Sometimes Starwood Doesn’t Stick To Its Own Hotel Category Changes


Some links to products and travel providers on this website will earn Traveling For Miles a commission which helps contribute to the running of the site – I’m very grateful to anyone who uses these links but their use is entirely optional. The compensation does not impact how and where products appear on this site and does not impact reviews that are published.


At the beginning of February Starwood announced its hotel category changes for 2018 that took effect from 6 March. 145 properties moved up one or more categories, 131 properties moved down one or more categories and I covered all the changes in detail here on Traveling For Miles.

Yesterday, reader Steven posted the following comment on the blog post where I analyzed the changes that SPG had announced:

Please note that the Le Meridien Visconti in Rome has NOT changed from category 5 to 4. According to SPG, they have no record of such an announcement being made.

I took a look at my analysis and, sure enough, I had noted that one of the positives coming out of the category changes in Europe was that “[t]he Le Méridien Visconti Rome is moving from Category 5 to Category 4″.

Next I headed over to SPG.com to see what that had to say about the Le Meridien Visconti. As Steven had said, the property is listed as a Cat. 5 property:

Interesting.

I’m no stranger to making mistakes but it surprised me that I could have got a hotel category change wrong. I use excel spreadsheets to analyze all hotel category changes when they’re announced and I always copy and paste the data into Excel direct from the loyalty program’s announcement page.

How could I have made this mistake? Did the property actually move from Cat. 4 to Cat. 5 and I somehow misread the data?

I clicked on the link in my blog which pointed to the original SPG page detailing all the category changes but, annoyingly, Starwood has removed the page. That’s not at all helpful.

Fortunately, SPG hotel category changes are quite a big deal in the miles and points world so I wasn’t exactly the only blogger to write about this topic – I knew quite a few other blogs would have seen the data but would any of them mention Le Meridien Visconti?

Loyalty Lobby came to the rescue (thank you!) and, in a post reminding readers that the SPG category changes were nearly upon us, the blog had posted a screenshot of ALL the category changes SPG had announced.

Look what I found:

I realize the headers aren’t visible so, if you don’t want to take my word for the fact that this shows the property moving down to Category 4, you can follow the link to Loyalty Lobby above or you can take a look at the screenshot below which shows the St Regis Astana (one below the Le Meridien in the list above) as a Category 6 property…proving that the end column is the hotel category for 2018.

Bottom Line

Starwood can deny that it ever listed the Le Meridien Visconti as a Category 4 property for as long as it likes but the proof is here so SPG is either lying or it’s incompetent. I suspect it’s the latter.

This may well be the only hotel in the entire list of SPG category changes with which this has happened or there may be others out there too but, whichever it is, the moral of the story is this: Don’t take SPG’s word for it when they deny that a property was ever scheduled to change categories.

Hopefully Steven will now go back to SPG and ask for an explanation and, for my part, I shall be taking screenshots of all future hotel category changes so Loyalty Lobby doesn’t have to bail me out again! 🙂

Featured image courtesy of Starwood

1 COMMENT

Comments are closed.