Let’s keep this simple: top tier elite status means bigger rooms and benefits, which mean savings. That delectable looking breakfast buffet? Free. That club floor room? Free. The internet, bottles of water, late check out and all the other things which also matter? Free too. Without staying 60 to 100 nights, you can secure top tier elite status. All you need to do is ask… and stay a fraction of those nights.
Marriott + SPG Offer Status Challenges. One Equals Both…
Marriott and Starwood (SPG) both respectively offer status challenges, which DO NOT require status with another brand presently. Through the Marriott/SPG merger, you can move your points between the two programs any time, and status with one can be instantly matched to status with the other, you even get it matched to the Ritz Carlton rewards program as well. Complete just one of the challenges that fits your upcoming stays and you’ll have it all. Literally.
Choose Which Challenge To Take…
With both challenges, with virtually no exceptions we’re talking cash only bookings, booked direct… YMMV.
The Marriott challenge will require 6 stays (not nights, unless separated by a day) for Gold or 9 stays for Platinum within 90 days. You can also alternatively request a status challenge based on nights. Interestingly, if you are offered a “taste of” challenge, you are temporarily granted the status for the 90 days during your challenge, whereas a “road to” challenge will not receive the upgrade until the stays are successfully completed. Ask for both?
The SPG challenge requires 9 nights for Gold or 18 nights for Platinum within 90 days. You do not receive the SPG elite status during the challenge, but generally receive it within a week of completing the challenge. Theoretically you can request both challenges simultaneously, which gives you some leeway if you fall short for the big goal.
You can get credit for 3 nights at a time if all the rooms are under your name, so if traveling with family, co workers, you can theoretically complete the SPG challenge in 3 or 6 actual nights, respectively.
Find The Perfect 90 Day Window And Request Your Challenge…
Upcoming vacation or work trips? Both are even better! Find a perfect 90 day window when your travel will be at its peak and request your challenge about a week in advance, for processing time, unless you are certain you can instantly secure it over the phone with Marriott.
To request the Marriott challenge: you can (login on Marriott first) and then fill out THIS form or call the customer service number for Marriott in your country. Politely say that you are looking to move your loyalty to the program and would like to inquire about their status challenge (not match) program. Reports are that phone calls have been most successful.
To request the SPG challenge: You can email firstname.lastname@example.org and request the Gold & Platinum challenge or again, call your local SPG customer service number and politely ask about taking the Gold & Platinum challenge, as you’re impressed with the new SPG portfolio. Talking person to person is often the best idea, though email should work.
Once You Earn Your Status, Use It…
Ritz, St. Regis, W, Luxury Collection, JW Marriott, Renaissance, the brands spread amongst the new portfolio you’ll have full elite member access to is immense. Status with one is status with all, so once you’ve completed a challenge be sure to use it. Comp’d breakfast, fees, perks and the occasional welcome gift go a seriously long way in business and pleasure.