Choice Fall Promotion: Stay 2 Nights Get 1 Night Free

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Choice Hotels is out with its fall promotion for 2020, and it's very similar to what we've seen in the past. Once again, members can earn at least 8,000 points from every two stays. That's enough for a free stay at more than 1,000 of Choice properties.

However, this promotion is presented a bit differently than before. Although the promotion guarantees a minimum of 8,000 points, Choice is advertising that members can earn a $50 gift card for staying twice. Depending on your travel style, that may or may not be the best use of your Choice points.

Choice Promotion Key Terms

  • Choice Privilege members must register with Choice for this promotion before you complete your first stay.
  • This promotion is good for qualifying stays between September 21, 2020 and November 15, 2020.
  • You must be based in the U.S. or Canada to be eligible for this promotion.
  • Paid stays with a nightly rate lower than $40 will not qualify.
  • Qualifying stays will have an arrival (check-in) date between September 20 and November 15, 2020.
  • Note that consecutive nights at the same hotel only count as one stay, regardless of check-ins or check-outs.

How you earn points:

  • Registered members will be awarded a minimum of 5,000 to a maximum of 8,000 bonus points after the second qualifying stay. The number of bonus points awarded depends on the number of base points earned from the two separate qualifying stays.
  • The total of base points plus bonus points awarded will be at least 8,000 points.
  • Bonus points should post within 72 hours after an eligible second stay.

Booking restrictions:

  • Book your stay through, the Choice Hotels mobile app, or 800.4.CHOICE.
  • Some properties aren't eligible for this promotion. These include WoodSpring Suites hotels and Ascend all-inclusive resorts, as well as all properties located in Japan, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Guyana, and Ecuador.
  • Members must select Choice Privilege Points as their earning preference in their online account to receive the bonus. That means if you are currently earning airline or Amtrak points from your Choice stays, you must switch your earn preferences to Choice Privileges.
  • Excludes reward night stays, complimentary rooms, rooms paid for as part of a convention or meeting, rooms booked through a third party online retailer including online travel agencies, wholesale packages, group tours, and stays booked using the employee discount or the friends and family discount

Forget the Gift Cards

If you've paid attention to the promotional wording for this deal, you'll notice that it's advertising a free gift card—not a free night. Our advice: forget the gift card.

For this promotion, Choice has opted to change the focus from a free night to a free gift card. That's because between September 21 and December 15, 2020, Choice intends to halve the redemption rates for $50 gift cards at partnered merchants from the standard 16,000 Privilege Points to 8,000. That's a redemption rate of 0.625 cents per point.

But don't be tricked into thinking this is your only option for your bonus points. In actuality, this promotion functions the same as its previous iterations; members can use their bonus points however they want. We recommend that members continue to use points for free night awards, as these present a far superior value compared gift card redemptions—even with the promotional rate.

Choice Hotels Feature

Doing the Math on This Choice Promotion

In a nutshell, Choice is guaranteeing that you will earn at least 8,000 points for two stays. But it's first factoring in the base earning rate of 10 points earned per dollar. If you spend $40 each on two (separate) one-night stays, your normal earning would be 800 points (10 points x $80). With this promo, Choice will give you another 7,200 to get you to 8,000 points total.

If you spend $280 total on the two stays, you'll get 2,800 points as part of the normal earning scheme, and Choice will only give you another 5,200 to get you to a total of 8,000.

Choice states that the minimum number of points you can earn is 5,000. Thus, if you spend more than $300 total on your stays, you'll always get 5,000 bonus points. For example, if you spend $800 or more between the two stays, you'll earn 13,000 bonus points (8,000 from the $800 in spending, plus 5,000 bonus points). In other words, once you hit the $300 threshold, you'll earn more than 8,000 total points from the two stays.

We're scratching our heads a bit with the incentives Choice has created for this promo. By offering to make up the difference in points to make sure you reach 8,000 in total, the best way to maximize your value is to book the cheapest possible nights that qualify ($40 or more). In other words, the promo planners seem to be focused on getting you back to a Choice hotel rather than creating marginal revenue—and that's just fine by us!

Tips for Booking

After you register for the promotion, you can start searching for those low-cost nights here. Make sure to pay for the stay with one of the best rewards cards for travel purchases. Right now, several credit cards offer 3X points on hotel purchases:

Our Take

As we noted, this promotion is quite similar to previous promotion. There's comfort in the predictability of Choice's promotional offerings. Earning up to 8,000 bonus points for every two stays is certainly valuable. However, in my opinion, Choice would do well to shake things up a bit.

On the one hand, I recognize the intention behind promoting gift cards as a bonus for hotel stays, given the current travel climate. For some, a Best Buy gift card could be more valuable now than a free night at a Comfort Inn. On the other hand, providing a slightly better (yet still poor) redemption value on a Panera Bread gift card isn't nearly exciting enough to change anybody's travel plans.

That said, I'm a fan of Choice Privilege points. They're great for free night awards in upscale overseas properties and last minute overnight airport stays. So if you have any intentions of staying at a Choice hotel in the next few months, take the minute or two to register now. Choice Hotels has a lot of properties in smaller towns. Check out AwardMapper to see if a hotel is where you're traveling.

How do you feel about Choice's fall promotion? Is it convincing you to book a stay at a Choice hotel?

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  • Bill from Maine says:

    Choice is one of the handiest point currencies to hold. They are everywhere and most of the properties have improved greatly over the last few years. Like you mentioned, I would like to see Choice liven things up a bit rather than running the same tired bonus program every quarter.

  • It’s funny how they mention the paid rate needs to be $40 or higher.
    I wonder if there are any Choice properties lower than $40 per night to begin with..

  • I’m not sure yet if I’m going to take advantage of this promotion but I have signed up. I have an Amex offer that would be stackable (For Comfort Inns) and definitely book through a cashback portal for the most benefit.

  • This looks like a great deal! I’m jst a bit scared of traveling these days. once all this passes, im hoping to use this deal

  • Richard O'Neill says:

    For me, this is terrific information. We will be attending a small outdoor wedding in Chicago this August. On our drive from the Philadelphia area to the wedding we are planning an overnight road road stay somewhere in the Cleveland area – both outbound & return trips. Needless to say we will stay with Choice and bag a free stay and get 8,000 points. Thanks for the info. Richard

  • Its a great deal. Would love to do it once the pandemic its over! 😍.

  • Paula Garabaya says:

    I like that we are starting to see promotions that are actually good.
    Maybe we will just do two long weekends now.

  • This CHOICE hotels group actually is a BAD CHOICE.

    Terrible chain of hotels.

  • Urfa Zaki says:

    Its a very attractive deal but the pandemic situation has made the people reluctant to travel during the summer 2020.

  • I see you need to have a US or Canadian mail address.
    It was like this also in the past?
    I have never noticed this.

  • I think that one of the important points, besides being an interesting promotion from the economic point of view, is that the establishments guarantee the hygiene necessary to prevent infections.

    • The way I see it, is that you get exposed to the virus when you out and about when traveling rather than hanging out in your own hotel room.

      • They’re learning more and more about this virus everyday, thankfully. Currently, there is thought that poor ventilation might be a problem, as in recirculating the same air without proper filtration or the inclusion of outside air. If that turns out to be true, hotels will need to assure visitors that they have the proper precautions in place for hanging out in the room.

  • This seems like such a great deal!! I’m so wary of traveling these days though. Hopefully I will be able to start back up very soon!!

  • Perfect for long road trips with multiple overnight stays along the way. With a little bit of planning, it’s not hard to earn a decent amount of points without spending a lot, especially if you can double dip with the right credit card.

  • My question is… do i need to take 2 consecutive days to apply for this promo? Is it possible with two separete dates? Thanks!!

    • JT Genter says:

      You certainly don’t need them to be consecutive! You can book two stays anytime in the promotion to qualify.

      • I didn’t think of that! But we could use a long weekend anyways. Maybe we will just do two long weekends now.

    • B1BomberVB says:

      Dates may be separate–anytime before Sep. 7. But remember, it’s 2 stays! A solid week or month in one hotel is only one stay!

  • I like that we are starting to see promotions that are actually good.

  • I would love if Hyatt would do something like this!

  • This is a great deal. We participated last year on our cross-country road trip. And I’m sure we’ll take advantage of this promotion again this summer! Thanks for the heads up!

  • The Nordic Choice properties are not a good deal to earn bonus points through this promotion anyway.

  • This could be very lucrative for me as I need to go to some small Pacific Northwest towns where this is one of the only chains. I may as well take advantage of it.

  • While rates are lower now and this seems like a good promo, I dont think people are ready to start travelling and staying in hotels already.