Starwood changes award categories for 250+ Hotels

Alongside Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) has released its list of hotels that will be changing categories effective March 6, 2018. The category adjustments give an insight into projected occupancy and the average daily rate forecasts into these hotels. Hotels that are expected to earn higher revenue will usually move upwards and become more expensive in points, and the ones they foresee with lesser occupancy will go down in points.

Starwood hotels

SPG currently categorises all its hotels under seven categories and the cost of an award night ranges from 2,000 Starpoints and goes all the way up to 35,000 Starpoints for the best Starwood hotels and resorts.

Starwood Preferred Guest Hotel Category Changes for 2018

With this year’s changes, 276 hotels will soon be moving up or down in categories, which represents 17% of Starwood’s total portfolio.  This is less than last year where 325 hotels changed categories which is good news for SPG members. Of the total portfolio, 9% are moving down, and 8% are stepping up. Therefore unlike Marriott Rewards where 26% hotels are moving up, Starwood’s adjustment comes across as a reasonably balanced one.

Starwood hotels

Le Meridien Thimpu moving from category 4 to category 5                                 (Picture Courtesy: Starwood Hotels)

You can see the full list of properties that are changing categories on the SPG website here.  These changes will go into effect from March 6, 2018, and you can book stays 350 days in advance, so you have time to take advantage of the 2017 redemption prices before the rates go up next month.

Starwood Hotels India Impact

Marriott International currently operates ~50 hotels in India under the Starwood umbrella, all ranging from categories 1 to 6. There are another 20 plus hotels in the pipeline over the next 3 years.

With hotels moving up and down, this year the change affects a total of 11 properties, out of which 7 hotels are moving up by one category, and 2 hotels are moving down. Starwood’s new Four Points by Sheraton in Srinagar is coming down from category 4 to category 2.

Le Meridien Mahabaleshwar, one of our favourite getaway resort from Mumbai is moving up from Category 4 to 5.  The interesting thing about this resort is that since its opening in May 2015, this property continually moves up and down every year. I am glad that Ajay and I stayed here on the opening weekend.

Starwood hotels

Le Meridien Mahabaleshwar                                                                                   (Picture Courtesy: Starwood Hotels)

Another great hotel on Starwood portfolio that comes from its partnership with ITC Hotels is the ITC Grand Bharat, which until last year moved down to Category 5 is moving one category up again and will be the most expensive redemption in India. So if you are looking at a reward night here, it’s best to book now.

Starwood hotels

ITC Grand Bharat Gurgaon                                                                                                 (Picture Courtesy: ITC Hotels)

Bottomline

The adjustments this year look quite reasonable to me. Since these changes only come into effect from March 6, 2018, there is about a month to review the list and make reservations for a hotel that will be going up. If you have already booked a hotel that is going down in category then merely cancel and re-book after March 6, 2018.

Also now that Starwood is aligning with Marriott’s policies, new reservations at SPG hotels can be made only 350 days in advance against the current reservation timeline of 550 advance days.

What do you think about this year’s Starwood category changes? Any hotel that gets your interest?

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