Frequent Flyer Travel Technology

From Starwood: Bonus Points for Keyless Entry

Guests at Aloft, Element, and W hotels can earn a 2,500-point SPG bonus for using the keyless-entry function on Starwood’s mobile app.

Keyless entry. It’s a thing, at least at some of the more tech-forward hotels. Wave your smartphone in front of your room door, and it unlocks. No key or keycard required.

The systems typically use Bluetooth-enabled door locks capable of recognizing and responding to signals from the guest’s mobile device equipped with the hotel’s booking and check-in app. Since the code to unlock a door can be issued automatically, when the room becomes available, there’s no need for the guest to stop at the lobby desk. Check-in is truly mobile.

Starwood began outfitting its hotels with the new technology a year ago, and today most Aloft, Element, and W hotels support SPG Keyless. And now, to promote the new service, Starwood is offering a one-time bonus of 2,500 Preferred Guest points for a stay charged to an American Express card and completed at a participating property by February 29, 2016, during which keyless entry was used.

Registration is required.

Deal or No Deal

If you already have the SPG app on your mobile device, and an American Express card in your wallet, this is a no-brainer for a stay at one of the keyless-enabled brands. Use the app to unlock your door and bank the bonus points.

Don’t have the app? Normally, a 2,500-point bonus would justify the time required to install it. But that’s partly on the assumption that the app would come in handy over the long term, not just for the bonus-eligible booking. However, with Marriott set to acquire Starwood sometime in 2016, the useful life of that SPG app is measured in months rather than years. Still worth it? Maybe.

Don’t have an American Express card? By itself, this promotion isn’t sufficiently lucrative to warrant applying for a new credit card. But it might also serve as a reminder that it pays to have a Visa, a MasterCard, and an American Express card, for just such card-specific promotions as this.

Reader Reality Check

Have you used keyless entry?

This article originally appeared on

By Tim Winship

After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.