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.
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.
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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