As much as I’m loyalty program obsessed, it might surprise some people to know that I actually don’t care all that much about achieving lifetime status… in general. That might seem counter intuitive, given that I’m still fairly young and potentially have quite a while to reap the benefits of such a status.
Why don’t I really care much for lifetime status, both with airlines and hotels?
- Lifetime status is a long term goal, and programs often change the thresholds required for lifetime status; if it takes 10 years to earn it, I’d hate for the rules to change eight years in
- With the consolidation/mergers we’re seeing in the industry, we’ve seen some change in benefits over the years to lifetime status
- I constantly evaluate the value of the programs I’m most loyal to, and would rather fly and stay with the companies which deliver me the most value now, as opposed to looking too far forward
- As I’ve often explained, I take a long term short term approach to this hobby; that’s to say that I’m dedicated to playing the game long term, but I believe the best way to do that is by constantly evaluating how things are now, as opposed to how they might be at some point in the future
Starwood’s lifetime status
In early 2012 Starwood announced some awesome program changes, which shifted them from a program I wanted to love to one which I actually loved. Not only did they enhance benefits for Gold and Platinum members, but they introduced lifetime Gold and Platinum status.
What are the thresholds for achieving lifetime status with SPG?
- Enjoy Gold membership status for life when you achieve 250 eligible nights total and any five years of elite SPG status since joining the program
- Enjoy Platinum membership status for life when you achieve 500 eligible nights total and any 10 years of Platinum SPG status since joining the program
I’m Starwood lifetime Gold!
I’ve never much tracked how many nights I’ve spent with Starwood, though last night I got the following email in my inbox, which was a pleasant surprise:
The text read as follows:
What a milestone: Since joining the SPG® program, you’ve stayed with us at least 250 eligible nights and experienced at least five years of elite benefits. And now, you’ve joined a very exclusive group: SPG Lifetime™ Gold. This means whenever you stay with SPG, you’ll always get the benefits of Gold status.
Elevated benefits and rewards are all yours, for life, at our more than 1,100 hotels and resorts in nearly 100 countries. Here are just a few:
- Earn more. 3 Starpoints® for every U.S. dollar spent on eligible stays — a 50% bonus over Preferred — plus 1 Starpoint for every US$2 of eligible group spend, up to 30,000 Starpoints per event.
- Stay longer. 4 p.m. late checkout when available.1
- Step up your stay. An upgrade to an enhanced room at check-in2 — a corner room, a higher floor, a better view.
- Warm welcome. Your choice of welcome gift upon arrival — choose from bonus Starpoints, complimentary in-room Internet or a beverage on us.
If you currently have Platinum status, don’t worry — your Platinum benefits are still intact. Likewise, as an SPG Lifetime Gold member, you can still earn Platinum status each year. It’s simply a reassurance that you’ll never go below Gold status, even if you have a light travel year.
Congratulations on achieving SPG Lifetime Gold. You’re among the best of our best guests, and it’s our privilege to serve you. We look forward to seeing you again soon.
That prompted me to look at my account, which indicated that I’ve earned 251 “eligible” nights towards lifetime status since 2006.
Is lifetime Platinum status on the horizon?
As much as I said above that I’m not really one for trying to achieve lifetime status, the first thing I thought when I saw the above email is “hmmm, why don’t I just spend the next 250 nights at Starwood properties and get lifetime Platinum status?”
And then I realized I’ve only been Platinum for five years, so regardless I’d have to earn Platinum status for another five years before they’d give it to me for my lifetime.
At 50 nights per year for five years, I’ll be there (though presumably I’ll easily stay those 250 nights in the next two years or so), and then it will just be a waiting game.
It’s cool to achieve lifetime status, especially when you didn’t even realize you were close. For me personally, lifetime status with any program isn’t a reason for me to do business with them, but it is an awesome reward. In the case of SPG, it just happens to be that they offer an all around awesome program which is worth being loyal to either way, and the lifetime status is the icing on the cake.
How about you — does the ability to earn lifetime status impact the airlines/hotels you’re loyal to?