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Annual Category Change Announcement 2014 [effective March 4, 2014]

Annual Category Change Announcement 2014 [effective March 4, 2014]

 
Old Feb 20, 14, 12:26 pm
  #61  
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Originally Posted by freeloader View Post
should i rebook in march, or can i email spg and have them credit me the difference in points?
It's much easier if you can just rebook (assuming the availability is there).
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Old Feb 20, 14, 12:39 pm
  #62  
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Overall, the changes seem acceptable.

Indian hotels falling was totally predictable, given the huge currency depreciation (north of 30%) against the US$ over the last year or so. Some of them still wouldn't be worth using points on though.

Hawaii is the big disappointment though, and Thailand not moving a surprise.
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Old Feb 20, 14, 12:41 pm
  #63  
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Originally Posted by anchor79 View Post
European properties are on the hike..I guess economy is doing much better over there?
Not really. 15 up, 8 down, and the vast majority unchanged.
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Old Feb 20, 14, 12:43 pm
  #64  
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Originally Posted by el_tigre View Post
The Westin Tokyo is on the list. Moving from a cat. 6 to a 5.
All of Japan has been overpriced on points, and the Westin Tokyo was probably least mis-categorized. The true shocker on this list is that SR Osaka remains Cat 6, instead of going down to Cat 5 or even Cat 4. It routinely has a cash component of C&P ($180) in excess of revenue rates (JPY16-18k). It is rare to see this hotel above JPY25k.
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Old Feb 20, 14, 12:59 pm
  #65  
 
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Originally Posted by Medved View Post
Also surprised -- Sheraton Waikiki and other Cat 5 up to 6 in Hawaii. Don't see people paying 25K points for Sheraton Waikiki if you could stay at Royal Hawaian for the same
Bingo. I thought the Sheraton Waikiki was supposed to be the value play vs the Royal Hawaiian but now the RH is unilaterally the better choice IMO. I stayed at the Sheraton Waikiki twice last year and do love the hotel but at Category 6, I'll take the pink one.
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Old Feb 20, 14, 1:08 pm
  #66  
 
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Originally Posted by Reisen View Post
QFT. These changes hit me pretty hard. We've used SPG points several years in a row in Hawaii, and would have considered going back to the Sheraton Waikiki and Westin Kaanapali. Not now, though. It'll either be splurge for the Royal Hawaiian / SR Princeville, or look to another chain (GH Kauai, 4S, some of the Hilton properties).
I'm with you here, and in a lot of ways I don't get it. If categories are indeed tied to future ADR, it's hard enough to get more than 2 cents per point value at the Sheraton Waikiki before this upcoming devaluation.

For when I'd typically travel to the Islands in July/August, it's easy to find a AAA rate a tad above $300 for the Sheraton Waikiki. Admittedly, not everyone visits when I do , but that is also high season from a redemption standpoint. But now, it's going to a category 6 and (likely) 25,000 points per night for the same period?!?

Makes me glad I've diversified my points earning the last few years. Many of Starwood's Hawaii redemption rates have become among the worst value propositions in the entire system.

That said, I think the category changes are very fair otherwise. In fact, Mrs. Tigre is delighted one of her favorite SoCal getaways is back in the rotation with the Parker's drop to a category 5.
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Old Feb 20, 14, 1:17 pm
  #67  
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Originally Posted by mahasamatman View Post
I'm really surprised with the Four Points Bay Bridge moving up. The rates there are typically quite low, so I have no idea where their average room rate is coming from.
I have the same question regarding the Four Points Houston West. With rates consistently in the $66 to $89 range, I could never understand how they managed a Cat 3...but now a Cat 4!!?? Man...they must really be able to gouge during whatever peaks they have. I don't stay there on points, however...so no skin off my nose. But certainly don't see points value at that property. 10,000 a night? Whew.

Originally Posted by anchor79
Sheraton Garden Grove is up to category 3 again? When the property first opened they wanted to be category 4 and then bounce between 2 and 3, where the rates are still below 100 during weekdays.
Ditto.

The Hawaii ones hurt. As does the 4 Points Ventura Harbor. That was always a good low point getaway as a Cat 2.

Oh well. Got some bookings to do for one last freebie hurrah at a few hotels. Thanks for the heads-up!
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Old Feb 20, 14, 1:21 pm
  #68  
 
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Parker Meriden PS was predictable. Can't imagine too many people used points when it was category 6. Wouldn't use 20/25,000 points to stay at either W SF or W Westwood either. Have not been impressed with the W Westwood lately. Crumbs all over the hallway carpet for 24 hours, calling three times and not getting a coffee maker, etc.. Had lots of good stays in the past there back when Starwood owned it. Not so much lately.

At least the W Hollywood is still category 5 and is a better option since the Drai's club shut down. Had great service on my last visit.
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Old Feb 20, 14, 1:23 pm
  #69  
 
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The upgrade in category of the Sheraton Waikiki, Sheraton Maui and Westin Maui is a crime. Seems like Starwood is taking advantage of the supply and demand situation in Hawaii; hotel rates there are off the charts. Glad we bought our timeshares at WKORV 13 years ago and I can now justify using the points to stay at the Royal Hawaiian and St. Regis Princeville.
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Old Feb 20, 14, 1:57 pm
  #70  
 
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Originally Posted by Eastbay1K View Post
Did you notice that the Oahu hotel is in the city of Honolulu, but the Maui hotels are in the city of Maui?

Not surprised by these at all.
Not sure of your point here.
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Old Feb 20, 14, 2:07 pm
  #71  
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Originally Posted by SJChick View Post
The upgrade in category of the Sheraton Waikiki, Sheraton Maui and Westin Maui is a crime. Seems like Starwood is taking advantage of the supply and demand situation in Hawaii; hotel rates there are off the charts. Glad we bought our timeshares at WKORV 13 years ago and I can now justify using the points to stay at the Royal Hawaiian and St. Regis Princeville.
But that is how award prices are determined, as well as hotel rates. Supply and demand, not quality.
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Old Feb 20, 14, 2:45 pm
  #72  
 
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From where I'm sitting, the Westin Puerto Vallarta now becomes the best award value in North America. At a CAT 2, it's a steal.

Oddly enough, the Sheraton Buganvilias just down the road a few miles soars back up to a CAT 4, which is just astounding. Given that this dated monstrosity was still selling rooms the week before Christmas for $65, something smells awfully fishy. Outside of the very few true peak timeframes, this Sheraton can be had for rates in the $90-$110 range with astounding consistency. Go to slower times, and you'll see it in the $60s. If I were *wood, I'd be looking very close at the accounting at this property.
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Old Feb 20, 14, 2:53 pm
  #73  
 
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I'm sure ADR is part of it, but do these hotels negotiate too? I think the Honolulu hotels are owned by the same group, so they gotta have tremendous sway with spg. Can't be losing all your hotels so easily if they balk at cat 5. Other thing is the Sheraton is probably close to capacity year round, so spg payout is probably much higher than a place with high rates but not near capacity.
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Old Feb 20, 14, 3:01 pm
  #74  
 
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Originally Posted by Starwood Lurker IV View Post
Our hotel Category adjustments for 2014 will soon be in effect, and we would like to provide you with an advance look at the preliminary list of changes. Please note that we are not adding new categories or changing category pricing.

[snip]



Best regards,

Christopher Carman
Social Media Specialist
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

[email protected]
Originally Posted by hcampana View Post
It's nice to see no program devaluation by adding extra categories like Hilton did. But so many properties are going down a category. It this indicative of a point devaluation? Will we see an increase in required number of points for a free night in the coming year? I certainly hope not.

Edit to add: Glad I was wrong in my prediction in the old thread!

Last edited by Out of my Element; Feb 20, 14 at 3:11 pm
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Old Feb 20, 14, 3:13 pm
  #75  
 
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Originally Posted by leftpinky View Post
I'm sure ADR is part of it, but do these hotels negotiate too? I think the Honolulu hotels are owned by the same group, so they gotta have tremendous sway with spg. Can't be losing all your hotels so easily if they balk at cat 5. Other thing is the Sheraton is probably close to capacity year round, so spg payout is probably much higher than a place with high rates but not near capacity.
Thinking through the strategy here, I'd honestly be surprised if properties have much to do with it. Think of it this way. Properties are compensated one of two ways for award stays: marginal cost if not sold out, or at/near ADR if occupancy is 90-95%+.

So the hotel itself doesn't really care what its category is (or shouldn't at least). They're getting paid the same regardless. It's Starwood that cares, since they have to manage the number of points outstanding, the value of those points from a liability perspective, and how much their various partners pay to acquire the points.
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