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Choice Privileges Visa credit card review

March 08, 2020
8 min read
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Choice Privileges Visa credit card Overview

The Choice Privileges® Visa Signature® Card is a relatively unknown card with no annual fee. Featuring 15 points per dollar on all Choice purchase, 5 points per dollar for Choice points purchases and Choice hotel gift cards, and 2 points per dollar on everything else, this card offers a solid return on spend for frequent Choice customers but not much else. Card Rating*: ⭐⭐⭐

*Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG's editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.

A consistently undervalued program, Choice hotels comprises a group of more than 7,000 properties across 40 countries. While in the US these properties aren't anything special, you can find real value overseas in expensive locations like Scandinavia and Japan. The Choice Privileges Visa card is the only one on offer from this hotel chain, and while I don't necessarily recommend this card for everyone, if you've got a lot of international travel coming up this card could be worth a spot in your wallet.

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Who is this card for?

The Choice Privileges Visa has no annual fee, which means it's a fairly safe bet for any traveler. However, since the Choice program tends to be overwhelming in many locations (especially US based), travelers may be inclined to earn their points elsewhere. Since the card only offers 2 points per dollar on everyday spend, it makes sense for consumers to pay using other, higher-earning rewards cards.

Where this card shines is in highly rewarding Choice hotels purchases. With 15 points per dollar spent at eligible Choice properties, customers who use this card can rack up points without breaking a sweat. TPG values Choice points at 0.6 cents each, which means that you'll earn a 9% return on your spend at Choice hotels. This makes the card especially useful for those who spend many nights at the hotel chain per year.

Playa Mujeres, Mexico. (Photo courtesy of Choice Hotels.)
Playa Mujeres, Mexico. (Photo courtesy of Choice Hotels.)

Sign-up bonus: $120 (or more) in value

With the Choice Visa Signature card, you’ll earn 32,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. While that may not seem like a ton, remember that you can find some really outsized value on overseas redemptions. Take a look at this hotel in Tokyo, which goes for 8,000 points/night:

Depending on how you use your points, you can get more than $600 in value from the bonus.

Main benefits and perks

While the card isn't chock-full of benefits like some more premium travel rewards credit cards, you do get a few perks for being a cardholder. Members receive automatic Gold status for as long as they hold the card, which entitles them to a number of benefits, such as increased bonus points, early check-in and late check-out, reserved parking and an elite welcome gift during a stay. Cardholders also receive an additional 10% bonus on earned points.

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The card also offers 8,000 bonus points on every anniversary during which you've spent $10,000 on the card, which is worth up to a one night at a hotel. If you use these points at one of Choice's overseas properties, you can easily extract over $100 in value from this anniversary gift. Not bad for a no annual-fee card!

How to earn points

We've discussed this already, but the earning structure for the Choice Privileges Visa card is simple. You'll earn 15 points per dollar on purchases at Choice hotels. You'll receive 5 points per dollar on Choice gift cards and when buying points. Finally, you'll earn 2 points per dollar on everything else.

While this isn't the worst earning rate in the world, we do suggest putting your everyday spend on another card.

Related reading: The best credit cards for everyday spending

How to redeem points

When you’re ready to redeem the points you’ve earned with the Choice Visa Signature card, you'll need to head over to the Choice website. Redeeming is easy, as you simply select Reward Points as your rate and search for the hotel of your choice.

You can either choose to book with points or points with cash. In either case, you can book up to 100 days in advance. While this might be anxiety-inducing for some planners, Choice has a very generous redemption system that doesn't differentiate between regular rooms and suites in terms of point cost. This means you can redeem rooms for as many as seven people without incurring additional rates, unlike other hotel chains.

Related reading: Registration open — Earn 8K Choice points after every two stays this spring

Is the Choice Privileges Visa worth a spot in your wallet?

Unfortunately, like most things in this hobby, there’s no cut-and-dried answer to the question, "Is the Choice card worth a spot in your wallet?" The answer depends entirely on your spending habits and the amount of time you spend in hotels per year. Given that the card has no annual fee, it's a relatively safe bet for just about anyone. Its only downside comes when you get further into the reward program game and start running into restrictions such as 5/24. Here are a few reasons the card might be worth getting for you:

  1. You are able to hit the sign-up bonus. If you know you'll be able to earn the 32,000-point sign-up bonus, it's a fairly easy way to earn a decent amount of points. As it'll cost you nothing to keep per year and only requires $1,000 in spend, the card could be worth it for its sign-up bonus alone, especially if you're heading to Northern Europe or Japan.
  2. You spend the majority of your hotel stays at Choice hotels. If you're a frequent customer of Choice, this card is a no-brainer. Given that it awards you automatic elite status and nets you a 9% return on hotel stays, it makes sense to own the Choice Privileges card.
  3. You're not saving spots for other premium reward cards. If you're looking to maximize your reward earnings, this isn't one of the first cards you should get. Take advantage of higher sign-up bonuses on other cards before obtaining the Choice Visa.

Everyone’s spending and travel situation is unique, so it’s exceedingly hard to speak in absolutes when it comes to a specific credit card. While this card doesn't pack that much of a punch, it's also a no-loss game, so holding it shouldn't impact you negatively.

Bottom Line

Choice Privileges is consistently underrated as a reward program, despite its 7,000 properties across 40 countries. Its offerings run the gamut from high-end all-inclusives to water park resorts, and any serious traveler should take a look at its portfolio. Despite this, the Choice Privileges Visa is a modest offering without many serious benefits. This is to be expected from a no-fee credit card, but other options still offer much better return, especially on everyday spend. That being said, it offers a free annual night for no cost out of pocket along with mid-tier elite status, so while it's not a huge win for anyone, it's certainly not a bad card to put in your sock drawer either.

Apply here for the Choice Privileges Visa card with a 32,000-point sign-up bonus.

The information for the Choice Privileges Visa card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Featured image by Playa Mujeres, Mexico. (Photo courtesy of Choice Hotels.)

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How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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TPG featured card

BEST FOR DINING AND GROCERY REWARDS
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review
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at American Express's secure site

Rewards

3 - 4X points
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
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Intro offer

Earn 60,000 points
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.

Annual Fee

$250

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

There’s a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It’s been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you’re hitting the skies soon, you’ll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there’s no reason that the foodie shouldn’t add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x).
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel.
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months.

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories.
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits.
  • Few travel perks and protections.
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
BEST FOR DINING AND GROCERY REWARDS
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.

    Earn 60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There’s a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It’s been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you’re hitting the skies soon, you’ll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there’s no reason that the foodie shouldn’t add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x).
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel.
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months.

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories.
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits.
  • Few travel perks and protections.