Bad News? 2013 Starwood Hotel Category Changes

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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

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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 Platinum Challenge Followup Part Deux: Nitty Gritty Details

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There’s been a lot of speculation about my 2013 Starwood Platinum Challenge. Some are disputing its validity. To remove some of these doubts, I have taken some screenshots and photos of my receipts.

In addition, I did not broker any deal with the hotel in question. The rate was found using simply the Starwood official website and checking hotels in relatively close proximity to my home. Also, there was no Best Rate Guarantee acquired for this rate.

 

Email Screenshots

Platinum Challenge Stay 1: Jan 1 – Jan 15

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Platinum Challenge Stay 2: Jan 17 – Jan 21

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Folio Shot

Page 1 of Stay 1 (lost Stay 2’s folio)

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Platinum Challenge Hotel Information

Four Points By Sheraton Pittsburgh North (Mars, PA) [Category 2]

910 Sheraton Drive, Mars, PA 16046

While the hotel was not on par with many Starwood properties, it was perfect for a mattress run for a Platinum Challenge. The staff was amazingly friendly and more than made up for the hotel’s age. In good news, it is currently going through a renovation, and if the new facility can match the staff’s attentiveness, it could be a nice rest stop for an I-79 roadtrip.

 

 

2013 Platinum Challenge Followup

After our writeup of how we obtained Platinum status for about $500, we would like to update you about the challenge’s status.

The final stay was on January 21, 2013, and just last night, this email popped into the inbox:

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With the Challenge now complete and Platinum status obtained, I’m looking forward to these perks during my upcoming trip through Europe and Southeast Asia.