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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Every year, hotel chains announce properties in their portfolios that are changing award categories, and Starwood Preferred Guest is no different. Today, SPG shared its list of properties that will either be moving up or down in award categories as of March 7, 2017. Marriott Rewards also shared its list of property moves — you’ll find more details here.

With this year’s changes, 325 properties in total are moving up or down in categories, which is more than last year’s that included just 282 properties. Of those 325 hotels, 63% are moving down and 37% are moving up, which is generally good news for travelers. You can see the full list of properties that are changing categories on the SPG website. Keep in mind that these changes don’t go into effect until March 7, 2017, so you have time to take advantage of the 2016 rates before they go up.

As a reminder, here’s how many Starpoints it’ll cost you at each category level:

Before jumping into some notable changes to individual properties, here are some highlights on the category changes as a whole:

  • 14 hotels in China are dropping from a Category 2 to a Category 1
  • Nearly 40 hotels in Canada are moving up at least one category. Only two hotels in Canada are moving down a category
  • Nearly all of the 12 hotels in Africa moved down a category — only two moved up

Here are some notable property changes:

Four Points by Sheraton Havana

Image courtesy of Four Points by Sheraton Havana.

When Cuba travel restrictions were eased last year, airlines and hotels were quick to jump at the opportunity. Since then, it seems that consumer demand hasn’t quite materialized as expected, as airlines have recently begun cutting frequencies between the US and Cuba. And with these award category changes, SPG is doing something similar by moving the Four Points by Sheraton Havana from a Category 6 property (20,000-25,000 Starpoints per night) to a Category 5 property (12,000-16,000 Starpoints per night).

Le Meridien Bora Bora

Image courtesy of Le Meridien Bora Bora.

Le Meridien Bora Bora is jumping all the way to the top category in SPG’s portfolio — Category 7. As of March 7, the property will change from a Category 6 property (20,000-25,000 Starpoints per night) to a Category 7 property (30,000-35,000 Starpoints per night).

Westin Palace, Milan

Image courtesy of the Westin Palace, Milan.

The Westin Palace, Milan, which is centrally located in the city, is moving down a category. As of March 7, it’ll move from a Category 6 property (20,000-25,000 Starpoints per night) to a Category 5 property (12,000-16,000 Starpoints per night).

Westin Austin Downtown & Aloft Austin Downtown

Image courtesy of the Westin Austin Downtown.

With this latest round of category changes, both the Westin Austin Downtown and the Aloft Austin Downtown are shifting. The Westin is dropping from a Category 6 property (20,000-25,000 Starpoints per night) to a Category 5 property (12,000-16,000 Starpoints per night), whereas the Aloft is jumping from a Category 4 property (10,000 Starpoints per night) to a Category 5 property (12,000-16,000 Starpoints per night). Between the two, which are now both Category 5 properties, the clear choice for awards is the Westin.

There are plenty more changes to properties in the SPG portfolio, and you can find the full list here. As a reminder, these changes don’t go into effect until March 7, 2017, so you have time to take advantage of the current levels until then. This can work to your advantage if you’re planning a trip and want to redeem at the current levels or wait until the new category changes take effect — just be sure you don’t wait on something that is moving up a category.

If you’re looking to increase your stash of Starpoints in order to take advantage of some of these changes as of March 7, consider signing up for the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express. The card comes with a sign-up bonus of 25,000 Starpoints after you spend $3,000 in the first three months. You’ll earn 2x Starpoints on purchases at SPG and Marriott properties, and there are no foreign transaction fees.

Featured image courtesy of The Naka Phuket.

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