The major hotel loyalty programs often make adjustments to their hotel categories, sometimes on an annual basis. With these changes they’re not adjusting the number of points required for a stay at a particular category of hotel, but rather are changing which hotels are in which categories.
Several weeks ago, both Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest revealed their 2018 hotel category changes, which kick in as of tomorrow, Tuesday, March 6, 2018. So if you haven’t yet made any bookings, you have just hours left to redeem points with Marriott and Starwood before prices change (I’m not positive which timezone they use, so I’d plan on midnight eastern time to be on the safe side).
These category changes aren’t exclusively positive or negative, as some hotels are going up in price, while others are going down in price. Whether or not it makes sense to book now depends on which hotel you’re looking to redeem at.
Here are the basics of these changes:
- Here’s my post about Starwood Preferred Guest’s 2018 category changes, and here’s the full list of hotels changing categories
- 276 SPG hotels will be changing categories, which represents about 17% of their hotels — about 9% of hotels will be moving down in category, and about 8% of hotels will be moving up in category
- Here’s my post about Marriott Rewards’ 2018 category changes, and here’s the full list of hotels changing categories
- 1,330 Marriott Rewards hotels will be changing categories, which represents about 26% of their hotels — about 5% of hotels will be moving down in category, and about 21% of hotels will be moving up in category
The St. Regis Dubai is decreasing in category
As you can see, Marriott’s changes are much worse than Starwood’s, as a higher percentage of properties are increasing in price. This is a consistent trend with Marriott, and it’s a quiet way in which they devalue their points year after year, since more and more hotels are in the higher categories.
Typically these category changes are supposed to reflect projected occupancy and average daily rates at the hotels over the coming year, so these changes largely reflect general trends in cities, rather than the specifics of a hotel.
Are you making any last minute bookings before tomorrow’s Marriott and Starwood category changes?