Back in February Starwood announced the category changes for 2012 and made the list of hotels changing categories public. There were few hotels that were set to drop down in category that eventually did not, or did only for couple of weeks i.e. Le Meridien Chiang Mai.
Then there was the case with Sheraton Montreal that started this year being a category 4 property for award purposes. It went down to category 3, but then couple of weeks later was suddenly category 5. If you ask a question from SPG’s social media representatives, why these sudden changes, the answer is basically because they can do it.
And for sure all these are covered in the terms and conditions.
Now Starwood has quietly raised the categories at least handful of hotels, but without doing any announcements. This was reported by posters on FlyerTalk that had seen some of their favorite hotels gone up suddenly in award categories. It is difficult, if not impossible, to find out exactly what properties went up. I doubt that any property would have gone down.
Probably the reason for Starwood to do these changes midyear, is to lower the liability of the Starpoints that they carry on their balance sheet. By raising the categories of the properties they can lower the liability of these points on their books and basically book the difference as a profit.
Shame on Starwood for not giving heads up on these changes. It is one thing to change the categories and give a proper notice than just change them unannounced.