Gold Elite status in the Marriott Rewards program usually comes in return for spending at least 50 nights a year at hotels like Marriott, JW Marriott, The Ritz-Carlton and Autograph Collection – but thanks to a crafty partnership between Marriott, Starwood and MasterCard, there’s a way to get the Gold after just one hotel night!
It works like this: World MasterCard customers in Australia can earn Gold status in the separate Starwood Preferred Guest program after just one hotel stay in the Asia Pacific region, simply by registering for a promotion and paying for their stay using their World MasterCard.
Then, Marriott provides Starwood Preferred Guest Gold cardholders with an instant status match to Marriott Rewards Gold Elite after the member links their Starwood and Marriott loyalty accounts together – a new feature made available following the recent merger between Marriott and Starwood.
The result? That one Starwood hotel stay gets you both SPG Gold and Marriott Rewards Gold Elite for a whole year: the latter offering perks such as free room upgrades, daily breakfast, Executive Lounge access and more at hotels brands like Marriott, JW Marriott and Autograph Collection.
It sounds complex, but it’s easily done if you follow these steps carefully.
Step 1: Register for MasterCard’s SPG Gold fast-track offer
Firstly, you’ll need a World MasterCard in your wallet, such as you’d get with a Westpac Altitude Black, Commonwealth Bank Diamond Awards, Emirates Citibank, Bankwest World or HSBC Premier credit card account.
Platinum, Gold and basic MasterCards don’t make the cut for this fast-track offer: only a top-tier World MasterCard will do.
Have your card ready, head to the promotion page on Starwood’s website and click ‘register now’. You’ll be asked to either log in to your SPG profile or create a new SPG account, and then to enter the details of your World MasterCard for verification.
No charge will be billed to your card, although a small ‘authorisation’ of 1 Malaysian Ringgit (A$0.31) may temporarily appear: much as when you check-in to a hotel and hand over your credit card. This usually disappears within a few days.
Step 2: Stay once with a participating Starwood hotel
Now that you’re registered for the SPG Gold fast-track, book and stay at a participating Starwood hotel in the Asia Pacific region – not a Marriott hotel – by July 14 2017, and pay for the entire cost of your stay, including any extra charges like room service, using the World MasterCard you registered in Step 1.
Not every Starwood hotel is part of this promotion, although Westin Sydney, Westin Melbourne, Sheraton Melbourne, Four Points by Sheraton Brisbane and Four Points by Sheraton Perth are among those participating in Australia.
(You’ll find the full list of participating hotels on the Starwood website, grouped by brand. Just use your browser to search the page for the name of the city you're travelling to, such as Singapore.)
Within four weeks of checking-out, your SPG status will be upgraded to Gold: at which point you’ll be ready to link your Starwood and Marriott accounts together to receive instant Marriott Gold Elite status.
Step 3: Link your Starwood Preferred Guest, Marriott Rewards accounts
As soon as your Starwood account shows your status as ‘Gold Preferred Guest’, head to this page on the Starwood website and login to your SPG account if you’re not logged in already.
Then, simply enter the details of your existing Marriott Rewards account, or create a new Marriott Rewards profile if you’re not already a member.
After a few seconds, your accounts will be linked, and the SPG Gold status you earned through this nifty credit card trick will see your Marriott Rewards status boosted instantly to Gold Elite!
You can begin enjoying your benefits right away – just quote your Marriott Rewards membership number when staying at a participating hotel and you'll be treated like a regular from your very first visit:
That’s all there is to it: that single Starwood hotel stay returns not just Preferred Guest Gold status with Starwood, but also Gold Elite status with Marriott!
(Again, because this piggybacks off a Starwood promotion, you first need to earn SPG Gold by staying at a Starwood hotel (not a Marriott hotel) as above, which you can then match to Marriott Rewards Gold Elite ahead of your first Marriott stay.)
You don’t lose one card to gain the other, either, giving you top-notch benefits at Marriott plus an even broader range of hotels like Westin and St. Regis via Starwood: so keep both of your membership numbers handy to maximise your hotel perks over the coming year.