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Rewards Programs

Choice Privileges rewards guide

Best ways to earn and redeem Choice Privileges points

Summary

The Choice Hotels brand includes more than 6,000 properties in 35 countries around the world. Here’s everything you need to know about earning and redeeming points with its rewards program.

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The Choice Hotels brand includes more than 6,000 properties in 35 countries around the world. The corporate name itself may not be super familiar to you. But you’ve no doubt heard of the Comfort Inn or the Sleep Inn on the lower end, MainStay Suites or Woodspring Suites for extended stay properties or the Cambria Hotels brand on the higher end. All of these brands fall under the Choice Hotels umbrella and participate in the Choice Privileges Rewards program.

What is Choice Privileges?

Choice Privileges is the loyalty program for Choice Hotels, top-rated in USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards as well as by U.S. News & World Report for three consecutive years.

This guide will help you figure out the best ways to utilize your Choice Privileges membership, as well as how to earn and use Choice Privileges points.

Choice Privileges rewards program Overview

Type of currencyHotel points
Average point value0.6 cents per point, by The Points Guy valuations
Credit cardsChoice Privileges® Visa Signature® Card by Barclays
Redemption optionsFree hotel nights, Points Plus Cash program, resorts, cruises, vacation rentals, gift cards, shopping, dining, floral deliveries and charitable donations
Minimum required to redeem8,000 points for full award night or 6,000 for points plus cash
Do rewards expire?Yes, after 18 months of no account activity.
Blackout dates/travel restrictionsThere are no default blackout dates. If the room offers you the option to book using Choice Privileges points, you can do so.
Hotel brands and coverage7,000 hotels in 32 countries, including throughout the U.S., Canada, Central and South America, Asia, Europe, Australia, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Brands include Ascend, Cambria, Clarion, Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, EconoLodge, MainStay Suites, Quality Inn, Rodeway Inn, Sleep Inn, Suburban Extended Stay and Woodspring Suites.

Transfer optionsYes
Best for
  • Budget travelers seeking out a good deal and dependable quality
  • Extended-stay business or leisure travelers who want to maintain a sense of home while on the road
  • Rewards program-savvy travelers who know how to utilize Choice Privileges to get a great deal on award nights

What do I get from signing up for the Choice Privileges rewards program?

First and foremost, members of the Choice Privileges rewards program are eligible to earn 10 points for each dollar spent at more than 7,000 Choice hotels. This usually includes your base hotel rate, as well as any dining, incidentals, upgrades and associated fees such as parking or valet charges. Your Choice Privileges points never expire, as long as members do not cancel their accounts.

In addition, members are eligible for several unique programs that offer extended benefits, including Your Extras, which delivers exclusive rewards to members for stays over Sunday nights through Thursday nights. Choice Privileges program members can also choose from a variety of reward offerings such as bonus airline miles, fuel rewards, coffee gift cards, rideshare credits or additional Choice Privileges points.

If you plan to spend even a single night in a Choice Hotel, it’s absolutely worth the time to sign up for a Choice Privileges account. Just by signing up, you’ll be able to ask for a complimentary 2 p.m. late checkout, as well as points for every stay you complete. There are additional benefits for each successive elite status tier, which will be covered later in this guide. You can sign up for the Choice Privileges program here.

How much are Choice Privileges points worth?

When it comes to points, not all are created equally. The precise value will vary from person to person, and it also depends on how well you can use the points from that program.

For instance, the best hotel chain in the world doesn’t do you any good if there aren’t any properties located near where you live or travel. Similarly, points from a lesser-valued brand may still offer great value for you if there are a lot of options in cities that you frequent.

Nevertheless, some rewards program points go farther than others. Our partner website, The Points Guy, currently values Choice Privileges points at 0.6 cents apiece, based on the average value of a room relative to the number of points required to book at that price point.

What should Choice Privileges points be worth to you?

Of course, the true value of a Choice Privileges reward point has everything to do with what matters to you and your style of travel. Here are some factors to keep in mind as you determine whether or not the program is the right fit for your travel needs.

  • How do you intend to redeem your points? Points used for hotel accommodations within the Choice Privileges brands go further than they would if redeemed for flights, dining or merchandise, for example.
  • What level of accommodations do you prefer? While the Ascend and Cambria hotels collections are on the higher end of hotel quality, most of the Choice Hotel brands are in the budget to mid-tier range when it comes to luxury.
  • Where do you want to travel? As with most hotel rewards programs, the value of your Choice Privilege redemptions will vary drastically depending on the locations you choose. Destinations that are in high demand will cost more in cash, and that price point will be reflected in the number of points you have to pay in order to book a free award night.
  • When do you want to travel? You can usually get the most value out of your points if you redeem them for high-demand dates when cash prices run high − such as over holidays and weekends − rather than for off-peak times such as Tuesdays, Wednesdays and slow season.

Pros of the Choice Privileges Reward Program

  • The brand boasts more than 7,000 participating hotels worldwide to choose from, ensuring that travelers very likely can find a place to stay no matter where in the world they go.
  • Award nights can be booked from just 8,000 points per night.
  • There are a number of alternative ways to redeem your points if you don’t want to use them toward hotel stays.
  • Choice Privileges program members can earn points for up to four rooms per night within a single hotel if all of the rooms are reserved in the member’s name and include the member’s program membership number.

Cons of the Choice Privileges Reward Program

  • Many of the properties under the Choice Hotels umbrella are on the lower end of luxury, so there are fewer opportunities for aspirational redemptions such as all-inclusive overwater resort villas.
  • Choice Privileges points expire quickly, after a year and a half of account inactivity
  • Free nights at Preferred Hotels & Resorts properties can only be booked through the Choice Privileges Service Center by phone.
  • Points earned under the Choice Privileges program cannot be transferred to a different member account, nor can they be pooled together with another member’s point balance.
  • Choice Hotels reward nights cannot be booked more than 100 days before the traveler’s arrival date.

Choice Hotels credit cards

The Choice Privileges® Visa Signature® Card from Barclays is a great tool to help you boost your Choice Privileges points balance. You can score 32,000 points by signing up for the credit card, then spending $1,000 on the card within the first 90 days.

If you know you’ll be staying at Choice Hotels quite often in the future, this card is the perfect payment method for those hotel bookings, since you’ll earn 15 points for each dollar you spend toward eligible Choice Hotels stays. And you’ll even earn bonus points when paying for Choice products and services, to the tune of 5 points per dollar spent on Choice Privilege points and Choice Hotels gift card purchases. Finally, you’ll earn 2 points per dollar that you spend on this card in any other category.

You’ll also earn 8,000 Choice Privileges points when you spend $10,000 by the time your cardholder anniversary rolls around. Since the lowest-tier hotels only cost 8,000 per award night booked, this means that you can receive up to one free hotel night each year at absolutely no cost, simply for holding the Choice card and meeting the minimum spending requirement. And remember that this card doesn’t charge an annual fee, so there truly is no hidden cost for all of these bonus points.

Finally, don’t forget that Choice Privileges cardholders also enjoy a 10% discount on all Choice Hotel stays that aren’t booked on points. You’ll also receive complimentary elite Gold status. If you are planning on staying in Choice Hotels in the near future, this credit card is a no-brainer.

Earning Choice Privileges points

Outside of credit card rewards, there are a lot of ways you can boost your points balance within the Choice Privileges program. Here’s an overview of the best strategies:

Stay at Choice Hotels

When you book a hotel stay directly through Choice Hotels, you will earn 10 points per dollar, for up to four rooms per night in any single hotel. This is a particularly great benefit when you are traveling with family members and need more than one room at a time.

If you want to earn Choice Privileges rewards on each hotel stay you book through the brand, make sure you select “Choice Privileges” as your loyalty program preference on the “My Account” page, under the section marked “Manage loyalty programs.”

Stay over a weekday night and earn bonuses through Your Extras

You can also earn bonus points on certain stays through the Choice Privileges Your Extras program. According to the Choice Hotels website, “Your Extras is a little ‘extra’ after you check in, on point-eligible qualifying stays at participating hotels that include any weekday from Sunday through Thursday.” The WoodSpring Suites properties currently do not participate in Your Extras.

Your Extras is only available on U.S. and Canada stays that include at least one booked night on a Sunday through Thursday. The bonus is per stay, not per weekday night, and you can choose from the following earning opportunities:

  • $0.20 per gallon in Fuel Rewards
  • $2.50 Uber trip discount
  • $2.50 Amazon.com credit
  • $5 coffee card
  • 100 airline miles with participating carriers
  • 500 Choice Privileges points

In order to qualify for a Your Extras bonus, you must opt into this program via the Choice Hotels website and select the bonus you wish to receive, prior to your check-in time.

Book a Choice Hotels vacation rental

Did you know that you can book a family-friendly vacation home experience through Choice Hotels and earn points for it? When you book a Choice Hotels vacation rental, you’ll earn 10 points per dollar − the same rate at which hotel room bookings earn Choice points.

Book an event through Choice Hotels

When you book a meeting, conference or event that requires more than 10 rooms at once, you will earn 4 points per dollar on all related expenses such as meeting rooms, guest rooms, food and beverage and other event-related incidentals.

Book a vacation package through Bluegreen Vacations

You’ll earn 25,000 Choice Privileges points each time you purchase a vacation rental package through Choice partner Bluegreen Vacations.

Book a cruise through Cruises Only

When you book a cruise through Cruises Only, you can earn 5 Choice Privileges points per dollar spent. The travel agency has more than 155 ships from 20 different cruise lines, including top brands such as Royal Caribbean International, Princess, Celebrity Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line and Carnival Cruises.

Book rental cars through Choice Privileges

Choice Privileges partners with rental car agencies Avis and Budget, offering Choice members a discount worth up to 25% off the base rental rate on each qualifying rental using the associated promotional code. Program members will also receive 1,500 Choice Privileges points per qualifying rental. To book your Avis rental, use offer code O418900. To book your Budget rental, use offer code T134900.

Shop online through the Choice Privileges Online Mall

Choice Hotels has its own dedicated shopping portal called the Choice Privileges Online Mall, and you’ll earn Choice Privileges points on each purchase you make through the site. The number of miles you earn will vary based on the number of miles per dollar that each individual retailer offers.

See related: Use airline and hotel shopping portals to boost rewards

Refer a friend to Choice Privileges

You can earn 500 points each time you refer a new friend who joins the Choice Hotels family and completes an eligible hotel booking. There’s no limit to the number of points you can earn by referring friends and family members, as long as each person opens a separate account with Choice Hotels.

Transfer points into your Choice Privileges account

If you earn points with other travel and banking partners, you may be able to transfer your points into your Choice Privileges account in order to boost your program balance. The transfer rates are as follows:

  • Transfer points and miles from American Express Membership Rewards at a 1:1 ratio
  • Transfer from Diners Club at a 125:240 ratio
  • Transfer from Amtrak Guest Rewards at a 3:1 ratio

Redeeming Choice Privileges points

As a general rule, using your Choice Privileges points for Choice hotel stays will be the most effective way to maximize your points. By TPG valuations, each Choice Privileges point is worth 0.6 cents apiece, when used to book a hotel night. But as you’ll see from the redemption chart below, using those points on gift cards, golf gear and cruise credits cuts the cash value on those Choice points in half.

In case you have some expiring Choice Privileges points, here’s a look at what your points are worth if you spend them on alternative redemptions.

Redemption optionPoint value (cents)
Golf by Choice program0.3
Cruises Powered by Cruise4110.3
Exchanging for Amtrak Guest Rewards pointsExchange 32,000 Choice Privileges points for 5,000 Amtrak Guest Rewards points.
Gift cards (Choice Hotels)0.4
Gift cards (all other brands)0.3

Choice Privileges elite status

As with any loyalty program, you’ll get better benefits the more nights you stay. If you plan to spend even a single night in a Choice Hotel, it’s absolutely worth the time to sign up for a Choice Privileges account in order to begin earning your way toward elite status.

As a general rule, elite status with hotels is earned based on the number of nights you stay with the hotel chain within a calendar year. Note, however, that most stays booked through a third-party travel agency such as Expedia or Hotels.com do not qualify toward elite status requirements − so it’s often a good idea to book directly through Choice Hotels whenever possible.

Remember that just by signing up for the Choice Privileges program, you are eligible to request a complimentary 2 p.m. late check out on each stay. And don’t forget: Elite members receive a gift or additional bonus points upon check-in at every Choice hotel.

Here’s a quick overview of the perks Choice Privileges members can enjoy at each tier of elite status:

MemberGoldPlatinumDiamond
How to qualify:

Members are automatically enrolled as soon as they sign up for the Choice Privileges loyalty program.

How to qualify:

Sign up for Choice Privileges, and complete nine nights in Choice brand hotels within a single calendar year.

How to qualify:

Sign up for Choice Privileges, and complete 19 nights in Choice brand hotels within a single calendar year.

How to qualify:

Sign up for Choice Privileges, and complete 39 nights in Choice brand hotels within a single calendar year.

Benefits:

Exclusive member rate, Your Extras bonus, Double Your Extras at Cambria hotels and $10 credit at Cambria hotels.

Benefits:

All of the Member tier perks, plus a 10% elite point bonus, early check-in and checkout, up to 9 rollover nights, elite customer hotline access and an elite welcome gift.

Benefits:

All of the Gold elite status perks, plus a 25% elite point bonus, up to 19 rollover nights and Avis Preferred Plus elite status on car rentals.

Benefits:

All of the Platinum elite status perks, plus a 50% elite point bonus and up to 39 rollover nights.

Is joining Choice Privileges worth it?

All things considered, the Choice Privileges program probably isn’t the best fit for the average person. The expiration date on points is short, many of the hotels are in the budget category and properties aren’t always located where you need them to be.

However, the Choice Hotels brand makes a lot of sense for any traveler who is limited to a certain budget, such as corporate business people on stipends or per diems, travelers who live and visit regions with a lot of Choice properties and anyone who can earn and spend a significant amount each year on the Choice Privileges credit card.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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