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:
- Three Days Left To Lock In SPG Category 5 Point Stays In Israel!
- One Week Left To Lock In Stays At The SPG Niagara Falls Bargain!
- Get 35% Off The Purchase Of Starwood Starpoints: Take Advantage Of These Awesome Redemptions (Including Niagara Falls) Before It’s Too Late!
Read about previous category changes:
- Starwood 2017 Annual Category Changes
- Starwood 2016 Annual Category Changes
- Starwood 2015 Annual Category Changes
- Starwood 2014 Annual Category Changes
- Starwood 2013 Category Changes
- Starwood 2012 Category Changes
- 2011 Starwood Category Adjustments
- 2010 had no Starwood category changes
- 2009 Starwood Category Adjustments
- 2008 Starwood Category Adjustments
- Starwood 2007 Changes: Launch Of Worldwide Cash+Points Awards (The good old days of Starwood in Israel)
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?
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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.
Where will you be booking before 3/6 and where will you be booking afterward? Hit the comments!