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Starwood announced yesterday they’re making changes to their award chart on March 1, 2016.
There are 282 hotels changing category. Of those, 168 (~60%) are going up in price, many of which are in the US. Including some very popular hotels!
If you want to plan an award stay at a Starwood hotel, book soon if your hotel will increase in price after March 1, 2016. Because available rooms may get booked quickly.
I’ll explain the changes. And show you which hotels to book soon!
Starwood Category Changes
Link: Starwood Preferred Guest
Link: Starwood Award Chart
Starwood hotels include:
- Design Hotels
- Four Points
- Le Meridien
- St Regis
- The Luxury Collection
- Tribute Portfolio
The new categories take effect March 1, 2016. So book your hotel before then, if it’s moving to a higher category. Many folks will be doing the same thing, so book soon because there may be fewer available award rooms.
But if your hotel is moving down a category, book after March 1, 2016, because it will be cheaper! Unless there aren’t many award rooms available, in which case you might book now to lock-in your stay.
Hotels Moving to a Higher Category
There are 168 hotels moving to a higher category, many of which are in the US.
Here are a few hotels that caught my eye and their new category (all hotels have moved 1 category up). But this isn’t a comprehensive list!
- Le Meridien Munich – Category 5
- Le Meridien San Francisco – Category 6
- Sheraton Lake Buena Vista Resort – Category 3
- Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa – Category 6
- The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Ka’anapali – Category 6
- The Westin Lagunamar Ocean Resort Villas & Spa, Cancun – Category 6
- The Westin Tokyo – Category 6
- Walt Disney World Swan – Category 5
And because Walt Disney World Swan is moving to category 5, it can no longer be booked with Nights & Flights. Only category 3 & 4 hotels are eligible. This was a terrific way to save points and money on a Disney vacation!
But the Sheraton Lake Buena Vista Resort becomes a good alternative (although it’s not on Disney property) because it’s moving into category 3. So it will be eligible for Nights & Flights bookings!
Remember, if you already have a hotel booked (or book before March 1, 2016), you’ll pay the old rates.
Hotels Moving to a Lower Category
Many of the 114 hotels moving to a lower category are outside the US. And you can find a few good deals!
Check out these hotels which will cost fewer points after March 1, 2016 (again, not a comprehensive list):
- Four Points by Sheraton Miami Beach – Category 4
- Le Méridien Bali Jimbaran – Category 3
- Le Méridien Bora Bora – Category 6
- Sheraton Buganvilias Resort and Convention Center – Category 2
- The St. Regis Bangkok– Category 5
- The St. Regis Mumbai – Category 3
- The Westin Prince, Toronto – Category 3
- The Westin Puntacana Resort & Club – Category 4
Remember, you get the 5th night free on award bookings at Starwood Category 3 to Category 7 hotels. So you could save a lot of Starwood points if you wait to book.
For example, the The Westin Puntacana Resort & Club will change from a category 5 (16,000 points per night in peak season) to a category 4 (10,000 points per night). So you’ll save 24,000 Starwood points on a 5-night stay (4 nights x 6,000 points per night + the 5th night free).
Need More Starwood Points?
You’ll earn 25,000 Starwood points when you sign-up for each card and complete the minimum spending requirements.
I like using these cards for expenses that don’t otherwise earn category bonuses, like your veterinarian, barber, or hardware store!
Starwood is updating their award chart starting March 1, 2016. From that date, 282 hotels will change category. Of those, 168 will increase in price (and many are in the US!).
Be sure to book soon if your hotel is increasing in price! And keep in mind, hotels that change from category 4 to category 5 (like the Walt Disney World Swan) will NO longer be eligible for Nights & Flights bookings after the changes take effect.
Which hotels will you book before March 1, 2016? Are there any price decreases that caught your eye?