Why I am Completing the Starwood Platinum Challenge

Frequent readers of my blog know that the two hotel chains I predominantly stay in are Hyatt and Kimpton, with the latter being less and less this year not knowing what’s going to happen since the merger with IHG several months ago. I love staying at Hyatt’s, and as a Hyatt Diamond the benefits keep me coming back, however there’s one thing that’s been “stopping me” lately, and that’s the lack of properties. For example, in London, there’s only 2 hotels. For a city that size, there really needs to be more. Or, for an upcoming trip to Venice I’m planning, there’s not Hyatt hotels in the area. I’ve decided that I need to add to my hotel repertoire and complete the Starwood Platinum Challenge. I will still be keeping my Hyatt Diamond status, though.

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There are several reasons for me choosing Starwood as this new chain:

  • I receive stay and night credits toward status simply by holding the SPG American Express card.
  • There are properties in most of the places I want to visit, many more than Hyatt offers.
  • SPG has some great elite benefits, many of which I will use consistently.
  • SPG has a rewarding points program, especially with their partnership with Delta.

A few weeks ago, I signed up for the Platinum challenge, requiring me to stay 18 nights within 90 days on eligible rates, meaning no free nights and no cash and points reservations. So, far, I’ve cancelled several Hyatt stays to make this happen, as well as adding in some Sheraton nights to complete the Sheraton stay 5 nights, earn 1 free weekend night promotion. Starwood does not do any status matches, so for the time being, I’m living off of my Gold status that I have through my American Express Platinum card.

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Here’s what I really value about Starwood Platinum, and why I feel the challenge is worth completing:

  • The choice between Starpoints, breakfast or an amenity. Some (well, many) stays I can’t have breakfast due to timing, so its helpful to have another option to choose from when I can’t take advantage of that benefit.
  • Complimentary club access in hotels with a club. When I get this, I’ll also get free breakfast, which allows me to choose the Starpoints as my amenity above.
  • After 50 nights, I’ll choose 10 Suite Night awards as my reward option. I value how these Suite Nights are “nights” and not on stays, since I can choose to use them on hotels that I may not be staying at very long.
  • At 75 nights, I’ll have the privilege of “Your24,” where I can check in at, say, 8pm, and then not have to check out until 8pm the following day, which can come in handy on plenty of occasions.

Here’s my thought process on hotels moving forward:

  • I’d continue to stay in Kimpton’s once I know the loyalty program is “safe.” Until then, I’m putting this on the back burner.
  • If the rate is good, I’ll prefer to stay in Hyatt’s in cities that have them. If there’s a Park Hyatt, I generally prefer that.
  • I’ll stay in SPG properties in cities that don’t have a Hyatt, or in circumstances where I’ll be at a better advantage with elite benefits, such as with using Your24.

Have you completed the Starwood Platinum Challenge before? Is Starwood Platinum worth it?

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