Thanks to Ben, I noticed that Starwood had posted their annual set of category changes. Starwood, like most hotel chains, assigns a category to each hotel, and this category is roughly designed to reflect the prestige / cost / location of the property. For example, as New York is one of the most expensive cities in the world, the aloft Harlem there is a category 3 category 5 hotel, but while Le Meridiens are typically nice, because Thailand is relatively inexpensive, the Le Meridien Chiang Mai is only a category 2 category 1 property. As a relatively recent convert from Marriott Plat to Starwood Plat, I am especially interested in these changes.
Starwood posted their file as a PDF, but with PDF being the world's most useless document format, I converted it to a Numbers document and cleaned up some of the formatting. You can download my document here. Okay fine. I exported it to Excel as well. You can get that one here.
Here are some stats:
- # Hotels Going Down: 142
- # Hotels Going Up: 186
- Largest Drop: 1 category (many)
- Largest Increase: 2 categories
- Aloft Harlem ~ 3 to 5
- Sheraton Baku Airport ~ 2 to 4
- Sheraton Guangzhou Hotel ~ 3 to 5
- Total Points Up: 189
- Total Points Down: 142
- Amount We Get Hurt: 47
- New Categories Created: 0
A lot of the ski properties went up. Money's tight this year with the upcoming wedding so I don't think I'll make it on the slopes. That being said, I was really looking forward to redeeming at a Starwood ski resort property next year. The St. Regis Aspen, Westin Beaver Creek, and Steamboat Springs Sheraton have all jumped up a category. That stinks.
The W South Beach is now a Category 7 property. Am I the only one who thinks that Miami / South Beach is the most overrated part of this country?
The Westin Beijing Chaoyang, perhaps the nicest Westin I've ever stayed at, moved up to a category 5.
Only 2 properties in Mexico went up. 6 went down. The drug trade related issues have really hurt tourism, and now the St. Regis Punta Mita is a category 6 instead of category 7. The Westin in Puerto Vallarta is a now a category 2 property. That seems like a steal.
The Le Meridien Bora Bora has moved from a category 7 to a category 6. They have overwater bungalows there. It's always nice to see those become more accessible. I've still never experienced one.
Did I miss anything? Are my numbers off? If so, let me know - I'll fix 'em up. What are your thoughts? Obviously, this is an overall devaluation of SPG points. I'm not sure if I should be bummed about the changes or thankful they at least didn't create a new category 8. In any case, life goes on.