A Hotel Program You Really Want to Explore: Choice Privileges

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Earlier this week I wrote about some things to think about if you find you aren’t really using your miles and points as much as you would like. If you are in that situation, one of the big things to think about and research is whether you are perhaps overlooking some travel partners or less popular redemption methods that may align with your travel patterns quite well, and that will work with the points you already have. As a specific example, in the comments section of that linked post some good reminders came about in regards specifically to Amex Membership Rewards and their transferability to the Choice Hotels program.

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

While Choice Hotels may not sound super exciting or get lots of attention in the miles and points world, I can assure you there are some exciting redemption opportunities in their portfolio. I highly encourage you to not count this program out and instead be sure to remember that Amex Membership Rewards points available via cards like The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card and The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card transfer 1:1 to Choice Hotels and their Choice Privileges program.

As you probably know, Choice Hotel points can get you a room at somewhere like the Comfort Suites Summit County that is a reasonable driving distance to ski destinations like Breckenridge, Keystone, or Copper Mountain. They can also get you a room at the Comfort Suites Paradise Island in the Bahamas that includes access to the neighboring Atlantis water park, but Choice points can actually take you far beyond just a Comfort Suites type of hotel.

Comfort Suites Paradise Island

We used Choice points last summer during a very, very expensive week in Edinburgh to book my mom a room at the adorable 19 room Howard Hotel.

The Howard Edinburgh

This property is part of the Ascend Hotel Collection, and she had a great stay in a junior suite in this unique property thanks to Choice Hotel points.

The Ascend Hotel Collection has properties seemingly everywhere from Edinburgh to Aspen to Maui to Curacao to Europe to New York City and beyond. The properties are often far from cookie-cutter and some can offer a really solid points redemption opportunity, even if you are transferring your points in from Membership Rewards.

To give you an example of what is out there, for 20,000 Choice points per night you can book a room at the beautiful Hotel Christiania Teater in Oslo or the Skt. Petri in Copenhagen, both Ascend Hotel Collection member properties.

Hotel Christiania Teater in Oslo

 

Skt. Petri in Copenhagen

If you find yourself in Bergen, Norway (and I hope to find myself there at some point), you aren’t going to be able to use your Hyatt or Starwood points for a hotel room, but again Choice Hotels is a solid option via the Clarion Collection Hotel Oleana, which is also 20,000 points per night.

Clarion Collection Hotel Oleana

If you are hoping to spend fewer than 20,000 Choice points per night, that is very possible across Europe and beyond at places like the Comfort Hotel Cachan Paris Sud for 8,000 points per night, Comfort Inn Hyde Park in London for 10,000 points per night, and numerous options in Tokyo for just 8,000 points per night.

Looking a little closer to home, you can stay in NYC at the Comfort Inn Midtown West for 16,000 points per night, The Paul, an Ascend Collection property on in Chelsea on 29th Street for just 8,000 points per night (Update: I tried to sort of bury this in here so it wouldn’t get too much attention, but not too surprisingly they realized this was underpriced and raised it to 30,000 points per night), or even get a two-bedroom suite at the Bluegreen Vacations Club 36 just off the strip in Las Vegas for 10,000 points per night.

The Paul NYC

Choice Privileges and their relationship with Membership Rewards is something that can easily be forgotten by some, but it is also a place you can sometimes find very good redemptions when other programs leave you high and dry. The program is far from perfect, especially since without elite status you can only book award nights 30 days in advance in the US and Canada or 60 days in advance for other destinations, but that isn’t a reason to totally count them out. File this program away for when you need it, and in the meantime it can be fun to explore all of the properties your Choice points can book around the world!

Have you ever scored a great redemption via Choice Privileges?

Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.

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  1. What a helpful post! Our membership reward points are piling up so this will be very useful to consider. More posts on Choice or Wyndham or whatever else there is would be welcomed. Im still hoping to use our membership rewards for international flights, but once out daughter goes to college in a year, and we are not flying her, frequently in business and first, our points needs will go down quite a bit. In general, your earlier post on using points really helpful too. I’m definitely inclined to pay cash if I don’t think the redemption is really good. But then the pile of points gets bigger.

  2. Great post! I wish more people knew about how valuable Choice hotels points can be. I wouldn’t transfer my MR or UR points to Choice, just because I can get more value with airline partners, but Choice is a seriously underrated program, especially for families. There are numerous properties where you can stay in a suite for relatively few points, and when traveling with kids more space is always better. Next week we’ll actually be heading up to Redwoods National Park and were able to get a two-bedroom at a local Quality Inn for only 12,000 points/night. I’m not expecting amazing quality, but rooms are going for over $250/night so we’re getting an excellent return, especially during peak summer season.

    It takes a bit of searching, but there are plenty of properties that provide a terrific return, especially in areas near national parks where there are few, if any, SPG/Hyatt options.

    • Yes, I have it. It’s good, it gives you Gold status which gives a longer booking window and has no annual fee. Right now it looks like it gives 32,000 points sign-up bonus.

  3. MP;

    Thanks. I am planning a trip to Scandinavia.
    Not too many chain hotels there… but plenty of Choice hotels.
    I’ve heard from Loyalty traveler that Clarion hotels there give you free breakfast & dinner.

    I’ve seen redemption for 10K in Stockholm, 12K in Bergen, Stavanger, 16K in Oslo. Most of them providing you free breakfast.

    I will find out more about them after my trip there in July- August. I will try to burn thru my 105K stash in 17 nights. I have some free nights in IHG , SPG & Hilton. Hyatt & Marriott hotels are non existent in these areas.

    You are ruining our secret of Choice hotel program.

    Danny

    • Please read Loyalty traveler carefully. You will learn a ton about using Choice points for Nordic Choice hotels in Scandinavia. Note: only at Clarion Collection hotels do you receive breakfast and dinner. I would recommend the Clarion Hotel Sign in Stockholm. 10,000 points a night Andrew the breakfast isnother worldly!

  4. Are you totally Carlson-averse now? The devals have been awful, so I’m not surprised if so.

    Asking because of the Scandinavia mention.

    • Me? No, I’m not at all. Got great use from my Club Carlson points to get my folks hotels near the Ryder Cup last minute in Minnesota thanks to Club Carlson. Every point has their day when it is the best…and you are spot on that Club Carlson shines in Scandanavia. I loved using ours to stay in Trysil, Norway!

  5. As other have mentioned, great value in the Nordic countries. I’m staying three nights at the Clarion Collection Bastion in Oslo for 16,000 a night in a two bedroom family suite with breakfast and dinner included. Norway has some of the most expensive food prices in the world, so that’s a pretty great redemption. I’m also staying at the Clarion Collection Odin in Gothenburg, with dinner and breakfast, for 10,000 a night.

    I have stayed at the Skt. Petri in Copenhagen before and it’s a great location, very sold redemption. I’ve also previously stayed at the Clarion Hotel Sign in Stockholm, great location, great breakfast, etc. You really can’t go wrong with Choice in the Nordics, but remember, you can’t earn Choice points on a stay. They have a different program, Nordic Choice, that will earn points if you are staying on a paid rate.

    Also, hotels in Vienna are pricey, the Comfort Hotel, Star Inn Wien Schoenbrunn was a great redemption at 8,000 a night. It was right by the subway and in-between the Schönbrunn Palace and downtown, short subway rides to both places.

    They have several hidden gems at 8,000 to 10,000 points a night and often do the promo where two one-night stays gives you 8,000 points. So it’s pretty good. I really want to drive the Clarion Prague Old Town, it’s often 10,000 a night and it’s got an amazing location in Prague.

    • It was 8k yesterday. Sadly looks like they have already raised it…it was very under-priced for what it is, so it is not surprising that the attention caused it to change.

  6. Nordic Choice Hotels has 180 hotels in Scandinavia, mostly in Norway and Sweden, and those hotels hold fairly steady rates. The Thief Ascend Collection Oslo is 5-star luxury rivaling Park Hyatt and the gem of the Nordic Choice Hotels. The hotel is typically 20,000 points, if you can find reward night availability.

    Every Nordic Choice Hotel I have stayed offered free breakfast and Clarion Collection brand (not plain Clarion) in Scandinavia also offers dinner. I had a wonderful dinner in 2015 at Hotel Oleana Bergen, Norway when staying at Clarion Collection No.12 around the corner. Many of the Clarion Collection hotels rebranded to Ascend Collection over past two years.

    The thing to keep in mind with Choice Hotels is most properties around the world have seasonal rates and change reward level every 2 to 3 months. For example, Clarion Prague Old Town is 10,000 per night in June, then 16,000 in July and Clarion Prague City is 12,000 in June and 10,000 in July. There are also higher rates for some hotels on weekends.

    I have reviewed a dozen Nordic Choice hotels in Bergen, Oslo, Larvik and Harstad, Norway; Malmo and Stockholm, Sweden and Copenhagen, Denmark on Loyalty Traveler blog.

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