Starwood announces 2013 hotel category changes

You’ve gotta give Starwood credit for announcing their 2013 hotel category changes the morning after Hilton completely destroys any value that can be had from their HHonors program. Starwood could literally raise their prices 50% across the board right now and none of us would be shocked/angry compared to Hilton.

But they didn’t, and instead they just made their annual hotel category adjustment. That means they’re not creating any new categories or changing the prices of categories, but rather adjusting which hotels belong in which category. In this Milepoint post they shared a PDF with which properties are going up in price and which are going down in price as of March 5, 2013. As a reminder, these new prices apply for reservations made on or after March 5, so you can always make a reservation now for stays after that date to lock in the old rates.

But this does seem to be a pretty major devaluation as well, as fewer than 50 properties are going down in price, while over 200 are going up in price. And this is in addition to their devaluation of cash & points which was announced about a month ago and kicks in on March 5 as well.

This is just turning into a really, really crappy year on the loyalty program front. 2012 was a year of complacency, while 2013 seems to be the year of change, and not for the better.


  1. After yesterday’s terrible Hilton shenanigans, this looks great. And to be honest it’s not that bad and what I would expect as far as changes go. For all the hotels that are going up in points, it amounts to anywhere from a 1000 point increase (cat 1 to 2) to a 5000 point increase (cat 6 to 7). Nothing like the doubling of current rates for Hilton 50K to 95K. I just thought I was getting started with Hilton but good riddance, I’m going to burn my points ASAP and cancel my two new credit cards once they reach about six months. I’ll stick with Hyatt, Club Carlson, Priority Club/Starwood in that order for all future revenue and points stays.

  2. Also to add, had Hilton simply introduced two new categories at say 60K and 70K a night and put all of the future top few categories in 70K and future next two categories in 60K, it’d have been far better. To nearly double is inexcusable.

  3. I would love to see some of you very talented bloggers at boardingarea revisit, in depth, the debate of whether it’s worth it to remain loyal to one, two or three major hotel programs, or if these recent devaluations have made booking options like hotwire and priceline more attractive.
    When we have high status at some of these high-end chains, there is daily savings to be had in free internet, breakfast, etc. But I think that now more than ever, the leisure traveler has less incentive to chase hotel loyalty programs and their points.

  4. More importantly, I want to know where those category increases were

    Going from 1 to 2 or 4 to 5 is pretty insignificant and wouldn’t sway me at all

    Going from 6 to 7 is irrelevant to me because I’d never spend 20K+ on a night anyways

    The really crucial one is how many C5’s are becoming C6’s… that’s the one that lets you know how bad this deval is

  5. Took a look. It’s bad, but obviously nothing compared to Hilton, and probably not even as bad as Marriott

    Few properties moved from C5–>C6 and that’s where the real big deval lies

    At best, it might sway some of my business towards Hyatt and CC, but I’m not losing any sleep

  6. This needs to stop x__x. I wrote an e-mail to HHonors. Hope they loose some of us so they wake up and offer new incentives. Worried about the Amex Awards going away too =(

  7. I think this combined with the recent C&P devaluation is just about as bad as Hilton, if we’re being honest. I’m talking about the value of points for average person.

  8. I disagree Nick. C&P devaluation and this are bad by everyday standards

    The Hilton devaluation is bad on historical standards. if there has been a worse devaluation in a relevant program as bad as this, I don’t remember it

  9. An example is the Aloft Brooklyn; its old C&P rate was 2800 + $45 now it is 6000 + $110, this is well over a 100% devaluation! But everyone is going easy on them in comparison to Hilton.

  10. Man NYC is getting locked down hard, both downtown Brooklyn hotels go to cat 5, best Starwood option remaining is Four Points Long Island City at cat 4 (10k/night). PC and Wyndham both locked down their easy deals as well (~60-120/night). Hilton now into the stratosphere. Oh well, it was nice while it lasted!

  11. I don’t mind the C&P increases, especially in NYC… because there’s never any availability fr C&P in NYC anyway. Maybe now, at the higher rate, we’ll see some. But saying the Aloft Brooklyn used to be 2800+$45 isn’t actually true.

    On the other hand, the Aloft going from 7000 to 12000… well, that’s substantial. Last December I was there on the nights and flights program. For 60K points I got 5 nights and a 50K mile transfer to SQ.

    Now the Aloft is priced out of N&F entirely, and 5 nights will cost 40K.

  12. I did 70 nights in a Hilton brand last year. I let them know this morning they lost my business with their new rules and will be shifting to SPG. I know SPG won’t do a status match, but I’m going to do the Platinum Challenge and will move all my business over to SPG. Nice work Hilton, and even better work SPG!

  13. @Nick,

    That’s 1 limited example of a feature that wasn’t available most nights anyways

    It can hardly be compared to a chain wide devaluation of 50-100% on standard rates for just about every property that isn’t a Homewood Suits or Hampton Inn in the middle of nowhere

    This starwood deval comes out to about a 20-30% devluation for about 20% of their hotels. Hilton is a much larger deval on a much larger % of their portfolio

  14. Bummer. Le Meridien at Khao Lak and Koh Samui both jumping a category and Sheraton Nha Trang also jumping up one. Had been planning on those in the next 2-3 years.

    Earn and burn…

  15. What they have done is effectively the same as Hilton, which is eliminate some of the best sweet spots in the program. And in Hilton’s program many properties actually went down.

  16. I am done! Cancelling my SPG credit card tomorrow! Hilton was cancelled last week!

    We all need to cancel their cards for them to realize we do not need them

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