But the good news is that SPG Gold is nearly useless, because it's so easy to get it, and so many people have it, that the benefits have really been diluted.
Jim - Are you sure about the Corporate II Acct.? Harborside is a mandatory resort, and includes mandatory SVN membership and the II Acct. is part of the membership fee. Plus, if they didn't give you a corporate Acct. how could they control the II deposits from this resort?
As Denise says, anyone who wants SPG Gold can pretty much get it these days - still some value but much restricted. The coveted Platinum status still holds its value though. If you take a look on flyertalk, there's an SPG section on there and often a few referral/invites to go straight to Gold status.
As you're from the UK, the SPG Amex isn't an option for you (same here) - shame, as a good way to generate points.
We're Starwood gold after my husband was invited to join SPG via a Delta/SPG joint promo. You can also get it by applying for the AMEX Platinum card ($450 annual fee). But, as others have said, the benefits are very hit or miss, except the bonus points, which are nice.
The value of the SPG gold status is as stated, diluted. But it has some power when coupled with the SPG AMEX card. StarPoints are rewarded 1.5 points for every dollar spent, instead of the 1 point per dollar.
This is only relevant if you use StarPoints; we do. Since we have become owners I track my stays against the cost of the room at the property, and how many StarPoints were used. We have come across our StarPoints through premiums at purchase and through the credit card.
As many of you are, we travel for pleasure four times a year. These trips consist of StarOptions from our ownership, and StarPoints accumulated from ownership premiums and the AMEX purchases.
While the gold status may not be that great, there is a quantifiable value that can be tied directly to dollars!