The USA was the global hot spot for hotel rate increases and occupancy in 2013. The number of Starwood hotels rising in award category in the USA at 73 comprises about 1 in 8 hotels across the country.
This post has a table showing the 73 hotels by state and a second version of the table showing the same hotels ordered by SPG award category.
SPG award category reassignment for 73 hotels in USA moving up on March 4, 2014.
California sees W Los Angeles and W San Francisco rise from category 5 to 6. That means a 67% increase for non peak season dates from 12,000 to 20,000 points and a 56% increase in peak season dates when hotel award rate rises from 16,000 to 25,000 points per night.
St. Regis Atlanta, W Austin, Hawaii beach resorts and the Rocky Mountain ski resort in Avon, west of Vail, are other locations hitting the peaks of SPG award category.
Since peak season dates for category 5 hotels are already posted for 2014, you can look to book these hotels by March 3 for later dates, while rates are still 12,000 or 16,000 points per night.
You can check peak season dates for current category 5 hotels on this page and book before March 4 to get the lower category 5 rates.
California is hit hard by these changes with several category 2 hotels rising to category 3.
Four Points Ventura Harbor was one of the best deals on the California coast at SPG category 2 on a weekend night for 3,000 points when the rates typically are highest at this hotel. I stayed at this property frequently as a stopover night when traveling between Monterey and Los Angeles. At 7,000 points I expect to see far less of this hotel and if I do return, almost certainly the cash rate will be the better value.
Four Points San Jose and Sheraton Sunnyvale are two locations rising to category 5 putting these Silicon Valley hotels into the realm of San Francisco city award rates.
Aloft Silicon Valley is rising to category 4, a position it could not ever reach during its decade as the W Silicon Valley.
Sheraton Garden Grove is a Disneyland-area deal at Category 2 that will now more than double for weekend stays from 3,000 points to 7,000 points per night.
Four Points Miami Beach moving to category 5 is one hotel that has received many comments of bewilderment. Location, location, location. The Four Points is just a few miles south from category 7 St. Regis Bal Harbour and the Four Points has an even better central location for Miami Beach action. This hotel is a place where new peak seasons will likely take effect and raise 2014 award rates by 60% when Four Points Miami Beach rates climb from 10,000 to 16,000 points per night.
I expect this hotel to go peak next Christmas season when Miami Beach is typically packed.
Hawaii is rarely a hotel deal and far less so now that three Starwood Hotels rise from category 5 to 6.
Maui is the most popular island for travelers wanting to see more than Oahu and the resorts there will command the higher points or force SPG members to pay over the higher cash rates. Typically at the category 6 level, the high cost of award nights makes cash the better way to stay.
Pieces of Eight with only 8 SPG category-1 hotels in the USA as of March 4.
Four Points by Sheraton St. Louis – Fairview Heights (Illinois) and Four Points Detroit Metro Airport rise from category 1 to 2. Despite the loss of two category-1 hotels, SPG only drops from nine to eight category-1 hotels in the USA with one new low-class hotel member addition for 2014, Four Points Orlando Studio City dropping from category 2 to category 1.
I am not familiar with the Orlando hotel, however, I have to wonder if it is on the verge of rebranding after dropping to category 1.
Sheraton Baltimore Washington BWI Airport Hotel is the only property in the USA jumping two category levels from 2 to 4. Those 4,000 points weekday nights jump to 10,000 points per night. Ouch!
All that money floating around D.C. has obviously trickled down to the burbs in Maryland and around the BWI airport hotels.
The big shift from category 2 to category 3 hotels in the USA
The greatest proportion of Starwood Hotels changing award level are 32 hotels rising from category 2 to category 3 in the USA. Only 10 hotels are dropping from category 3 to category 2. These changes combined with category 1 changes will result in an overall net loss of 21 hotels in SPG category 2 hotels for the USA when this subset of Starwood Hotels declines from 111 to 90 hotels on March 4, 2014.
Rising from category 2 to category 3 means award rates on Friday and Saturday night climb from 3,000 points to 7,000 points, a 133% award rate increase.
List of Starwood Hotels by award category level.
SPG Hotel Award Category Reassignment on March 4, 2014 for 73 USA Hotels.
SPG continues to move USA hotels overall to a higher award category path with fewer hotels remaining in the low category 1 and 2 award levels after the March 4, 2014 hotel award category reassignment.
Source: SPG hotel reassignment pdf for March 4, 2014 changes. Click here to view the list of SPG hotel award category changes.
Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.
Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.