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Most in the miles and points world wince a bit when the time comes for hotels to do their annual category readjustments as it so often has meant that the properties we aspire to use points at end up requiring more points. However, this time around there were many desirable Starwood Preferred Guest properties that actually decreased in points price. Unlike with Hyatt, if you had reservations booked at one of these properties you will not automatically get a refund of the points difference now that the categories have dropped, but you can still get SPG points back with a little extra work (more on that in a moment).
First, let’s talk about some of the properties that are now a better value on SPG points. It wasn’t just some Four Points and Sheraton properties in the middle of nowhere that got cheaper on points this time, but instead we saw some big name SPG hotels go down in points price this year. I highly recommend you check out the full list here, but I’ll highlight 11 different examples of SPG hotels that cost fewer points today than they did last week so you can stretch the points earned from SPG stays or your use of the Starwood Preferred Guest Amex.
1. The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Ka’anapali down from a Category 6 to a Category 5 (20,000 – 25,000 points down to 12,000 – 16,000 points per night)
Kuddos to this beach-front Hawaiian hotel for taking advantage of the lower category to advertise that SPG fans should use their points there!
I haven’t stayed at this property, but I have walked by it along Ka’anapali Beach, and I would not hesitate to stay there during a future family vacation to Maui. The beach-front location, good pool complex, room refresh, and more make it a great deal for a family vacation at 12,000 SPG points per night.
2. The St. Regis Rome down from a Category 7 to a Category 6 (30,000 – 35,000 points down to 20,000 – 25,000 points per night)
A drop from a SPG Category 7 to a Category 6 is a big deal as it knocks roughly 10,000 points per night off the price! So, if you want to take advantage of the also dropping euro, this looks like a beautiful and historic property to headquarter out of for your stay in Rome. There are 138 guest rooms and 23 suites that are decorated in a combination of Empire, Regency and Louis XV styles. The hotel looks like it is something out of a movie to me, and it is also close to many popular Rome attractions such as Trevi Fountain, Spanish steps, and more. I very much hope to stay here one day!
3. Sheraton Mountain Vista Villas, Avon / Vail Valley down from a Category 5 to a Category 4 (12,000 – 16,000 points down to 10,000 points) – now a killer deal for Nights and Flights!
This hotel should now be on every ski family’s radar as a Category 4 SPG hotel not only because it can be booked for 10,000 points per night or 5,000 points per night + $75, but because as a Category 4 hotel you can use Nights and Flights to book a 5 night stay for 70,000 points that also comes with 50,000 airline miles that you can use however you wish.
The hotel is not the fanciest property in the Beaver Creek area, but the standard rooms are one-bedroom villas with a kitchenette which can be great for families looking to save on a ski vacation.
4. Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa down from a Category 6 to a Category 5 (20,000 – 25,000 points down to 12,000 – 16,000 points per night)
Just like the Westin Maui, the Sheraton Maui is also located on the Ka’anapali Beach, which is a great spot for families. I haven’t stayed there, but I have had a great time snorkeling at Black Rock that is literally just off the beach from the hotel. Given the same points price, I’d probably give preference to the Westin over the Sheraton, but both are in a great spot for family fun in the sun.
5. Le Méridien Budapest down from a Category 4 to a Category 3 (10,000 points down to 7,000 points per night)
Another spot to take advantage of the falling euro is Budapest and a stay at the Le Meridian Budapest that is now just 7,000 points per night! This hotel has just over 200 rooms and is located a short distance from the historical town and only five minutes to the River Danube.
6. W Paris – Opéra down from a Category 7 to a Category 6 (30,000 – 35,000 points down to 20,000 – 25,000 points per night)
Continuing the theme of some high tier properties decreasing category in Europe is the W Paris – Opéra. This property is located near the Opéra Garnier, and is a more boutique property in Paris with just 91 rooms in total, but it is now much more attainable on points as a Category 6 than a top tier Category 7.
7. Sheraton Steamboat Resort Villas down from a Category 7 to a Category 6 (30,000 – 35,000 points down to 20,000 – 25,000 points per night)
The Sheraton Steamboat Resort Villas are located in Steamboat and are an option if you think a villa arrangement is a better set-up for your family than a hotel room. They are still pricey as a Category 6 hotel, but less than they were as a Category 7. Also keep in mind that the Sheraton Steamboat Resort is just 10,000 points per night and the villas will be 20,000 – 25,000 points per night.
8. The Westin Riverfront Mountain Villas, Beaver Creek Mountain down from a Category 5 to a Category 5 (20,000 – 25,000 points down to 12,000 – 16,000 points per night)
Just like in Steamboat, there are both villas and standard hotel rooms available in Beaver Creek and they are priced differently. I’ve stayed at both (reviews here) and the villas are good if you want a small kitchen and washer/dryer. I prefer the hotel if you can secure an upgrade to the one-bedroom, but that isn’t always possible in every situation. The villas were pricier than the hotel rooms as a Category 6 vs a Category 5, but now both options are Category 5’s, so you can choose the one best for your family.
9. Sheraton Heathrow Hotel down from a Category 3 to a Category 2 (7,000 points down to 3,000 – 4,000 points per night)
This is not a fancy hotel, but it does the trick for an overnight at Heathrow. Almost everything is expensive in London, but at just 3,000 – 4,000 points per night, this hotel is a relative bargain. We stayed here a couple years ago, and it did the trick for a night near the airport. At that low of a points price, I would absolutely stay here again.
10. Le Méridien Vienna down from a Category 5 to a Category 4 (12,000 – 16,000 points down to 10,000 points per night)
This hotel as a Category 4 is also now eligible for nights and flights if you find yourself wanting 5 nights in Vienna. The hotel actually looks a little funky, but in a good way. One Mile at a Time had a good stay there a few years back that should give you a feel for the property. Point Me to the Plane also has a slightly more recent write-up of the hotel.
11. Sheraton Fuerteventura Beach, Golf & Spa Resort Canary Isle dropping from a Category 3 to a Category 2 (7,000 points to 3,000 – 4,000 points per night)
Finally, I wanted to mention a beach resort that goes for just 3,000 – 4,000 points per night. I know SPG points are hard to earn, so it is important to be aware of the low cost point redemptions around the world in case they align with your family’s travel goals. This resort is located on the Canary Islands (off the coast of Morocco), and it looks to be a really solid family travel destination if you find yourself in that part of the world.
In addition to being able to make new reservations at some of these now more attainable SPG properties, you will want to check and see if any of your existing reservations can be re-booked at the lower points prices in order to save. Unfortunately, you cannot just have your existing reservations adjusted to get a points refund if the category dropped, but instead you will have to book a whole new points reservation and cancel the old one. Update: While this process does not happen without you prompting it, there are many reports that agents can adjust old reservations to the new rates.
This means that you have to still be outside the cancellation window for your original reservation and there has to still be availability to book your new reservation.
If possible, I recommend making the new reservation before cancelling the old one in order to avoid any nasty surprises with availability. Also be aware that your existing reservations will reflect the new points price in your account, but you will be refunded the number of points you actually paid.
Do you have any points coming back to your or hotels now on your radar thanks to the SPG category adjustments?
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.