 days to 1 day in advance of arrival).

If you stay more than 75 eligible nights in a year (including award and cash/points nights), you will earn an extra SPG point per dollar spent, plus you get the ability (subject to availability) to check-in/out for any 24hr period (i.e. you can arrive at 7AM and then check out at 7AM the next day).

And finally, they're introducing lifetime status:

You get SPG Gold for life if you've achieved Gold for at least 5 years and have stayed at least 250 nights.

You get SPG Platinum for life if you've achieved Platinum for at least 10 years and have stayed at least 500 nights.
 

DeniseM

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Clarification - these are HOTEL benefits, correct? i.e. - not for timeshare stays.
 

BLUE AYES

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Yes Denise. All info is now available on the SPG website.
 

Ken555

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Thx for posting this info.
 

YYJMSP

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Clarification - these are HOTEL benefits, correct? i.e. - not for timeshare stays.
Yes, hotel (SPG) benefits.

Given that every owner of a developer SVO unit is (at least) SPG Gold, this applies to some of us here when staying at a hotel property.
 

nodge

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Platinum +?

If you stay more than 50 eligible nights in a year (including award and cash/point nights), you get 10 Suite Night Awards, each of which let you get a confirmed upgrade night prior to arrival if available (they check from 5 days to 1 day in advance of arrival).
The FAQ section says that regular platinums can still get upgraded to suites on check in. But, giving folks that earned their status via hotel stays (vs. say buying a ton of Starwood timeshares from the developer) first dibbs on suite upgrades means, at least to me, that Starwood has created a new even higher elite status than platinum.

-nodge
Sorry SVO Plats, but it's time to move down a chair. Here, have a free donut . . . er "continental breakfast."
 
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YYJMSP

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The FAQ section says that regular platinums can still get upgraded to suites on check in. But, giving folks that earned their status via hotel stays (vs. say buying a ton of Starwood timeshares from the developer) first dibbs on suite upgrades means, at least to me, that Starwood has created a new even higher elite status than platinum.

-nodge
Sorry SVO Plats, but it's time to move down a chair. Here have a free donut.
Yup, there is essentially a layer of "super-Platinums" now, and I would guess (in addition to their 10 pre-approved upgrades) that they will have higher priority than "regular" Platinums (including those who got their status from SVO) on suite upgrades at check-in.

The next wave of depreciation in the SPG Platinum level will come when people start achieving Platinum Life -- 10+ years, 500+ nights -- but I would guess that's a few years away from being a "problem".
 

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They could remove the sting associated with being in the lesser platinum (or gold) category by counting timeshare stay nights as SPG stay nights, like Marriott has done. Perhaps if the PFLs make a large enough fuss, they'll do it. Personally, I'd be a little ticked if I spent the $ for PFL and essentially just got downgraded. :mad: I spend my non-timeshare dollars at a different brand, so I don't really have a dog in this fight (but have enjoyed a few nice gold upgrades - the best one being at The Hotel Grand Bretagne in Athens -- now that's a hotel!).
 

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Actually, I think this is even worse news than the super platinum status this hints at. The elite benefit now includes X number of suite upgrades. Which basically removes the "automatic upgrade if available" for suites! HEre is the exa ct wording I got in my email:


New! SPG Nights Benefits
Go for it. Being Platinum is now even more rewarding. After 50 eligible nights in a calendar year, you can earn 10 Suite Night Awards™ to upgrade to a standard suite or premium room. After 75 eligible nights in a calendar year, you go from three to four Starpoints per eligible U.S. dollar, plus earn access to Your24™, a new benefit that allows members to choose their check-in. For example, check in at 9 p.m. and you're able to check out 9 p.m. day of departure.

This is probably the worst news Starwood could have given me! Because now there are "Suite Night Awards" which means that Platinums without these new award certificates will NOT be getting suites. UGH
 

Ken555

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On a positive note, at least us Gold members can now get free Internet at Westin hotels. This will save ~$15/night for me when I travel and is a real benefit. Of course, it's one of those inexpensive benefits which shouldn't even be a separate charge, like it's not at some of the other SVN brand hotels.

And, I'm not sure what benefit Gold members will receive at Westin Resorts which have a daily resort fee which incudes Internet, etc. A few hundred points per day really is a meaningless reward to me.
 

jarta

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SDKath, ... "now there are "Suite Night Awards" which means that Platinums without these new award certificates will NOT be getting suites. UGH"

The award of Suite Night Awards are for use to upgrade to a suite prior to check-in and the upgrades are guaranteed upgrades. A 1-day stay costs 1 Suite Award. A 2-day stay costs 2 Suite Awards, 3 days costs 3 awards, etc.

Without a Suite Night Award, a platinum upgrade is always subject to availability and participation. Unless it has changed today, here's the Platinum room upgrade language in Section 4C. 5 of the SPG Program document:

"a. Upgrades to the best room at Participating Properties at time of check-in, based upon room availability for your entire stay, including Select Standard Suites, except at Aloft, Element and Starwood Vacation Ownership properties. Specialty Suites such as, but not limited to, premium view, Presidential, Honeymoon, and multiple bedroom suites are excluded. This benefit does not apply to all-suite hotels. Best rooms are identified by each property and do not include Towers level accommodations unless original reservation is for Towers level accommodations. The upgrade benefit is available for one room for the personal use of the Member only, regardless of the number of additional rooms purchased by the Member."

What would you rather have a Suite Night Award to use for a guaranteed suite for 1 night or a plain Platinum SPG status where you take your chances on availability and participation when you check-in?

The availabilty of suites will be diminished by exactly the number of Suite Awards being exercised when you check-in by people who got 10 days of them by staying 50 eligible nights in a calendar year and all 10 must be used or they expire within a year. 2 5-night stays would cost all 10 Suite Awards. Do you really think all the suites will be gobbled up because tons of people stay 50 nights a year (1 in 7 days a year) in a Starwood hotel? ... eom
 

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I received the following message this morning:

Welcome to a very exclusive group — SPG Lifetime™ Gold. Since joining the program, you've stayed with us at least 250 eligible nights and had at least five years of elite status. That's an accomplishment that calls for a serious reward. So from now on, you'll never go below Gold status, even if you have a light travel year.

Rest assured, you'll continue to receive Platinum benefits for every year thatyou maintain Platinum status.
.... Still 90 nights to go for Lifetime Platinum.
 

sml2181

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I think "standard" suite says it all.
I think it will still be hard to get them during certain times at certain hotels. I think it really depends a lot on where, when and for how long.
 
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SDKath

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SDKath, ... "now there are "Suite Night Awards" which means that Platinums without these new award certificates will NOT be getting suites. UGH"

The award of Suite Night Awards are for use to upgrade to a suite prior to check-in and the upgrades are guaranteed upgrades. A 1-day stay costs 1 Suite Award. A 2-day stay costs 2 Suite Awards, 3 days costs 3 awards, etc.

Without a Suite Night Award, a platinum upgrade is always subject to availability and participation. Unless it has changed today, here's the Platinum room upgrade language in Section 4C. 5 of the SPG Program document.
Yes, but let's say you are platinum through the timeshares. You never actually PAY to stay in a Starwood resort (because you use your SPs). Does this mean you will now NEVER get a suite upgrade because these certificates are going to all the business travelers who actually PAY for their rooms??!
 
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Ken555

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Yes, but let's say you are platinum through the timeshares. You never actually PAY to stay in a Starwood resort (because you use your SPs). Does this mean you will now NEVER get a suite upgrade because these certificates are going to all the business travelers who actually PAY for their rooms??!
No, since SPG is now counting point stays toward status.
 

DavidnRobin

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Here's an analogy - may be a poor attempt at a nodgism...

Say you work at a fast growing company and you are 4 levels from SVP (at *W that would be 10000+ it seems) - while you are moving forward and the company is growing - they put in more levels between you and the SVP (all the while promoting themselves) - and while you have moved up - you have been moved down. The people at the top benefit (as noted by FT responses) and the people below less so to the point that their benefits have degraded...

Sound familiar?
 

SDKath

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No, since SPG is now counting point stays toward status.
Still not good. Say you never use your points for stays. You use them for airline miles. You as a timeshare platinum should still be considered "equal" to those people who earned platinum through stays at the hotels. But you aren't since you have no stays, even though you are platinum for having a bunch of timeshares... Right?
 

YYJMSP

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This is probably the worst news Starwood could have given me! Because now there are "Suite Night Awards" which means that Platinums without these new award certificates will NOT be getting suites. UGH
They've stated that Platinums not using these awards will continue to get upgrades at check-in, if available. From the FAQ:


2.Is the existing upgrade at check-in benefit policy for all Platinum's going away or changing due to the launch of Suite Night Awards?
There are no plans to change the current Platinum upgrade at check-in policy. The launch of Suite Night Awards for SPG members with 50 or more nights annually, are in addition to all existing Platinum benefits.


I think the issue may become the available upgrades are prebooked by those with these awards (especially at popular destinations in high season, etc), leaving less/none available at check-in...
 
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YYJMSP

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The availabilty of suites will be diminished by exactly the number of Suite Awards being exercised when you check-in by people who got 10 days of them by staying 50 eligible nights in a calendar year and all 10 must be used or they expire within a year.
The awards earned from 50 stays in 2011 will expire Dec 31, 2013 (i.e. almost 2 years).

There might be a bit of a glut of these awards in 2013, as some of these may still be unused and available, in addition to the ones earned in 2012.
 

Ken555

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Still not good. Say you never use your points for stays. You use them for airline miles. You as a timeshare platinum should still be considered "equal" to those people who earned platinum through stays at the hotels. But you aren't since you have no stays, even though you are platinum for having a bunch of timeshares... Right?
Yup, I see your point. But seriously, you didn't really think Platinum status would remain the same forever, did you? This is a moving target and will constantly be changing over time. After all, we don't like it at all when redemption values for the hotels change over time and yet the conversion to points from ownership remains the same. Devaluing the program is one of the only ways Starwood (and all hotel brands) have of increasing their revenue, and that's really what this is all about.
 

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Did anyone else catch Fritz on CNBC this morning?

He started to talk about the changes right at the end of his segment and got cut off by Becky and Joe.
 

tomandrobin

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Interesting read.....

Things to ponder with good points on both sides.

I think that upgrades will still be available for us common PFL members. If they only had "10" suite upgrades per year, I think they would be saving them for vacations/special occasions. Pretty much one and done. Where as PFL will have a chance everytime they check-in to get an upgrade.

Need to keep watching this situation as it unfolds.
 

squeeze

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Still not good. Say you never use your points for stays. You use them for airline miles. You as a timeshare platinum should still be considered "equal" to those people who earned platinum through stays at the hotels. But you aren't since you have no stays, even though you are platinum for having a bunch of timeshares... Right?
I agree w/ SDKath., If you are not a business traveller your upgrades will be very limited (at best) to non existent (at worst). I am thinking the non existent for timeshare owners is more likely. It will be interesting for those TS owners to report back in the coming months.

There are many many business travellers and SPG has decided to fight for their share of the daily business travellers who are paying for their stays (not spending money on timeshares).

SPG hotels are more expensive than most Hiltons and Marriotts so to attempt to attract these daily business travellers they have decided to overlook the timeshare holders :annoyed: by offering the businessman certain bene's that will be taken from others.

Just another HUGE devaluation and kick in the pants to the timeshare industry (IMHO).:bawl:

They really don't want the SPG starpoints conversions, do they?:shrug:
I think SPG feels, you bought a timeshare, stay where you belong (timeshare properties, not hotels).

Just another great reason to make sure you purchase a timeshare directly from the developer, huh?:hysterical:
 
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YYJMSP

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I agree w/ SDKath., If you are not a business traveller your upgrades will be very limited (at best) to non existent (at worst). I am thinking the non existent for timeshare owners is more likely. It will be interesting for those TS owners to report back in the coming months.
We have quite a few SPG stays lined up for this year, so this will be interesting to see. However, in general, we made sure that we paid extra SPG points for suites at the more important/longer stays, so we might not notice it as much -- the free/subsidized breakfast :) across all property families will definitely be welcome.

They really don't want the SPG starpoints conversions, do they?:shrug:
I think SPG feels, you bought a timeshare, stay where you belong (timeshare properties, not hotels).

Just another great reason to make sure you purchase a timeshare directly from the developer, huh?:hysterical:
My beef right now is that we bought a few more units last year (partly) to get the Platinum for life benefit at the 5* SVN Elite level, as it was the only way to get that. Platinum for life is now available dircectly from the hotel side of things (10 years as SPG Platinum + 500 nights stayed), which lowered the value of our purchases (a bit)...

It would be nice if SVO stepped up and increased the level of SPG Platinum we get, but I don't see that happening... :(
 

clsmit

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I'm going to the St Regis Dana Point in April for a conference -- I certainly hope the Super Platinum CEOs staying there don't take all the upgraded rooms with a Butler! If I get a Garden View again I'm going to drive down to bunk with SDKath. :)
 
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