Starwood Announces Their Award Category Changes For 2017

Starwood Preferred Guest just announced their category changes for award redemptions in 2017.  Quoting from their post in InsideFlyer:

Our annual category changes will go into effect March 7, 2017. We are sharing these changes today to give members time to plan their redemption travel and decide if they’d like to redeem their points prior to – or after – the changes take place.This year, 325 hotels are changing categories. Of these hotels, approximately 63% are moving down and 37% moving up. There are no changes to the number of categories or the points required by category.

It’s always good to see more properties moving down than moving up.  I took a look through the list and noted the following:

Notable Properties Changing Categories

  • 37 of the 40 properties changing categories in Canada are moving up.  All the major cities, including Vancouver, Toronto and Halifax.
  • Of specific interest here to me are the Halifax properties.  The Four Points there moves from a Category 2 to a 4.  I’ve stayed there, and it ain’t pretty.  It’s well located, but run down.  Maybe it’s been renovated, but there’s only so much you can do with that physical plant.  Compare that to the Westin Nova Scotian a few blocks away.  I reviewed the property a few years ago, so things could have changed.  But, it was a lovely property with “great bones”.  It used to be a Canadian Railway hotel (and I believe a Fairmont).  It’s attached to the train station and right on the water.  It’s not the nicest Westin I’ve ever stayed in but we really enjoyed the hotel.  It moves from a 3 to a 4.  I’d absolutely hit the Westin before the Four Points.
  • The Westin Mont Tremblant goes up from a Category 4 to a 5.  We have a reservation there this year to do some skiing.  I was actually surprised it was a 4 since it looks like a beautiful property located right at the base of the mountain.  I’ll report back on this, but I thought it was under-priced when I booked it.
  • 4 hotels in Italy are moving down categories, including Falisia, a Luxury Collection property.  There’s also a very affordable Four Points in Venice that drops to a Category 1.  That could be a steal if you don’t mind being a bit out of the way.
  • Cities like Denver, New Orleans and Austin see properties go down in category.  That’s a bit surprising to me, though it’s not many properties.
  • Ski fans will like that the Sheraton Steamboat Resort Villas are dropping from 6 to 5.
  • 2 Luxury Collection hotels in the US move, 1 up and 1 down.  The St. Anthony in San Antonio drops from 5 to 4 while La Posada in Santa Fe (I stayed there recently, very nice property) increases from 4 to 5.

The Final Two Pennies

On whole, these are changes I can absolutely live with.  More properties are getting cheaper than more expensive when redeeming your points.  And, I didn’t see a lot of “banner” properties most popular with members going up (or down).  Make sure to check out the full list of properties and book before March 7th if you’re considering a property going up in category.  Remember you can always cancel later if you change your mind.

Is your favorite property getting more expensive or cheaper with these changes?

The post Starwood Announces Their Award Category Changes For 2017 was published first on Pizza In Motion

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