The season for hotel category adjustments is here. We wrote about the changes for Marriott Rewards earlier today. Starwood has also announced its category changes for 2017. Just like Marriott Rewards these change will come in to effect from March 7, 2017.
As a quick reminder Starwood hotels globally range between categories 1 to 7 and operate under the following brand names.
This year there are about 325 Starwood hotels changing categories, which is 15% more than last year. The good news is that almost 65% of the hotels changing categories, 208 to be precise are going down the index, clearly indicating that overall the Starwood portfolio has become less expensive.
While most hotels are jumping by one category, there are 5 hotels globally that are moving 2 categories: 4 hotels moving up by 2 categories and 1 dropping down by 2.
- Sthala, A Tribute Portfolio, Bali, Indonesia (moving up from Cat 3 to 5)
- Auberge du Vin, A Tribute Portfolio, Argentina (moving up from Cat 3 to 5)
- Four Points by Sheraton, Halifax, Canada (moving up from Cat 2 to 4)
- The Westin Toronto, Canada (moving up from Cat 2 to 4)
- Four Points by Sheraton, Halifax (going down from Cat 4 to 2)
SPG currently has 47 properties in India all ranging with categories 1 to 6 and there are another 26 hotels in the pipeline over the next 3 years. With hotels moving up and down, this year the change affects a total of 9 properties.
Last year we saw most Indian hotels go up the index, this year is complete opposite. In 2017, 8 out of the 9 listed Indian hotels are going to become less expensive. 7 hotels that went up the list by category 1 last year have come down by a category, which is good news if you are redeeming reward nights at any of these hotels. You can view the complete list of category change here:
Le Meridien Mahabaleshwar , our favorite get away resort from Mumbai is moving back down Category 5 to 4. The interesting thing about this resort is that since its opening in May 2015, this property constantly moves up and down every year. India showing a continuous upward price movement over the last 2 years. I am glad that Ajay and I stayed there in the opening weekend.
Another great hotel on Starwood portfolio that comes from its partnership with ITC Hotels is the ITC Grand Bharat, which until last year moved up to Category 6 and was the most expensive redemption resort in India. This year it has moved back down to Category 5. So if you are looking at a reward night here, it’s best to wait a month to book.
Since these changes only come into effect from March 7,2017 there is a whole month to review the list and make reservations in a hotel that will be going upwards. If you have already booked a hotel that is going down in category then simply cancel and re-book after March 7, 2016. Do ensure that there is award availability before you cancel the old booking. Alternatively you can just call Starwood and ask for a refund of the balance amount.
What do you think about this year’s category changes? I see there is room for quite some new experiences this year for Ajay and myself.