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Today’s installment of the Daily Getaways cheap point liquidation is Choice Hotels. I don’t personally have experience with their loyalty program, Choice Privileges, because I never stay at their brands (Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality Inn, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, Mainstay Suites, Suburban Hotels, Econolodge, Rodeway Inn and Ascend Collection), but their program offers a luxury hotel redemption option which I’m interested in and will describe in this post.
As with all Daily Getaways sales, they market these packages as certain rewards, but what actually happens is that you receive points in your account. Per the redemption FAQ: “By purchasing this 3-night Comfort Inn® reward, you will receive 36,000 points in the Choice Privileges® program. Points will be posted to the account number given at time of purchase within 20 business days of confirmation.” So while one package may be for “Cambria Suites,” that’s just marketing hype. You can actually use those points for whatever redemption you wish – even transferring to airline miles or using for free nights at luxury hotels.
Choice points can regularly be purchased for 1.1 cents a piece with a yearly maximum of 20,000. With this promotion, you can get them as low as .37 cents if you use an American Express card.
32,000 points for $134 .42 cents per point. $120.60 with Amex, .38 cents per point.
36,000 points for $156 .43 cents per point. $140.40 with Amex, .39 cents per point.
40,000 points for $166, .42 cents per point. $149.40 with Amex, .37 cents per point.
Most free nights can be redeemed for 6,000-8,000 points per night – you can check the full list of properties here. As with all promotions, I recommend doing the math before purchasing any package. These packages go very quickly, so if you want to purchase a package, have your browser ready to go at 11:58am EST, because it’s likely they will be gone in minutes. Quick tip: If it says the package is in another person’s cart, keep hitting “Try again.” I did that 10 times and ended up snagging a Hertz package, when I originally thought they were gone.
The luxury hotel redemption option with Preferred Hotel Group properties has me most intrigued. This little known feature can save you a ton of money, especially when redeeming at NYC properties. For example, you can get a free night at the Helmsley Park Lane hotel for a measly 40,000 Choice points ($149.40 when you purchase those points with this promotion using an American Express Card).
Choice points can also be transferred to airline miles at a 5:1 ratio. For example 40,000 Choice points (which can be purchased for $149.40) will yield you 8,000 airline miles. 1.9 cents a mile is certainly cheaper than buying them from the airlines at ~2.7 cents a mile, but it’s still not a huge bargain – plus it will take up to two months to actually see the miles once you initiate a transfer.
And while I hope people wouldn’t buy these points and let them sit, they “expire on December 31, two years after the year in which they were deposited into your account unless forfeited or canceled earlier due to membership inactivity or otherwise in accordance to these rules and regulations.”
Since I have little personal experience with Choice, feel free to post your personal experiences in the comments section.