The 2017 Marriott and Starwood Category Changes You Need to Know About

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Today brings some good news and bad news from Marriott and Starwood as they are announcing their annual category readjustments that take effect on March 7, 2017. The bad news is that whenever there are category changes of course some properties you have your eye on go up in price.

 

However, after looking over the lists both from Marriott and Starwood I have to say that on the whole it isn’t that terrible. There are a couple properties that I hate to see increase in price, but there are also some coming down in points price that I am equally happy about. In other words, given how brutal these things can be, this one was more like a flu shot than major dental work.

Marriott Category Price Changes.jpg

The new points prices take effect March 7th, but you can make your reservations prior to that date at the current award rates as far into the future as the schedule allows. With Marriott that is 50 weeks out and with Starwood it is about 18 months out.

Marriott 2017 Category Changes

With Marriott I keyed in on the properties that are either going from a 5 to a 6 or a 6 to a 5, and thus taking themselves in or out of contention for the base level Air + Hotel packages and other Category 1 – 5 Marriott certificates. In total 23% of the total Marriott properties are changing categories, and of those 60% go up in price and 40% come down.

Some of the Marriott properties moving to/from a 5 or 6 are:

  • Renaissance Curacao Resort & Casino 5 to 6
  • Renaissance Sao Paulo Hotel 6 to a 5
  • Delta St. John’s 6 to 5
  • Renaissance Santiago 6 to 5
  • Santiago Marriott Hotel 6 to 5
  • Venezuela Marriott Hotel Playa Grande 6 to 5
  • Canyon Lodge, Autograph Collection 6 to 5
  • Courtyard Miami Coconut Grove 6 to 5
  • Fort Lauderdale Marriott North 6 to 5
  • Renaissance Austin Hotel 6 to 5
  • Stone Mountain Inn 6 to 5
  • Gaylord National 6 to 5

Gaylord National

Starwood 2017 Category Changes

Starwood has fewer properties in general, so it is easier to take a closer look at all of their 325 properties changing categories. Of those, 63% are moving down in category and 37% are going up. Most that are changing are just moving one category up or down, though a couple were hopping two categories. Below I have highlighted some of the larger changes and more popular properties that caught my eye. You can view the full Starwood list here.

  • Four Points by Sheraton Havana 6 to 5
  • The Westin Palace, Milan 6 to 5
  • Le Westin Resort & Spa, Tremblant, Quebec 4 to 5
  • Le Méridien Bora Bora 6 to 7
  • The Westin Fort Lauderdale 3 to 4
  • The Westin Riverwalk, San Antonio 5 to 4
  • The Park Central San Francisco 6 to 5
  • The Westin Austin Downtown 6 to 5
  • Aloft Austin Downtown 4 to 5
  • La Posada de Santa Fe, A Tribute Portfolio Resort & Spa 4 to 5
  • Element Austin Downtown 5 to 4
  • Four Points by Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Airport/Cruise Port 4 to 2
  • W New Orleans – French Quarter 6 to 5
  • The Westin Toronto Airport 2 to 4
  • Sheraton Steamboat Resort Villas (SSR) 6 to 5
Le Westin Resort & Spa, Tremblant

Le Westin Resort & Spa, Tremblant

I’m personally the saddest to see the Le Westin Resort & Spa Tremblant going from a 4 to a 5 as that one is on my radar in the coming years for a Canadian ski vacation. I am happiest to see the Sheraton Steamboat Resort Villas come down from a 6 to a 5 to match the category of the adjacent Sheraton Steamboat hotel as they are in a prime family ski location and falling from a 6 to a 5 is a major points swing! Thought truthfully I am happiest about the properties that simply didn’t change at all because there are some real gems in the SPG line-up.

How will the 2017 annual Starwood and Marriott category changes impact you?

Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.

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  1. If I book before March, do I get the current category? Planning to use my 7 night certificate in Curacao next January, and as of right now, it’s not open for booking. Hoping this isn’t the reason!

      • Of course, the hotel hasn’t opened up their rooms yet. Marriott told me to call back in a couple of weeks. Wondering if they will work with me should the rooms still not be available by 3/6 …. i.e. giving me a Cat 6 certificate to use so I can book when the hotel becomes available. Any suggestions?

        • @momsinc – I was looking at the Renaissance Curacao for my 7 Night Certificate in January too! (such a great deal at a category 5). I hadn’t looked at availability yet…guess I’ll check in a couple of weeks. Here’s hoping we can get it booked by March 7! : )

          • @ zen life and travel Katie……..I’m contemplating booking another week that IS open and just changing the dates……..thinking that might be my best bet……the reservationist did say that she thought Marriott rewards would “work with me”…….fingers crossed……..:)

  2. If you haven’t skied in Québec, I’d more recommend the area of the Charlevoix that is 45-60 minutes NE of the provincial capital. I’ve skied at both Mont Ste Anne and Stoneham, though the jewel, with the most vertical drop in the entire province, is Le Massif. It was considered the site for a potential Olympic Winter Games bid but came just a tad short of qualifying for the downhill.

    Tremblant is great if you’re looking at solely a destination resort, but that’s it’s true advantage: It’s quite far from Montréal and is not even the most challenging skiing in the province.

    • I 100% agree. If you are going to come to Eastern Canada to ski, Mont Ste. Anne and Le Massif are both fantastic mountains and both have great kids programs at a substantial savings to what you would pay in the US. Much better than Tremblant.

      Le Massif looks like you are going to ski into the St. Lawrence as the mountain goes right to the water. It is unlike anywhere you have ever skied and you park at the top with over 2,500′ of vertical drop. There are no resort facilities there so you are better off staying at Mont Ste. Anne or Quebec and driving for the day.

      • Thanks for the info!! I do enjoy the comforts of a resort since we have little kids, and of course enjoy a points-friendly hotel. I also give preference to long and smooth blue runs for the whole family over intense challenging drop-offs, but these are all places to keep on the radar!

        • Mount Ste. Anne has all of the typical ski resort amenities with on mountain accomidations. There is no where to use points I am afraid. Le Massif does not. Both have pleany of blue runs to enjoy, though Mont Ste. Anne has more. Le Massif is generally a more challenging mountain.

          Either way Quebec City is, in my opinion, the most beautiful City in North America and well worth a visit any time of year. There are plenty of hotels to use points at there. The Hilton is particularly well located. Quebec is only 1/2 hour to Mont Ste. Anne and 1 hour to Le Massif if you want to stay In a major city and add some skiing.

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