Starwood Award Chart Changes: Which Hotels You Should (and Should Not!) Book Before March 10, 2015

Disclosure: We get a commission for links on the blog. You don’t have to use our links, but we’re very grateful when you do. American Express, Barclaycard, Chase, and US Bank are Million Mile Secrets advertising partners. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or endorsed by our partners. Here’s our Advertiser Disclosure.

Update:   One or more card offers in this post are no longer available.  Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers. 

If you haven’t booked your Starwood hotels for the year, there are some hotels you should book now.

That’s because Starwood is making changes to their award chart on March 10, 2015.

On March 10, 2015, 130 hotels will move up a category and 138 will move down a category.  All the European hotels on the list are moving down and will cost fewer points.

Starwood Award Chart Changes Which Hotels You Should And Should Not Book Before March 10, 2015

130 Starwood Hotels Will Cost More Points on March 10, 2015, Including the Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel & Casino

While that seems like a lot of hotels, there are 1,206 Starwood hotels worldwide.  Let’s look at the changes.

Starwood Category Changes

Link:   Starwood Award Chart Category Changes

Link:   Starwood Award Chart

The changes begin on March 10, 2015.   So book your hotel before then, if you’re booking a hotel that’s moving up a category.  But if your hotel is moving down a category you should wait because it will be cheaper!

Starwood hotels include:

If you’re new to Starwood or want to learn more, here’s my series on Starwood hotels.

And remember you can get Starwood points quickly with the sign-up bonuses to the Starwood personal (Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express) and business (Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express) cards. 

Starwood Award Chart Changes Which Hotels You Should And Should Not Book Before March 10, 2015

You’ll Pay Fewer Points Booking the St. Regis Rome After March 10, 2015

Hotels Moving to a Higher Category

There are 130 hotels moving to a higher category.  However, most are in the lower and mid-tier categories.

And there are several hotels moving from Category 4 to Category 5 like the W San Diego which means you will NOT be able to book these using Starwood’s Nights & Flights.

That’s because only Category 3 and Category 4 hotels can be booked with Nights & Flights.

Here are a few hotels that will cost more Starwood points per night and their new category:

Note:  This is not a comprehensive list, just a few recommendations from the long list of hotels increasing in cost.

If you already have a hotel booked or book before March 10, 2015, you’ll pay the old award chart rates.

Starwood Award Chart Changes Which Hotels You Should And Should Not Book Before March 10, 2015

You Will Not Be Able to Use Nights & Flights at The Westin New Orleans Canal Place After March 10, 2015

Hotels Moving to a Lower Category

Most of the 138 hotels moving to a lower category are in the middle tiers, including 1 that I’m excited about, The St. Regis Rome.  Emily and I wanted to stay there on our 2nd anniversary but we had a lot of Hilton points so we used those instead.  Maybe we’ll stay there on our 3rd anniversary.

Here are the hotels that will cost fewer Starwood points per night and their new category:

Note:  Again, this isn’t the entire list!  These are just some of the interesting hotels that will cost fewer Starwood points.

Because you get the 5th night free at Category 3 to Category 7 hotels you could save a lot of Starwood points if you wait to book.

For example, the Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas is going from a Category 7 to a Category 6 so you’ll save 10,000 Starwood points a night.  On a 4-night stay you’ll save 40,000 Starwood points and get the last night free!

Starwood Award Chart Changes Which Hotels You Should And Should Not Book Before March 10, 2015

The Vedema, a Luxury Collection Resort, Santorini Is Going Down a Category

Because the US dollar is so strong right now compared to the euro, all European hotels on the list are moving down a category.  That’s because their room values have gone down relative to the US dollar.

It’s similar for Canadian hotels.  Of the 17 hotels changing category in Canada, there are only 2 moving up.  The rest are going to a lower category, and it’s also because of the exchange rate.

Note: Starwood isn’t the only hotel to update their award chart.  Both Hilton and Hyatt also made changes earlier this year.  

Bottom Line

Starwood is changing their award chart for bookings made starting March 10, 2015.

There are 130 hotels moving to a higher category.  So you’ll pay more Starwood points for stays at hotels like The St. Regis San Francisco.  And some hotels will no longer be available for Nights & Flights like the W San Diego.

But 138 hotels are moving to a lower category which means you’ll pay less at hotels like the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa.  And you can now use Nights & Flights at hotels like the Hotel Excelsior, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Naples.

How will Starwood’s new award chart affect you?

* If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 25,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

Editorial Disclaimer: Neither the responses below nor the editorial content on this page are provided or commissioned by the bank advertisers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertisers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers’ responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

9 responses to “Starwood Award Chart Changes: Which Hotels You Should (and Should Not!) Book Before March 10, 2015

  1. All the European hotels on the list are moving down in categories:
    That must be because the EUR/USD (Euro / U.S. Dollar) exchange rate has gone from touching 1.4000 (i.e. 1.4 U.S. dollars per Euro) in May 2014 to 1.1245 right now — almost a 20% drop in the value of the Euro, and therefore a 20% fall in the price of anything priced in Euros when being purchased with U.S. Dollars.

  2. I booked the Rome Westin Excelsior just a few weeks ago. Now that the Rome St. Regis is downgraded to category 6, the same as the Westin. Before it was a question of dealing with 25k points per night and 35k points, but if they’re all the same now, I would much rather stay at the St. Regis. Is there an easy way to transfer my reservation to the St. Regis without penalties?

  3. So, if I have already booked one of the hotels in Europe that are going down a category is there anyway I can change my booking to take advantage of spending fewer points?

  4. American Express now only allow you to receive bonus once. I reapply for the card 2 years of the other one but they refuse to give me the SPg points because they said that I already received the sign in bonus many years back. So basically, once per lifetime.

  5. Apparently not all the European hotels on the list are moving down and will cost fewer points. I don’t see Le Méridien, Barcelona on the list. I was excited thinking my stay there this summer would be for fewer points but it’s not on the list. I see the Four Points is going down but it’s the only one of the three in Barcelona that’s changing.

  6. Oh now I see. All the European hotels “on the list” are going down, not all the European hotels.

  7. So if I already booked a hotel that is going down a category, can I call Starwood and ask them to credit me the points difference, or should I just wait until March 10th and then cancel my reservation and immediately rebook it at the new rate?

  8. I have the same question. My glitch however could be that I have booked cash and points at the old rate and now I see there is no cash and points option available. So I can’t cancel and rebook. It will be interesting to see what they do after March 10 but I am not very hopeful.

  9. Sheraton Maui went up to 6 in 2014 and going back down to 5 2015? Is that odd to anyone else?