The trick to booking a hotel in Australia, New Zealand or Japan for as little as $42 per night
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The Choice Privileges hotel points program is greatly undervalued. And I’m not the only one who thinks this — Choice lands atop TPG’s list of most undervalued hotel programs. If you’re looking to take advantage of some excellent redemptions, you have a new option.
Now through Feb. 4, 2020, members have the chance to buy Choice points with a 30% discount. Let’s look into why you might want to do so — even if you haven’t considered Choice Privileges before.
In my travels around the world, I’ve used Choice points to stay in the heart of Tokyo and Osaka, Japan; in a two-room suite in Stuttgart, Germany and in the heart of Frankfurt, Germany — all for 8,000 points per night. And while visiting the TPG offices at the end of 2018, Katie and I stayed for 14 nights in a “suite” in NYC for just 8,000 Choice points per night. While it was pretty basic, you can’t beat that award rate in the Big Apple.
But our best Choice redemption yet has to be when we moved into an all-inclusive resort for a month for just 8,000 Choice points per night.
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Since we get such excellent value from Choice points — and there aren’t many ways of stocking up on Choice points — Katie and I have bought the maximum allowed each of the past few years. Plus, we buy more each year through Daily Getaways.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that Choice changes its point redemption amounts every couple of months. And unfortunately, that suite in NYC at the Gowanus Inn is no longer bookable with points, and the cost of a normal room has spiked. So, let’s consider some current sweet spots.
Australia and New Zealand from $42 per night
If you’re heading to New Zealand or Australia in the next few months you can redeem nights for as little as 6,000 points at the following hotels:
- Econo Lodge City Central Auckland, New Zealand
- Econo Lodge Napier, New Zealand
- Econo Lodge Wanganui, New Zealand
- Econo Lodge Canterbury Court Christchurch, New Zealand
- Econo Lodge Waterford, Australia
- Econo Lodge Moree Spa Motor Inn, Australia
- Comfort Inn on Main Hervey Bay, Australia
- Econo Lodge Griffith Motor Inn Griffith, Australia
- Econo Lodge Moree Spa Motor Inn Moree, Australia
- Econo Lodge Park Lane Bundaberg, Australia
- Econo Lodge in Wagga Wagga, Australia
- Econo Lodge Border Gateway Wodonga, Australia
- Econo Lodge Heritage Inn Wagga, Australia
- Econo Lodge Karratha, Australia
If you purchase points with the 30% discount, you can pay just $46 to buy 6,000 points, and the rate drops to just $42 per night if you buy 10,000 points or more.
Japan is one of my favorite places to get great value from Choice points. Katie and I just returned from another trip to Japan where we used Choice points to stay at Comfort Hotels in the middle of Tokyo and Osaka for just 8,000 points per night. And while other point sweet spots come and go, the Choice hotels in Japan have reliably been 8,000 points per night for the past few years.
While most Japanese hotels are small and tight, you can also book larger rooms for just 8,000 points per night — like we did in Osaka last week:
Here are the options in Tokyo — some close to the Imperial Palace and some only a short distance from Disneyland Tokyo. Each offers continental breakfast and has laundry on-site if you want to be ultra-budget.
During this promotion, you can buy points for as little as 0.69 cents per point. At that rate, 8,000 points cost just $55 per night — a solid discount to what the rooms are otherwise selling for.
These examples just scratch the surface of the lowest-cost tier of hotels. Depending on your travel plans and preferences, you can get great value from Choice points up and down the hotel spectrum.
It’s important to note that TPG’s latest valuation of Choice points is 0.6 cents per point. So, buying points through this promotion isn’t a no-brainer. However, if you know how to use Choice points — like in parts of Europe and Japan or for these sweet spots in the U.S. — buying points through this promotion can save you quite a bit on an upcoming trip.
Plus, there’s another reason that this buy points promotion is attractive: There aren’t many good ways of getting Choice points. Sure, you could transfer American Express Membership Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio, but it’s generally a poor use of a much more valuable currency. The best way of stocking up on Choice points through a credit card is to sign up for the Choice Privileges Visa Credit Card, which is currently offering 32,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
Details of this Choice promotion
The regular price for buying Choice points is 1.21 cents per point ($12.10 per 1,000 points), but members can score points effectively as low as 0.69 cents per point with this promotion:
- 1,000 to 4,000 points: no discount or bonus (1.21 cents per point)
- 5,000 to 9,000 points: 30% discount (0.77 cents per point)
- 10,000 to 120,000 points: 30% discount (0.69 cents per point)
While this is a slightly cheaper rate, you can also effectively pay 0.75 cents per point by using the cash and points option. For example, instead of redeeming 8,000 points for an award night, you can redeem just 6,000 points and pay $15 for the last 2,000 points. That’s a rate of just 0.75 cents per point.
How to buy Choice points
To take advantage of the promotion, follow these steps:
- Visit Choice’s Buy Points page.
- Enter your name, Choice Privileges member number and email address to log in.
- Select the number of points you’d like to buy.
- Add your credit card details.
- Review the information, check the box to agree to the Terms and Conditions and click Pay Now to finalize the purchase.
- Your points should post to the designated account within 24 hours after your transaction is complete.
Keep in mind that the usual restrictions for purchasing Choice Privileges points apply to this promotion, including the following:
- Points may be purchased in increments of 1,000 points up to a maximum of 120,000 points per year (increased for this promotion only).
- Purchased points do not count toward Elite Status or Lifetime Elite Gold Status.
- Transactions are final and nonrefundable.
In addition, you can only book award stays with Choice Privileges no more than 100 days prior to arrival, so you’ll want to keep your travel dates in mind before jumping in and purchasing points with this promotion.
Which credit card should you use?
Since this purchase is processed by Points.com, these purchases won’t code as travel. So, you won’t get 3x points from cards such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card (on the first $150,000 in combined purchases each account year).
As a result, you’ll want to use the best non-bonus category credit card for your situation, such as The Blue Business®️ Plus Credit Card from American Express (2x Membership Rewards points on the first $50,000 per year; then 1x) or the Chase Freedom Unlimited‘s 1.5% cash back.
Featured photo by JT Genter/The Points Guy.
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3 points per dollar on the first $150,000 in combined spending on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines.
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
- Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases–with no limit to the amount you can earn
- Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more – your points don't expire as long as your account is open
- No foreign transaction fees
- Employee cards at no additional cost
- $95 Annual Fee