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Both SPG and Marriott have announced a slew of changes to the categories of their properties. This year’s changes impact 276 SPG properties, and a stifling number of Marriott properties: over 1,300 are changing category. Although Marriott now owns Starwood, the changes to SPG hotels are relatively benign with roughly the same number of properties going up as going down in category.

The Marriott change, on the other hand, is more of a devaluation, with four times as many properties going up as going down in category. The changes don’t kick in until March 6, 2018, and you have until then to book at lower rates — or if you happen to have booked a property at a higher rate and it drops, you can call to be rebooked at the lower rate.

Here are some properties we'd suggest booking prior to the March 6th deadline.

Starwood Hotel

Changes To SPG Hotels

Most of the negative changes (where a hotel is going up in category) are happening in the US. In total 91 properties in the US are changing category with 42 increasing and 49 dropping. Some of the highlights of the change include:

  • The Westin Charlotte, which goes from category 4 to 5, will now set you back 12,000 to 16,000 Starpoints for a night
  • The Aloft New York LaGuardia Airport also jumps from a category 4 to a category 5 hotel and will now cost 12,000 to 16,000 Starpoints for a night
  • Fortunately, the W in New York and the W in Miami are both dropping a category from a 6 to 5.

In the rest of the world, the changes follow a similar pattern with an almost even spread of properties moving up and down. Highlights of the changes in the rest of the world include:

  • Africa and the Middle East Sheraton Tel Aviv Hotel moves from a category 5 to 6 and will now cost 20,000 to 25,000 Starpoints per night
  • In Dubai, the Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort & Spa is dropping from a 6 to a 5 and will now cost 12,000 to 16,000 Starpoints for a night
  • In Japan, the St. Regis Osaka moves up from a category 6 to 7, now priced at 30,000 to 35,000 Starpoints per night.

Marriott Rewards Category Changes

Changes To Marriott Rewards

The situation with Marriott is different with over 1,300 hotels changing category. Although the changes are significant, they mainly affect mid-tier properties in the US. Highlights of the changes in the US include:

  • The Courtyard Anaheim Theme Park Entrance moves from a category 8 to a category 9, and will now cost up to 45,000 points per night
  • The JW Marriott Washington, DC also moves from an 8 to a 9
  • The Los Angeles Airport Marriott drops from a 7 to a category 6 property, and will now cost up to 30,000 points per night
  • The Atlanta Marriott Suites Midtown also drops from a 7 to a 6

Changes in the rest of the world tend to mirror changes in the US, with most properties affected being in mid-tier categories. Highlights include:

  • The Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach Resort & Spa moves from a category 7 to an 8, and will now cost 40,000 points
  • The St. Ermin's Hotel, Autograph Collection in London is now a category 9 hotel pricing at up to 45,000 points per night
  • L'Hermitage Gantois, Autograph Collection in Nice France, drops from a category 7 to a 6, and will cost 30,000 points per night
  • The Venezuela Marriott Hotel Playa Grande drops from a category 5 to 4, and will now cost up to 20,000 points per night

Our Take

While these changes affect a large number of properties, overall it is not too bad, especially on the SPG side. The reevaluation could have been much worse with many more properties seeing their categories hiked. Luckily with the changes coming into effect on March 6, 2018, there is still plenty of time to organize your travel and make sure you get the best value. If your hotel is going up then book ASAP, on the other hand, if it is going down then you should wait. How do you think the changes will affect your stay choices in the coming months?

SPG & Marriott: Big Changes To Award Categories in 2018
5 (100%) 4 votes
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