School of SPG 4 – Hack Earning SPG Status: use Stays not Nights

Hack earning SPG status by aiming for STAYS rather than NIGHTS to get to Gold or Platinum quicker.

Here is how I learned and adopted my first SPG travel hack, by using 1 night ‘stays’ to get to Gold.


SPG Gold Preferred Guest Qualification

SPG Gold Preferred Guest Qualification

How you can hack earning SPG Status by using nights, rather than stays

Generally, when you are trying to attain status with SPG – e.g. Gold or Platinum – it is often easier to aim for single nights rather than stays.

As of June 2013, I’d stayed 2 nights at Grosvenor House Dubai, 1 night at Le Meridien Barcelona, 1 night at W Barcelona – so my Elite Status Qualifying was 3 x stays YTD (Year To Date) and 4 x nights YTD.

I was aiming to achieve Gold, which would need 10 stays or 25 nights in one year, which left me either 7 stays or 21 nights remaining to qualify.

Note – A stay is considered to be different when there is an elapsed time – normally at least one calendar day/24 hours – between check-ins. For example, if you were checked into a hotel, then checked out the next morning, went out for a few hours and returned and checked in again on the same day, that would count as 1 stay of 2 nights. If you checked out of the hotel, went out and returned the next day, and checked in after noon, that would count as a second stay of one night.

So, the quickest way to achieve Gold would be to aim for 7 stays, which could be a minimum of 1 night in each hotel to count as one stay. This is easily to achieve, especially where there are so many Starwood properties in a city, e.g. in somewhere like New York or Los Angeles – which is where I went to do my Gold ‘mattress run’!

  • 14th July – W Downtown New York – (Stay 4 YTD)
  • 21st July – Le Parker Meridien New York – (Stay 5 YTD)
  • 22nd July – Aloft Harlem – (Stay 6 YTD)
  • 23rd July – Westin Bonaventure Los Angeles – (Stay 7 YTD)
  • 24th July – Sheraton Los Angeles -(Stay 8 YTD)
  • 28th July – W Hollywood – (Stay 9 YTD)
  • 29th July, 30th July – Westin Long Beach (Stay 10 YTD)

So in the above example, I actually achieved Gold once I had checked out of the Westin Long Beach, which was my 10th SPG stay in 2013. I could actually have checked out after only one night and still received Gold a day earlier, but it was such a lovely hotel I stayed on a little longer.

Note – Elite Status, Starpoints, and any bonus ONLY are applied once they are posted to your SPG account, which normally takes place 24-48 hours after checkout. So, in the above example, if I wanted to make use of my Gold status I would have had to wait until the 31st July, or perhaps 1st August to be sure.


Hack Earning SPG Status: qualification notes

‘Stay’ means single or multiple nights, with one check-in and one checkout. So check-in on the 12th and checkout on 14th means 2 x nights (12th & 13th) but counts as 1 x stay.

‘Night’ means one calendar day/night, so check-in on 12th and checkout on 13th means night of 12th counts as 1 x night (and 1 x stay).

Award redemption stays/nights (where Starpoints are used to pay for stays in SPG hotels) also count towards elite status.

It can take a few days (often up to 48 hours after checkout) for stay credits to be updated onto SPG system. For example, if you were staying at 5 different SPG hotels over 5 nights, and your 25th Qualification night (that moves you up to Gold) was the first night/first hotel of your stay, you may not receive Gold status until the 3rd or 4th night of your stay.




This is part of a series of articles on how to maximise Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) – our favourite hotel loyalty program.

Do you have any queries or questions about SPG? Feel free to drop us a comment below and we’ll try to answer it for you 🙂