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Every year Starwood and most other hotel programs re-evaluate hotels to see what award price category they should fall in, and Starwood just announced its changes with a nice and transparent comparison chart.
During times of economic growth like we are in currently in the United States this usually means more hotels go up in price than go down, and starting March 1st that’s the case for many hotels in the U.S.
The most important changes are in Hawaii, which is one of the most popular places to use Starwood points.
There, three of its biggest mid-priced resorts will go up a category to Category 6 from Category 5:
That means a free night will go from 12,000 – 16,000 points a night to 20,000 – 25,000 a night – that’s more than a 50% increase. A cash and points night will go from 6,000 points + $110 a night to 10,000 points + $180 a night – over a 60% increase.
The new prices take effect March 1st, but you can still book now for dates well beyond March 1st at the current lower prices. You can cancel most reservations up until very close to arrival with no penalty, so if you have points it’s a good idea to lock in some dates you might be able to use now.
Other resorts in Hawaii are unchanged, and the Sheraton Princes Kailuani, Sheraton Kona Resort, and Sheraton Kauai remain at affordable Category 4 and 5 levels.
Other important vacation resort properties that are moving up in price:
Fortunately the Disney Swan and Dolphin resorts, very popular among families, are not changing their rate category this year. And Starwood remains a good value for most parts of the U.S. with lower point prices than competitors for most locations, making it valuable to people who earn most of their points via credit card spend rather than hotel stays.
There’s also good news if you’re traveling to Asia, which has seen slowing economic growth and hotel rates. Award prices for many hotels are going down there, so save your points for until after March 1st to take advantage of those.
For a full list of hotels that are changing categories, check here.
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