The rumors are true, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) is making a change to its award schedule — adding a new category 7 beginning in February. According to Robin Korman, Vice President Loyalty Marketing, at Starwood Hotels, “Rising room rates and the fact that more hotels coming into our system have very large and unique — often suite-like — room types has led us to make this change.”
So far, less than a dozen hotels fit into this new category where members can redeem 30,000 points per night in low season and 35,000 points per night in high season. The hotels include St. Regis New York; Sunset Key Florida; W Retreat in the Maldives; Bora Bora Nui Resort; St. Regis Bora Bora; Hotel Gritti Palace in Venice, Italy and the Hotel Cala di Volpe, Hotel Romanzzino and Hotel Pitrizza, all in Sardenia, Italy.
A bit of good news is that you can redeem for these hotels at the current rates of 20,000 in low season or 25,000 in high season until the end of January and as much as 18 months from arrival. Please note, per the fine print on spg.com, you may not be able to redeem nights in all of the hotels listed above at these lower rates. It’s best to always confirm redemption rates before assuming you can claim the award.
Starwood Preferred Guest follows other hotel programs in creating a new, more expensive category. As of Dec. 29, 2006, Hyatt Gold Passport members have a Category 5 award option for 18,000 points per night at 20 hotels throughout the world. The former top award was 15,000 points.