Starwood and Marriott announced their annual property reward category changes today, which will go into effect March 7, 2017.

As the Marriott banner says, review the changes, and maximize your points. As in, make award reservations now for any properties that will be going up a category and requiring more points for redemption.

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Here are links to the properties that are changing categories –

Starwood Preferred Guest Reward Category Changes 2017

Marriott Rewards Category Changes 2017

60% of Marriott properties are moving up in category, while 40% are moving down. View from the Wing reports that 63% of Starwood properties are moving down, and only 37% are moving up.

Most hotel programs adjust the redemption categories each year that their properties are in, and I’m pleased that both Starwood and Marriott give their members advance notice about the changes.

Some of the category moves are disappointing. Japan is one of my very favorite countries to visit, and it seems that a bunch of the properties there are going up both on the Starwood and Marriott side.

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Starwood category changes for Japan –

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Marriott category changes for Japan –

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Some of the category changes surprise me, such as the movement of the Ritz-Carlton Highlands Lake Tahoe going from a Marriott Category 4 to a Category 5. I stayed at the property a couple times and experienced a few issues. I suppose the increased snow levels in the Sierras are bringing guests/redemptions in by the droves now though.

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Some of the category changes are good, such as seeing properties in Greece, Turkey, Bhutan, and Colombia drop as well as many of those in Africa.

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I noted that the Ritz-Carlton in Bali is moving from a Marriott Category 3 to a Category 2 which feels about right to me. I stayed at the Ritz-Carlton Bali property when it first opened, and while it didn’t quite live up to expectations I did love the Club Lounge as well as the swimming pool, and of course Bali as a whole!

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I’ve got a few upcoming redemption reservations where the properties will be going down in category after my stays are completed, so there is nothing to be done about those. For people wanting to book a new reservation though, it would be smart to see if your chosen properties are moving up a category in which case you should consider booking before March 7 when the new categories go into effect.

What do you think about the category changes, are there any properties in particular that are increasing/decreasing and excite/disappoint you?