Choice Points to the Rescue and How to Buy Them for Less

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I’ve had to use every trick in my book, and then a few that weren’t yet in my book, to try and secure nice but affordable lodging in the UK, especially Scotland, during an insanely peak travel time this summer. One of the “tricks” I have turned to is using hotel points. Of course that’s hardly a new trick, but it wasn’t one of the usual suspects like Hyatt, Starwood, Club Carlson, or even IHG points that saved the day.

 

It was actually Choice Hotel points that came to the rescue. You know, the points I bought during the Daily Getaways so I could use them to return to Atlantis in the Bahamas at some point by staying at the neighboring Comfort Suites. The points that can only be used 30-45 days in advance of an award stay unless you have elite status. The points that I did not at all expect to put to good use in the near term.

Well, it is just another reminder that it pays to diversify your miles and points colections, but beyond that I wanted to offer a more specific trick to add to your travel toolbox. If you are running short on Choice Hotel points you can outright buy up to 50,000 points per year at a rate of $11 per 1,000 points purchased, or 1.1 cents each. However, if you have enough points in your account to book a Choice Points + Cash award, then you can effectively purchase Choice points at just .75 cents each via a very similar method to the IHG Rewards points + cash “trick”.

In this example, if you book a hotel on a Points + Cash award for 6,000 points + $218 USD instead of spending 35,000 points for the night, and then you decide to cancel the stay, you will receive an instant “refund” of 35,000 Choice points instead of the 6,000 points + $218. This means you purchased the difference of 29,000 points for $218, or .75 cents per point.

Choice Points and Cash.jpg

This per point rate isn’t as good as the Daily Getaways sale price that was as low as .4 cents per point, but it can be replicated at any time making it more useful in some ways than a once-a-year limited quantity sale, and it will save you over the official points purchasing method. The downside of this “trick” is that if you wanted to cancel a points + cash award and get your cash back instead of all points you are out of luck since that’s not how it works. Still, if you need a few more Choice points to get that award you are after this can be a very effective way to go about getting them.

I never expected Choice points to be the ones that came to my rescue, but I’m thrilled they did, and I’m glad to be able to share this reminder of how to beef up your Choice points stash for a little less than the retail price. Have you ever utilized a Choice Points + Cash award?

Comments

  1. I am not sure this is a good deal though. Choice sells points at a discount on a regular basis and they are usually 40% off I believe. This comes out to an approximate 32% discount. However, the number of points you can buy is limited then.

  2. I didn’t know about that feature. Thanks for the tip.

    BTW, I hope you’re tracking your cash stays – you might be able to rebook for less at the last minute. Even during peak season it sometimes happens.

  3. FYI – According to the fine print on the Choice website, “A maximum of 250,000 points can be purchased in a calendar year through Points Plus Cash.”

    • All depends on how you use them, but in general I agree for US properties. Some good values internationally, but I think this is a good “top up” method not necessarily where I would focus on volume.

      • Topping up for an award you almost have enough points for would make sense.

        But then again, the example you gave was someone with just 6,000 points spending $218 for 29,000 points; so my comment was in reference to that.

        We are staying for 3 nights at the Doubletree in Edinburgh during the Festival this summer, using points from our Surpass cards. And I assure you we didn’t spend an extra $218 per night for those points. Probably more like $60 a night, all in. Plus of course free breakfast. 😉

  4. Choice is excellent in Europe. I often stay at the 4 1/2 star Clarion Prague City doing this to buy the points for $60 and there’s no tax. The lowest rate is usually $120 with tax. There are other bargain gems like this in Norway and Sweden.

  5. We just used choice points to stay in Rome and Lake Como in Italy. The points rates were 12k at hotel Bolivar (cash was over 300 Euro/night) and 8k at hotel Griso (cash rate over 200 Euro/night). It came out between $35-40per nite to sleep in the center of Rome and right on the shore of Lake Como for a family of 4. It also included breakfast at both hotels (excellent views from both as well). I consider that an excellent deal. Even if I purchased the points through cash and points trick or the regular way, it would have been a sweet deal. Choice will also match your status up to platinum (60-75 days advanced booking)

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