I’ve been stalking the Choice Hotels website lately to see the new reward rates for late spring. Choice Privileges is a somewhat unusual and slightly annoying hotel loyalty program, but its quirks are forgivable when you find terrific low point rates in great destinations.
When redeeming Choice points, you cannot book more than 100 days in advance. This makes planning difficult and is quite uncommon among hotel loyalty programs.
With the exception of the Scandinavian properties, reward rates are seasonal. So, for most hotels there are periods of time when rates will be fixed, although it’s not without precedent for an adjustment to occur out of the blue. Further, some hotels will have different rates for weekdays versus weekends.
Finding Future Rates
Since you can’t see point redemption rates beyond the 100 day mark when searching room availability, one must instead click the name of the hotel and scroll down the page to see the reward rates for the April 16 – June 30 timeframe. They will appear immediately below “Hotel Information” which includes things like check-in and check-out times, phone/fax number, pet policy etc.
Note that for some reason a few of the hotels don’t display the reward rates. In that case, just check dates within 100 days and remember to check both a weekday (Sunday – Thursday) and a weekend night (Friday – Saturday) as rates may differ.
Many of the best options I’ve found are in Europe. I focused on hotels where the reward rate was 8000 or 10,000 points per night. There are also good deals in places like Japan and New Zealand.
London – Comfort Inn Hyde Park
Galway – The House Hotel
Paris – Comfort Hotel Sixteen Paris Montrouge
Lyon – Comfort Suites Rive Gauche Lyon Centre
Strasbourg – Comfort Hotel Strasbourg
Salzburg – Comfort Hotel, Star Inn Salzburg (Fri-Sat is 16,000)
London – Comfort Inn Edgware Road
Yorkshire – Cedar Court Hotel Harrogate
Belfast – Ten Square Hotel
Paris – Comfort Hotel Nation Pere Lachaise (Fri-Sat is 8000)
Lyon – Quality Suites Lyon Confluence
Bordeaux – Quality Hotel Bordeaux Centre
Vienna – Comfort Hotel, Star Inn Wien Schoenbrunn (Fri-Sat is 12,000)
Salzburg – Quality Hotel, Star Inn Premium (Fri-Sat is 12,000)
A terrific aspect of Choice point redemptions is the occasional opportunity to redeem for a room above the standard category including the odd suite. This is a rarity in hotel loyalty programs and is especially useful if you’re travelling with more than one other person.
For example, you can get a family room for 12,000 points per night at the Clarion Collection Hotel Principessa Isabella in Rome:
Accumulating Choice Points
The two best ways of getting Choice points are earning them through stays during a good promotion or by purchasing some during a sale. The usual stay-based promo awards 8000 points after every 2 stays.
Point sales typically happen a few times a year either in the form of a percentage discount or a bonus. The best deal of all is via the annual US Travel Association Daily Getaways promotion. It’s the least expensive buying method but you will need to be at your computer when the sale goes live because they always sell out. Last year the sale was in May but dates have not yet been announced for 2020.
Choice Privileges is not a loyalty program that generates much excitement in the points and miles world. I’ve stayed at lots of Choice hotels in my life and many of them are just fine. My last stay at a Quality Inn in Germany was a great experience. Just read the reviews carefully so you can make an informed decision. Case in point, if you check TripAdvisor’s “Traveller Ranked” list for hotels in Halifax you’ll see that the Comfort Hotel Bayer’s Lake is at the top. It gets a 9.2 rating based on Booking.com reviews as well.
Anyway, these low reward rates are a super deal if you can travel during this period. Now it’s time to watch for a good opportunity to acquire some more Choice points.