Starwood Announces Their 2015 Award Category Changes

Starwood Preferred Guest is one of my favorite hotel loyalty programs, next to Hyatt Gold Passport.  Their loyalty currency, Starpoints, are difficult to earn in bulk as you can only earn them primarily by staying at their hotels and spending on their credit card (their co-branded AMEX doesn’t have any bonus categories).

So, when they readjust categories each year, it’s a big deal, especially if one of the properties you have your eye on is affected by the changes.

SPG announced earlier today their category changes for 2015 on Milepoint.  All in all, not overly painful, though I think it’s likely to affect the average traveler more than Hyatt’s recent changes.

You can find the full list of properties going up and down here.

The United States has the most properties going up in category by far.

Notable Hotels Moving Up

The Westin Lagunamar, Cancun moves from category 4 to 5.  Nice property, was a good value as a category 4, borderline as a 5.

St. Regis Punta Mita moves from category 6 to 7.  This is probably justified, it’s a top-notch property.

Le Parker Meridien Palm Springs moves from category 5 to 6 (some may remember the controversy with this property as well as the LPM in Manhattan).

Sheraton Gateway LAX moves from category 3 to 4.  I just can’t see this being my first choice, especially given the category increase.  I would choose the Hyatt Place if I was looking for quality, the Concourse if I wanted the closest hotel.

Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel moves from category 3 to 4.

The Phoenician, Scottsdale moves from category 5 to 6.  The property has nice grounds but many reports that the rooms need help.

St. Regis San Francisco moves from category 6 to 7.  Maybe they can afford to keep the power on now.

The Westin Seattle moves from category 4 to 5.  Nice property, less of a value now but still good location and rooms.

Notable Hotels Moving Down

Le Meridien Vienna drops from category 5 to 4.

W Paris-Opera drops from category 7 to 6.  Hotel prices can be brutal during high season in Paris.  Glad to see this property becoming a bit more affordable.

Hotel Grand Bretagne, Athens drops from category 6 to 5.  This is supposed to be the best location and a beautiful property in Athens.

Hotel Excelsior, Naples drops from category 5 to 4.  We enjoyed a brief stay and a glass of champagne at night on the roof of the hotel back in 2009.  I don’t recall what category it was back then, but I’d consider it a good value as a category 4.

St. Regis Rome drops from a category 7 to 6.  This is one of my all-time favorite hotels.  We’ve enjoyed a handful of stays over the years here and I can’t recommend it enough.  I’m thrilled to see it drop from a 7 to a 6, since I remember when it moved from a 6 to a 7.  Thankfully, I was able to redeem for last year’s trip before the category went up.

Starwood Preferred Guest

Westin Mont-Tremblant, Quebec drops from a category 5 to 4.  A good deal for an ideal winter getaway.

Sheraton Maui drops from category 6 to 5.  Hawaii is expensive.  Any drop is relief for families vacationing there.

Westin Maui drops from category 6 to 5.  Ditto.

Where Does That Leave Us?

I’m pretty comfortable with this list for my personal travel.  I had hoped a few hotels I had my eye on for this summer would drop, to no avail.  And, I’m a little surprised a few properties we stay at frequently like Sheraton Harrisburg Hershey didn’t drop given some softening in the rates during recent stays.

Most folks aren’t world travelers, so increases in the US hit some of the traditional vacation spots.  Thankfully, the Caribbean doesn’t see increases.  All in all, given the increases in occupancy and rate, this is an understated rise in redemption prices.


The post Starwood Announces Their 2015 Award Category Changes was published first on Pizza In Motion.

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  1. So, so, so excited that the St. Regis Rome is dropping a category. This alone will save me 40k on a 5 night redemption. Now let’s see what they offer as an SPG 50 reward on Sunday.

    1. That’s right! I remember you mentioning that Rome was on your radar. Now that it’s the same price as Westin E&R, you gotta go for it!

  2. I need a one night stay at LAX later this fall. Hyatt Place is an option for us (in fact I have a night booked there), but given that I should have Diamond status by then I’m not sure I want to “waste” my Hyatt points just to sleep for the night. No one ever mentions the Westin LAX, which is going down one category. Only asking because I was debating using the Sheraton instead. Is the Westin not a good option for one night airport connecting stay?

    1. The Westin would be the same amount of points with the category drop to a 3. I’ve never stayed there but I can’t imagine it’s worse than Sheraton Gateway. The Hyatt Place is nice though not an ideal location. Cash & Points availability might be the deciding factor for both.

      1. Thx for the feedback. C&P not available for my night on either one, but I do have my HP stay booked on C&P as a backup, so ultimately I may just stick with it. FYI, there’s apparently a new ALoft coming online in August 2015. It will also be a Cat 3, so I may just book that if available just to check it out since it will hopefully have a nice renovation to it (not sure if they’re reflagging an existing building). See you at AUSMegaDo I hope!

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