Starwood SPG – Devaluation & Category Changes March 5th! What to book before the change?

As you may have heard, Starwood prices are going up.  The category for many hotels are increasing and the cash and points rates are also increasing.

The details of the changes are here:  click here

Here's a list of the hotels that are changing categories: click here

With the change less than 2 days left, I have been scrambling to book some things to get today's price.  The problem of course is you need to find:

a) a place you would like to go, especially a hotel that is going up in price
b) check if they have availabilty
c) check if its a good time of the year to go
d) check if its a good value — sometimes the cash rate is just better

Here are some good ideas I found:

1) Peru:  Thanksgiving has always been a favorite time for me to travel.  In Peru, the SPG hotels have lots of cash and points availability.  Lima has the Sheraton and Westin (Sheraton is a much better value).  Near Cuzco/Machu Picchu, there is a great Hotel, Tamba del Inka, which is a 3 hour train ride away (they have their own private train) from Machu Picchu.

2) Los Cabo, Mexico: There are 2 hotels here – a Sheraton and Westin.  Between the two of them, there is availability Sept through at least January (think Thanksgiving, MLK).

3) Hawaii:  The St. Regis Princeville, if you want to splurge, has some availability for cash and points in Nov and Dec 2013.  The cost is $150 + 8000 starpoints – I think its a bit steep but the price will only be higher in a few days.  I checked a few other properties but couldnt find enough cash and points to piece together a stay.

I'm looking for some domestic hotels too but everything i'm checking just isnt worth it.  There is Phoenix hotel going up a category but its only about $150 per night cash.  The other Phoenix hotels arent showing any cash and points availability over Thanksgiving.

If you don't know where to start, may I suggest you start here: List of all SPG hotels.
Just look for a city you'd like to visit on the list, or click MAP VIEW, check a few dates, and start booking.  MAKE SURE YOU CHECK THE CANCELLATION POLICY and then cancel the reservation if you can't make it.

I'm still working on what to book before the Hilton devaluation takes place but I have a couple weeks still before that goes into effect.

If you have any ideas, please share them.

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