19 ways to earn more Choice Privileges points
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Choice Privileges points have fueled many memorable stays for me over the years. Sure, Choice Hotels properties often don’t provide the same quality and service as properties in top hotel loyalty programs. And, the Choice Privileges program doesn’t offer the same level of elite perks as World of Hyatt, Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors.
Although Choice Privileges should improve its loyalty program in several ways, one area in which the program excels is redemption value. For example, last summer I spent almost a month at an all-inclusive resort using Choice points. And I’ve stayed at centrally located hotels in Tokyo, Japan, Frankfurt, Germany and Brooklyn, New York, for relatively few Choice points per night.
In short, it’s possible to get a lot of value from Choice points. But if you use a lot of Choice points, you’ll also need to earn a lot of Choice points. So, here are 19 ways to earn Choice points.
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Earn points by staying at hotels
I’ll start with the most obvious way to earn Choice points: staying at Choice hotels. You’ll earn 10x Choice points on point-eligible stays at participating hotels. However, you’ll only earn Choice points when staying in the following regions:
- The United States
- Europe (excluding Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden)
- The Middle East
- Central America
- The Caribbean
- Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan)
And, you’ll only earn Choice points when staying with the following Choice Hotels brands:
- Cambria Hotel
- Clarion Pointe
- Comfort Inn
- Comfort Suites
- Econo Lodge
- MainStay Suites
- Rodeway Inn
- Sleep Inn
- Suburban Extended Stay Hotel
- Ascend Hotel Collection, including select AMResorts and Bluegreen Vacations properties
You usually won’t earn points on taxes and incidental charges, except in the Asia-Pacific region. There, you’ll earn 10x points on accommodations, taxes, restaurant and bar charges, laundry and phone calls.
Additionally, you’ll only earn points on point-eligible stays. Point-eligible stays are stays booked directly with a hotel or through Choice’s reservation line, website or mobile app. The following rates aren’t point-eligible:
- Rooms booked using an ineligible rate plan
- Rooms booked at rates below $40 per night
- Certain hotel initiated promotions
- Reward night stays
- Complimentary rooms
- Points plus cash reservations
- Rooms paid for as part of a convention or meeting
- Rooms booked through a travel agent or third party online retailer including online travel agencies such as Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, Booking and Priceline
- Wholesale packages
- Group tours
- Stays booked using the employee discount or the friends, family and associate discount
You can earn points on up to four rooms per night at the same hotel, though you will only receive bonus points for one room per stay. All of the rooms must be in your name and you must stay in one of them.
Choice Privileges members earn 10x points on select stays. But, elite members also get bonus points based on their elite status level:
- Gold: 10% bonus for 11x total earnings (6.6% return based on TPG’s valuations)
- Platinum: 25% bonus for 12.5x total earnings (7.5% return)
- Diamond: 60% bonus through December 2020 if you held this status as of May 20, 2020, for 16x total earnings (9.6% return), otherwise 50% bonus for 15x earnings (9% return)
Gold, Platinum and Diamond elites also get a welcome gift on point-earning stays at select properties in the U.S. and Canada. However, this welcome gift varies based on brand and location as follows:
- Ascend, Comfort Inn or Comfort Suites in the U.S.: A snack and beverage at check-in or 250 bonus points
- Ascend, Clarion, Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites or Quality in Canada: A snack and beverage at check-in or 250 bonus points
- Clarion, Sleep Inn, Quality or Mainstay in the U.S.: A snack and beverage at check-in or 200 bonus points
- Mainstay or Sleep Inn in Canada: A snack and beverage at check-in or 200 bonus points
- Econo Lodge, Rodeway or Suburban in the U.S. or Canada: A beverage at check-in or 100 bonus points
So, you can also pick up a few extra Choice points when you stay in the U.S. or Canada at select hotels. However, 100-250 Choice points are only worth $0.60-$1.50 based on TPG’s valuations. So, if you’d value a snack or drink higher than the points, don’t feel bad about indulging.
Choice Hotels’ Your Extras provides a few extra perks when you stay during the week at select hotels. However, you must opt-in to the program. And, you’ll only get perks when you stay on a point-eligible stay that includes a Sunday through Thursday night.
The exact perks vary by country and may change. But, in the U.S., you can currently choose one of the following:
- 400 points (worth $2.40 based on TPG’s valuations)
- 100 airline miles with participating carriers
- $0.20 per gallon in Fuel Rewards savings
- $2.50 Amazon.com credit
- $5 coffee card
- $2.50 Uber trip discount
So, you can choose to earn 400 extra points on weeknight stays. If you change your mind, you can change your choice at any time. But, the perk you have selected at the time of check-in will be what you get for that stay.
Bonus points packages
When you are booking a Choice Hotels stay, you can often select a points package.
These packages usually cost a bit more and may not be the cheapest way to buy points. But, these packages can use useful if someone else is paying for your stay and is unlikely to notice or care that you booked a points package.
Finally, you can use promotions to earn extra Choice points when staying with Choice. Currently, there are two promotions to consider:
- Earn 50,000 points and perks on select AMResorts stays booked through Choice
- Earn up to 20,000 Choice points for every two stays this summer at select brands
Choice often has lucrative promotions, and these two offers are no exception. Choice’s stay twice, get a free night promotion is an excellent option for short stays. For example, if you’re taking a road trip with a lot of one-night stays, you might use this promotion to stock up on Choice points.
Earn with credit cards
- 15x points at Choice hotels (9% return based on TPG’s valuations)
- 5x points when you buy Choice Privileges points and Choice Hotels gift cards (3% return)
- 2x points on all other purchases (1.2% return)
However, the 15x earning at Choice hotels is somewhat misleading. This is because the advertised earning rate includes the 10x points you’ll earn at Choice Hotels as a member. But, you’ll earn these 10x points regardless of which credit card you use to pay for your stay. So, you may do better using one of the best credit cards for travel purchases when you stay with Choice.
The Choice Visa also offers a sign-up bonus. Currently, you can earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days. Based on TPG’s valuations, this bonus is worth $300. And, you can earn 8,000 bonus points every year you spend $10,000 or more on purchases using your card.
Another option to get more Choice points is to transfer rewards from other programs. Specifically, you can transfer:
- American Express Membership Rewards points to Choice points at a 1:1 ratio
- Amtrak Guest Rewards points to Choice points at a 1:3 ratio
- Diners Club ClubRewards points to Choice points at a 1:1.92 ratio
However, note that each program may only allow transfers in specific increments. And, it’s worth considering whether transferring your transferrable rewards to Choice points provides the most value. For example, you may find other Membership Rewards sweet spots that allow you to redeem your Membership Rewards points at a higher value.
It isn’t possible to combine your points with Choice points belonging to anyone else, including your spouse. Likewise, you can’t transfer your points by any means, including through a will or divorce decree.
You can gift Choice points to others, though. But, in practice, you wouldn’t be giving points from your account. Instead, you’d be buying points for the other traveler’s account. And, each account can only receive up to 180,000 purchased points each calendar year regardless of whether these points are bought or gifted.
Related: How to give the gift of travel
Earn points by shopping
If you find Choice points valuable, you may want to earn Choice points on your everyday purchases. Of course, one option is to use the Choice Privileges Visa Signature Card. But, even if you want to use a card that provides a higher return, you can still use the following options to earn Choice points while shopping.
You can earn Choice points for qualifying purchases made through the Choice Privileges Online Mall website. To do so, go to the website, log-in to your Choice account, select a merchant and click “Shop Now.” This will redirect you to the merchant’s website, where you can make your purchase as usual. You’ll usually earn points on the purchase cost before taxes and shipping. But, read the purchase conditions before clicking “Shop now” to check for exclusions.
If you aren’t set on using the Choice Mall, note that there are many different online shopping portals. So, you may want to use a shopping portal aggregator or shopping portal browser extension to ensure you get the most rewards for your purchases.
Other retail partnerships
Several other retail partnerships may allow you to earn Choice Privileges points on purchases you’d already be making. For example, here are some of the current offers:
- Golf by Choice: Earn Choice points on select golf expenses
- Earn 6x points on closeout golf equipment and 4x points on other golf equipment
- Earn 4x points on the full cost of Hot Deal tee times. For other tee times, you’ll only earn 4x points on the booking fee since you’ll pay greens fees at the course.
- Earn 1,000 points when you sign up for the Tathata online golf training program
- Earn 250 points when you download the Golf Logix app and sign up for an annual subscription
- Vinesse Wine Clubs: Earn 1,000 Choice points with your first shipment, plus 7x points with every shipment after that
- 1800baskets and 1800flowers: Earn 15x Choice points. Currently, you can earn 35x with 1800baskets.
- Quicken Loans: Earn 50,000 Choice points when you refinance or purchase a home and close by Dec. 31, 2020
However, some of these retailers may offer promotions with other loyalty programs and online shopping portals. For example, many shopping portals offer bonuses when ordering flowers. And, your credit card may unlock wine-related perks and savings. So, it’s worth comparing offers before making a purchase.
Earn points with travel partners
Even if you aren’t staying at a Choice Hotels property on this trip, you may still be able to earn Choice Privileges points. Specifically, here are some options to earn Choice points when cruising or renting a car.
- Make a new booking for a qualifying stateroom category
- Provide your Choice Privileges member number when you book
However, note that the earning rate may change. So, it’s best to confirm the earning rate before you book your cruise.
You can earn Choice points when you rent with the following car rental companies:
- Avis: 1,000 Choice points per rental of one day or longer from participating locations worldwide
- For rentals of four days or longer that begin by Sep. 15, 2020, you can earn an additional 1,000 bonus points with coupon code MUHA009
- Budget: 1,000 Choice points per rental from participating locations worldwide
- For rentals of four days or longer that begin by Sep. 15, 2020, you can earn an additional 1,000 bonus points with coupon code MUHZ003
- Alamo: 500 Choice points per rental day (up to 2,000 points per rental) from participating locations in the U.S. or Canada (this partnership isn’t listed on Choice’s website, but is listed on Alamo’s website)
Based on TPG’s valuations, 1,000 Choice points are worth about $6. You’ll generally need to provide your Choice Privileges number when you reserve and/or when you pick up your rental to earn Choice points. But, all three companies charge a frequent traveler surcharge of about $0.75 per day if you opt to earn Choice points in select locations, including the U.S.
Especially with this annoying surcharge, I don’t bother trying to earn Choice points on car rentals. Instead, I usually book cheap rental cars through AutoSlash. Or, in the absence of inexpensive car rentals, I try to redeem points and miles for a car rental.
Related: TPG’s guide to car rental promotions that will save you money
Another option for getting more Choice Privileges points is to buy Choice points. Normally, you can buy 10,000 Choice points or more for 0.99 cents each. And, you can purchase or receive as a gift up to 180,000 purchased Choice points each calendar year.
However, if you don’t need Choice points immediately, you may want to delay your points purchase. This is because Choice frequently offers promotions during which travelers can buy points at a lower rate. The best price offered each year is usually during the annual Daily Getaways promotion. For example, during the most recent Daily Getaways promotion, it was possible to buy Choice points for as little as 0.48 cents each.
You may be wondering whether you should buy points. After all, in some cases, it can make sense to buy points. For example, I tend to get good value from Choice points, so I almost always buy points when they’re on sale. But, in general, you won’t want to buy points without a bonus unless you have a specific redemption that you want to book now.
Other ways to earn points
Here are two final ways to earn Choice points for an upcoming redemption.
You can also use the Planner Rewards program to earn points when hosting a qualifying event at a participating Cambria Hotels location. You’ll earn 3x points on eligible charges, including hotel rooms, food, beverage and meeting rooms, excluding taxes and fees. However, you can earn no more than 150,000 points per event.
To qualify, your group must book at least ten sleeping rooms on a single night at a participating hotel. And, you’ll want to have a written contract that states the Planner Rewards program applies to your event.
Refer a friend
The final way to earn extra Choice points is through the refer-a-friend program. Through this program, you can refer a friend using an online form. Then, when this friend completes their first points-eligible stay, you and your friend will each get 500 points. 500 Choice points are only worth $3 based on TPG’s valuations, but you can refer as many friends as you’d like.
Choice Privileges points can provide excellent value domestically as well as in Europe and Japan. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to earn Choice Privileges points. My favorite way is through stays. After all, there are often lucrative promotions such as the stay twice, get a free night promotion and the 50,000-point AMResorts promotion that can boost your earning. But, I also buy Choice points when I can do so at a reasonable rate.
Featured image of Bluegreen Vacations Fountains in Orlando, FL by Katie Genter/The Points Guy.
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