Frequent Flyer

New Starwood Award Prices Are a Mixed Bag

Although almost as many Starwood hotels will raise prices for award stays as will lower them, the ratio of increases to decreases is much higher for U.S. properties.

Starwood has published its list of hotels that will change categories on March 10, resulting in either an increase or decrease in the number of SPG points required for a free award night.

According to Starwood, “Just over 22% of hotels are changing category; of these, 10.49% are moving up and 11.78% are moving down.” So, it’s implied, the net effect is positive, with more properties decreasing than increasing in price. Although that’s true, it misrepresents the effect of the changes on U.S.-based program members, who are more likely to redeem their points for stays at U.S. properties.

Of the 116 U.S. hotels changing categories, 94 will increase in price while only 22 will decrease. In other words, more than four times more properties will be more expensive than will be cheaper. That’s hardly good news for anyone whose award stays are mostly within the U.S.

As always with award-pricing changes, travelers with upcoming Starwood award stays should review the list of affected hotels and book either before or after March 10, depending on whether their anticipated stays will be at hotels that are increasing or decreasing in price.

This article originally appeared on

By Tim Winship

After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

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