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On the heels of the Hilton’s big news when it comes to award prices and its loyalty program in general, Marriott and Starwood have announced their annual hotel category changes for 2017. There are just over 300 Starwood properties that are changing category, while Marriott has over 1,000 that are shifting. By sheer number of hotels affected, the changes are more substantial than last year.

The new award prices take effect for bookings starting March 7, 2017. If you have any existing bookings for stays after that date, check to see if your hotel is going down in price. If it is, March 7 would be a great opportunity to cancel and re-book at the lower points rate!

Changes to Starwood hotels

Overall, the changes to Starwood properties are fairly good. Substantially more properties are actually moving down in price than are moving up. Obviously, the impact of the changes varies depending on the exact hotels you have your eye on, but overall, I think they are pretty good. You can find the Starwood award category changes here.

Hotels moving down in category that you might want to be aware of:

  • Park Central, San Francisco – changing from 6 to 5 – it’ll be a great option in the heart of downtown SF!
  • Sheraton Steamboat Resort Villas (SSR) – changing from 6 to 5 – great ski option!
  • W New Orleans – changing from 6 to 5
  • Great Northern Hotel, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, London – changing from 6 to 5
  • Sheraton Grand, W, and St. Regis Doha – all three moving from 6 to 5
  • Cervo Hotel, Costa Smeralda Resort – chanigng from 7 to 6
  • Many in Turkey (kinda expected)
  • Tons in China

Hotels moving up in category that you might want to be aware of:

  • Sthala, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Ubud Bali – jumping from 3 to 5!
  • Four Points by Sheraton Halifax – jumping from 2 to 4!
  • Sheraton Grand Los Angeles – changing from 4 to 5
  • Le Méridien Bora Bora – changing from 6 to 7
  • Many in Canada
  • Lots in Japan, sadly

Changes to Marriott hotels

Marriott’s changes are not quite as nice as Starwood’s are. More hotels are moving up in category than are moving down. You can find the entire list here.

Hotels moving down in category that you might want to be aware of:

  • The Ritz-Carlton Bali – changing from tier 3 to tier 2
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest – changing from tier 3 to tier 2
  • Kameha Grand Zurich, Autograph Collection – changing from 7 to 6
  • Renaissance Paris Hotel La Defense – changing from 6 to 5
  • JW Marriott Hotel Dubai – changing from 7 to 6

Hotels moving up in category that you might want to be aware of:

  • JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa – changing from 8 to 9
  • Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa – changing from 7 to 8
  • The Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe – changing from tier 4 to tier 5 (burn those certificates before March 7)

Takeaways from these changes?

Roughly 25% of hotels in the combined Marriott/Starwood portfolio are changing category, which is substantial. However, the number going up in price and the number dropping in price are split pretty much 50/50.

On the Marriott side, a large number of the hotels that are changing category are U.S. properties, with many being typical mid-scale properties in many U.S. cities. Changes to these properties could affect some people’s travels, but overall the I don’t consider the impact that great.

On the SPG side, aside from certain countries (*cough* Japan *cough*) where all the changes are negative, the changes are mostly for the best. There are even a few properties (like the Park Central, San Francisco) that add great value to select locations.

What do you make of these changes? Will they affect your 2017 travel plans at all?

Featured image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons under CC 3.0 license

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