Starwood Annual Category Changes

Once a year Starwood releases a list of hotels which are changing categories. When a hotel goes up or down a category it changes the amount of points required to book the room. Last week, Starwood released the 2016 list. The category changes are not implemented until March 1st so you still have time to book stays at properties which are going up a category!


List analysis:

  • 282 properties are changing categories (16% of all Starwood Hotels)
    • 168 properties are increasing a category
    • 114 properties are decreasing a category
  • Turkey, Russia, Brazil, Columbia, Canada, and Dubai are generally down.
  • Almost everywhere else is up!


Starwood Categories and Required Starpoints

Starwood Categories and Required Starpoints


A majority of the properties listed are increasing a category which is never good news. We are planning a group trip to Oktoberfest later this year, and the best two Munich Starwood hotels are going up a category level. We are also staying at the Le Meridien in Vienna, and also the W Mexico City, both of which are going up a category level. The good thing is I was able to book now before they go up a category level. It’s great that you’re given a week to book your trips to save those precious Starpoints.

The list generally positively impacts our future travel this year. We just booked a five night stay at the W Istanbul last week, at an average of 12k points a night, and luckily the W is moving down a category level! I will cancel our award booking and re-book after March 1st, for less points. We are also visiting Dubai in September so we’ll benefit from many of the downgrades there as well.

With the general decrease in points, this is a great opportunity to visit Turkey, Russia, Brazil, Columbia, and Canada. It’s no surprise that many of these countries topped my list of the cheapest places to travel in 2016, since many of them are struggling economically.


The one property I want to book before March 1st! (one of many)

  • Schloss Fuschl – Salzburg, Austria (Category 6 -> 7)
    • The Schloss Fuschl is an incredible historic hotel right on a beautiful tranquil lake surrounded by mountains. Mrs. TT and I visited in 2013, and we’ve been wanting to go back since, but it’s a steep 20k Starpoints a night and it’s going even higher after March 1st. The Sheraton Hotel Jadgdoff next door is also a great value at only 7k Starpoints a night.

Thrifty Tip: We recommend staying at the Sheraton and walk over to enjoy dinner and drinks at the Schloss Fuschl!


Schloss Fuschl

Schloss Fuschl


Bottom Line

Take a look at the list and book before March 1st! Also, don’t forget that if you’re traveling with a group it is relatively easy to transfer Starpoints to one another. I use the transfer method to book all of our group trips and earn nights out for every night I book! It’s a no brainer and an easy way to earn SPG elite status even faster.


Other Starwood (SPG) articles you should read:


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