hotel reward category hotel reward category changes Starwood Hotels Starwood Preferred Guest

SPG 145 hotels up, 131 down March 6, 2018; regional analysis

a table with names and cities

Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) announces 276 hotels change reward category on March 6, 2018. There are 145 Starwood hotels increasing hotel reward category and 131 hotels decreasing in reward category.

I reorganized the SPG list to group hotels by five regions, low to high category changes and separated hotels going up from hotels going down.

This sort and filter rearrangement makes it easier for me to spot regional patterns for cities where hotels are going up and places where hotels are going down. Due to large images in this post I will show 131 hotels going down in separate article.

This post looks at 145 Starwood Hotels going up and 131 hotels going down in five global regions:

  • Africa-Middle East
  • Asia-Pacific
  • Caribbean, Central America, South America
  • Europe
  • North America

Africa-Middle East

  • 7 hotels up
  • 24 hotels down

Africa-Middle East is the region with the greatest difference between hotels going up and going down. The only other region with more hotels going down is Caribbean, Central and South America (4 hotels up, 8 down).

Israel takes a big hit with Sheraton Tel Aviv and Elma Arts, a Design Hotel rising from the 12,000 points category 5 to cat 6 at 20,000 points.

Africa-Middle East Starwood Hotels

24 hotels down

SPG 2018 Africa 24down

7 hotels up

SPG Africa up 2018


  • 36 hotels up
  • 27 hotels down

Asia-Pacific currently has the most category-1 hotels in SPG with 81 category-1 hotels of 117 worldwide. There is a small shift in total number as 11 category-1 hotels rise to category-2, while 8 category-2 hotels drop to category 1.

Thailand hotels in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket rise.

W Shanghai The Bund rises from cat 5 to cat 6.

St. Regis Osaka rises to the vaulted heights of SPG category 7.

Asia-Pacific Starwood Hotels

27 hotels down

SPG 2018 AP down

36 hotels up

SPG A-P up 2018

Caribbean/Central and South America

  • 4 hotels up
  • 8 hotels down

Sheraton Puerto Rico rises from category 3 to cat 4.

Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach makes the leap from category 5 to category 6.

Caribbean/Central and South America Starwood Hotels

8 hotels down

SPG 2018 Carib-LA down

4 hotels up

SPG Carib 4 up


  • 38 hotels up
  • 17 hotels down

Four Points Ljubljana, Slovenia rises from category 1 to 2. I want to go there just to learn how to say the name.

Sofia Balkan Hotel, Bulgaria rises from category 2 to category 3 is reasonable considering high rates prevalent much of the time and is central city location ideal for sightseeing and shops. I stayed there a couple nights in October on Cash&Points for 2,000 points + $35 when the room rate was about $180 per night.

There are several hotels rising from category 3 at 7,000 points to cat 4 at 10,000 points. Prague, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Porto, Rhodes make that jump.

Category 4 to 5 increases include Frankfurt, Athens, Gstaad, Warsaw, Moscow and several hotels in Spain.

Europe is expensive for Starpoints

Europe has always featured some of the best Starwood Hotels with the continent being the mainstay for Luxury Collection brand.

At the high end, Paris sees Le Roch Hotel and Spa, Paris, a Member of Design Hotels drop from category 7 to 6.

The real hit in Europe are 10 hotels rising from category 5 to 6, a 67% increase in points per reward night. This impacts hotel stay affordability options in popular destinations like Athens, Dublin, Madrid and London.

An insightful data point to me is Europe seems to be an exhibit for how SPG is geared to the high end points earner as nearly twice as many Starwood Hotels in Europe, 147 hotels are in the top three SPG category 5, 6, 7 awards at 12,000 to 35,000 points for free nights. This is poised to be more than double the 74 hotels in SPG category 1, 2 and 3 at 2,000 to 7,000 points as of March 6, 2018 when the current changes go into effect. Chances are there will be more additions to category 5, 6 and 7 hotels in Europe in 2018 than new category 1, 2 and 3 hotel rewards.

There are currently 78 hotels in Europe in SPG reward night category 1, 2 or 3. There are 6 hotels dropping from category 4 to category 3, but 10 hotels rise from category 3 to category 4. The number of hotels in the lowest three SPG reward night categories decreases to 74 hotels.

There are currently 138 hotels in Europe in the three highest SPG categories 5, 6, 7.

3 hotels drop from category 5 to category 4, but 12 hotels rise from category 4 to 5. The net result is 147 hotels in Europe are in SPG category 5-7 and only 74 hotels remain in SPG category 1-3.

SPG Category 4 Middle of the Road

There are 64 hotels in Europe  for middle of the road SPG category 4 hotels at 10,000 points per night. 2018 changes only move that by one hotel as 13 hotels shift into SPG category 4, offset by 12 hotels moving out of SPG category 4. Half of the 12 hotels rise to category 5.

  • category 3 to category 4 (10 hotels)
  • category 5 to category 4 (3 hotels)

to hotels shifting out of SPG category 4.

  • category 4 to category 5 (6 hotels)
  • category 4 to category 3 (5 hotels) and
  • category 4 to category 1 (1 hotel) Four Points by Sheraton Kolasin, Montenegro deserves some research from me.

Europe Starwood Hotels

17 hotels down

SPG 2018 Europe down

38 Hotels up

SPG Europe 38 up

North America

  • 60 hotels up
  • 54 hotels down

Four Points Niagara Falls on the ontario, Canada side of the landmark jumps from SPG category 2 to category 4. Book your stay now.

Four Points Las Vegas East drops from category 3 to category 2. Reduced weekend award nights at 3,000 points makes this a potential bargain for Friday and Saturday as of March 6.

Walt Disney World Dolphin rises from category 4 to category 5.

W New York, W Miami and Westin Sarasota drop from category 6 to category 5 for a nice 2018 discount.

Westin Resort Whistler Canada rises from category 5 to category 6, along with a couple of Mexico resorts in Design Hotels.

Hotels rising from category 4 to 5 (10 hotels) are almost matched by hotels dropping from category 5 to 4 (13 hotels).

North America Starwood Hotels

54 Hotels Down

SPG 2018 NA down

North America Starwood Hotels

60 Hotels Up

SPG 2018 60up

After the drive to reposition hotels consistently higher in SPG award category over the past decade, these changes look fairly even-handed.

I wonder if we will get another SPG shock in 2019 if international currency exchange rates hammer the USD again this year to the extent the dollar lost value in 2017? I would expect to see far more hotels rising in reward category..


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