Effective March 4th about 25% of the Starwood properties worldwide will have their category increased. This means it costs us more points to stay in the same rooms. It is inflationary and devaluation of the Starwood program. Now if the quality of the hotels and rooms is actually improving, I’m all for that, but the percentage increase in points required at the low end is way too much.
I like this program for the low end hotels like Four Points by Sheraton and some of the older Sheratons and Westins. They represent a good overnight value at 2K ,3K, or 4K per night. But when hotels jump from category 2 at 4K to category 3 at 7K per night, that is a pretty steep increase for a frugal guy. Worldwide 62 properties left categories 1 and 2 for the more expensive 3 and up tiers and only 6 fell down into my points price range. And most significantly the following cities lost their SPG category 1 or 2 airport hotels: Atlanta, Charlotte, Munich, Newark, Portland, San Francisco, and Toronto. It is interesting to me that 5 of those 7 hotels are in airport hub locations. Atlanta-Delta, Charlotte-US Air, Newark-Continental, San Francisco-United and in Munich there is a large Star Alliance or United base.
And in Europe over 50% of the lower end category hotels took a hit to the higher levels.
There isn’t much one can do when this happens other than protest with your feet. Walk your business over to the competition. I hate doing it as SPG has been great to me, but an increase from 4K to 7K points per night at some strategic locations is really too much for me.
IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card
- Annual Fee: $49 fee waived for the first year
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Hotel
The IHG Rewards Club Visa is often cited as one of the most underrated hotel credit cards, with good reason. The official offer is for 70,000 points after $1,000 spent within three months, with the first year’s fee waived. The card comes with an annual free night certificate that can be used at any IHG property, including Intercontinental hotels - making this certificate worth upwards of 50,000 points. This is far more generous than some other hotel cards, which limit the categories in which free night certificates can be redeemed.
Cardholders earn 5 points per dollar at IHG hotels; 2 points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants; 1 point per dollar everywhere else. Moreover, you’ll get a 10% rebate on award redemptions, up to 100,000 points per year. The card also comes with Platinum status, though that doesn’t get you much with IHG. Still, this is a fantastic card to have in your wallet, with benefits that far outweigh the already low $49 annual fee.
- Earn 70,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
- Enjoy a free night of card membership at over 4,700 hotels worldwide
- Earn 5 points for each $1 spent at our hotels
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
- Bonus points redeemable at hotels such as Intercontinental® Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn®
- Automatic platinum elite status, as long as you remain a cardmember
- $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $49