Whilst I have a Starwood Preferred Guest American Express card, I also have Gold status in the SPG programme via my Amex Platinum card. This development had therefore passed me by until a reader flagged it to me.
If you have an SPG Amex, your status with Starwood Preferred Guest should be upgraded from ‘Preferred Guest’ (the basic level) to ‘Preferred Guest Plus’. This should show on spg.com when you log in.
‘Preferred Guest Plus’ is a special membership tier which Starwood gives to members who have not yet achieved Gold status. You receive ‘Plus’ automatically if you hold a Starwood credit card or if you are associated with certain other Starwood commercial partners.
There are two benefits to being ‘Preferred Guest Plus’:
4pm late check-out – this is GUARANTEED unless you are at a resort or convention centre property, although reports online suggest that hotels often need reminding that this is not an optional benefit
‘Enhanced’ room, which generally means the best room available inside the category you booked
These are actually two of the four benefits of being SPG Gold. The only other things you would get as a Gold are:
50% higher base points
A welcome gift
‘Preferred Guest Plus’ is not going to make a massive difference to your next stay at a Sheraton, Westin, W, aloft etc, but it is certainly better than nothing. Late check-out can be especially valuable on ‘long weekend’ trips when you have a late flight back.
If you are interested in getting a Starwood Amex, my full review is here. The current sign-up bonus is 10,000 SPG points (convertible to 10,000 Avios points) plus £15 TopCashBack cashback, or 11,000 points and no cashback if I refer you. There is no restriction on getting this card – it doesn’t matter what other Amex cards you currently hold.
(Thanks to Andrew)