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One hotel points program that doesn’t get enough love is Choice Hotels’ Choice Privileges, landing it first on our list of most undervalued hotel programs. And, if you need convincing that it’s worth a look, let’s review some top choices in travel hot spots in Europe and Japan at just 8,000 points per night. At current TPG valuations, that’s just $48 per night.
Star Inn Hotel Stuttgart Airport-Messe (multi-room suite)
As I write this, Katie and I are staying next to the Stuttgart airport at a Star Inn Hotel in a multi-room suite. As digital nomads, we were drawn by the extra space and desk, but were also pleasantly surprised to find two queen beds rather than the two double beds. While other rooms in the hotel have a two-person limit, this room can comfortably handle four.
The Montenotte Hotel
In Cork, Ireland, you can get a Choice hotel near the center of town at the snazzy Montenotte Hotel for just 8,000 points per night starting December 1 — down from the current 20,000 points per night rate. Not bad considering standard rates are around €119 (US$140) per night.
Clarion Collection Hotel Drott
Visiting Nordic countries can be hard on the wallet, and this hotel in Karlstad, Sweden is no exception. Rates start at 1,480SEK (US$183) per night for a room next to the central train station which includes a “evening meal” at the hotel. Or, you can just redeem 8,000 Choice points for a free night there. That’s a sweet 2.3 cents per point.
Comfort Hotel Osaka Shinsaibashi
Here’s another one from my personal experience. In the heart of Osaka, you can get reward nights for just 8,000 points per night. In typical Japanese style, the rooms are smaller than you might expect in the US. But the location simply can’t be beat, right in the heart of a bustling neighborhood packed with great restaurants and a few blocks from a shopping district.
Tokyo alone has four options available at 8,000 points per night, with three of these in the heart of Tokyo:
- Comfort Hotel Tokyo Kanda
- Comfort Hotel Tokyo Higashi Nihombashi
- Comfort Hotel Tokyo Kiyosumi Shirakawa
Comfort Hotel Central International Airport
Here’s a third one from my recent repertoire. Located on the same island as Nagoya’s Central International Airport (NGO), this hotel makes an excellent option after a late-night arrival, before an early morning departure or for those who just want to AvGeek at the airport’s awesome SkyDeck (where Boeing DreamLifters are commonly found).
Tips for Availability
Non-elite Choice Privileges members get a 60-day window for booking reward nights outside their home country. As you can imagine, the best reward options get scooped up quickly. However, elite members can book reward nights further out than non-elites. Platinum members get a 75-day window and Diamond elites can book 100 days out.
That’s why I leveraged my IHG Platinum Elite status — obtained from my IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card — to match to Choice Rewards Platinum status. And, as I noted in my mid-year elite status update, I’m likely to re-qualify for Platinum from award nights alone.
How to stock up on Choice points
- The Choice Privileges Visa Signature Card is offering a 32,000 point sign-up bonus for spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days
- You can also buy Choice points from Points.com at a general rate of 1.1 cents each
Featured image by Montenotte Hotel
With some great bonus categories, the American Express Gold Card has a lot going for it. The card offers 4x points at US restaurants, at US supermarkets (up to $25,000; then 1x), and 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com. It is currently offering a welcome bonus of 35,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months.
- Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
- Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. restaurants. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).
- Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
- Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with The Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Shake Shack, and Ruth's Chris Steak House. This is an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
- $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
- Choose to carry a balance with interest on eligible charges of $100 or more.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- Annual Fee is $250.
- Terms apply.
- See Rates & Fees