Score cheap stays with 30% off Choice Hotels buy-points promotion

Jan 21, 2021

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The Choice Privileges hotel loyalty program doesn’t get the love it deserves. And I’m not the only one who thinks this — Choice lands atop TPG’s list of most undervalued hotel programs.

If you’re interested in beefing up your Choice Privileges point balance, now’s your chance: Choice Hotels is offering a 30% discount on purchased points through Feb. 12, 2021, lowering the price to as little as 0.69 cents per point.

This sale can help you score steep discounts on road-trip accommodations and other post-coronavirus bookings. For example, many Choice Hotels in popular U.S. road-trip locations cost just 10,000 points, meaning that you can effectively book them for $69 per night.

We’ll walk you through the specifics of the promotion and give you a look at some of the best ways to use Choice points. But first, let’s discuss the risks of buying Choice points during the global coronavirus outbreak.

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Should I buy Choice points now?

While this promotion can offer great value, there are a few things to keep in mind when buying hotel points in the middle of the coronavirus outbreak. The first is the state of the travel industry; with record-low occupancy rates, the hospitality industry is on rocky financial ground. And while we think Choice will make it through the coronavirus travel downturn (its most recent earnings report looks promising), there’s no way to guarantee this.

In a worst-case scenario where Choice Hotels goes into bankruptcy or became insolvent, your newly purchased Choice points could be rendered worthless. That said, you should only Choice points if you think the hotel group will make it through the coronavirus travel downturn without going bankrupt.

Additionally, you can only book Choice award stays within 100 days prior to arrival. This means that you can’t book post-coronavirus travel for late 2021 right away, leaving your points open to devaluation and making it hard to redeem for post-coronavirus international travel.

If you’re traveling soon and comfortable with the risks, however, this can be a good deal. Just make sure you’re getting more than 0.69 cents per point in value with your redemption. Otherwise, you’re better off booking a paid stay outright.

Related: Coronavirus hotel change and cancellation policies: What to know

Choice Hotels promotion details

Choice Hotels is selling Choice points at a 30% discount. The regular price for purchasing Choice points is 0.99 cents per point when you purchase 11,000 points or more (lower denominations have a higher cost per point), so this sale drops the price to 0.69 cents apiece.

This is still 0.09 cents per point higher than TPG’s Choice points valuations, but you can often get more value by redeeming for expensive properties during peak travel dates. Regardless, always compare the cost of a cash stay to a points stay to see if buying Choice points will actually help you save money — many Choice hotels are already budget-friendly so in some cases, you’ll be better off paying cash.

This is a pretty solid deal if you have a high-value redemption in mind. 0.69 cents per point is as cheap as it gets for purchasing Choice points direct from the hotel group, but you may be able to get a better deal when purchasing Choice points during U.S. Travel’s annual Daily Getaways promotion.

You can purchase points in 1,000-point increments, up to 180,000 points per year.

How to buy Choice points

Interested in buying Choice points? Here’s how to do it:

  1. Visit Choice’s Buy Points page.
  2. Enter your name, Choice Privileges member number and email address to log in.
  3. Select the number of points you’d like to buy.
  4. Add your credit card details.
  5. Review the information, check the box to agree to the Terms and Conditions and click Pay Now to finalize the purchase.
  6. Your points should post to the designated account within 24 hours after your transaction is complete.

Related: Why I often choose IHG and Choice hotels, despite limited elite perks

Choice Privileges redemption sweet spots

There are a number of interesting ways to use Choice points both in the U.S. and abroad. Here’s a quick look at some of the best Choice Privileges redemptions.

Book a staycation

Choice Hotels has a huge North American footprint, with locations spread throughout major cities, along highways and even many rural areas. This means that Choice Privileges points are a great option for booking staycations near your home. This gives you a great place to relax and refresh over a long weekend or a new place to work from “home”.

Points Stay At Umbrella Hotel Bronx
(Image courtesy of Choice Hotels)

Here in New York City, Choice has plenty of properties spread throughout all five boroughs. A last-minute stay at Umbrella Hotel — an Ascend Collection hotel in the Bronx — costs $279.84 after-tax when you book a last-minute one-night stay. Alternatively, you can book the same room for 16,000 Choice points. This costs just $110.40 for the same night.

Related: Use your points and book a staycation at one of these 7 kid-friendly resorts

Stay near the Grand Canyon and other national parks

Points Stay at the Sierra Ranch near Yosemite
(Image courtesy of Choice Hotels)

Choice Hotels has a number of properties near major U.S. national parks like the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and Yosemite. In the case of Yosemite, the Sierra Sky Ranch costs $146.5 for a weekend night in February. Alternatively, you can book the same room for 16,000 Choice points, which you can purchase for just $110.40 during this promotion.

Related: The 19 national parks every traveler needs to see at least once

Soak up the sun near your favorite beach

Itching for some sun? Vacation hotspots like San Diego, Los Angeles and Miami have a number of Choice Hotel options too.

Points Stay at The Landon Hotel in Florida
(Image courtesy of Choice Hotels)

If Miami is on your list, The Landon — another Ascend hotel — is an excellent option on Bay Harbor Islands. A weekend night at this beach-side property costs $211.86 after taxes in February. Alternatively, you can buy 20,000 Choice points for $138 during this promotion and save almost $75 per night on your stay.

Related: 10 tips for anyone taking a road trip right now

Which credit card should you use?

Since buying Choice points 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.

That said, you’ll want to use the best nonbonus 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 calendar year; then 1x) or the Chase Freedom Unlimited‘s 1.5% cash back on purchases.

Featured photo courtesy of Choice Hotels.

JT Genter contributed to this post.

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