All big loyalty program announce their award charts every year. I don’t know criteria that are used for them to make the chart. Most of the times, the chart just doesn’t make any sense to me. 

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This year so far IHG has devalued their award chart. It means that you have to use more points to get a free night at a hotel unless you are using pointbreak. I will do a post about points break promotion soon. You require 5000 points instead of usual 10,000 to 60,000 points to stay anywhere.

Now SPG and Marriott came out with their award chart.

I usually never stay with Marriott. I would use my starpoints for Ritz-Carlton to book an award stay. I have stayed at Marriott multiple times. However, my program of choice is Starwood. I used 2016 to accumulate my starpoints, and I need way more to have the flexibility to burn them at ease. Right now my miles are highly restrictive.

2017 is the year where I want to build status with the brand. So when there is expected significant changes in 2018, I am not worried. I would know that before changes, I still can manage to keep my elite status.

This year most of the hotels have dropped a category on award charts in India. This is fascinating as staying in Indian hotels has become cheaper this year. This makes it easier for me to build status with them.

This year there are about 325 Starwood hotels changing categories, which is 15% more than last year. The good news is that almost 65% of the hotels changing categories, 208 to be precise are going down the index, clearly indicating that overall the Starwood portfolio has become less expensive.

While most hotels are jumping by one category, there are five hotels globally that are moving two categories: 4 hotels moving up by two categories and one dropping down by 2.

  • Sthala, A Tribute Portfolio, Bali, Indonesia (moving up from Cat 3 to 5)
  • Auberge du Vin, A Tribute Portfolio, Argentina (moving up from Cat 3 to 5)
  • Four Points by Sheraton, Halifax, Canada (moving up from Cat 2 to 4)
  • The Westin Toronto, Canada (moving up from Cat 2 to 4)
  • Four Points by Sheraton, Halifax (going down from Cat 4 to 2)

India

SPG currently has 47 properties in India all ranging with categories 1 to 5, and there are another 26 hotels in the pipeline over the next three years. With hotels moving up and down, this year the change affects a total of 9 properties.

Till now, ITC Grand Bharat maintained the highest category with category 6. This year it has dropped to Category 5. I really loved the property when I stayed there for new years, and I will be writing multi-part long report very soon.

India

 
Hotel
2016 
Category or Tier
2017 
Category or Tier
ITC Windsor, Bengaluru 3 2
Le Meridien Bengaluru 3 2
The Park Bengaluru 2 1
ITC Grand Bharat, Gurgaon 6 5
Le Meridien Jaipur 2 3
ITC Sonar, Kolkata 3 2
Le Meridien Mahabaleshwar Resort & Spa 5 4
The Westin Mumbai Garden City 4 3
Four Points by Sheraton Navi Mumbai, Vashi 3 2
     

 

You can read reviews by clicking on them:-

The Park Bengaluru
ITC Windsor
Westin Mumbai Garden City
ITC Grand Bharat (Coming soon)
ITC Sonar (Coming soon)

I have no plans to visit Four Point Sheraton Navi Mumbai.  I have been waiting to try Le Meridien Mahabaleshwar. I have already been to ITC Grand Bharat and would love to repeat it.The best part is that now it is Category 5 property and hence I can use my free award night here. So technically, I can stay here for free. I believe for culinary, ITC Sonar has been the best property I have stayed till date. The Park Bangalore practically feels like a free hotel.

 

Current Indian Scenario

We have 2 category 5 property

W Goa and ITC Grand Bharat

I am surprised that Westin Gurgaon maintains its status.  I visit Mumbai regularly and am happy about Westin Mumbai becoming comparatively cheaper now.

The only hotel that increased its category in India is Le Méridien Jaipur that upgraded from 2 to 3.

On Marriott front:-

India

 
Hotel
2016 
Category or Tier
2017 
Category or Tier
Courtyard Hyderabad 1 2
JW Marriott Hotel Bangalore 3 4
JW Marriott Mussoorie Hotel 5 6
Kochi Marriott Hotel 2 3

All the hotels increased in the category.


You can access SPG award chart changes here and Marriott here

Bottomline:

Most of my stays still going to be in India. It is great news that I would have easier access to SPG properties. 

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