Choice Privileges is back with another promotion for purchasing points. This time it’s up to a 40% bonus when you buy points by September 8, 2020. If you think you can see the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel and are pondering future travel, this could be a good deal to consider. Otherwise, it’s still worth being aware of in case you decide to capitalize on a similar promo some time down the road.
Choice Privileges is a hotel loyalty program with distinct pros and cons – the main con, in my opinion, is the limited reward booking window of 100 days. Another downside is that only US residents can use the cash+points option. The biggest pros, in my view, are the interesting seasonal sweet spots and the ability at some hotels to book any room type with the same number points.
40% Bonus Promo
The catch with this deal is that you have to buy a minimum of 15,000 points to receive the 40% bonus. When you buy at least 3000 points you get a 20% bonus and a 30% bonus for purchases of over 8000 points. Apparently the cap on the total number of points one may purchase in a calendar year can vary by member. Normally it’s 180,000 but the account I checked allowed a purchase of up to 250,000 points before the bonus.
Check out the Buy Points webpage for all of the details but here are some prices:
These prices are in USD so you’ll need to factor in the conversion to CAD, along with the foreign transaction fee on your credit card, if applicable. Also remember that like many point sales, these are processed by Points.com, a Canadian company, so your purchase will be subject to HST.
New York City Example
If these were normal times, you might be able to leverage your discounted point purchase into savings on a hotel stay south of the border. For instance, there is a new Ascend Hotel Collection property set to open on 37th Street in New York, a great location in Midtown Manhattan. It’s called The Draper and reward rates are very reasonable. Of course, you should always check the paid rates at a variety of hotels at your destination before booking any sort of perceived points deal.
Anyway, here are the upcoming reward rates at The Draper:
I compared the nightly reward rate with the nightly paid rate for December 4-6, 2020, (Friday & Saturday night).
Many different room types are available on points, including the pricier ones like the 2 double bed city view room:
Oddly, the 1000 point package rate was cheaper than the Everyday Rate:
Even when you add the taxes and fees on a points purchase, it would still be a great deal to buy 15,000 Choice points with a bonus of 6000 for $148.50 USD, enough for two nights at the hotel in the example above.
Every year the U.S. Travel Association holds a big sale of various travel packages including loyalty points. It was scheduled to happen back in the spring but was postponed due to COVID-19. The website has been saying “check back soon” for the 2020 Daily Getaways for a long time so we’ll have to see if it eventually appears as it has always been the cheapest method of buying Choice Privileges points.
Stay Twice, Get 8000 Points
Since we’re on the topic of Choice Hotels, I’ll reiterate that they offer the same promotion quite frequently. After two qualifying stays you get 8000 points or what they refer to as a “free night”. This is a good promo if it fits into your plans. The current version ends very soon (Sept. 7, 2020) but if history is any indication, we’ll likely see it again before the end of the year.
25% Canadian Discount
Another promotion set to end is the 25% discount at participating Canadian Choice hotels. Book by September 6, 2020 for stays until December 30, 2020. The book by date has already been extended at least a couple of times so it’s possible it will be extended again.
It’s generally not wise to buy points speculatively. You should have a plan (and a plan B) for using the points in the near term. That’s not so easy these days. That said, if you have flexibility and can get a handle on the Choice Privileges program so as to find the bargains, buying points with a 40% bonus can be a good way to save money on an upcoming trip. At the very least, it’s worth knowing what kind of recurring money-saving angles are out there that you might want to take advantage of in the future.