Countdown to SPG Platinum: 10 Stays to Go!


We invite you to help us express our loyalty to the Starwood Preferred Guest program by following us on our journey towards SPG Platinum status.  If you are not familiar with the Starwood Preferred Guest program, give us a chance to fill you in on how much we love the Starwood hotel chain and how we plan the majority of our trips around “getting a stay” at as many Starwood properties as we can find.

Staying loyal to a hotel chain is a wise choice if you travel frequently.  Almost all hotels offer some kind of loyalty program, but it can seem almost impossible to gain the ultimate rewards from these programs if you try to belong to them all.   By choosing one hotel group to remain faithful to, you can be assured the hotel will thank you for your devotion each and every time you check-in, whether it be through points, upgrades, free amenities, or a complimentary late check-out.

So why did we become Starwood Preferred Guests?  While we’ve always been suckers for a swanky stay at a W, or a good nap in a fluffy, white Westin Heavenly Bed, it was the American Express Platinum card that sealed the deal when it comes to our Starwood devotion.  American Express Platinum card members are automatically granted Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status, a benefit usually reserved for those who complete 10 eligible stays or 25 eligible nights in a calendar year.  The first year we were Starwood Preferred Guests, we did absolutely nothing, other than possess an American Express Platinum card, to earn our status.  Yet, after a year of being “golden”, we couldn’t help but fall in love and now we make sure to earn our 10 eligible stays as soon as possible each and every calendar year.

SPG Gold membership gives you all of the benefits of being a Preferred member, but with the added bonus of earning three Starpoints for every dollar spent, a room upgrade at check-in, complimentary 4pm check-out, and your choice of a welcome gift upon arrival (SPG points or a beverage).  You can even link your Uber account to your Starwood account and earn points while you Uber around town; earn double if you Uber while you stay.

With all of these golden opportunities awaiting us at every check-in, you can bet that we don’t stay anywhere but Starwood.  But towards the end of every year, we get this sparkle in our eye for something more: Platinum status.  This elite status is only earned after 25 eligible stays or 50 eligible nights in a calendar year.

We’re only 10 stays away.

We’ve always come so close and this year we’re not going to let it pass us by.  We’re counting down to Platinum, and we’re inviting you along for the ride.

We’ll do the traveling and feature each Starwood hotel we stay at from now until December 31st.  We’ll give you all the details on the hotel’s location, as well as our take on what to do and where to eat (just in case you want to become Starwood Preferred Guests too).  So cheer us on as we count down to Platinum.


Westin New York Grand Central

212 East 42nd Street, New York, New York 10017

Our most recent stay features The Westin New York Grand Central.  We enjoy this Midtown Manhattan hotel for its convenient location to Grand Central Station, our favorite Mexican restaurant El Rio Grande, and the easy walk to the legendary New York bagel shop Ess-a-Bagel.  On this particular stay, our SPG Gold status got us an upgrade to a corner room with a stellar view of both the Empire State Building and the Verrazano Bridge in the distance.


We believe the best way to enjoy New York City is to walk around.  On fall mornings, we like to get up early, bundle up if it’s cold, grab a bagel and coffee at Ess-a-Bagel, and take a walk to Central Park.  Be advised, you’re probably going to have to wait in line for the bagel, but it’s worth it.  Find a sunny spot to sit and eat and bask in what we think is the most magical place in all of New York City.  Central Park is gorgeous, especially when the leaves are changing and the air is crisp.


Looking for some literary inspiration?  Take a trip to the Morgan Library to check out the Hemingway exhibit, Between Two Wars.  Here you can see some of Hemingway’s original drafts of some of his earliest novels and short stories, as well as view correspondence between Hemingway and some of his famous literary friends.  This exhibition runs until January 31, 2016 and it is definitely a must-see for any Hemingway fan.

Craving a bite to eat?  While there are an endless amount of restaurants to choose from in NYC, there is one that keeps us coming back for more every time we visit.  El Rio Grande is a Mexican restaurant on 38th and 3rd.  Not only is the food delicious (guacamole made table-side, steak nachos, homemade tortillas), the food and drink prices are extremely reasonable.


Are you as crazy for rooftops as we are?  Make your way past the Flatiron building to Eataly and take the elevator up to Birreria for a warm and cozy place to dine outside.  Enjoy a platter of salumi or a selection of cheeses while enjoying a glass of wine.

Want something a little more fancy?  Uber your way over to the Village for an elegant meal at Lupa, Mario Batali’s Roman masterpiece in New York City.  Get there early for a seat at the bar or make a reservation; Lupa is tiny and crowded.  Don’t miss a good meal here because you didn’t plan ahead.

Love black and white photography like we do?  Catch the Matt Black Photography Exhibition at Anastasia Photo until October 31st.  Matt Black is a California photographer who has captured the harsh realities of poverty through vivid and captivating images.  His work is stunning and will grab your attention from the minute you walk in the door.

So where will we stay next?  I wish we could say, “We’ll just spin the globe and hope there’s a Starwood wherever we land,” but our jobs keep us from being that unpredictable.

Starwood Preferred Guest Platinum status is within reach, and we’re on our way!

Stay tuned!





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