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We’re all familiar with popular loyalty programs like Marriott Bonvoy and IHG One Rewards. With top luxury properties across the globe, these programs are usually the go-to programs for travelers. However, there are other programs designed for the budget traveler.
One of the largest operators of budget hotels is Choice Hotels, which also offers its guests a loyalty program. Here’s everything there is to know about the Choice Privileges rewards program.
- How to Join Choice Privileges Rewards Program
- A Brief Overview of Choice Hotels
- Earning Points with Choice Privileges
- Redeeming Points with Choice Privileges
- Elite Status with Choice Privileges
- Choice Preferred Hotels & Resorts
- The Bottom Line
How to Join Choice Privileges Rewards Program
Joining Choice Privileges is quick and simple. To join Choice Hotels’ rewards program, first, navigate to the following landing page. Second, complete the required fields and hit submit. All you’ll need to complete the enrollment process is some basic personal information and contact details.
A Brief Overview of Choice Hotels
Choice Hotels operates a few better-known chains. You’re probably somewhat familiar with Comfort Inn & Suites, Sleep Inn, EconoLodge, and Rodeway Inn. The Choice Hotels portfolio also includes Cambria Hotels, Clarion, Quality Inn, and Suburban, among others. A complete list of Choice Hotel brands can be found below.
|Clarion, Clarion Suites||Economy|
|Comfort, Comfort Inn & Suites||Economy|
|Quality Inn, Quality Inn & Suites||Economy|
|Suburban Extended Stay Hotels||Economy, Extended Stay|
|MainStay Suites||Extended Stay|
|Woodspring Suites||Mid-Tier, Extended Stay|
|Cambria Hotels||Mid-Tier, Luxury|
|Ascend Hotels Collection||Luxury|
|Ameristar Casinos (Select Properties, Limited Affiliation)||Casino, Mid-Tier|
|Boomtown Casinos (Select Properties, Limited Affiliation)||Casino, Mid-Tier|
|Cactus Petes Resort Casino (Limited Affiliation)||Casino, Mid-Tier|
|Greektown Casino-Hotel (Limited Affiliation)||Casino, Mid-Tier|
|Hollywood Casinos (Select Properties, Limited Affiliation)||Casino, Mid-Tier|
|L'Auberge Casinos (Select Properties, Limited Affiliation)||Casino, Mid-Tier|
|Margaritaville Resort Casino (Limited Affiliation)||Casino, Mid-Tier|
|M Resort Las Vegas (Limited Affiliation)||Casino, Luxury|
With a portfolio including Sleep Inn and EconoLodge, Choice Hotels is best known for budget accommodations. The majority of Choice Hotels are budget hotels — with only a handful of what might be considered “luxury properties” in its portfolio. Choice Hotels’ mid-tier and luxury hotels operate under the Cambria Hotels brand or are a part of the Ascend Hotel Collections.
Luckily for travelers, both the Cambria Hotels brand and Ascend Hotels Collections moniker are growing. This means that Choice Privileges members will likely have additional higher-end properties from which to choose in the near future.
Choice Privileges might not sound all that exciting, due to having little opportunity to redeem your points for the luxury vacation of a lifetime. However, Choice Privileges is a very practical loyalty program.
For example, some of the only hotels available alongside major interstates are a part of Choice Hotels. If you enjoy taking the occasional road trip or find yourself needing overnight accommodations in small towns far away from major cities, you should sign up for a Choice Privileges account.
Choice Privileges is also an outstanding program for budget travelers. With thousands of budget-conscious properties across the globe, this is the perfect way for thrifty travelers to earn rewards.
Earning Points with Choice Privileges
Earning points at Choice Hotels is extremely straightforward. Basic members earn 10 points per $1 spent. So, spend $100, earn 1,000 points. It’s not until you reach an elite status tier that this formula changes.
To earn points for each stay, you’ll just need to make sure you are including your Choice Privileges account information when booking. If you book online and are signed into your account, this is done automatically.
There is one additional way to earn points at Choice Hotels. Like all major hotel chains, Choice Hotels offers its guests the option to apply for its co-branded credit card. The Choice Privileges® Visa Signature® Card allows members to earn an additional 5 points per $1 spent at Choice Hotels, alongside other benefits. The Choice Hotels co-branded credit card also earns 2 points per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Choice Privileges® Visa Signature® Card Overview:
- 5 points per $1 spent at eligible Choice Hotels
- 2 points per $1 spent on all other purchases
- Earn 32,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.
- Elite Gold Status perks at eligible Choice Hotels properties
- No annual fee
You can also earn points when you book with rental car partners, including Avis and Budget. When you book with Avis or Budget, you’ll earn 1,000 points on eligible reservations. Of course, there’s also the option to buy points outright. There are often promotions to buy Choice points with a bonus or a discount.
There are a few other rather unconventional ways of earning points, including refinancing your home. For the typical guest, booking stays and using their Choice Visa is likely the best (and most practical) way to rack up points with Choice Hotels.
You can also transfer points from other programs to Choice Privileges. These are your options:
- American Express Membership Rewards (1:1 transfers)
- Capital One Miles (1:1 transfers)
- Citi ThankYou Rewards (1:2 transfers)
Do Choice Privileges Points Expire?
To avoid losing the points you've earned, you have to remain an “active member.” That is, you are required to “have at least one qualifying activity every 18 months to maintain an active status and retain accumulated points.” If you don't have any qualifying activity on your account in those 18 months, you will forfeit all points. So, yes, your Choice Privileges points will expire if you don't maintain an active account.
Related: Do Choice Privileges Points Expire?
Redeeming Points with Choice Privileges
Redeeming points for free nights is also quite simple. Once you’ve accumulated enough points, you’ll just head over to the Choice Hotels website and search for available properties at or near your destination. You’ll continue your booking as if you were booking with a credit card. However, you should know that you can only make points bookings 100 days in advance.
Free night award redemptions start at just 8,000 points per night at almost all parts of the world. According to Choice Hotels, free night award redemptions start at 6,000 points — but that's only in parts of Australia and New Zealand.
With brands that include EconoLodge and Sleep Inn, you can imagine what 8,000 points will get you. Based on availability and pricing for the next few weeks in various popular cities, expect award rates to average around 10,000 to 12,000 for most properties.
Here’s an example of some of the properties you can book with 8,000 points:
- Rodeway Inn & Suites Salina, KS
- Rodeway Inn Fenton, MO (Near St. Louis)
- MainStay Suites Oakbrook Terrace (Near Chicago)
- Quality Inn & Suites DFW Airport South
- Rodeway Inn near Hollywood Beach, FL
- Econo Lodge Canton, MI (Near Detroit)
Those are a few examples of what the minimum number of points needed for an award can get you. As previously mentioned, most free nights start around 10,000 to 12,000 points per night. Additionally, you can also book more upscale properties starting at around 25,000 points per night.
Here’s an example of what you can book starting at 20,000 points per night:
- Cambria Hotel Chicago Loop – Theatre District (20k per night)
- Insignia Hotel, Ascend Hotel Collection Brooklyn, NY (25k per night)
- Ventus (Riviera Maya, MX), Ascend Hotel Collection (45k per night)
- Cambria Hotel Washington D.C. Capitol Riverfront (25k per night)
- The Grand Hotel, Ascend Hotel Collection (near Breckenridge, CO) (16k per night)
- Cambria Hotel Anaheim Resort Area (25k per night)
What Are Choice Privileges Points Worth?
Choice Privileges points have wide-ranging value depending on how you redeem your points. For planning purposes, we suggest trying to get at least 0.6 cents per point from your Choice Privileges points. This is based on current award booking rates and the current cost to purchase miles. For comparison, here are what other program currencies are worth.
Elite Status with Choice Privileges
Just like any other major hotel rewards program, you can earn elite status with Choice Hotels. Keep in mind, however, elite status with Choice Hotels is going to be far less appealing than Marriott Titanium or similar status.
With most Choice Privileges properties falling under the budget category, there is little room for upgrades or added amenities. Nevertheless, earning elite status is quite straightforward and worth it if you plan on making Choice Hotels your main hotel program.
Choice Privileges elite status is available after just 10 nights. After 10 nights at eligible properties, members will achieve Choice Privileges Gold Status. 10 nights isn't much. As such, Gold status isn't much either.
Here's what you can expect with Choice Privileges Gold Status:
- Early Check-in
- Late Check-out
- Reserved Parking
- Theme Park Discounts
- Up to 9 Rollover Nights
- Elite Customer Service
- Elite Welcome Gift
- Bonus points on Golf by Choice purchases
- Bluegreen Point Bonus
- 10% extra points earning on stays
Reaching Platinum status isn't all that challenging, either, as you'll reach this tier after 20 nights. However, it does come with some added benefits. One of the more useful added benefits is Avis Preferred Plus status.
- All of the benefits above, plus
- Up to 19 Rollover Nights
- 25% extra points earning on stays
- Avis Preferred Plus
Diamond status is unlocked after 40 nights. However, few benefits are added when you reach the highest elite tier. Unless Choice Hotels is your primary hotel program, you won't benefit all that much from reaching Diamond status.
- All the benefits above, plus
- 50% extra points earning on stays
- Up to 39 Rollover Nights
What's most noteworthy about Choice Privileges elite status is how you'll earn points. With each tier, you'll earn more points per stay. When you reach Diamond Status, you'll earn 50% more points per stay. So, if your stay is $100 per night, you'll earn 1,500 points per night.
Here's how you'll earn points with Choice Privileges elite status:
|Standard Member||10 points per $1||None|
|Gold||10 points per $1||10% Bonus|
|Platinum||10 points per $1||25% Bonus|
|Diamond||10 points per $1||50% Bonus|
Choice Privileges Bonuses Overview
As a Choice Privileges elite member, you will enjoy some added benefits and perks. The benefits will depend on the tier you reach each calendar year. However, beyond Platinum status, you will enjoy few added perks.
Here is an overview of some of the more notable benefits and perks that you will receive as a Choice Privileges elite member.
Theme Park Discounts
Families and theme park enthusiasts will benefit from this added perk. Once you reach Gold status with Choice Privileges, you will enjoy discounted admission to select theme parks across the United States. Here are the theme parks that currently participate as part of this perk:
- Knott’s Berry Farm
- Kings Island
- Cedar Point
Bonus Points on Golf by Choice
Choice Hotels also operates a golf program. This program includes the ability to purchase new equipment (drivers, wedges, and sets) or tee times. While this is somewhat of an odd way to earn points or take advantage of your elite status, Choice Hotels is sure to include this benefit in each elite tier.
Each time elite members purchase items or services through the golf rewards portal, they will earn an additional bonus. Here is a breakdown of this bonus:
- Gold elite: 10% bonus points
- Platinum elite: 15% bonus points
- Diamond elite: 20% bonus points
Avis Preferred Plus
This is going to be the most noteworthy benefit and perk for many AwardWallet readers. In just 20 nights with Choice Hotels, you'll achieve Avis Preferred Plus. Avis Preferred Plus is one of Avis' elite status tiers.
With Avis Preferred Plus, you'll earn 25 to 50% more points with each booking. Additionally, you'll receive complimentary upgrades with each booking (when available). Finally, you'll also receive dedicated customer support and special offers not available to other Avis Preferred members. And you can skip the line when picking up your car at many locations.
Choice Preferred Hotels & Resorts
While Choice Hotels does operate its own lines of upscale hotels (Ascend Hotels Collection and Cambria Hotels), Choice Privileges members also have access to additional luxury hotels. However, these additional luxury hotels can only be booked using points accrued during stays or with the Choice Privileges® Visa Signature® Card.
Choice Preferred Hotels & Resorts are luxury priorities that can only be booked using Choice Privileges points. These luxury properties can be booked starting at just 25,000 points per night. However, unlike Choice Hotels properties, you are required to call the Choice Privileges line to book reward redemptions with these luxury properties. Luxury property redemptions are available from 25,000 to 55,000 per night.
Below is a list of some of the hotels that participate in this program:
- L'Hotel du Collectinonneur Paris (55k per night)
- One Farrer Hotel Singapore (35k per night)
- Condado Vanderbilt Hotel (45k per night)
- The Hollywood Roosevelt (45k per night)
- NoMo SoHo (45k per night)
- EAST, Miami (45k per night)
- Hotel Villa Cipriani (45k per night)
- Hotel Mousai Puerta Vallarta (55k per night)
- The Guest House at Graceland (Nashville, TN) (25k per night)
The Bottom Line
Choice Hotels operates thousands of hotels across the globe. While these hotels are definitely not on the same level as St. Regis or Waldorf Astoria, you can still earn valuable points at these hotels. Choice Privileges is a solid and straightforward program that allows you to earn points with each stay.
Whether you're a frequent road tripper or a budget traveler, the Choice Privileges program is a great way to earn points with each stay. Additionally, while Choice Hotels specializes in budget hotels, you can still use your Choice Privileges points for stays at luxury properties across the globe.
Are you a Choice Privileges member? Have you ever stayed at a Choice Hotel?
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