Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) is one of the most popular hotel rewards programs on the planet for two simple reasons – it offers the most value for points, and is also among the easiest to redeem for free nights.

Following last year’s merger of Marriott and Starwood, two of the world’s largest hotel brands – the long-term status of both rewards programs was up in the air. However the good news is that SPG and Marriott Rewards will continue to operate independently as separate programs, and will offer the added benefit for customers of being able to redeem/earn points at both Marriott and Starwood properties.

More importantly, customers will have the chance to earn and use their elite status for upgrades at either brand.

Pool at W Hong Kong

SPG/Marriott Elite Status Matching

The merger of two brands with thousands of properties between them has opened up an excellent opportunity for travelers to gain elite status with either program. Customers with elite status with SPG or Marriott can now enjoy reciprocal benefits at the other. This means SPG mid-tier elite members have the same level of status at Marriott properties, and vice versa.

In short, if you’ve ever wanted elite status with SPG or Marriott, there’s never been a better time to go for it. So, what’s the fastest way to get it?

Fast Track to Elite Status: The Starwood Preferred Guest AmEx

Regardless of whether you have a preference for Marriott or Starwood properties, we advise signing up for the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express card [LINK] to achieve elite status with both programs as fast as possible.

The SPG AmEx is an excellent fast track to elite status with not one, but now two major hotel brands, and comes with no annual fee for the first year and the added signup bonus of 25,000 Starpoints upon spending $5,000 in the first three months upon enrollment – enough for two free nights at some of Starwood’s high-end properties.

Given that customers are usually required to stay 25 nights (or 10 stays) to hit gold with SPG, the easier of the two programs in terms of gaining elite status, those taking advantage of the SPG AmEx will now only have to stay 20 nights or 8 stays in order to qualify for SPG Gold status.

Club Lounge at Sheraton Dallas – Ft. Worth (DFW)

SPG Gold Benefits

So, what do you get with SPG Gold? By comparison with the elite status perks of other hotel rewards programs, SPG Gold status is one of the best in the industry. Notable benefits include, but are not limited to:

  • Upgrades to enhanced rooms at check-in, such as corner suites and rooms with best views.
  • Complimentary bar drinks at check-in
  • Complimentary bottled waters in room
  • 4pm late checkout
  • Dedicated phone reservations line

Among these benefits, we’ve found SPG’s room upgrades at check-in to be the best and most available in the industry. We also find the 4pm late checkout to be especially convenient if you’ve had a late night out – no rush to leave the room straight away in the morning. It’s also convenient if you have a late flight and need somewhere to dress, shower, and store your belongings while you’re out for the day.

Pool at W Dallas

Joining Your SPG/Marriott Accounts

Signing up for individual credit cards is often the fastest route to a head start on gaining elite status with major hotel brands, and the Starwood/Marriott merger presents a rare opportunity to get status with two brands at once.

To ensure your elite rewards status is recognized with both SPG and Marriott, you’ll need to be a member of both rewards programs – Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott Rewards. You can then join your two accounts here.

After that, simply enroll for the card and your journey begins. You’ll be kicking back with free drinks and room upgrades before you know it.


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