I thought yes, but it turns out the answer is no.
I was perusing my SPG account today and noticed that I only had 11 lifetime nights. I thought this was odd, since each of the SPG credit cards – both business and personal – give 5 nights per year towards achieving the SPG Gold and Platinum elite levels. I’ve had the personal credit card since 2011 and the business card since 2013, so I was figuring I was at least 20 nights shorts of what my lifetime night count should be.
I initially chalked this up to SPG messing up when combining my business and personal accounts, so I rang SPG. The rep then confirmed that “promotional or gifted nights” do not count towards lifetime Gold or Platinum status, which is disappointing.
I then wanted to double check, so I tweeted @SPG and got the same response.
So, case closed. A loophole, for once in this game, isn’t. I’m still up over $100,000 in free travel since 2011, so I’ll call it even with SPG.