I’m an SPG Platinum member thanks to taking their Platinum Challenge earlier this year. I called in and asked for the challenge, and after 18 nights I earned their top tier status (it used to be 15 nights but when I asked they said it had to be 18). Since then I’ve stayed at quite a few SPG hotels and I’ve loved many of them.
They also announced many enhancements earlier this year to give more benefits to their top tier elites. In addition, the SPG Twitter team is one of the best there is – it’s nearly as good as American Airlines’ Twitter team, which is widely recognized as the best in the loyalty program business.
Like anyone who wants to travel more and loves a particular loyalty program, I set out to learn as much as I could to minimize my paid nights or maximize the points I earn in the program.
I started at Loyalty Traveler, who knows hotel programs in and out and does some great mathematical analysis (my favorite kind) on what deals and programs are most worthwhile. I then moved on to Frequent Flyer Bonuses to see what kind of deals might currently be available (note that these deals are not always current). I was also sure to read everything written by the blogs I feature in my blogroll on the right of this page.
Still unsatisfied with the rates I was getting, I decided to check FlyerTalk. I’ll admit that I’m not a very patient person, so reading through hundreds of pages of posts isn’t exactly my cup of tea. But then I found some FT posts referencing the “SET/Corporate Account #” field on the SPG website, but they were “coded” messages that I couldn’t decipher.
I never paid attention to this field before. I happen to work for a big, well-known company so I checked to see if my company had a Corporate Account number. Sure enough it did, and I was embarrassed to not know of it earlier. It brought some prices down considerably, but others were unaffected or even higher. I wasn’t sure exactly how these worked so I used mine a couple of times. It worked exactly the same way as using a normal prepaid rate.
Then I started wondering if I could use other corporate account numbers. First things first, I needed to find some. That was not an easy task at the time. FlyerTalk is kind of written in code in order to prevent anyone from just searching for the obvious string of words, and it’s actually forbidden to write these codes outright (this type of thing is heavily moderated). Still, determination and Google work wonders.
MilePoint also has an interesting discussion of the ethical and other questions that come from this. I personally know someone that got a hold of some codes, then met a guy on a flight that had different codes. They exchanged information. Plenty of people also have anecdotal evidence of getting completely shut down for doing this.
The fact is, these codes are meant for qualified people only and no one else should be using them.
Everyone has their own interpretation of what is right, wrong, ethical, or a grey area. Yours probably isn’t the same as mine, so I don’t expect people to agree with the way I’ve written this one way or another.