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Upcoming Starwood Changes a Net Positive (Really!)

In a post on FlyerTalk this morning, Starwood provided a preview of its annual award-price changes, to take effect on March 4.

Unlike most hotel-industry repricing exercises of the past few years, which have resulted in net devaluations of programs' point values, the upcoming Starwood Preferred Guest changes are benign overall.

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According to the post by Starwood Lurker IV, a company representative: "Please note that we are not adding new categories or changing category pricing. Just over 20% of hotels are changing category, of these 56 percent are moving down and 44 percent are moving up."

Although the numbers suggest a net positive outcome for program members generally, those who redeem points for award stays at U.S. hotels will find themselves disproportionately disadvantaged. A quick review of the list of affected hotels shows that among U.S. properties, 62 hotels will increase in price but only 21 will decrease.

Still, for the average Starwood Preferred Guest member, the changes are more likely to be a positive than a negative. And in this period of frequent, sometimes harsh devaluations, that's a welcome change.

The standard advice applies during the grace period before price increases take effect: Book award nights at current prices before any increases take effect on March 4. And if you plan a stay at a hotel which will become cheaper, book after the changes are in place.

This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.

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