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.