Feb242015

Overview of SPG category changes March 10, 2015

Starwood Preferred Guest released its list of Starwood Hotels worldwide that will change SPG reward category on March 10, 2015. I am creating tables sorting the changes by country and city rather than the Starwood list ordered by region, country and hotel brand. I want to see hotels by city, like all the San Francisco hotels grouped together. These posts with tables will be posting over the next couple of days.

FlyerTalk: Starwood Lurker IV (Starwood company representative)- Announcing SPG’s 2015 Category Changes

MilePoint: SPG Champion 2 (Starwood company representative) – Announcing SPG’s 2015 Category Changes

Starwood says 22% of hotels globally are changing with 10.49% going up in SPG reward category and 11.78% moving down.  The list shows about 275 hotels.

What do the changes reveal about travel in 2015?

This post is an overview of SPG category changes March 10, 2015. I will post other articles on different Starwood regions with my own tables of hotels changing reward category for 2015 and discussion on some of the hotels that look like good values.

Europe: There are a large number of hotels dropping category in Europe with the Euro devaluation against the US dollar. Several category 7 hotels dropped to category 6.

India and Canada are other places where the currency lost ground against the dollar. There are many shifts in Asia-Pacific with China and India.

USA has a big increase with 94 hotels going up and only 22 dropping down in SPG reward category. Canada is interesting with 15 hotels going down and only two going up. The USD gained big against Canadian Dollars in 2014.

Caribbean, Latin America, Mexico Africa and Middle East will be covered in its own post.

SPG reward night cost

Changes in reward category can have a big impact on the cost of hotel stays.

Dropping from category 7 to category 6 is like a 3-for-2 coupon. A hotel that was 60,000 points for a 2-night reward stay in 2014 buys 3 nights for 60,000 points in 2015.

Starwood Hotels dropping from Category 7 to Category 6 for 2015

  1. Schloss Fuschl, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Fuschlsee-Salzburg, Austria
  2. W Paris – Opéra, France
  3. Vedema, a Luxury Collection Resort, Santorini, Greece
  4. The St. Regis Rome, Italy
  5. Sheraton Steamboat Resort Villas, Steamboat Springs, Colorado
  6. The Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas, Maui, Hawaii

Starwood Hotels dropping from Category 6 to Category 5 for 2015

Even bigger savings are found with hotels dropping from Category 6 at 20,000 points per night to category 5 at 12,000 points. These hotels were 60,000 points for 3 nights in 2014 and the same 60,000 points buy six nights in 2015 with the SPG 5th night free reward rate.

    1. The Westin Kierland Villas, Scottsdale, Arizona
    2. The Westin Riverfront Mountain Villas, Beaver Creek Mountain, Avon, Colorado
    3. Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa, Maui, Hawaii
    4. The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Ka’anapali, Maui, Hawaii
    5. Hotel Grande Bretagne, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Athens, Greece
    6. Hotel National, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Moscow, Russia
    7. Sheraton Zurich Neues Schloss Hotel, Switzerland
    8. Sheraton Lagos, Nigeria
    9. ITC Grand Bharat, a Luxury Collection Resort, Gurgaon, New Delhi Capital Region, India
    10. Le Méridien Taipei, Taiwan

This looks like the year to plan a Starwood points vacation for Maui or Greece. I stayed at the Westin Riverfront Mountain Villas in May 2013 when it was a category 5 SPG hotel on a $116 AAA mud season rate. Should you feel like a sucker if you redeemed 20,000 points per night in 2014 at the hotel?

Loyalty Traveler – Westin Riverfront Mountain Villas Beaver Creek Mountain, Colorado (May 27, 2013).

There are big savings to be found at the high category properties when a simple category drop means more free nights or points savings in the tens of thousands. Picking up 60,000 Starpoints is a lot of effort and spend for most of us. Having hotels where 60,000 points buys twice as many nights in 2015 is a good find for a vacation hotel redemption.

Time to Redeem and Save Points at these hotels

The next two weeks are the time to redeem points if one of the vacation properties rising from 6 to 7 or 5 to 6 is on your 2015 list.

Plan your hotel stay now if you want to spend fewer points at these high category Starwood Hotels moving to higher categories.

Starwood Hotels rising from Category 6 to Category 7 in 2015

  1. W Retreat Koh Samui, Thailand
  2. St. Regis Punta Mita Resort, Punta de Mita, Mexico
  3. St. Regis San Francisco

Starwood Hotels rising from Category 5 to Category 6 in 2015

  1. The Phoenician, a Luxury Collection Resort, Scottsdale, Arizona
  2. Westin Verasa Napa, California
  3. Le Parker Méridien Palm Springs, California
  4. Westin Palo Alto, California
  5. Palace Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, San Francisco, California
  6. The Liberty, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Boston, Massachusetts
  7. W Boston, Massachusetts
  8. St. Regis Houston, Texas
  9. Westin Bahrain City Centre, Manama, Bahrain
  10. Sheraton Doha Resort & Convention Hotel, Doha, Qatar
  11. St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi, UAE

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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