Reader Question: Do I Get 5 Free Nights With the Starwood Card?

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Million Mile Secrets reader JM comments:

I have a starwood question…. I just applied and was approved…. I got an email that said I have received credit for 5 nights and 2 stays toward SPG status….what does this mean? the link provided is not really clear….do I now have 5 free nights? or credit towards it? thanks

Starwood American Express

You Get 5 Nights And 2 Stays Credits Towards Elite Status With The Starwood Credit Card

Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card

JM is referring to the 5 nights and 2 stay credits which comes with the American Express Starwood credit card.

Starwood hotel points are valuable because they can be used for airline tickets or hotel nights.  When JM transfers 20,000 Starwood points to airline miles, he gets a 5,000 mile bonus.  So 20,000 Starwood points becomes 25,000 airline miles in most airline frequent flyer programs.

JM could also use his Starwood points for hotel nights.  Hotel redemptions start at only 2,000 points a night.  For 2,000 Starwood points a night, JM could stay at the Sheraton Mustika Yogyakarta Resort & Spa in Indonesia.

Starwood American Express

JM Could Stay At the Sheraton Mustika Yogyakarta Resort & Spa For 2,000 Points A Night

5 Nights Credit With The Starwood Hotel Credit Card

Starwood has Gold elite and Platinum elite membership levels depending on how many nights (referred to as “nights”) you stay at Starwood hotels.  Or how many times you stay at Starwood hotels (referred to as “stays”).

For example, you earn Gold status after 10 stays or 25 nights at Starwood hotels and resorts.

And Gold status gets you:

  • 3 Starpoints points per $1 spent at Starwood hotels and resorts
  • Enhanced room at check-in
  • Welcome gift (choice of free internet, 250 bonus Starpoints or 125 points at Aloft, Four Point, or Element hotels, or a free beverage at the restaurant or bar up to $15 or 15 Euro)
  • 4:00 pm late checkout

But JM gets 2 stays or 5 nights credit towards Starwood hotel elite status by having the Starwood card or 4 stays or 10 nights credit towards elite status if he has both the business and personal cards.

So he’d have to get only 6 more stays or 15 nights to get Starwood Gold elite status.

In general, you have to book your hotel room through the Starwood website to get the benefits of your elite status.  So chasing elite status may not make sense if you don’t stay in hotels much or can get rooms much cheaper elsewhere (Priceline’s name your own price etc.)

Read my series on the Starwood program to learn lots more on how to earn and use Starwood points!

Bottom Line

JM gets 5 nights or 2 stays towards Starwood Hotels elite status by having the Starwood credit card.

But the 5 nights count towards reaching elite status and are NOT free nights, though I wish they were!

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15 responses to “Reader Question: Do I Get 5 Free Nights With the Starwood Card?

  1. great explanation-Thank you!

  2. so did I read that right,I I book a starwood hotel thru a discount site (they have my SPG #) does it count toward any sort of stay? I plan to pay for the hotel when I get there using the SPG card

  3. Super fab explanation! Thanks!!! Ps, just booked our biz class RTW trip next year using sky miles! Thanks to your bonus miles tips via AMEX.

  4. I received both the personal and Business AMEX SPG CC in August. How much time do I have to get my gold or platinum status. Actually I am a Platinum right now, but I have not been staying at SPG to get enough nights to maintain it. I got it using the SPG challenge.

  5. Is it possible to transfer Chase UR miles to SPG, then transfer them to an airline? Would that get the 5k bonus for 20k transferred? Thanks!

  6. @JM, if you book through a discount site, it usually doesn’t count towards elite stay credit. If you want to be sure you get elite stay credit, you should book through Starwood.

  7. BB: Chase UR points do not transfer to SPG. Chase hotel partners are Marriott, Hyatt, and Priority Club.

  8. This is interesting. Haven’t thought too much of that, but I can see how folks who are new to miles and points can be confused by the language of “free night” credits to elite status.

  9. Last time I applied for the Starwood card through the hot deals tab, I received 25,000 Starwood points and was able to sell them to rewards2cash for $362.50

    The company has positive reviews on yelp, facebook and slickdeals.

    • @JM – You’re welcome! If you book a Starwood hotel stay through a hotel discount site, it doesn’t count towards the elite status requirements.

      @TS – Sounds like an awesome trip!

      @Tom Young – You get the stay and night credits each year you have the card. I believe that you have to earn the SPG status by December 31 each year.

      @BB – Unfortunately that’s not possible. You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards to Hyatt, IHG & Marriott, but not to Starwood hotels.

  10. So is it valuable to me at all to use my new SPG card to pay for balance at the hotel? it is def. a discounted rate/site I used… 😉

  11. I wanted to share my experience…..still new to SPG, but learning…. we stayed ,booked thru a discount site, and paid the balance of our room using the SPG card,I don’t have any sort of status yet, but I was alloted 3x points on the cc…is this the norm?

  12. I am new to SPG card, can you please tell me what is the best offer that every happened to SPG card promo in history? was it the bonus 30k points for each personal and business SPG card?

    If so, is there any chance that the 30k bonus offer might come up again, and when it does, can I apply both personal and business card at the same time? or do I have to do it on different day? Thanks in advance, I really love your blog and when you post the promo link of SPG card in near future I would love to use your referral link!