There are 137 hotels on this week’s list of SPG Hot Escapes with 41 hotels in the USA. I look at a hotel like Le Meridien Lav in Split, Croatia at $73 per night for the entire month of March and wish I could move there for a month to secure SPG lifetime Gold elite. I’m only 20-something nights away.

SPG Hot Escapes Croatia

For many of us, family gets in the way of travel when you consider the impact of your absence on the lives of those around you. Being a home office worker, my additional chores include all the grocery shopping and cooking. Kelley misses here live-in chef when I hit the road without her.

I’ll settle for a week of travel somewhere in March, and probably not in a Starwood Hotel. Perhaps you can find a good hotel for your travels in this week’s SPG Hot Escapes.

Here are some notable hotel deals for me:

The Equinox, a Luxury Collection Golf Resort & Spa, Vermont is $179 for all dates Sunday to Thursday nights. All the snow in the northeast gives this property a better value than a typical mud season March.

La Posada de Sante Fe, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa in Santa Fe, New Mexico is $81 this weekend and $95 per night during the last week of March.

Westin Resort Nusa Dua Bali is $119 for several dates in March. The location adjacent to the Luxury Collection property with shared facilities makes this a good hotel for sleeping with two hotels for entertainment and facilities.

Le Meridien Bali Jimbaran at $113 for several dates in March provides an opportunity to Starwood Hotel hop on the cheap and see different areas of the island. St. Regis Bali is $380 per night for nearly every date in March if you feel compelled for luxury.

Canada is the real deal of the season. The Canadian Dollar had its greatest devaluation in 2014 in years and Canada hotel prices are a bargain for Americans.

Westin Bristol Place Toronto Airport $64 to $70 most weekends.

Le Meridien Versailles, Montreal at $73 to $85 per night Thursday through Sunday.

Westin Bayshore Vancouver at $129 March 8-12 is a great hotel deal for the best city in the west.

Recap of SPG Hot Escapes rules:

Prepaid and nonrefundable rates.

Must book before 12 midnight local hotel time Saturday Feb 28, 2015 for stays over next six weeks.

This post has my list of USA 94 Starwood Hotels with SPG category increase March 10, 2015 ordered by State and City. Starwood released a table ordered by hotel brand.

Our best bet this year is pay in the USA when low rates are offered and redeem points internationally where rates are high and reward nights have gone down in price for 2015. The value of points for hotel stays improves in Canada, Europe and much of Asia, while the USA nightly reward rates using points go up for 94 hotels and only drop for 22 hotels.

SPG reward night cost

Loyalty Traveler – SPG Europe 2015 hotel category changes are all down (Feb 24). 46 hotels in Europe drop in SPG category on March 10. No hotels in Europe increase category on March 10.

94 Starwood Hotels in USA with March 10 SPG category increase

SPG 2015 USA Cat up

Two hotels make a double category leap with Four Points San Jose Silicon Valley jumping from category 2 to category 4. Friday night went from 3,000 points to 10,000 points per night. Aloft Detroit at the David Whitney also jumps from SPG category 2 to category 4.

California is hit with 21 hotels making a category increase. The Palace Hotel San Francisco is likely going to create some angry SPG members who redeem 20,000 points and find their room on the interior courtyard with a view of brick walls.

Category 2 hotels tend to be a pretty good deal with points. Nearly 1 in 3 of 90 category 2 hotels in the USA increases to SPG category 3 on March 10. This means SPG members need about twice as many points when the 3,000/4,000 points category 2 reward nights increase to 7,000 points.

Boston and California take a hit with several new category 6 hotels and quite a few category 5 properties.

Take stock of the SPG changes and redeem your points before March 10 if one of these hotels is in your sights.

The news is not all bad. In the next post I will cover 22 hotels in the USA going down in category, along with some Canada hotels going down as a result of currency devaluation against the US Dollar in 2014.

Related Posts:

Starwood : List of Starwood Hotels withSPG Category Change on March 10, 2015. This list from Starwood orders hotels by brand. I have reorganized their list to look at hotels geographically by state and city.

Loyalty Traveler – Overview of SPG category changes March 10, 2015

Loyalty Traveler – SPG 2015 category changes Asia Pacific Region Starwood Hotels (23 hotels go up and 34 hotels go down).

Loyalty Traveler – SPG Europe 2015 hotel category changes are all down (46 hotels drop SPG category on March 10, 2015.

There is not a single Starwood hotel in Europe going up in the 2015 SPG reward category changes. Europe sees 46 hotels drop in category. 33 of 46 hotels are located in countries on the euro currency.

One year ago on February 24, 2014 the Euro was worth $1.37 USD. Today, 1 EUR = $1.14 USD. That 20% decline in the value of the Euro compared to the dollar reduced the revenue value for Starwood Hotels in Europe.

200 EUR per night room rate one year ago meant $275 USD.

200 EUR per night room rate tonight = $228 USD.

Europe offers a great exchange rate in early 2015 for American travelers and SPG rates have dropped at many hotels, meaning your Starpoints have a better exchange rate too for hotel stays on points.

SPG hotel cat changes 2015 Europe.png

Notable changes:

Category 1 hotels return to Europe.

Two hotels drop to Category 1 in Europe. It has been years since there was a category 1 hotel in Europe.

Sheraton Athlone, Ireland is the tallest building in the geographic center of Ireland. I spent two nights at the Radisson Blu Athlone in November with a view of the Sheraton.

Sheraton Catania Hotel & Conference Center Italy is another addition to category 1.

Four SPG Category 7 hotels drop to category 6

  • Schloss Fuschl, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Fuschlsee-Salzburg, Austria
  • W Paris – Opéra, France
  • Vedema, a Luxury Collection Resort, Santorini, Greece
  • The St. Regis Rome, Italy

Portugal

Convento do Espinheiro, a Luxury Collection Hotel & Spa, Evora, Portugal and Sheraton Lisboa both drop to category 3. Portugal is much more affordable at 28,000 points for a 5-night stay.

Spain

Four Points Barcelona back to category 2 is a good deal for this city hotel. I stayed there in 2012.

Loyalty Traveler – Four Points Diagonal Barcelona on the Poblenou (Oct 3, 2012).

London Heathrow

Sheraton Heathrow Hotel LHR hotels dropping to category 2 means potentially big savings on a first or last night trip to London compared to the cost of city center hotels.

Sheraton Skyline Hotel London Heathrow drops from category 4 to 3.

Related posts:

Starwood list of 2015 category changes effective March 10, 2015.

Loyalty Traveler – Overview of SPG category changes March 10, 2015

Loyalty Traveler – SPG 2015 category changes Asia Pacific Region Starwood Hotels

SPG Hot Escapes Dec 10, 2014 edition features a large selection of hotels in Europe with 74 properties. Fancy Germany? There are 16 hotels in Germany available on this week’s SPG Hot Escapes discount rates.

Aloft Liverpool for $64 is a cheap UK destination.

There are 156 hotels on this week’s list.

USA hotels are surprisingly absent from the list that features the Christmas week holiday and typically slow January period. There are only 10 hotels listed for the USA and three of those are in San Diego, California.

I kind of fancy staying at W San Diego for $104.

For an even more exotic getaway, there are a couple of Indian Ocean resorts offered.

Le Meridien Ile Maurice Mauritius drops to $154 per night in January. But points might be the better deal as a category 3 hotel.

Le Meridien Fisherman’s Cove, Seychelles (SPG category 6) drops to $255-$265 in January. The teaser rate of $208 is only offered for one date.

SPG Hot Escapes bookings must be made before midnight local hotel time on Saturday, December 13.

Le Meridien Seychelles

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Starwood Hotels Breakfast for Two rate in the Americas for stays through December 30, 2014 using rate plan SPG35B can be a good value hotel rate. This offer is available for check-in Thursday through Saturday at most hotels with some resorts offering the rate every day of the week. The rate also includes 35% off Best Available Rate.

I checked two hotels in California for rate analysis.

Four Points by Sheraton Los Angeles Westside in Culver City, near LAX, has a low rate for Saturday, December 20 at $132 with AAA. The SPG35B Breakfast for Two rate is $139 and a good deal for breakfast included.

Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa in the beach town north of San Diego has a low AAA rate of $162 for Monday, December 22, 2014. The SPG35B Breakfast for Two rate is $179 per night. While $17 per night is not as good a deal as $7 extra for breakfast included, that is likely about a 50% savings on the regular breakfast rate.

This rate is one to keep in mind due to its wide availability in participating hotels if your travels this month take you to Starwood Hotels.

Starwood Breakfast for 2

*****

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. Check out current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

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Starwood Preferred Guest has a discount rate offer through December 31, 2014 for purchase of Starpoints. This sale offers a discount from 10% for buying 500 points and up to 9,500 points. The discount progresses to 15% at 10,000 points, then 20% off at 15,000 points, and 25% off Starpoints purchase for 20,000 points. The 25% discount reduces the purchase rate from $35.00 per 1,000 points to $26.25 per 1,000 points.

Buy Starpoints® for yourself or as a gift now through December 31, 2014, and get up to 25% off the regular price ($35 per 1,000 points).

• Get 10% off 500–9,500 Starpoints ($31.50 per 1,000 points)
• Get 15% off 10,000–14,500 Starpoints ($29.75 per 1,000 points)
• Get 20% off 15,000–19,500 Starpoints ($28.00 per 1,000 points)
• Get 25% off 20,000 Starpoints ($26.25 per 1,000 points)

Starpoints buy promo

A general rule is don’t buy points and miles without a purpose. This rate used to be a great deal for points, until the SPG Cash & Points increased by 20% last year. There are still plenty of opportunities to get $30 to $40 in redemption value per 1,000 Starpoints, especially with SPG Cash & Points awards like Category 4 hotels for 5,000 points + $75 when rates are $250+ per night.

element Frankfurt

274 EUR = $373 USD. 5,000 points in exchange for $298 in room rate is a redemption value near $60 per 1,000 points.

This is as good as SPG gets for a points purchase discount for buying SPG points. An SPG member can buy up to 20,000 Starpoints in a calendar year. That means you can buy 20,000 Starpoints for $525 in 2014 and you will be able to buy up to 20,000 more beginning in January 2015, if another discount rate or bonus points purchase offer comes around from SPG.

*****

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. Check out current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

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Starwood Preferred Guest and Emirates Airlines launch Your World Rewards with member registration opening November 19, 2014.

Fly on Emirates benefits:

  • SPG Gold and Platinum members earn 1 Starpoint per US dollar spent on all eligible Emirates flights (on top of Skywards Miles).1
  • SPG Platinum members enjoy elite in-airport benefits, including priority check-in, priority boarding and complimentary e-gate access (learn more at emirates.com).

Starwood Hotels stay benefits:

  • Emirates Skywards® Silver, Gold and Platinum members earn 1 Mile per US dollar (on top of Starpoints) for all eligible stays at Starwood hotels and resorts worldwide.
  • Emirates Skywards Gold and Platinum members enjoy additional benefits at Starwood hotels and resorts, including 4pm late checkout,2access to the SPG elite check-in line3 and complimentary in-room Internet access.

Check SPG.com or Emirates.com next Wednesday, November 19, 2014 to register for this new program partnership.

SPG-Emirates

https://www.spgpromos.com/yourworldrewards/?EM=VTY_SPG_YOURWORLDREWARDS_PROMOTION

*****

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. Check out current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

Westin Heavenly Bed Sweepstakes commemorates the 15th anniversary of the hotel branded bed. You can enter once during the promotion period running October 28 through November 30, 2014.

Here is my personal link to the Westin Heavenly Bed Sweepstakes.

For each friend who uses my personal link, I receive one additional entry to the sweepstakes, up to 50 total entries. This is not a special blogger link. Everyone who signs up gets their own personal link to promote the sweepstakes.

Westin Bed Sweepstakes

Only your email and name are required to enter the Westin Bed Sweepstakes.

Prize winners will be drawn around December 8, 2014.

PRIZES:

One (1) Grand Prize of a king size Westin Heavenly Bed Mattress and Box Spring. Approximate Retail Value of the Grand Prize (“ARV”): $2,395.

One (1) First Prize of a two (2) consecutive night stay at any Westin Hotel  in a standard double occupancy room. (Excludes New Years Eve. Only covers the room rate and applicable taxes.) Approximate Retail Value of the First Prize (“ARV”): $800.00.

One (1) Second Prize of a Heavenly Down Blanket. Approximate Retail Value of the Second Prize (“ARV”): $290.00.

One (1) Third Prize of a pair of Heavenly Feather and Down Pillows. Approximate Retail Value of the Third Prize (“ARV”): $198.00.

Two (2) Fourth Prizes of a White Tea Scent Diffuser. Approximate Retail Value of each Fourth Prize (“ARV”): $169.95.

Three (3) Fifth Prizes of a White Tea Bath & Body Set. Approximate Retail Value of each Fifth Prize (“ARV”): $87.25.

Six (6) Sixth Prizes of a Heavenly Travel Blanket. Approximate Retail Value of each Sixth Prize (“ARV”): $68.00.

TOTAL ARV OF ALL PRIZES IN THE SWEEPSTAKES: $4,692.65.

Westin sweepstakes prizes

Good luck. And here is a regular link for entering the sweepstakes if you don’t want to give me an extra sweepstakes credit. https://www.westinstore.com/AnniversarySweepstakes/

I would like to replace my W Hotels bed. Third prize feather pillows would be welcome too. I left my favorite feather pillow in a hotel near Yosemite National Park last May.

*****

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. Check out current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

One of Florida’s biggest hotel transactions announced this week is the sale of The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa in Hollywood, Florida for $460 million. Affiliates of Thayer Lodging Group purchased the hotel, golf course and land properties for a total $535 million. This is the biggest real estate transaction in Florida this year.

One of the immediate effects is this announcement, The Westin Diplomat leaves Starwood October 30, 2014.

PLEASE NOTE:
The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa, Hollywood, Florida will be leaving the Starwood system on October 30, 2014.  Reservations for dates on or after October 30, 2014, will not be eligible for Starwood Preferred Guest membership benefits, award redemption or accrual.

The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa

The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa is the largest hotel in Broward County, Florida at 998 rooms. The Westin Diplomat Resort was built for $800 million and opened in 2002. The hotel occupies the land of the former historic Diplomat Hotel, a luxury hotel opened in 1958 and closed in 1991.

Westin Diplomat-old hotel demolition

Historic Diplomat Hotel Hollywood, Florida opened in 1958 and closed in 1991. The 39-story Westin Diplomat opened on this site in 2002.

Starwood Hotels’ Westin Diplomat page has a history of the hotel from 1958-2002. Grab that page while you can.

Thayer owns several other hotels in South Florida: the Sheraton Miami Airport Hotel & Executive Center, the Marriott Courtyard Miami South, the Miami Airport Marriott and the Residence Inn Miami Airport South, all in Miami-Dade, as well as the DoubleTree Hotel and Executive Meeting Center in Palm Beach Gardens.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/08/29/4316334/historic-westin-diplomat-resort.html#storylink=cpy

None of the news stories state a new brand for the Westin Diplomat with the October 30 changeover. On FlyerTalk, this poster reveals a potential answer, stating the hotel staff were told the Diplomat will become a Hilton brand.

Westin Diplomat

Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa hotel Starwood Hotels website. Will it be a Hilton brand October 30, 2014?

Looks like Hilton is grabbing up Florida Hotels north and south.

Related Loyalty Traveler post: Crowne Plaza Jacksonville Riverfront rebrands to DoubleTree next year (August 30, 2014)

News sources for Westin Diplomat Sale:

Hollywood’s Westin Diplomat hotel sold in $535 million deal – Sun Sentinel (Aug 29, 2014)

Westin Diplomat properties sell for $535M – BizJournals.com (Aug 29, 2014)

Historic Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa in Hollywood sold for $460 million – Miami Herald (Aug 29, 2014)

When the Starwood Tap into Luxury Game spin told me I had landed on the Westin Verasa Napa, I thought, NOT NAPA, they have already had too many objects landing on them there this week.

SPG Westin Verasa Napa game

Starwood Tap into Luxury game – Westin Verasa Napa

Through September 30, 2014, the Starwood Tap Into Luxury game gives you a chance to win an instant prize and an entry into the Grand Prize drawing for 250,000 points.

Starwood Tap to Luxury Game for 250,000 points

Instant prizes include:

  • 195 free night awards for up to category 5 hotels.
  • 390 awards for Starpoints in 500 points; 1,000 points or 5,000 points.
  • 156  iTunes cards $50.
  • 975 TicketMaster $50 cash codes.

Grand Prize is 250,000 Starpoints.

Westin Verasa Napa and I will have to wait on our meeting for luxury date.

SPG game sorry.

Good Luck.

*****

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. Check out current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

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