In late February, Starwood announced their annual hotel category changes, which kicked in for bookings made as of March 10, 2015.
Every year Starwood adjusts which hotels belong to which categories, to better reflect the anticipated average daily rate and occupancy for the hotel.
While most hotel category changes across the industry the past few years have been a bloodbath, this year’s Starwood changes were actually arguably positive, depending on where you like to redeem your points:
- 22% of hotels changed categories
- 10.49% of hotels moved up in category
- 11.78% of hotels moved down in category
Anyway, these changes have now kicked in, so if you have an award booking at a Starwood property that has gone down in category, you’ll want to call to rebook.
Keep in mind that while other chains (like Hyatt) can just credit you the difference in points, Starwood actually requires you to cancel and rebook in order to receive the difference in points. This means that:
- You can’t be within the cancellation deadline of your stay
- There still needs to be free night availability for your dates
As a general rule of thumb, we’re seeing a lot of hotel category decreases in Asia/Pacific and Europe, and there are also a good number of properties going down in category in Latin America and North America.
Just to give a personal example of how these changes are impacting me, I’m headed to Munich later in the summer. Le Meridien Munich just switched from a Category 5 to Category 4 property, meaning it went from 12,000 Starpoints to 10,000 Starpoints per night.
King room at Le Meridien Munich
The lowest refundable rate for my nights is 247EUR (~$263).
I value Starpoints at ~2.2 cents each, so to me 10,000 Starpoints are worth ~$220. Previously redeeming Starpoints was basically breakeven at best, while now it makes sense. Though still only marginally so. Perhaps the takeaway is just how weak the Euro has become. 😀
Have you rebooked any Starwood stays under the new 2015 award rates?