Normally when a hotel program announces its annual award category changes, it means members should brace themselves and be prepared to spend more points for award stays. Not so with Starwood’s latest round of changes that recently went into effect. The majority of hotels that are changing categories are actually going down in category rather than up, which means members will need fewer points for a stay at select locations. Most hotels will remain the same, but of the hotels that are changing, 156 will be moving down and 82 will be moving up.
A few hotel properties that will be moving down from a category 6 (20,000 points) to a category 5 (12,000 points) include W New York, The Westin New York at Times Square and Le Meridien Barcelona. Moving up from a category 6 (20,000 points) to category 7 (30,000 points) are two Luxury Collection Resorts; Prince de Galles in Paris, France and Santa Marina in Mykonos, Greece. To view all of the changes, go to http://www.insideflyer.com/link/?1463
Other good news is that peak season awards for categories 5 through 7 will be eliminated for all of 2009 (except for three Luxury Collection resorts in Costa Smeralda, Italy).
In other words, all category 5 through 7 hotels will require the same number of points year round in 2009, regardless of whether you travel during peak or off-peak times.