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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
The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.
- Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
- Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
- 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
- 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
- Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
- Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
- Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
- $550 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees