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Pleasantly Surprised by 2011 Starwood Hotel Award Category Changes

by on February 22, 2011 · 5 comments

in Starwood

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Every year Starwood readjusts the award categories of their hotels to align with their projected average daily rate, since it doesn’t make sense for them to have a hotel that goes for $500 a night be available for 10,000 points while a cheap $150 hotel requires 12,000 points. Last year many customers were annoyed with mass increases in categories (when the economy was in recession), but this year Starwood seems to have righted some of those wrongs.

Starwood just announced their category readjustment and I have to say I’m actually kind of happy about the changes. There are more down-shifts in categories (meaning they require less points for a free night) than there are increases. In fact 93 hotels are going down and only 84 going up. With any shift in categories, there will be winners and losers, but I think I’ll come out on the winning end of this. I bolded some of the more popular properties that are changing categories and added in some commentary.

Overall, I’m surprised to see NYC, LA, San Fransico, and Shanghai properties decreasing. I would have thought the upswing in tourism and business travel would have kept them the same or even increased their value, but I certainly won’t complain.

I’m a little disappointed that my go-to London property for point redemptions Le Meridien Picadilly is going up, but I’m going to try out the Andaz next time anyway.

These changes go into effect March 1, 2011, so if you are planning to stay at a property that is going up, BOOK NOW! Even if you don’t know your exact dates, you should book several and then cancel them once your figure out your final plans.

And if you are booked at a property that is going down, wait until March 1 and then rebook your reservation at the lower category. SPG customer service should be able to assist you automatically – I’ve done it in the past and it feels great to get points back before your stay even begins.

Starwood award chart:

Overall, I’m happy, but feel free to share your comments below.

Property / 2010 Category / 2011 Category
Sheraton Great Wall from 3 to 2
Sheraton Tianjin Hotel from 4 to 3
Luxury Collection/Windsor Bengaluru from 5 to 4
Westin Resort Macau from 4 to 3
Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers from 5 to 4
Sheraton Hanoi Hotel from 4 to 3
Le Meridien Royal Shanghai from 5 to 4 (Great value at category 4. I am planning a Shanghai visit later in the year and plan to take advantage of this)
Aloft Beijing from 2 to 1
Le Meridien Chiang Rai Resort from 3 to 2
Aloft Bengaluru from 3 to 2
Aloft Chennai from 3 to 2
Luxury Collection/ITC Royal from 5 to 4
Westin Nusa Dua from 3 to 4
Sheraton On The Park from 4 to 5
Sheraton Surayaba Hotel & Towers from 1 to 2
Sheraton Bandung Hotel & Towers from 1 to 2
Sheraton Langkawi Beach Resort from 3 to 4
Westin Langkawi from 4 to 5
Luxury Collection/ITC Mughal Agra from 2 to 3
Sheraton Noosa Resort from 4 to 5
Sheraton Rajputana Palace from 2 to 3
Sheraton Grande Walkerhill from 3 to 4
Sheraton Kobe Bay from 3 to 4
Sheraton Taipei Hotel from 3 to 4
Westin Chosun, Busan from 3 to 4
Westin Sydney from 4 to 5
Westin Melbourne from 4 to 5

Four Points by Sheraton Sydney from 3 to 4
Four Points by Sheraton Chung Ho from 1 to 2
W Seoul Walkerhill from 4 to 5
Luxury Collection/ITC Sonar Kolkata from 3 to 4
Sheraton Jiuzhaigou Resort from 2 to 3
St. Regis Singapore from 5 to 6
Sheraton Haikou Resort from 2 to 3
Sheraton Changsha Hotel from 2 to 3
Sheraton Urumqi Hotel from 3 to 4
Le Meridien Jakarta from 1 to 2
Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu from 1 to 2
Sheraton Wenzhou from 2 to 3
Sheraton Ningbo Hotel from 2 to 3
W Retreat Koh Samui from 6 to 7 (Lock this in at a 6 if you have any plans to go to Koh Samui. Haven’t been myself, but have heard good things)
Sheraton Zhoushan Hotel from 1 to 2
Four Points by Sheraton Lhasa from 2 to 3
Sheraton Qiandao Resort from 2 to 3
Four Points by Sheraton Navi Mumbai Vashi from 2 to 3
Westin Siray Bay from 3 to 4
Westin Sendai from 4 to 5
Sheraton Jinan from 1 to 2
Four Points by Sheraton Geelong from 2 to 4
Sheraton Deira Hotel, Dubai from 5 to 3
Le Méridien Dead Sea from 3 to 1
Le Méridien Abu Dhabi from 6 to 4
Hotel Excelsior, Naples from 6 to 5
Sheraton Metechi Palace Hotel, Tbilisi from 4 to 3
Sheraton Palace Hotel, Moscow from 6 to 5 (Surprising to see Moscow hotels go down since the city is so expensive)
Sheraton Sofia Hotel Balkan from 4 to 3
Sheraton Bologna Hotel & Conference Center from 3 to 2
Sheraton Genova Hotel & Conference Center from 3 to 2
Sheraton Cairo Hotel, Towers and Casino from 4 to 3
Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel from 5 to 4
Sheraton Abu Dhabi Resort from 6 to 5
Santa Marina Resort & Villas, Mykonos from 7 to 6
Four Points by Sheraton Bur Dubai from 4 to 3
Sheraton Khalidiya Hotel, Abu Dhabi from 5 to 4
The Westin Valencia from 5 to 4
Le Méridien Barbarons- Seychelles from 5 to 4 (I stayed here last summer and had a service experience, but I wouldn’t have expected this hotel to drop. It was an absolute steal at Category 5 cash and points compared to other options on the island and at a category 4, I may have to go back again!)
Le Royal Méridien Abu Dhabi from 6 to 5
Al Sondos Suites by Le Méridien from 4 to 3
Dar Al Sondos Hotel Apartments by Le Méridien from 3 to 2
Sheraton Gambia Hotel Resort & Spa from 3 to 2
Castillo Hotel Son Vida, Mallorca from 6 to 5
Four Points by Sheraton Downtown Dubai from 4 to 3
Four Points by Sheraton Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai from 5 to 4
Sheraton Prague Charles Square Hotel from 5 to 4
Sheraton Bratislava Hotel from 4 to 3
The Westin Excelsior, Rome from 5 to 6
Hotel Gritti Palace, Venice from 6 to 7 (Yikes, yet another super expensive SPG Italian property)
The Park Lane Hotel, London from 4 to 5 (I’m not a huge fan of the Park Lane, but it hurts to see the London SPG properties increase – makes Hyatts all the more valuable)
Four Points by Sheraton Brauneck from 1 to 2
Sheraton Munich Arabellapark Hotel from 3 to 4
Sheraton Oman from 4 to 5
Sheraton Skyline Hotel London Heathrow 3 to 4
Sheraton Amsterdam Airport Hotel & Conference Center from 4 to 5 (Yikes – a category 5 airport hotel! I guess it’s close enough to the city center, but I’d rather splurge for the Pullitzer).
Sheraton Casablanca Hotel & Towers from 3 to 4
Sheraton Tel Aviv Hotel and Towers from 4 to 5
Sheraton Djibouti Hotel from 2 to 3
Sheraton Pretoria Hotel from 4 to 5
Arabella Western Cape Hotel & Spa from 3 to 4
Sheraton Carlton Hotel Nuernberg from 3 to 4
Sheraton Tirana Hotel from 3 to 4
The Westin Cape Town from 3 to 4 (Sad to see it go up, but it will still be a good value at category 4)
The Westin Leipzig from 3 to 4
Four Points by Sheraton Le Verdun from 3 to 4
Le Méridien Chari from 3 to 4
Le Méridien President from 3 to 4
Le Méridien Piccadilly from 5 to 6 :-(  (I like this hotel, but it’s not category 6 material)
Arion Resort & Spa, Astir Palace, Athens from 5 to 6
The Romanos, Costa Navarino from 5 to 6
The Westin Resort & Spa, Los Cabos from 5 to 4
The Westin Resort & Spa, Puerto Vallarta from 4 to 3
Sheraton Hacienda Del Mar Resort & Spa Los Cabos from 5 to 4
Sheraton Mendoza Hotel from 4 to 3
Sheraton Bogota Hotel from 3 to 4
The Westin San Luis Potosi from 2 to 3
Sheraton Guayaquil Hotel from 2 to 3
Sheraton Montevideo Hotel from 3 to 4
Four Points By Sheraton Curitiba from 3 to 4
Sheraton Barra Hotel & Suites from 4 to 5
Four Points By Sheraton Cali from 2 to 3
Four Points By Sheraton Monterrey Linda Vista from 1 to 2
Sheraton Sao Paulo WTC Hotel from 4 to 5
Aloft Dulles Airport from 4 to 2
Sheraton Norfolk Waterside from 3 to 2
Sheraton Houston Brookhollow from 3 to 2
Sheraton Gateway Hotel Los Angeles from 3 to 2
Sheraton Reston Hotel from 4 to 3
Sheraton Charlotte Airport Hotel from 3 to 2
Sheraton Suites Orlando Airport from 3 to 2
Four Points by Sheraton Manhattan Chelsea from 5 to 4
Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel from 4 to 3 (while this hotel isn’t that nice, its a great option for pre-cruise stays – very centrally located)
Westin Tampa Bay from 4 to 3
Westin DFW Airport from 3 to 2
Four Points by Sheraton Chicago Downtown from 4 to 3
Sheraton Pleasanton Hotel from 3 to 2
Sheraton Fort Worth Hotel from 4 to 3
Le Meridien San Francisco from 5 to 4
Aloft Charleston Airport from 3 to 2
Sheraton Herndon Dulles Airport from 4 to 3
Sheraton Suites San Diego from 4 to 3
Aloft Chesapeake from 3 to 2
Le Meridien Dallas Galleria from 3 to 2
Aloft Portland from 3 to 2
Aloft Arundel Mills from 3 to 2
Sheraton Tribeca New York from 5 to 4 (Nice to see lower NYC categories. I used to live in Tribeca not far from the Sheraton – not the most prime location, but it’s a brand-new hotel and near a lot of subways and good restaurants)
Four Points by Sheraton Jacksonville from 3 to 2
Four Points by Sheraton Tempe from 3 to 2
Aloft Rancho Cucamonga from 3 to 2
Westin Lake Mary from 4 to 3
Sheraton Atlanta North from 3 to 2
Westin Dulles Airport from 4 to 3
Aloft Frisco from 3 to 2
Aloft Overland Park from 3 to 2
Aloft Richmond West from 3 to 2
Aloft Phoenix Airport from 3 to 2
Four Points by Sheraton Cary from 3 to 2
Four Points by Sheraton Raleigh Durham from 3 to 2
Four Points by Sheraton Pineville from 3 to 2
Luxury Collection/The Joule from 5 to 4 (Maybe my poor experience this past fall had something to do with it? Just kidding – aside from my experience, this hotel is pretty nice and a great value at category 4)
Four Points by Sheraton Columbus Airport from 3 to 2
Four Points by Sheraton San Antonio Northwest from 3 to 2
Aloft Bolingbrook from 3 to 2
Aloft San Antonio from 3 to 2
Aloft Harlem from 4 to 3 (a cheap option for NYC stays)
Four Points by Sheraton San Jose from 4 to 3
Four Points by Sheraton Oklahoma City Airport from 1 to 2
Sheraton Cavalier-Saskatoon from 3 to 4
Four Points by Sheraton Huntsville Airport from 1 to 2
Sheraton Philadelphia City from 3 to 4 (shame, this place was a great value, especially for Platinums – generous upgrades and perks)
Sheraton JFK Airport Hotel from 3 to 4 (bizarre, this place gets awful reviews, though I guess there aren’t a lot of options)
Sheraton Duluth Hotel from 2 to 3
Sheraton Augusta from 2 to 3
Element Arundel Mills from 3 to 4
Element Summerlin from 3 to 4
Aloft Dallas Downtown from 2 to 3
Four Points by Sheraton Philadelphia Airport from 3 to 2
Sheraton Parsippany Hotel from 4 to 3
Westin Peachtree from 4 to 3 (rightfully so, this place is a dump)
Sheraton Suites Cypress Creek from 3 to 2
W Atlanta – Perimeter from 4 to 3
W San Diego from 5 to 4
Luxury Collection/US Grant from 5 to 4
Luxury Collection/SLS Beverly Hills from 6 to 5
Sheraton Centre Toronto from 3 to 4
Westin Harbour Castle from 3 to 4
Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort from 5 to 6
Westin River Front Mountain Villas from 4 to 5
Sheraton Steamboat Resort Villas from 4 to 6

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  • http://www.alphanetcs.com Daniel

    I’ve got to say Im pleasantly surprised too! The dead sea move from 3 to 1 is really shocking. Ive seen that hotel go for over $200/night. It has an indoor float pool with dead sea water, a gorgeous outdoor pool, and many other nice amenities the typical Israeli hotel doesnt have. And last time I stayed there, I got an invitation for a complimentary breakfast, even though I’d used points to get the room. Dont get me wrong, Its no category 5, but I definitely thought it had great value at 3. Unless theres some sort of construction going on, Im thrilled and plan to book this for my next trip to Israel.

  • mark

    Nice recap. The only thing I would say is that the quality of the hotel has no bearing on the SPG level. On flyertalk, people are always trying to equate the quality of a hotel with its level. The levels are purely based on the average room revenue, not quality. (Now, one can argue that the quality impacts the revenues. Of course, that’s true. But, technically, the levels are based on room revenues.)

  • ashley

    Hey,

    You should add a section where vistors/readers can add deals that they’ve found.
    http://paypal.ruelala.com/product/detail/eventId/28315/styleNum/4121676040/viewAll/0
    On ruelala.com, there is an exclusive deal on a membership to The Adolphus Club for $170. It only last 2 more days. Normal price for this package is $1,335.00.

    Exclusive to Rue La La Members, this package includes:

    A one-year membership to The Adolphus in Dallas, TX. Your membership will provide you with special perks whenever you visit this luxurious Dallas hotel. Members do not need to be guests of the hotel to enjoy the many dining benefits included in this one-year membership.
    One night, courtesy of Rue La La. This one-night stay is available exclusively to Members with this package, in addition to the standard Adolphus membership perks.
    One additional night, valid only with the purchase of a membership. Your one-night stays may not be used on consecutive nights.
    Special discounted hotel rates, which include complimentary nights with the purchase of one, two, and three nights; discounted group rates and room upgrades; exclusive weekend rates; and at least 10% off the best available rate.
    Dining privileges include a complimentary meal when dining with at least one other person (or a 15% discount when dining alone). Additional dining benefits include complimentary bottles of house wine, champagne, catering discounts, and Afternoon Tea.
    Complimentary Internet access in any guestroom at The Adolphus.

  • Mary

    Starwood says it does not have blackout days for points but they have blackout rooms and that is something similar
    They must have a king bed simple room for points and this is difficult in high seasson so they say no rooms even if they are plenty of them

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