Last week I passed along that Starwood would be announcing a devaluation of its points by introducing a new higher category for some hotels requiring additional points.
Yesterday Starwood Lurker posted on Flyertalk that just such a change is coming. (I assume the announcement was pushed forward because I broke the news here on this blog and on Flyertalk.)
Starwood Preferred Guest will be adding a Category 7 to it’s Free Night Award redemption ladder in February 2007. This new category will feature a limited number of hotels which are often unique and have rooms which may not be standard in terms of size, configuration and/or amenities.
Free nights at Category 7 hotels will cost 30,000 Starpoints per night in low season and 35,000 Starpoints per night in high season. Please note that where there are only suite awards available at a given property, the minimum cost will be 60,000 Starpoints per night in low season and 70,000 Starpoints per night in high season; however, depending upon the type and configuration of the suite, it could run even higher in a few instances.
- You might as well also be informed that a lot of other hotels are moving up in category for next year and very few are moving down in category status. SPG members may now redeem for Free Night Awards online or through the Customer Contact Center up to 18 months from arrival, so take advantage of every hotel’s current Starpoint category by redeeming your future Free Night Awards before these changes in category go into effect.
The real outstanding questions now are:
- Whether transferring points to airline miles will be devalued to bring Starwood Preferred Guest’s cost per point on transfers in line with their new cost structure for hotel redemptions. A move has already been announced where beginning January 1 it will take 2 Starwood points intead of 1 to get a Continental mile (not linkable, but see on the Continental website “Continental.com –> OnePass Frequent Flyer –> OnePass News and Offers –> Starwood Hotels & Resorts – Program Changes”).
- Now that there’s a category 7 whether the average daily rate ranges that correspond to redemption categories will be realigned… in other words, whether a hotel that costs, say, $150 on average will become category 4 instead of category 3… same average rate, higher category?