Starwood Preferred Guest 2012 Hotel Category Adjustments Announced

by on February 17, 2012 · 10 comments

in Starwood

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It’s that time of the year again, when Starwood announces its SPG category changes. This rarely means good news for SPG members since most of the adjustments in category are upwards. Here’s where you’ll see some of the biggest changes in terms of properties being upped a category. Here is the new list of category breakdowns.

For comparison purposes, you can find the current chart of SPG free night redemption requirements here, and the Cash & Points options by category here.

Higher Redemptions
Some big changes come to New York City. The Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers, Westin Times Square, W New York, and W New York-Downtown are all moving up to a Category 6 which will require 20,000-25,000 points a night for free award night redemptions, or 8,000 Starpoints + $150 for the Cash & Points option. The W’s might be a decent deal, but TPG Managing Editor Eric just scored a room at the Westin Times Square for $212 a night, so the Cash & Points option seems like a total stretch in that case.

The SPG Category redemption chart.

Some other disappointing changes include the Sheraton Steamboat Resort in Colorado, the St. Regis Bahia Beach in Puerto Rico, and the St. Regis Florence all moving up to Category 7 which will require 30,000-35,000 a night depending on the season, and where Cash & Points isn’t even an option. Yes, a category 7 Sheraton. Granted, you can still reap some great value out of using points at these properties, especially in high season since rates can be so high, but it’s still too bad you’ll need 10,000-15,000 more points to do so once they leap from Category 6 to Category 7 status.

In terms of good news, though many of the resorts moving down the ranking are in the lower echelons, with a lot going from Category 4 to Category 3, there are actually a few properties like the Le Meridien Bora Bora, the W Retreat Koh Samui, and the St. Regis Punta Mita which are slipping from Category 7 to Category 6, so at least there are a few redemptions that will hold greater value for SPG members.

Why It Might Not Be So Bad
Starwood might have just upped the resorts they feel more members will book using points, but all SPG stays—award or not—now count toward elite status, so even if you have to book a property whose category has been adjusted upward, you might still reap a fair amount of value from your redemption.

Preemptive Redemption
My suggestion is to check out the new listings and if you have upcoming travel taking you to a property that’s about to change categories upwards, book your travel plans for this year before these go into effect to take advantage of the current rates!

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Anonymous

    Definitely the most disappointed about the St. Regis Bahia Beach – it’s a great property that I want to visit again, but at Cat 7 points and no C&P it’s going to be a stretch. Cat 7 also puts it out of reach of FRN/FWN promotions.

  • Zzzzmd

    The W new york and W downtown are in no way category 6 properties
    that is a huge ripoff!

  • JohnnieD

    Planning a stay in Bangkok in the fall. Should I wait till the new rates are in effect and book or book now and then change?? Most SPG properties in BKK have categories going down…..

  • Jamison

    sheraton princess kaiulani movin up :(
    sheraton gateway lax movin up :(

  • Verygoodpoints

    The Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Tower moving down to a 2 will make for a great deal. So will the The Westin Siray Bay Resort & Spa, Phuket. You couldn’t pay me to stay at the Aloft BKK, so I’m not surprised it’s moving down to a 1.

    @JonnieD Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Tower was just rated as a Top 25 City Hotels in Asia 2011 by Travel + Leisure Magazine. I would book it now and then re-book when the new rates go into effect. It can book up fast and it’s an awesome hotel. It’s connected by a Sky Bridge to the new Westin Grande which has a great bar and salt water pool and is across the street from the new Terminal 21 shopping complex which has just about everything!

  • Verygoodpoints

    Also, there should be no way Four Points by Sheraton Sydney, Darling Harbour or the
    Sheraton Mirage Resort and Spa Gold Coast are moving up to Cat 5! Not surprised by the Sheraton Fiji Resort moving up a category. I stayed at the Westin, but used the pool at the Sheraton a few times and it looked great after it’s renovations.

  • VR

    How is the category switch being handled for Cash $ Points redemption? The 4000 points part was already debited from the account at the time of booking, but the cash part (60$) is not due until the stay in June. Is the cash part going to stay the same, or does it go up to 90$ at the time of stay?

  • Kaz

    Sorry if I missed this, but when do these go into effect?

  • Ryan

    These changes take place on March 1, 2012.

  • Shannon Anderson

    Wow, all of the NYC hotels went up didn’t they. Bummer. This is where I use the majority of my Starwood points. I may have to reconsider who to align myself with in 2012 :(

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