Starwood has just announced that they’ll be updating their cash & points redemption chart starting March 5,2013!
Here’s their new cash & points chart as of March 5:
And as a point of reference here’s their current cash & points chart:
Basically it seems to be an across the board devaluation of roughly 20-25% in both cash and points. The one exception is category seven properties, as cash & points only became available at those properties mid last year, and I find those redemptions to be disproportionately expensive as it is.
This is definitely a big disappointment, though Starwood is claiming they’re doing this in part to expand cash & points availability. While award redemptions on points aren’t capacity controlled, cash & points redemptions are heavily capacity controlled. So if they actually do expand availability this might not be horrible.
Compared to actually only using points for a free night redemption, cash & points is still a better value, but not by that much before. For reference here’s the free nights award redemption chart:
So with these changes it still makes sense to redeem for cash & points since you’d be getting less than two cents of value per Starpoint spent if you chose to do a free night redemption over a cash & points redemption. That being said, the new rates are approaching the “breakeven” cost of a free night redemption vs. cash & points, so I really do hope this translates to a lot more cash & points availability.
Along with this change they’re also adding cash & points redemptions at all category one and two properties worldwide, while they were previously limited to certain regions. Lastly, they’re allowing premium room and suite redemtions using cash & points. I can’t say either of those options interest me especially, though I guess it’s a nice option for some to have.
On the whole this is a devaluation and a disappointing change, though I really don’t think we can blame Starwood, given for how long they kept rates the same.
Anyway, we still have about six weeks to book stays at the old levels, so I’m definitely going to be doing some speculative bookings and advance planning for my travels later this year.