With the Club Carlson award chart changes announced yesterday and the Starwood Preferred Guest changes that were announced today, I think we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief. Yes, some hotels are getting more expensive on points, but neither of these changes included an adjustment to the award chart itself the way that Hyatt did earlier this year or HHonors did last year. The SPG changes announced today impact just 20% of hotels, and of these 56% are moving down and 44% are moving up in category. This is a normal type or realignment that happens each year around this time.
The SPG changes take place on March 4, 2014, so you have a couple of weeks to lock in an advance reservation at the current rates in the event the hotel you want is going up in category. You can view a full list of the changes here, but I will highlight some of the changes that jump out at me as being potentially more interesting than others.
Award Chart Summary (see full award chart here):
Category 1: 3,000 points per night (weekends 2,000)
Category 2: 4,000 points per night (weekends 3,000)
Category 3: 7,000 points per night
Category 4: 10,000 points per night
Category 5: 12,000 – 16,000 points per night
Category 6: 20,000 – 25,000 points per night
Category 7: 30,000 – 35,000 points per night
Sampling of Hotels Decreasing in Category:
Four Points by Sheraton Orlando Studio City (2 to 1)
Sheraton Lake Buena Vista Resort (3 to 2)
Four Points by Sheraton Niagara Falls (3 to 2)
Sheraton At The Falls Hotel, Niagara Falls (3 to 2)
The Westin Resort & Spa, Puerto Vallarta (3 to 2)
Four Points by Sheraton Toronto Airport (3 to 2)
Four Points by Sheraton Destin-Fort Walton Beach (4 to 3)
Wildwood Snowmass (5 to 4)
The St. Regis Beijing (6 to 5)
The Westin Tokyo (6 to 5)
Hotel National, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Moscow (6 to 5)
Sampling of Hotels Increasing in Category:
Sheraton Garden Grove – Anaheim South Hotel (2 to 3)
Four Points by Sheraton Munich Olympiapark (3 to 4)
Sheraton Anchorage Hotel & Spa (3 to 4)
Four Points by Sheraton French Quarter (3 to 4)
Sheraton Mountain Vista Villas, Avon / Vail Valley (4 to 5)
Four Points by Sheraton Miami Beach (4 to 5)
The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa (4 to 5)
W San Francisco (5 to 6)
Sheraton Waikiki (5 to 6)
Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa (5 to 6)
The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Ka’anapa (5 to 6)
W Austin (5 to 6)
The St. Regis Rome (6 to 7)
Summary and Analysis:
It is always sad to see hotels you like go up in price, but in general these changes are mild. The ones that hurt the most are hotels jumping from 5 to 6 or 6 to 7. I would certainly pay special attention to those hotels to see if you might want to lock some advance reservations in now. The Sheraton Mountain Vista Villas in Avon were one of the very best family friendly ski deals out there, so I would also pay attention to that one going from a 4 to a 5 to see if you can lock something in now. As a Category 4, it is eligible for Nights and Flights, but that option will go away as a Category 5. Wildwood Snowmass going down from a 5 to a 4 will make it an even better deal and make Nights and Flights an option at that ski property.
The SPG properties in Hawaii are almost all now very expensive, which is sad to see. Many of the SPG Hawaii properties increased last year, so a continuation of this trend I suppose is not surprising, but a good reason to lock some stuff in now if you can. If you want a family trip to Niagara Falls then those options will now be very affordable – especially on the weekends at just 3,000 points per night.
I’ll be making a few speculative bookings ahead of the March 4th changes and encourage you to consider doing this same. What do you think of the overall changes?