Last Chance! Starwood 2018 Annual Category Changes: 145 Hotels Getting More Expensive, 131 Hotels Getting Less Expensive; Book Now To Lock In Lower Rates!

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Update: Category changes can go into effect local time or EST, so hotels will start changing categories overnight tonight. Where will you lock in stays under the current chart and where will you book new stays after the changes take effect?

Originally posted on 2/8:


Read about previous category changes:

Starwood 2018 Complete List Of Annual Category Changes 

Book stays before 3/6 local hotel time to lock in current rates for future stays at hotels that are going up.  Almost all hotel stays are cancellable for free until a certain amount of time before the stay (read the fine print).  If you have a reservation at a hotel that is going down then just cancel and rebook the stay on 3/6 when this year’s category changes go into effect.

Note that you won’t be able to change the dates on a reservation after the price goes up, your only options are to use the stay or cancel it and get your points back. You can make one night reservations if you’re not sure how many nights you want to stay, though you won’t be able to take advantage of a free night on a 5 night point stay like that.

Note that effective 2/11, you will only be able to book SPG hotels up to 350 days in advance. Currently you can book up to 550 days in advance.

276 SPG hotels are changing category this year. 47.5% of those will go down in category.

This list is subject to change and other hotels can still be added to it.

Most hotels chains reorganize their categories yearly to keep them current with the average rates that they charge.  The beauty of hotel points is that there are no blackout dates or capacity controls, if there is a room you can use points for it.  So even if a major event is in town and rates are quadruple what they normally are you can still use the regular amount of points as long as the hotel is not sold out of standard rooms.

Starwood’s standard award chart will not change:
If you stay 5 nights with points at category 3-7 hotels the 5th night will be free.
Category 1 = 2,000 (weekend), 3,000 (weekday).
Category 2 = 3,000 (weekend), 4,000 (weekday).
Category 3 = 7,000
Category 4 = 10,000
Category 5 = 12,000 (Low Season), 16,000 (High Season).
Category 6 = 20,000 (Low Season), 25,000 (High Season).
Category 7 = 30,000 (Low Season), 35,000 (High Season).

The capacity controlled cash and points chart doesn’t change either:


Point transfers to airlines with a 25% bonus for 20K transfers remains unchanged as well.


  • The W NYC and W Miami will drop from category 6 to 5, a big savings for either of those hotels.
  • The Le Méridien Visconti Rome, located near the Spanish Steps, will drop from a category 5 to 4.
  • The Wanderlust, Singapore, located just half a mile from Chabad, drops from a category 4 to 3.
  • The Sheraton and Aloft Brooklyn drop from category 5 to 4.
  • The Four Points by Sheraton Niagara Falls on the NY side drops from a category 3 to 2.



  • The most brutal change is the Four Points by Sheraton Niagara Falls Fallsview. It’s currently a category 2 costing just 3K points on weekends and 4K points on weekdays. This hotel has Shabbos services and meals from Chabad. It will jump to a category 4 costing 10K points per night, a 333% jump for weekends and a 250% jump for weekdays. Ouch!
  • The Elma Arts hotel in Zichron Yaakov, Israel, which was a category 4 in 2016 and is now a category 5, will climb to a category 6.
  • The Sheraton Tel Aviv was a category 4 several years back, is currently a category 5, and will now be a category 6.
  • The Westin Southfield Detroit, near the Jewish community there, was a category 2 a few years ago, is now a 3, and will climb to a 4.
  • The Le Meridien Chiang Mai was a category 1 in 2012, a category 2 in 2013, a category 3 in 2016, and will now be a category 4. We loved this hotel and city when we stayed there on our round-the-world trip in 2010-2011.
  • Westin Grand Cayman jumps from 5 to 6.
  • The Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort in Port Douglas, Australia, a good place for exploring the Great Barrier Reef, jumps from a 4 to a 5.



Sample hotels going more expensive:

  • Sheraton Hanoi Hotel, Vietnam, was 2, now 3
  • Aloft Cancun, Mexico, was 2, now 3
  • Four Points by Sheraton Niagara Falls Fallsview, Canada, was 2, now 4
  • Westin Southfield Detroit, Michigan, was 3, now 4
  • Westin Dallas Fort Worth Airport, TX, was 3, now 4
  • Element Vaughan Southwest, Toronto, Canada, was 3, now 4
  • Le Méridien Chiang Mai, Thailand, was 3, now 4
  • Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino, was 3, now 4
  • Element Amsterdam, was 3, now 4
  • Sheraton Porto Hotel & Spa, Portugal, was 3, now 4
  • W Atlanta Midtown, Georgia, was 4, now 5
  • Walt Disney World Dolphin, Orlando, FL, was 4, now 5
  • Aloft New York LaGuardia Airport, NY, was 4, now 5
  • Hotel Bristol, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Warsaw, Poland, was 4, now 5
  • Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort, Port Douglas, Australia, was 4, now 5
  • The Westin Taipei, Taiwan, was 4, now 5
  • Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand, was 4, now 5
  • Le Méridien Phuket Beach Resort, Thailand, was 4, now 5
  • St. Regis Moscow, Russia, was 4, now 5
  • Papaya Playa Project, Tulum, a Member of Design Hotels, Mexico, was 5, now 6
  • Westin Resort & Spa, Whistler, Canada, was 5, now 6
  • Castillo Hotel Son Vida, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Mallorca, Spain, was 5, now 6
  • The Westin Palace, Madrid, Spain, was 5, now 6
  • The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa, was 5, now 6
  • Sheraton Tel Aviv, Israel, was 5, now 6
  • Elma Arts Zichron Yaakov, Israel, was 5, now 6
  • W Shanghai The Bund, China, was 5, now 6
  • King George, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Athens, Greece, was 5, now 6
  • EKIES All Senses Resort, Sithonia Halkidiki, a Member of Design Hotels, Greece, was 5, now 6
  • Great Northern Hotel, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, London, UK, was 5, now 6
  • S. Regis Osaka, Japan, was 6, now 7

Sample hotels going less expensive:

  • Four Points by Sheraton Kolasin, Montenegro, was 4, now 1
  • Sheraton Xian, China, was 2, now 1
  • Aloft Panama, was 2, now 1
  • Sheraton Baku Airport, Azerbaijan, was 2, now 1
  • Four Points by Sheraton Las Vegas East Flamingo, NV, was 3, now 2
  • Sheraton Pittsburgh Airport Hotel, PA, was 3, now 2
  • Four Points by Sheraton Niagara Falls, NY, was 3, now 2
  • Four Points by Sheraton San Diego, CA, was 3, now 2
  • Sheraton Cleveland Airport Hotel, OH, was 3, now 2
  • Sheraton Parco de’ Medici Rome, Italy, was 3, now 2
  • Sheraton Fuschlsee-Salzburg, Austria, was 3, now 2
  • Sheraton Grand Panama, was 3, now 2
  • GLAD Hotel Yeouido, a Member of Design Hotels, South Korea, was 3, now 2
  • Le Meridien Abu Dhabi, UAE, was 3, now 2
  • Four Points by Sheraton Miami Airport, FL, was 4, now 3
  • Aloft Cleveland Downtown, OH, was 4, now 3
  • Sheraton Chicago O’Hare Airport Hotel, IL, was 4, now 3
  • Sheraton Anchorage Hotel & Spa, AK, was 4, now 3
  • Wanderlust, Singapore, a Member of Design Hotels, was 4, now 3
  • Sheraton Samoa Beach Resort, was 4, now 3
  • Four Points by Sheraton Melbourne, Australia, was 4, now 3
  • W Doha, Qatar, was 4, now 3
  • W Istanbul, Turkey, was 4, now 3
  • W Las Vegas, was 5, now 4
  • Aloft Austin Downtown, TX, was 5, now 4
  • Le Méridien Philadelphia, PA, was 5, now 4
  • Sheraton Brooklyn New York Hotel, NY, was 5, now 4
  • Hotel La Semilla, Playa del Carmen, a Member of Design Hotels, Mexico, was 5, now 4
  • Sheraton Zurich, Switzerland, was 5, now 4
  • Le Méridien Visconti Rome, Italy, was 5, now 4
  • Sheraton Grand Rio de Janeiro Hotel & Resort, Brazil, was 5, now 4
  • Arelauquen Lodge, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina, was 5, now 4
  • W Brisbane, Australia, was 5, now 4
  • Sthala, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Ubud Bali, Indonesia, was 5, now 4
  • W Dubai, UAE, was 5, now 4
  • W New York, NY, was 6, now 5
  • W Miami, FL, was 6, now 5
  • S. Regis Istanbul, Turkey, was 6, now 5
  • Le Méridien Seoul, South Korea, was 6, now 5
  • S. Regis Dubai, UAE, was 7, now 6
  • Le Roch Hotel and Spa, Paris, a Member of Design Hotels, France, was 7, now 6

Short on Starpoints?

Earn Starpoints on the Chase Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card Click Here to get more details on this card and compare to other hotel cards!

-Starwood is offering 35% off purchases and gifts of 5K-30K Starpoints through 3/16.

For example 20K Starpoints are on sale for $455 instead of $700 or 30K Starpoints are on sale for $682.50 instead of $1,050. That’s a cost of 2.275 cents per Starpoints instead of the regular 3.5 cents per Starpoint.

Of course you also earn miles for the purchase, which makes the real cost even less.

If you have a Starwood AMEX and buy 30K Starpoints for $682.50 you will earn 1,366 Starpoints for the purchase, so effectively you’ll pay $682.50 for 31,366 Starpoints, or 2.175 cents per Starpoint.

HT: mochjas, via DDF

Where will you be booking before 3/6 and where will you be booking afterward? Hit the comments!

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19 Comments On "Last Chance! Starwood 2018 Annual Category Changes: 145 Hotels Getting More Expensive, 131 Hotels Getting Less Expensive; Book Now To Lock In Lower Rates!"

All opinions expressed below are user generated and the opinions aren’t provided, reviewed or endorsed by any advertiser or DansDeals.


The Cambrian, Adelboden, a Member of Design Hotels in Switzerland is going up to Cat. 6 from Cat. 5. 🙁


What’s the deal with the Le Meridien Chiang Mai? I stayed there a few years ago, when it was either a Cat. 1 or 2, and it was a very good deal. I recall they let me buy up to lounge/breakfast for a very modest number of points. But it is not hard to find good, affordable accommodations in Chiang Mai. When the point rates are silly in Southeast Asia, I usually just book at highly-regarded non-chain hotels, where the rates tend to be extremely good value. But even if you MUST stay at the Le Meridien, I think the published rates are still only about $120. How is that Cat. 4?


sheraton eatontown at 4k points is pretty good still, just redid hotel and near deal for food and shuls


shame sheraton telaviv is going from 5 to 6, I remember it when it was a 4 and a superb value at that. At cat 5 it was okay and now at cat 6 I will likely look elsewhere. Main reason is that the rooms are small. The variation in rooms at this property have nothing to do with size but rather how fancy they renovated them and proximity to the ocean. I have seen about 4 variations of the same room at this property.


Does this have something to do with the SPG transfer ration and the pending merger of the 2 programs ? I guess those football points weren’t free after all!


Is there any way to book now on the lower rate and then play around with the dates, or there are “change fees”?


The sheraton four points by Niagara is a real shame, i was there this past summer and it cost me $250 for 3 nights (buying from a broker) as opposed to $750 if i would of booked straight up… the place looked like the middle of Lakewood that week! Now its would cost me more then double that


Can you use marriott free nights certificate at Starwood?




Just booked Aloft Cancun, Mexico, was 2, now 3. For winter 2019 taking advantage of the 550 days in advance booking window.


Alaska vacations can be cheaper!


Just saved several thousands points for our September trip to Anchorage, AK.:).


Westin Cayman still bookable at the old rate.


Was the Sheraton Eatontown on the list for a category change? It’s now showing a category 3 after I bought starpoints to book as a category 2. Anyone got some advice?


Le Meridien Visconti in Rome has NOT been changed. Still category 5 and requires 16,000 point per night. SPG claims it was never on a list to change.


On the phone with Marriott now, and they said they aren’t allowed to order the certificate.