Starwood Preferred Guest And Marriott Release Their Award Category Changes For 2018

On an annual basis, Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott Rewards (among others) release a list of award chart changes.  These are lists of hotels that will cost you more or less points to redeem an award each year.  In most cases, we have advanced notice so we can plan accordingly for upcoming vacations.

SPG and Marriott announced their 2018 category changes this morning on InsideFlyer.

According to the release, the SPG properties involved are pretty evenly divided between those going up and down in category:

This year, 276 hotels are changing categories, representing 17% of hotels participating in the SPG program. Approximately 9% are moving down one category and 8% are moving up one category.

These changes go into place March 6, 2018.  You’ll have until then to make bookings at the old levels.  After that, if you had a booking at a hotel that’s dropping a category, you should be able to re-book and take advantage of the lower point amounts.  You can see the full list of SPG properties changing category here.  I took a quick cruise through the list for notable changes.

Notable Properties Moving Up:
  • The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa climbs to Category 6 from 5.
  • King George, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Athens climbs to Category 6 from 5.
  • The Westin Dublin climbs to Category 6 from 5.
  • The Westin Resort & Spa, Whistler climbs to Category 6 from 5.
  • Walt Disney World Dolphin climbs to Category 5 from 4, to match the Swan.
Notable Properties Moving Down:
  • Le Roch Hotel and Spa, Paris, a Member of Design Hotels drops from Category 7 to 6.
  • W Las Vegas drops from Category 5 to 4.

Marriott’s list is divided into two separate lists of properties going up and down and sorted alphabetically.  Some properties to note:

Notable Properties Moving Up:
  • Marriott’s Waikoloa Ocean Club climbs to Category 8 from 7.
  • Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Autograph Collection climbs to Category 9 from 8.
  • The Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe climbs to Category 5 from 4.
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale and The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage both climb to Category 4 from 3.
Notable Properties Moving Down:
  • Gaylord National Harbor drops from Category 6 to 5.
  • JW Marriott Hotel Dubai drops from Category 7 to 6.
The Final Two Pennies

The SPG list seems pretty well divided between properties going up and down in category, not just in numbers but in terms of notable hotels.  The change at the Dolphin is very notable to me.  Where the Swan rooms were renovated a couple of years ago, the Dolphin still had quite a bit of work to do when we were there last Spring.  Since then, there are reports that all the rooms have been refreshed.  I’ll be interested to see if the upgrades bring this property up to snuff.

The Marriott list had far fewer notable properties getting more affordable.  That might be due to the fact that I’m less familiar with all the aspirational Marriott hotels.  But, I don’t see too many of the luxury brands (Ritz, JW) on the list of hotels getting more affordable.

I found this disclaimer in the announcement interesting as well:

Please note that category adjustments are always subject to change. While we make every attempt to provide you the latest and most accurate information, adjustments may be made at any time.

Just the other day I was questioning whether Hyatt is changing their strategy on category changes.  The major chains seem to be noting more prominently that they reserve the right to change categories at any time.  I don’t see a significant change in that practice as of yet.  Unexpected changes are frustrating for members trying to plan vacations based on those award charges.

The list of SPG and Marriott properties is much larger than the list of changes Hyatt released.  Even when you take into account the difference in size of the respective hotel chains, there are a ton more increases in SPG/Marriott world.  All in all, I think these changes are about what we should expect in a growing economy.

Make sure to note the March 6th date for changes here and plan your reservations accordingly.

The post Starwood Preferred Guest And Marriott Release Their Award Category Changes For 2018 was published first on Pizza In Motion

10 Comments

      1. I guess it was just timing – up to couple of minutes ago it showed the 2017, list now the 2018.

        The examples you’ve listed for the Marriott changes were implemented last year.

  1. Question: If I check into a Cat 6 W hotel and use my marriott visa card to pay for the room, how many reward points do I get on the Marriott card and also on the SPG ( I combined them ) card ?

    1. Michael, if I’m understanding the question correctly, you only get credit card points for one of the cards per reservation. You could earn Marriott Rewards points for paying with your Visa and SPG points for the stay. You’re better off paying with the SPG card. You get more points overall.

      1. Thanks for the prompt reply. I don’t have a SPG credit card, just a SPG rewards card. So, as you explained, I will get Marriott reward points and SPG points for the stay. Thanks, Michael
        I really enjoy your site ! !

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