Coming March 1st: 2011 Starwood Category Adjustments!

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Related: Starwood Consumer AMEX Linky (The Starwood AMEX is the best credit card out there for spending!)
Starwood Business AMEX Linky

Many people use Starpoints just to transfer into airline miles.  Starwood points transfer to most airline miles at a 20,000:25,000 rate.  (Some airlines are at 20,000:12,500, others at 20,000:50,000)  But another amazing use of Starpoints is for Starwood hotels. You can redeem points with no blackout dates or capacity controls on standard rooms starting at just 2,000 points per night. When you redeem 5 consecutive nights with points the 5th night is free. There are also cash and points options that make the rooms even cheaper and help stretch your Starpoints. There are also nights and flights options that make stays even cheaper when you transfer Starpoints to miles at the same time. And of course you can also use points for upgrades to suites and much more.

The redemption points rate is determined by the category assigned to them by Starwood. This redemption category is usually assigned yearly, based on the predicted room rates for each hotel for the coming year.

Effective 03/01 some 84 hotels will go up and will now cost more Starpoints, 93 will go down and will now cost fewer Starpoints.  The vast majority of Starwood hotels will stay the same as they are now.

Here is a PDF of all the hotels that are changing categorizes, sorted by the category change.

Important: You can lock in the old rates for hotels going up in category by booking before March 1st!
Starpoint reservations are generally fully refundable until a day or so before check-in. Again, the old rate is valid for stays anytime until the end of scheduling at all Starwood hotels as long as they are booked before March 1st!

If you have a Starwood AMEX you can also borrow Starpoints from AMEX and pay them back as you spend money on the card in the future!

If you have Starpoint reservations at a hotel that is going down in category just wait until March 1st and then get it readjusted downward.

Hotels that went up in category: 84
Single category jumps:
From 1->2: 11 hotels.
From 2->3: 17 hotels.
From 3->4: 31 hotels.
From 4->5: 15 hotels.
From 5->6: 6 hotels.
From 6->7: 2 hotels.
Double category jumps:
From 2->4: 1 hotel.
From 4->6: 1 hotels.

Hotels that went down in category: 93
Single category drops:
From 2->1: 1 hotel.
From 3->2: 37 hotels.
From 4->3: 26 hotels.
From 5->4: 18 hotels.
From 6->5: 6 hotels.
From 7->6: 1 hotel.
Double category drops:
From 3->1: 1 hotel.
From 4->2: 1 hotel.
From 5->3: 1 hotel.
From 6->4: 1 hotel.

Here are some sample hotels that will change categories that caught my eye. What other hotels do you see that will affect you?

Going down:
Le Meridien Dead Sea, Israel, from 3 to 1 (Now just 2,000 Starpoints on weekends on 3,000 Starpoints on weekdays!)
Sheraton Gateway Hotel Los Angeles from 3 to 2
Le Meridien Chiang Rai Thailand Resort from 3 to 2
Westin Resort Macau from 4 to 3
Sheraton Tribeca New York from 5 to 4
W San Diego from 5 to 4.
Luxury Collection/US Grant San Diego from 5 to 4
Sheraton Hacienda Del Mar Resort & Spa Los Cabos from 5 to 4
Luxury Collection/SLS Beverly Hills from 6 to 5

Going up:
W Retreat Koh Samui from 6 to 7.
Hotel Gritti Palace, Venice from 6 to 7.
Westin Ka’anapali Maui Ocean Resort Villas from 5 to 6
The Westin Excelsior, Rome from 5 to 6
Sheraton Tel Aviv Hotel and Towers from 4 to 5
Westin Harbour Castle Toronto from 3 to 4
Sheraton JFK Airport Hotel from 3 to 4

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31 Comments on "Coming March 1st: 2011 Starwood Category Adjustments!"

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kim

what do the numbers (123etc) mean?

Dan

@kim:
They refer to how many Starpoints per night it costs to stay in that hotel.
See spg.com for more info.

Anonymous

meridian dead sea goin back to cat 1 awesome!

Dave

Is the Sheraton Steamboat resort going up too, or just the Vilas?

Chris

Glad to see Meridian Dead Sea back at Category 1.

Yam Hamelach

is there a cash and points offer for the dead sea hotel?

Bob

Whats gonna be with the le meridean eilat, up or down??

Dev

How do you borrow starpoints from Amex? I called Amex and asked about it and they said there is no such option.

Dan

@Bob:
No change.

@Dev:
Try again, it can be done.
They “advance” Starpoints just like they advance membership rewards points.

marc

dan do you think there may be a sign-up bonus on the starwood card or you think i should just sign up now?

Dan

@marc:
The signup bonus on the Starwood card is 10,000 points for your first purchase and 15,000 bonus points if you spend $15K in 6 months.

Chaim

Dan,
You say you can get starwoods points advanced.
Can you do that online or is that something which must be done over the phone with one of their reps?
If on the phone, do you call amex or spg?
Thanks!

Chaim

Also, is the basic policy the same?
borrow up to 60k and repay within one year or owe them 2.5 cents per point?

marc

dan i got declined from starwood card just now it said Your American Express Acquisition Risk Score is too high because of these reasons: Number of trades (Experian)
Amount of credit available on accounts (Experian)
Too few credit card accounts on which, in our estimation, you have paid a majority of the balance in recent months.Experian)
High utilization of credit lines or insufficient utilization information (Experian)
i have had a capital one card for around a year already what can i do to get accepted by Amex starwoods?

Jkhein

@Dan 2 questions:
1. If I make a c&p reservation on the lower rate, can I just make a date change afterwards or it has to be cancelled by them and rebooked on the new rate?

2. When are weekends considered, as to the LM dead sea lower rate?
Thanks

Jack

Anyone has any idea about what the hechsher is in the Le Meridien Dead Sea?
Tx

Jack

Anyway u can give away or book a night(s) for a friend or family member?

Dan

@Chaim:
Call AMEX for details.

@marc:
Keep trying to build your credit.
Pay off your cards multiple times a month to keep your credit utilization low.

@Jack:
Yes, you can book a room for anyone.
And you can transfer points to anyone who has the same address listed on the Starwood accounts.

Jkhein

Anyone have the answers to my questions a few posts up?
@Jack.
I was recently there the hechsher is not really the best… Its the “rabanaut bikat hayarden” the inquiries I made, was told not to eat.
I spoke to the mashgiach before I went and he told me that its possible to order glat kosher meat only with beit yosef sefardi hechsher together with your meal, when I arrived and looked for the mashgiach I heard is on site, nobody called find him for a long time and his phone was not answering.

Chaim

Dan,

I tried contacting amex to get an advance of starwoods points so that I can make a reservation before the rates go up (spg category changes). Here is their response:

“We do offer emergency loaned points to our Cardmembers on the Starwood Card and few exceptions may be made for true emergencies such as: Potential death in the family, illness of a family member, evacuation other situations where immediate travel may be needed.

However; I understand that you need some points in Starwood. In this case; what best I can suggest you is to advance as many Membership Rewards points you want up to 60,000 after utilizing all the available points and transfer to your Starwood account…”

Not very helpful as, thankfully, nobody died…Also, the rep’s command of the English language leaves much to be desired…

Have you ever had success getting amex to advance you starwoods points? What do you suggest I do?

Thanks!

Dan

@Jkhein:
Dunno.

@Chaim:
I know a client of mine was advanced Starpoints. I would call a couple times.

mendelkibel

i’ve called in the past & borrowed spg points no problem, they even give up to 2000 spg points as a ‘gift,’ that u don’t have to repay. u just call spg amex & ask. they’ll only lend u up to ur spending history, though, meaning if u only spend $500/month, they won’t advance u more than 6000 points

Bracha

Dan – I called SPG to redeem Starwood points for Le Meridiean Dead Sea and they are telling me that there is a five night minimum requirement. Is this true???

Dan

@Bracha:
I believe it’s a 3 night minimum.
In the past I’ve been able to book 3 nights and then call back to shorten the stay.

Bracha

SPG made 1 hour of phone calls to Le Meridian in Dead Sea and don’t understand the five night minimum (I do! – prob because all frum book one night only) I am booking for next week – do you think I will have a problem with calling and shortening it a few nights before the stay??

Dan

@Bracha:
You have nothing to lose by trying. Let us know what happens.
You won’t be able to book the lower rates until 03/01 though.

chai

hey dan i called a couple of times and spoke to dif agents they all said (and checked) and there will be no cat change (i asked about a couple of dif ones that were on the pdf)

Dan

@chai:
They don’t change until March 1st.

chai

all off them said it will stay in same cat through end of year and will not be going up. how can they check to find out

E

I can’t believe this – I just called to book Steamboat Springs Villas and they have already raised the rates! The CS Rep spoke to her supervisor and was told there’s nothing she can do. I’m amazed, this is really out of character for Starwood.

Dan

@chai:
They will find out soon enough ;)

@E:
Try again and ask for a manager. They will honor the old rate today.

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