I recently noticed that most Choice hotels are now offering 4000 point package rates in addition to the 1000 and 2000 point packages. I’m not sure how long they’ve been available, but I think these are worth a closer look. Perhaps they could be useful for folks eyeing certain sweet spot redemption opportunities in the Choice Privileges program.
Bonus Point Package Rates
Booking hotel rates that include extra loyalty points for an additional charge can sometimes make sense as long as you have a decent handle on the program. You must feel relatively certain that you’ll get more in value from those points than what it cost to acquire them.
I’ve written previously about Marriott Bonvoy and IHG Rewards point package rates which can occasionally be a good deal. Often the best package rates will be per stay instead of per night and might require a minimum length of stay so it’s important to pay close attention to the fine print.
Hilton Honors, Radisson Rewards and Wyndham Rewards usually offer a double points rate on any booking. Aside from a limited time 10,000 point package offered by Radisson Rewards (back when it was Club Carlson), no other point package rates stick out in my mind.
I recall seeing 1000 and 2000 point packages with Choice Privileges but the 4000 point option seems relatively new. These are per night rates with no minimum stay requirements.
Choice Privileges Points
Be sure to note the quirks specific to the Choice program as any analysis must be made with these in mind:
- Members may only book reward nights within the next 100 days
- Reward rates vary seasonally and by day of the week
- Upgraded rooms are often available on points
- Points can only be earned on qualifying rates of at least $40 USD per night
- Only US residents may book points+cash rates
Bonus Point Package Terms
The terms and conditions of the Choice Privileges program specifically address point packages. They were updated March 31, 2020 so the 4000 point packages were presumably added since then as only the 1000 and 2000 ones are mentioned:
Choice Privileges 1,000 and 2,000 Points Packages
- Point Packages may not be available at all Choice hotels. To purchase a points package, you must be a Member prior to booking. Member must book at www.Choicehotels.com, directly with the property, or at 1.800.4CHOICE in order to book the Choice Privileges 1,000 Points Package or the Choice Privileges 2,000 Points Package. The Choice Privileges Member number must be present on the reservation.
- Members booking the 1,000 Points Package (PKPR1 rate plan) will pay BAR (best available) rate plus $6.50 for each room each night of the stay. The Member will in turn receive 1,000 points for each room each night. Members booking the 2,000 Points Package (PKPR2 rate plan) will pay BAR (best available) rate plus $13 for each room each night of the booking. The Member will in turn receive 2,000 points for each room each night. Points will be deposited into the Members account approximately 72 hours after checkout.
- The 1,000 and 2,000 Points Packages can only be used to book up to two rooms per reservation; Members may book additional rooms under either Points Packages, but no more than two rooms per every reservation. In the event that a Member has two or more Points Package reservations, leading to the Member having three or four rooms in their name at one hotel on any one night on these rate plans, it may take up to 10 days for the points for the third and fourth room to be deposited into the Member’s account.
The BAR, or Best Available Rate, is available at participating hotels; the BAR rate is available at most U.S. Choice Hotels locations and international locations, but not at WoodSpring Suites® locations, or Ascend Hotel Collection® all-inclusive properties. Members must book direct at choicehotels.com or the Choice Hotels mobile app. Members receive a discount of 2 – 7% off from the hotel’s published BAR, APR or hotel promotional rate. The actual BAR (best available) rate varies depending on hotel and time of purchase, is unrestricted, non-qualified and excludes any other discount rates. APR (advance purchase) reservations must be made at least 7, 14, 21 or 30 days in advance, depending on hotel. Hotel promotional rates typically require a minimum length of stay. Early departure fees, deposit and cancellation restrictions may apply. Unless otherwise stated, quoted rates are per room per night, based on single/double occupancy and don’t include taxes, gratuities, or incidental charges. This rate may not be combined with other promotions, offers or discounts and isn’t valid for existing reservations or for groups. The rate is not transferrable or redeemable for cash and can’t be applied toward a future stay.
Two interesting bits of info…
The 1000 and 2000 point packages are to be priced at a fixed rate of $6.50 and $13 USD respectively on top of the Best Available Rate, which appears to be the cancellable “Everyday Rate” before the member discount.
Members may book up to two rooms per reservation with a package rate, but you may book additional reservations under a point package rate just as long as there are no more than two rooms per booking.
4000 Point Package Pricing
If it follows what’s stated above, the 4000 point rate should be $26 USD above the best available rate. Of course, anybody booking a point package is going to be logged in as a member and will naturally compare the the package rate to the discounted member rate. (I ignore non-refundable rates as a general practice because I very rarely book those)
So, after searching hotel rates priced in USD, it seems the numbers in the Choice terms do check out. As usual, there are a few random anomalies – some to the guest’s benefit and some to their detriment – but by and large the rates are as expected.
Rate Examples – United States
Here are a couple of examples in USD:
Port Inn & Suites, Kennebunk, Ascend Hotel Collection
Everyday Rate – $189 (Member Price $180)
1000 Point Package – $196
2000 Point Package – $202
4000 Point Package – $215
Comfort Suites Universal Orlando
Everyday Rate – $124 (Member Price $115)
1000 Point Package – $131
2000 Point Package – $137
4000 Point Package – $150
Rate Examples – Canada
I checked several Choice hotels in the Maritimes on a random date. The incremental difference between Canadian packages is the same as in the U.S at $6 CAD per 1000 points.
Inn on the Lake (Ascend Hotel Collection)
Everyday Rate – $169 (Member Price $161)
1000 Point Package Rate – $175
2000 Point Package Rate – $181
4000 Point Package Rate – $193
Quality Inn Halifax Airport
Everyday Rate – $115 (Member Price $107)
1000 Point Package Rate – $121
2000 Point Package Rate – $127
4000 Point Package Rate – $139
Comfort Inn New Glasgow
Everyday Rate – $129 (Member Price $123)
1000 Point Package Rate – $135
2000 Point Package Rate – $141
4000 Point Package Rate – $153
Comfort Inn Charlottetown
Everyday Rate – $105 (Member Price $100)
1000 Point Package Rate – $111
2000 Point Package Rate – $117
4000 Point Package Rate – $129
The 4000 point package runs around $29 – $32 above the Member Price.
Using the New Glasgow hotel above, the Member Rate on April 10th is $140.92 tax included and the 4000 point package rate is $175.94.
So, you’re paying around $35 CAD for those extra 4000 points.
Buying Points Directly
If you were to buy 4000 points directly from Choice, it would be $48.40 USD. Canadians pay HST plus the forex fee added by your credit card, if it has one, so it could be around $70 CAD depending on the dollar, or double what you’d pay for a point package on a hotel stay.
Choice occasionally has promotions for buying points, usually in the form of a 40% bonus or a 30% discount. The wrinkle with these sales is that they often require you to buy a minimum number of points to receive the most generous bonus or discount. However, the price comes down to $8-9 USD per 1000 points compared to $12 with no discount.
By far the cheapest way to acquire Choice points is through the annual US Travel Association Daily Getaways sale. To snag the deal you need to be at your computer as soon as the sale goes live. Daily Getaways was cancelled in 2020 and there’s no word yet on 2021. The price in 2019 was in the range of $5 USD per 1000 points depending on which package you purchased.
High Value Reward Stays
Now the question – is it worth it to book a 4000 point package rate?
To see how far your Choice points will go, I’ll highlight a handful of promising options in Europe. This is with the caveat that reward rates are seasonal and subject to change. Check the hotel’s webpage for reward rate details.
Comfort Hotel Strasbourg, France:
Take special note of the properties in Scandinavia affiliated with the Nordic Choice program. These hotels don’t have fluctuating reward rates so they’re a little easier to plan a trip around and there are a very large number of them.
Comfort Hotel Helsingborg, Sweden:
While there are a number of hotels at the 8000 point level, they are relatively scarce in popular destinations so I tend to focus on the 10,000 and 12,000 reward levels.
Clarion Hotel Sign – Stockholm, Sweden
Clarion Collection Hotel Odin – Gothenburg, Sweden
Quality Suites Lyon Confluence – Lyon, France
Quality Hotel du Nord Dijon Centre – Dijon, France
Quality Hotel Star Inn Premium Wien HBF – Vienna, Austria
Quality Hotel Star Inn Premium Heidelberg – Heidelberg, Germany
Comfort Inn Hyde Park – London, England
The House Hotel, Ascend Hotel Collection – Galway, Ireland
Quality Hotel Hampstead – London, England
Quality Hotel Bordeaux Centre – Bordeaux, France
Hotel No. 13, Ascend Hotel Collection – Bergen, Norway
Funken Lodge, Ascend Hotel Collection – Longyearbyen, Norway (this one’s a doozy)
If you scan the cash rates for any of the above, you’ll get an idea of how much value you can get for your points. But again, remember how the Choice program works – the reward rate you see now may spike in the following period.
For example, the Quality Inn & Suites in Cornwall PEI is 12,000/10,000 points per night between April 18 and June 30, 2021 and you could book a 2-bedroom suite that would otherwise cost $194 + tax in late June. However, the yet unreleased point rates for July and August will undoubtedly be much higher.
Lastly, I’ll mention one rather peculiar opportunity on the Choice website. Search Cancun on dates after April 16, 2021 (and within 100 days) and you’ll see what I’m talking about – unless it has changed since I posted this [Update – the resort in question is now showing 75,000 points per night instead of the previous…8000 points(!)]. Unfortunately, I don’t imagine there are many people contemplating a trip to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico this spring.
Choice Privileges Promotions
The current promotion (double points on stays January 18 – February 28, 2021) and the most recent offer both deviated from Choice’s longstanding recurring promo of 8000 points after every two stays. It will be interesting to see if they go back to the old standby or if they’ll change things up with the next one. Either way, any points-earning promotion can be stacked with these bonus point package rates to boost your balance even further.
If you had a 5 night stay at a Choice property that earned 30,000 points including base points, bonus points and a 4000 point package, it’s conceivable that your extra $200 or so outlay could later pay for a 3 night stay at a 10,000 point hotel with rates of $200 per night or higher.
As long as you do your research and sort the wheat from the chaff, it’s possible to find excellent accommodation options in any budget-friendly hotel chain. Don’t let preconceived notions or one bad experience at a single hotel deter you from capitalizing on great money-saving angles. Read reviews and choose carefully.
As a budget traveller and points and miles enthusiast, I always try to find ways to make one stay help offset the cost of another stay. That means stacking promotions and learning the sweet spot redemptions. I think this Choice Privileges 4000 point package rate has potential and I look forward to an opportunity to use it some time in the future.