I’ve been a Starwood platinum member since 2008 and LOVE the program. The service at SPG properties is generally good. In 2 years I can only think of 1 or 2 places that i would never stay at again.
The perks that come with being SPG platinum include free upgrades to the best available room. Which has been well worth staying at a SPG hotel even if down the road there was something a bit closer.
As you read thru this site you will see that most of the hotels I talk about are Starwood hotels since to maintain status you must have 50 nights or 25 stays. Since my work requires that I travel a lot I try to find the closest Starwood hotel and book there. 2010 was the first year that Starwood didn’t run a promotion in Nov with 2 for 1 “days” to help maintain status. That was unfortunate and I hope they reconsider that for 2011, but I made by the skin of my teeth so I can enjoy another year of Suite upgrades and free internet access!
Starwood also has a great point program. It really pays to make sure you take a look at the emails they send out. This year they sent out a lot of 4 for 1 offers that I took advantage of! Next year my work will send me overseas so all the points I’ve accumulated will go towards some nice air flight upgrades. With Starwoods points program you can transfer points to any airline you want, although if you are going overseas and using an airline like Singapore air you should transfer points to your Singapore airline account a minimum of two weeks before you take your trip. On domestic (US based airlines) its pretty quick, maybe 2 days.