Fast-track to SPG Gold status with these five credit cards

Fast-track to SPG Gold status with these five credit cards

Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status usually comes as your reward for spending 25 nights or making 10 stays each year at hotels like Westin, St. Regis, Sheraton and W, but there’s a sneaky way to fast-track to Gold after spending just one night at a Starwood hotel.

That’s thanks to a nifty partnership between SPG and MasterCard where MasterCard World and World Elite cardholders can stay at any Starwood hotel in the Asia Pacific region (including Australia), pay for the stay using their eligible MasterCard and get one year of SPG Gold in return.

SPG Gold unlocks a number of useful benefits when staying at Starwood's worldwide network of hotels including a welcome gift of your choosing, room upgrades where available, a late check-out, bonus Starpoints and more.

Best of all, MasterCard World credit cards come in a variety of frequent flyer flavours in Australia, so whether you’re chasing Qantas, Virgin Australia or even Emirates frequent flyer points in the air, SPG Gold can still be yours on the ground.

Register for this promotion before staying: SPG fast-track offer

Commonwealth Bank Diamond Awards

Diamond Awards, CBA’s flagship personal credit card, offers both an American Express and a World MasterCard on the one account for a single $349 annual fee to maximise your points where AMEX is welcome and your overall card acceptance in the companion MasterCard where it’s not.

Along with your SPG perks you’ll also collect the equivalent of 1.5 Virgin Australia Velocity points per dollar spent on the AMEX via the Commonwealth Awards scheme and 0.625 Velocity points per dollar on the World MasterCard, with points converted to Velocity at your leisure.

Qantas frequent flyer points can also be earned at the same rates for an extra $30/year, with the points being automatically shipped over to your Qantas Frequent Flyer account every month.

CBA’s offshoot BankWest also counts a World MasterCard among its ranks, but which comes only by invitation to existing customers and can’t be applied for outright.

Diners Club + World MasterCard

In a similar fashion to CommBank, Diners Club cardholders can also pair their Diners card with a World MasterCard on the same account, giving them these SPG benefits along with access to a much a larger network of merchants at which they can spend.

For Qantas Points you’ll pay a $260 annual fee covering both cards, returning 1.5 Qantas Points per dollar spent on the Diners Club card (1.25/$1 after charging >$60,000/year) and 1 Qantas Point per $1 on the World MasterCard (0.75/$1 in excess of $60,000/year), plus a bonus Qantas Point per dollar when paying for Qantas flights and Qantas Club membership.

Or, opt for the regular Diners Club card combo to earn points with Virgin Australia plus many other airlines at a cost of $389/year, picking up the equivalent of 1.5 Velocity points per dollar spent on the Diners card and 0.625/$1 on the World MasterCard via Diners Club Rewards with no spend tiering.

Emirates Citi World MasterCard

Australia’s only direct-earning card for Emirates Skywards miles is another with the sought-after World MasterCard branding, slipping into your wallet for $149 in the first year and $299 thereafter and earning up to 1.5 Skywards miles per dollar spent, depending on where you transact.

Everyday purchases within Australia earn 1 Skywards mile per dollar on the first $3,000 every month and 0.5 Skywards miles on spends between $3,001 and $10,000 – but no points for anything further – while all overseas transactions accrue 1.25 Skywards miles per dollar with no points cap.

You can also pick up 1.5 Skywards miles per dollar spent with Emirates on the airline’s website for bookings commencing in Australia and billed in Australian dollars.

HSBC Premier World MasterCard

Look to HSBC’s Premier World MasterCard to earn frequent flyer points, and also to jump to SPG Gold status, but without paying an annual fee.

Cardholders earn 1.25 HSBC Rewards Points per dollar spent at home and abroad, uncapped, and when transferred to Virgin Australia Velocity on a 2:1 basis nets the equivalent of 0.625 Velocity points per dollar spent.

There’s also the option of a Qantas Rewards opt-in for $99/year churning out one Qantas Point per dollar spent: also uncapped but with points automatically credited to your frequent flyer account every month.

Westpac Altitude Black

Finishing out the top five is Westpac’s Altitude Black duo with an American Express card paired against a World MasterCard for the familiar benefit of maximum points and acceptance: plus, of course, easy Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status.

Cardholders can accrue the equivalent of 1.5 Velocity points per dollar spent on the AMEX and 0.625 Velocity points on the MasterCard via Altitude Rewards, or can switch their rewards option to 'Altitude Qantas' for the same earning rates with the Red Roo.

As with all of the companion card offers, just be sure your eligible Starwood hotel status is paid for using the World MasterCard, rather than the American Express card, even if it means earning fewer points as a one-off exception.

Plus one more: AMEX Platinum Charge Card

Not being a World MasterCard, American Express has its own deal for Platinum Charge Card customers with a direct boost to SPG Gold status before even stepping foot in a Starwood hotel.

That of course comes at a price with the card bearing a hefty $1,200/year annual fee, but is just one of the many perks enjoyed by cardholders – along with points on your spends, of course.

You can earn 3 Membership Rewards points per $1 at most restaurants in Australia; two MR points with airlines, hotels and when abroad; 0.5 MR points with utilities, insurance companies and government bodies and 1 MR point per $1 everywhere else.

Membership Rewards points can also be converted into Qantas and Virgin Australia frequent flyer points on a 1:1 basis and to other airline and hotel programs at varying rates.

Also read: Starwood, MasterCard extend free SPG Gold status offer

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT

 

10 Comments

  • Darthflyer

    Darthflyer

    17 Feb, 2016 08:59 am

    The Bankwest World Mastercard can be applied for after holding a BW CC for 6 months & holding a credit limit of at least $12,000 (in my experience)

    No member give thanks

  • Michael Kao

    Michael Kao

    17 Feb, 2016 11:25 am

    Hi Chris:

    What is the exact process to get the SPG gold? Do you need to book through MasterCard's concierge and go through some registration process? Or simply book one night with SPG directly using the above mentioned MasterCard and boom! You are automatically SPG gold and the shinny gold card will just appear in your mailbox?

    I've been looking for an answer on this one, unfortunately the credit card's agent doesn't know much about it. 

    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    Chris Chamberlin

    17 Feb, 2016 01:08 pm

    Hi Michael, the full step-by-step process is covered in the linked article at the bottom of this piece.

    Starwood, MasterCard extend free SPG Gold status offer

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  • Rigs

    Rigs

    17 Feb, 2016 01:38 pm

    I generally don't like SPG's purple color scheme but the membership card is well designed.

    No member give thanks

  • markpk

    markpk

    18 Feb, 2016 08:30 am

    Chris, 

    Any plans to write about the Marriott/Starwood merger? 

    mark

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  • David Flynn

    David Flynn

    18 Feb, 2016 11:14 am

    Mark: we wrote that up when news broke on November 16 last year (Marriott buys Starwood in A$17 billion mega-merger), and we'll wrote more when there is significant news to report.

    No member give thanks

  • michael hillier

    michael hillier

    19 Feb, 2016 05:52 pm

    Called HSBC.....they didnt even have a clue what i was talking about.

    Hard to sign up for a promo when the bank has no idea!

    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    Chris Chamberlin

    19 Feb, 2016 06:00 pm

    Did you call the normal HSBC staff or the Premier concierge team? Usually it's the concierge team who can generate the promo code.

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  • michael hillier

    michael hillier

    19 Feb, 2016 06:19 pm

    Premier. Didnt have a clue what i was talking about. 

    Sent an email off to my relationship manager now 

    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    Chris Chamberlin

    19 Feb, 2016 06:47 pm

    That's unfortunate – if your relationship manager can't get things sorted for you, do let us know and we'll get in touch with HSBC and MasterCard to see if HSBC customers need to take a different approach to register for the promotion than those of the other banks.

    No member give thanks

Guest

8 Dec, 2016 01:25 am

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