Bad News? 2013 Starwood Hotel Category Changes


The new category changes are hot off the presses. The timing comes off the additional terrible news that the Dom Hotel in Cologne will now be leaving the Starwood family. This is an amazing property with a location that cannot be beat. I had the opportunity to stay there during the Christmas season of 2009, and the views of the Dom (with the Christmas markets below) were unbeatable. Starwood will need to work some deals to build a bigger presence in this area of Germany as it has now lost a marquee property.

What changes does Starwood have in mind for 2013?

The link to the new changes: category_changes_2013_SPG.


Relevant Changes for Hotels On My Upcoming Trip through Europe and Southeast Asia:

Surprisingly only one Starwood hotel will be changing categories. On my upcoming trip I will be staying at the Sheraton Malpensa (Milan, Italy), Hotel Eden (Rome, Italy), Royal Orchid Sheraton (Bangkok, Thailand), Le Meridien Bangkok, and the Le Méridien Khao Lak Beach & Spa Resort (Khao Lak, Thailand).


1. Le Méridien Khao Lak Beach & Spa Resort (Thailand) [Cat 3 –> Cat 4]

  • I’ll be staying there 6 nights on my upcoming venture to Thailand. Staying on Cash &Points it is a steal.
  • With the changes in Category and the C&P increased rates, not as big as a steal, but still looks like a great property



Big Droppers (2+ Categories)

Only one hotel made the cut.

  1. Sheraton Baltimore North Hotel (Maryland) [ Cat 3 —> Cat 1] (Good Mattress Run Potential)


Big Risers (2+ Categories)

  1. Aloft New York Brooklyn [Cat 3 –> Cat 5]
  2. Sheraton Denarau Villas (Fiji) [Cat 4 –> Cat 6]


Movement At The Top (Category 7)

Hawaii is getting a little more difficult as multiple properties have moved into the elite Category 7. No Category 7 property fell.

  1. Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, Waikiki Beach (Hawaii)
  2. The Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas (Hawaii)
  3. The St. Regis Deer Valley (Utah)
  4. Santa Marina Resort & Villas, Mykonos (Greece)
  5. Vedema Resort, Santorini (Greece)
  6. Hotel Danieli, Venice (Italy)

The Great Maze: Use Your American Express Platinum to Get Delta Perks


If you were one of the lucky people to grab the 100k point American Express Platinum offer, you might be missing out on some hidden Delta perks via Starwood.

As discussed earlier on this website, Delta and Starwood have united to offer perks to each others elite members. This, combined with American Express Platinum’s free SPG Gold status, can yield some nice little perks on Delta (if you don’t have the requisite Delta status or credit card).

First, what can you get on Delta if you are a SPG Gold member?

  1. Unfortunately, you will only get the extra Starpoints for your Delta flights.
  2. If you were a Starwood Platinum, you would get a free checked bag, priority boarding, and priority check-in

It never hurts to get extra Starpoints, so if you have an AMEX Platinum, follow the below listed steps:

  1. Register for an SPG account (if you don’t already have one).
  2. Call the phone number on the back of your Platinum card (1-800-525-3355).
  3. Tell them that you would like to get your Starwood account upgraded to Gold Status.
  4. At this point, they will ask for your Starwood account number and then place you on hold while they connect to Starwood.
  5. About 5-10 minutes later, you will be upgraded to complementary SPG Gold status.



Starwood Powerup Promotion (Jan. 15 – Apr. 15) – Earn 18,000 Points

Today marks the kickoff of the Starwood Powerup Promotion. This is Starwood’s spring promotion, and if you play it right, you could walk away with a bonus of 900 additional points per night. While not as lucrative as previous promotions that award Free Nights, free Starpoints are free Starpoints and should never be thrown away.

Here are the Benefits:


Here are the Terms and Conditions:

SPU Terms

You’ll notice very quickly that you can maximize this deal with 18,000 bonus points if you hit the 20-night threshold. This would create a 900 pt/night bonus. This is not a bad deal for some free extra points. My recommendation is to combine this promotion with a Starwood American Express card (for 2x points per dollar spend at Starwood properties). Moreover, if you can do your Starwood Platinum Challenge (as discussed here) during this period, you can extract even more value.

In addition, it is possible to combine this promotion with the Le Méridien promotion that runs through February 28, 2013. It can be quite lucrative if you target your stays at Le Méridien properties.

The terms:

Unlock limitless earnings with Le Méridien Hotels and Resorts across North America and French Polynesia

Register now to discover your earning potential with Le Méridien in North America and French Polynesia and earn more Starpoints® the more you stay.

  • 1,000 Starpoints on 1st eligible stay
  • 2,000 Starpoints on each following stay

Register between December 3, 2012 and January 15, 2013 and stay through February 28, 2013, to earn unlimited Starpoints at Le Méridien Hotels and Resorts throughout North America and French Polynesia.



Now that we’ve discussed the various promotions, let’s run through a hypothetical that combines the Le Méridien promotion with the Powerup promotion.

Assumptions are as follows (conservative and not maximized):

  1. You stay at a Le Méridien property for all 20 nights.
  2. These 20 nights are spread across 5 stays.

With these assumptions, we can conservatively net 27,000 Starpoints:

Stay Cumulative Nights Powerup Bonus Le Méridien Bonus Total Bonus Points Cumulative Bonus Points
1 4 2,000 1,000 3,000 3,000
2 8 2,000 2,000 4,000 7,000
3 12 2,000 2,000 4,000 11,000
4 16 2,000 2,000 4,000 15,000
5 20 10,000 2,000 12,000 27,000
27,000 27,000


Quick Points

-Earn 2,000 bonus Starpoints for every four eligible nights you stay (up to 8,000 bonus points over 16 nights).

-When you hit the 20th Night, you will be awarded a 10,000 Starpoint bonus.

-Note: These are accumulated per four-night period, and that each stay does not have to be four nights to earn the bonus.

-Note: You must be registered at and registration is free.


Don’t forget to sign up today!