Starting March 5, 2013, members of Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) will have to shell out more cash and more points for the program’s Cash & Points hotel room awards (except for Category 7 hotels, which are staying at the same cash and points levels). Along with this change, SPG will allow cash and points awards for upgraded rooms including suites, Club Rooms, Smart Rooms and rooms with a view (where available)–something that is not currently available.
Another change is the availability to redeem Cash & Points awards for Category 1 and 2 hotels worldwide–currently, only hotel properties in the U.S., Canada and the Asia Pacific region can be redeemed as a Cash & Points award at these category levels.
You can book at the current pricing until March 5, 2013 for Cash & Points award stays beyond March 5. To read more about these changes, visit http://www.insideflyer.com/link/?8187 and http://www.milepoint.com/link/?8186
Bottom line: Here’s a rundown of the changes based on how much more you’ll have to pay as of March 5: Category 1 — 300 points and $5; Category 2 — 400 points and $5; Category 3 — 700 points and $10; Category 4 — 1,000 points and $15; Category 5 — 1,200 points and $20 and Category 6 — 2,000 points and $30. Even though the cost is going up, this is not a straight devaluation of SPG. A Starwood representative on Milepoint said, “for the first time, we will be updating the Cash & Points pricing on standard rooms to encourage more availability.” And the addition of upgraded rooms and the availability of Category 1 and 2 rooms worldwide is an improvement. As before, guests will not receive any points or airline miles for Cash & Points stays; however, points can still be earned on eligible incidentals, and in-hotel benefits like those afforded elite members should be honored when staying on these awards. As always, before redeeming your points for any awards, it’s a good idea to compare the price of paying for your room outright. You might find the value is in paying in full.