What Are The Benefits of SPG Gold Status?

SPG Gold status offers some decent benefits that can enhance your travel when you choose to stay at a Starwood Preferred Guest property. Here’s a rundown of some the benefits you can expect to enjoy when you obtain SPG Gold status. 

How to earn Gold status

You can earn Gold status in a few ways: 

  • Complete 10 eligible stays or 25 eligible nights in a calendar year.
  • Get approved for a Platinum Card from American Express and automatically receive SPG Gold status 
  • Spend $30,000 or more on the SPG credit card from American Express 

5th night free

Not exclusive to Gold status but worth mentioning. When you redeem Starpoints for five free night Awards, SPG will cover the fifth night. This is available for any of their Category 3-7 hotels. 

Bonus earning rate

  • Earn three Starpoints for every U.S. dollar spent on eligible stays — a 50% bonus over Preferred.

This is a nice way to rack up valuable SPG points when paying for stays. Don’t be turned off by what might look like a low earning base-rate at only 3 points to the dollar. While Hilton HHonors Gold members earn 12.5 (including the 25% bonus rate), the value (as calculated by many people) of those points still will usually come out to a little less than what the SPG points are worth. For example, if you value SPG points at 2 cents per point and HHonors points at .4 cent per point, you’re still getting a full cent more worth of value with each dollar spent with SPG.  

Late check out

  • 4 PM late checkout, subject to availability.

4 PM late checkout can make your trip to the airport much less stressful by giving you plenty of time to relax in your room before having to pack. This benefit is guaranteed at all hotels, except at resort, conference center, and convention hotels, where it is based upon availability.


  • An upgrade to an “enhanced room” at check-in — corner room, higher floor, or better view.

Gold members receive upgrades to “enhanced rooms,” subject to availability for the entire length of stay at time of check-in. Enhanced rooms are rooms on higher floors, corner rooms, newly renovated rooms and rooms with preferred views. While enhanced rooms do not include suites (that’s a platinum benefit), it is possible to be upgraded to suite level rooms with Gold status.

Upgrades seem to be a little sporadic for Gold members but some members have had luck with calling ahead and notifying the hotel that they would be interested in an upgrade if one becomes available.

Welcome Gift

  • Your choice of welcome gift upon arrival – choose from bonus Starpoints, complimentary premium in-room internet or a beverage on us.

The major difference between this benefit and what you get with Platinum status is that the latter offers you the option to take a complimentary breakfast. The lack of a complimentary breakfast would be the one knock against SPG Gold status, as other hotels, such as Hilton HHonors, provide this benefit for mid-tier status.

Complimentary premium internet access

  • Complimentary in-room, premium Internet access when you book on SPG digital channels. (Preferred level does not get premium internet.) This is in addition to your welcome gift.

When a reservation is booked at any SPG-participating hotel through Starwood-branded websites (e.g., spg.com, Sheraton.com, Westin.com) or through the SPG app, all SPG members receive complimentary in-room Internet access. That means that you can get your complimentary internet and still request a free cocktail or bonus points as your welcome gift. However, if you made your booking through a website like Expedia.com, you would not receive complimentary internet in addition to your gift.

Promo offers

While this isn’t officially discussed in the benefits on the SPG website, SPG has been known to send out special promotions to members with Gold or Platinum status and offer special discounts, such as 25% off redemptions.

Delta Crossover Rewards

  • Register to earn one Starpoint per dollar spent with Delta Crossover Rewards on eligible Delta flights. Also, if you are registered for Crossover Rewards and are a Delta Medallion member, in addition to earning Starpoints for Stays at SPG Participating Hotels, you will earn one Delta mile for every one U.S. dollar or its foreign equivalent spent on eligible SPG stays.

Uber benefits

  • Register and earn with Uber. Earn 1 Starpoint per 2 U.S. dollars spent with Uber every day, and 2 Starpoints per U.S. dollar spent with Uber during your stays with SPG.

With Uber now so popular and in so many different locations, it should be easy to rack up SPG points as you explore your destination. You’ll need to have one qualifying stay with SPG before you’re eligible to start earning points, however.

Other benefits 

  • Register to earn one Starpoint per dollar on eligible Emirates® flights.
  • Earn one Starpoint for every US$2 in eligible revenue when you book a group for any occasion, business or pleasure.
  • Go Gold — for life. Achieve 250 eligible nights total and five years of elite status, and you’ll earn SPG® Lifetime™ Gold status.

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How To Transfer SPG Points Without Waiting 30 Days

Brad recently tried to transfer a few thousand SPG points to my account but we got hung up in the process because we realized our addresses didn’t match. This is a big problem when transferring SPG points because there is a 30 day waiting period when changing your address! Luckily, we were able to get around this requirement and here’s how we did it.

Starwood Preferred Guests transfer policy

Their official terms state that:

SPG Members Who Reside at Same Address. In Starwood’s sole discretion, an SPG Member may be permitted to transfer Starpoints in 1000 point increments only from one SPG Member account to another SPG Member account under specific conditions. Generally, Starpoints may transfer if both SPG Members are active, consent to the transfer, and share the same residential mailing address that is not a P.O. Box, APO or SPO address for a minimum of 30 days prior to requesting the transfer.

I think one of the first things to keep in mind is that Starwood is reserving discretion to permit these transfers. Discretion can always work against you but also can work in your favor. In our case, the discretion definitely worked in our favor and allowed us to circumvent the 30 day requirement.
So the terms state that the addresses need to have been the same for a minimum of 30 days before requesting the transfer. As mentioned, when Brad tried to transfer SPG points to me recently, I didn’t realize that I still had my old address on my account and so I had to speak to a representative to confirm a change of address. The representative wasn’t sure if the transfer would work or not but told me that I would be finding out in a few days either way.

Our attempt to transfer

Unfortunately, after about 6 days we got an email telling us that the transfer would not be able to go through due to the recent address change. It stated specifically:

Dear Mr. Darnell,

Thank you for your Starpoint transfer request.

Regrettably, due to an address change within 30 days of the request on [my] account, I was unable to process the transfer at this time.

To complete your request, please provide us with a current document such as utility bill, driver license or household bill, showing [my name] and residential address, within 10 business days.

If you are unable to send documentation, you will be required to wait a minimum of thirty days before entering a new transfer request on your SPG account. Be sure to include your SPG number and reference number when replying to us. Our fax number is 1-519-633-3658 or you may email us at internaltransfers@starwoodhotels.com.

We appreciate your participation in the SPG program. 

Best Regards,


SPG Program Services – Internal Transfers Specialist

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

We sent in a photo taken from my iPhone of my ID and within an hour the points had been transferred into my account and we made our booking!
Thus, we were able to get around the 30 day requirement by simply sending in address verification. If you have a pressing need to get points over to someone and you just realized that your addresses don’t match, I highly recommend sending in documents to expedite the process and save you a few weeks of waiting time!

Should You Apply for The Hilton Surpass for 100K HHonors Points?

[Offers contained within this article may no longer be available]

American Express is once again offering its best offer for the Hilton HHonors Surpass Card. You can get 100,000 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 in purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership. This sounds like a whole lot of points but if you’re familiar with the value of HHonors points, you may still question if it’s worth it to jump on this offer. Here are some things to consider. 

Annual fee 

The annual fee for the Hilton HHonorsTMSurpass® Card is $75 and is not waived the first year. This is a pretty reasonable annual fee and considering the value of the sign-up bonus, I think it’s worth it. If you ever didn’t want to pay the annual fee down the line you could always inquire about downgrading it to the no annual fee version later (although some people have had issues with getting the downgrade in the past). 

100,000 Hilton HHonors sign-up bonus

Many people value Hilton HHonors points at around .5 cent per point. In my experience, this valuation is more or less accurate, which means that you would value the sign-up bonus at around $500. However, I know of others who have found better redemptions closer to 1 cent per point, so this bonus could definitely be more valuable than $500. 

Below is a chart of the different hotel categories and their redemption rates. When I try  to book rooms in major cities like San Francisco or Chicago, I usually am required to spend close to 50,000 points for a nice Hilton property. However, you can definitely make the points stretch further if you are flexible with your planning and find some sweet spots at different locations.

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Hilton HHonors Reward Chart

For more on redemptions, check out the following article from one of my favorite blogs, Travel is Free, to get a sense of the locations of different Hilton hotels around the world and their corresponding categories. (Click the box on the left of the map to toggle which categories you’d like to view.)

After checking out that map also check out another Travel is Free article that gives the low-down on the best use of Hilton HHonors bonus points. That article lists a number of different Hilton hotels in different categories all around the world. It shows you that you can get great great value out of the lower categories and easily be able to spend a couple of weeks in Hilton hotels with the amount of points earned from these cards.

Also, if you take advantage of the 5th night free benefit (given to Hilton HHonors Silver, Gold, and Diamond Members), you can get more value out of your points. (More on that below.) 

Bonus categories 

The Hilton HHonorsTMSurpass® Card earns bonus points for purchases other than just purchases on Hilton properties. It earns the following rates: 

  • Earn 12 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a participating hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio.
  • Earn 6 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card:
    • at U.S. restaurants
    • at U.S supermarkets
    • at U.S. gas stations
  • Earn 3 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.

These are great earning rates for Hilton HHonors points and compared to other Hilton cards offered by American Express and Citi, this is your best bet for earning Hilton HHonors points. 

Hilton Gold Status

The Hilton HHonorsTMSurpass® Card offers you HHonors Gold Status. Gold status is a pretty decent benefit — you can read more about the benefits of Gold Status here but the benefits most related to this card are the following:

  • 5th night free
  • Complimentary breakfasts
  • Potential for upgrades

The 5th night free benefit is a great way to maximize the value of your sign-up bonus. So long as you book 5 nights consecutively, you’re given that 5th night for free. Thus, you can often increase the value of your points by taking advantage of this benefit.

Also, once you have Gold Status, you can always look into status matches with different hotels and try to gain status with other hotel chains or you can inquire about status challenges to earn Hilton Diamond Status

Priority PassTM Select

The Surpass offers you a Priority Pass membership that grants you access to over 700 airport lounges around the world. However, this is the membership that is valued at $99, which means that all lounge visits are subject to a fee of U.S. $27 per person per visit. If you really are attracted to lounge access, you should consider other cards like the Platinum Card from American Express or the Citi Prestige to take advantage of that benefit. 

Final Word 

This offer is a good deal if you plan on having stays at Hilton properties in the near future, especially if you can stretch the value of your points by getting the 5th night free. Personally, I’d look into applying for an additional Hilton card, perhaps one from Citi, so that I could potentially come out with 150,000+ Hilton HHonors points and quickly accumulate a pretty decent stash of their points. However, even if you only go with the Surpass and come out with 100,000 Hilton HHonors points, I still think it’s a deal worth jumping on for a lot of travelers.  

How to Get Hilton Diamond Status with A One Night Stay

Right now, it’s very easy to obtain Hilton HHonors Diamond status. In fact, if you follow two easy steps you could have Hilton HHonors Diamond status within a couple of weeks.

The first step

The first step is is to apply for the IHG® Rewards Club Select credit card. This card comes with a low annual fee of $49 (waived the first year) and offers some great benefits like a free anniversary night. The benefit that we’re concerned with right is the IHG Platinum status that you’re given with this card. Just for being approved for this card you’ll be given Platinum status, which is the first step of this process.

The second step

Once you have IHG Platinum status, it’s time for the second step. all you have left to do is book and pay for one night at any IHG property. With proof of one stay, you can then apply for the status match with Hilton HHonors. As soon as you’ve completed your stay (as in, the very next day), you’re ready to apply for the status match.
To apply, you’ll need to click here to apply for a status match. You’ll upload evidence of your status with IHG (we used a screenshot of our rewards card) and then show proof of your stay (make sure to redact any personal information like credit numbers, address, or anything other bit of personal information that might be visible).
Then you submit your application and you should hear back from Hilton fairly quickly. We heard back in less that 24 hours and received verification that Brad was Diamond. However, sometimes I think Hilton get’s hit with a lot of apps at once so give them some time to respond. If you don’t hear anything back after a week, I’d inquire with them via telephone or chat. They appear to be pretty responsive so don’t get discouraged if you don’t hear anything at first.
What’s really great about this match is that they are granting many people like Brad Diamond status until March 2018. You might not get lucky as some reports on FT suggest that they are only getting status granted until March 2017 but either way, it’s still a quick and easy way to earn this benefit.
If you’re not familiar with the benefits of being a Hilton Diamond member be sure to check out my article here. In addition to those benefits, one of the other bonuses of obtaining Diamond is that you might have luck with getting matched at other hotel programs, such as Hyatt.
I’m gearing up for hotel status match requests and will report on my success or failures in the near-future.

Hilton HHonors Citi and Amex Credit Card Offers

[Offers contained within this article may no longer be available]

Right now, there’s a great opportunity to earn over 150,000 Hilton HHonors points for just spending $3,000 in 3 months after being approved for two credit cards. And what is even better is that both of these cards do not have any annual fees! This article will look at the two cards and how much value they can offer you.

The Hilton HHonorsTM Credit Card from American Express

  • No Annual Fee
  • Earn 70,000 Hilton HHonorsBonus Points after you spend $1,000 on purchases on your card in your first 3 months.
  • Silver HHonors status and get HHonors Gold status when you spend $20,000 on eligible purchases on your card in a calendar year.

This card also offers bonus category earning in the following ways:

  • Earn 7X Hilton HHonors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a participating hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio.
  • Earn 5X Hilton HHonors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card: at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and at U.S. gas stations
  • Earn 3X Hilton HHonors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card

This offer for the  Hilton HHonorsTM Credit Card from American Express is to my knowledge the highest bonus ever offered by American Express for this card. If you’re interested in the card, make sure you go through the link above because the standard public offer is only 40K. What is really great about this offer is that it only requires a minimum spend of $1,000 so that really gives you a break in terms of energy and time required for meeting the minimum spend requirement.

The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 75,000 HHonors bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months.
  • Silver HHonors status and fast track to HHonors Gold status after four stays within your first 90 days of account opening or when you make $20,000 or more in purchases each calendar year
  • Earn an annual loyalty bonus of 10,000 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points at the end of each calendar year in which you spend $1,000 or more on stays within the Hilton Portfolio

This card also offers bonus category earning in the following ways:

  • Earn 6 HHonors bonus points for every dollar spent within the Hilton Portfolio
  • Earn 3 HHonors bonus points for every $1 spent at supermarkets, drugstores andgas stations
  • Earn 2 HHonors bonus points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card is a solid option for building up an HHonors balance and only requires  a minimum spend of $2,000, so if you got both cards you’d be done with the minimum spend at $3,000. Like the Amex version, the 75K bonus is the best that this card offers.


If you get both of these cards then you will end up with 152,000 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points after you meet the minimum spends on both cards!

Silver Status


Both of these cards offer you Hilton HHonor silver status. Personally, this didn’t factor too much into my decision to get these cards as I already had Gold Status through the American Express Platinum. However, silver status is still nice and offers you the following benefits:

  • Automatically receive a 15% bonus on all the HHonors Base Points you earn.
  • Guaranteed Discount: A discounted, changeable & refundable rate is exclusively available for Hilton HHonors members
  • Silver, Gold and Diamond elite members will receive every 5th night free on Standard Room Reward stays of 5 nights or more.
  • Complimentary internet
  • Quick reservations and check-ins
  • Late Check-out
  • Complimentary access to fitness centers and health clubs
  • Two complimentary bottles of water per stay at certain Hilton properties.

How much value can you get from these points?

Hilton HHonors bonus points are a bit inflated so unfortunately you’re not likely to get the same value per point as you would with pretty much any other hotel currency. However, 152,000 points is still a lot of points and they can be stretched for some serious value if you redeem them the right way.

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The chart taken from the Hilton website shows that 152,000 could get you 30 nights at a category 1 hotel (not factoring in any 5th night free benefits). Of course you could also splurge all your points on a couple of nights at a high-end luxury hotel. Personally, I’d probably stay around the 20,000 to 40,000/night range to get the most value out of these cards and snag at least 5 to 6 free nights in a decent hotel.

Check out the following article from Travel is Free to get a sense of the locations of different Hilton hotels around the world and their corresponding categories. (Click the box on the left of the map to toggle which categories you’d like to view.)

After checking out that map also check out another Travel is Free article that gives the low-down on the best use of Hilton HHonors bonus points. That article lists a number of different Hilton hotels in different categories all around the world. It shows you that you can get great great value out of the lower categories and easily be able to spend a couple of weeks in Hilton hotels with the amount of points earned from these cards.

Getting more Hilton HHonors bonus points

One of the great things about Hilton HHonors is that you can rack up the points for this program from a bunch of different cards. There is the Hilton HHonorsTM Surpass® Card
from American Express currently offering 60K bonus points and the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card, which you can earn two free nights to use at almost any Hilton property (here are the exclusions). And don’t forget about the  Virgin Atlantic World Elite MasterCard® Credit Card, which can transfer miles at a 2:3 ratio to Hilton HHonors and bump your points up quickly (you can earn 37,500 HHonors Bonus Points just by making a single purchase). And lastly, Hilton HHonors is a transfer partner of both Citi Thankyou Points and American Express Membership Rewards.

These two sign-up offers from Citi and Amex are definitely worth considering. While Hilton HHonors Bonus Points aren’t as valuable per point as other hotels, there are numerous ways to quickly accumulate them and some great redemptions out there for you to find. If you want a jump start on your HHonors points, then you might want to apply for these two cards before the promotions end.

Review of The Oxford Hotel in Oxford, England

Location: B

Here’s the thing, if you’re wanting to be within walking distance of City Centre in Oxford this is not the hotel for you. It will take about 10 minutes to drive into the City Centre from the hotel depending on the traffic. The Oxford Hotel is very close to one of the park and ride busses, however. And if it’s your first time coming to Oxford, I highly recommend the park and ride because parking is ridiculous to find in the city! One good thing about the hotel is that parking is free and there were plenty of open spaces for all of the cars while we were there.

Oxford City Centre

Tip: Use WalletFlo for all your credit card needs. It’s free and will help you optimize your rewards and savings!

Service: A+

The front desk was excellent and we were treated very well. Also, at the bar and restaurant the staff was very courteous as well. Some of the servers seemed to not have a very good grasp on English but it wasn’t anything that couldn’t be overcome with a little bit of gesturing.

Some of the rooms require navigating an unusual number of turning hallways to get to your room.

Cleanliness: A-

The room, bathroom, sheets, etc. were clean but not in great condition. There were some small but noticeable cracks  along the counter where the sink connected and so while the room was clean, it didn’t feel quite as pristine because of that condition. Other than that everything was just fine.

Rooms: A-

The double room was a bit small but for UK standards it was definitely acceptable. There was no refrigerator or microwave in the room which was a bit of a bummer but there was a desk and a small tv in there. The window shades did a great job of blacking out the sun, which was nice and there was also a heater which came in handy. The bed was a bit firm but still pretty comfortable and as stated the sheets and blankets were clean.


Internet: C

The free internet was very slow and there was pretty much no point in even attempting to use it because I couldn’t get anything done on it. We luckily were upgraded to the faster internet for free but even that internet connection was pretty bad. So if you’re in need of a good wifi connection, make sure you upgrade and hopefully your connection will be a little better than ours was.


Bang for buck: A-

2 nights: $280

Overall, the room didn’t blow me away but for the price it was a good deal. I enjoyed the drinks at the bar and the food at the cafe wasn’t bad either. My only real complaint would be the internet speed – hopefully that was just a one time thing. Other than that, I can’t complain too much and for about $140/night I think we got pretty good worth for the money we spent.

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