About 8-9 weeks ago I booked a room at the St. Regis in Rome – for a stay over the summer. Two nights cost me 73,500 points. The St. Regis was a category 7 – the highest category in the Starwood portfolio of properties. That’s a ton of Starpoints to use for just two nights, but I’d rather use these points than pay the 500EUR/night for this stay, that’s for sure.
Then a few weeks ago I received the annual email from Starwood showcasing the hotel category changes for 2015. Each year (most) hotel chains review and update the categories of their various properties – not every hotel is adjusted and not every hotel goes up to a more expensive category. Surprisingly, the St. Regis Rome went from a category 7 to a category 6 – which saves 10,000 Starpoints each night. That’s a total savings of 20,000 points or another night at a category 6, two nights at a category 4 or five nights at a category 2. That’s meaningful.
Not surprisingly, Starwood doesn’t just automatically credit you back after these adjustments, you have to either cancel and rebook or call and see if they’ll credit you back the points without a cancel/rebook. When I initially booked this stay, I couldn’t book it online so had to call the Platinum Desk to complete the booking and I did the same thing to get my points back.
I called and was immediately connected to Sue, who knew exactly what I was up to and was pretty confident she could just credit the points back without a cancel/rebook, but after about 45 seconds of trying she realized that wasn’t going to happen. She quickly cancelled and rebooked my room – and reapplied my Platinum Suite Upgrade. I was on the phone with Sue for 7 minutes and 8 seconds. Fantastic use of my time.
If you have an upcoming award stay which you booked earlier this year (or last) you should double check the current hotel category (this goes not only for Starwood, but Marriott, Hilton and others too) and see if you’ve got some savings coming to you. One important thing to note too – if you’ve booked an award room and that hotel has increased in categories you won’t have to pay additional points (unless you cancel/rebook now, of course).
How do your current reservations look? Are you getting a deal now or are you leaving some points on the table?