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

May 12, 2020

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Editor’s note: At TPG, our top priority is providing our readers with the information needed to make educated decisions about travel and rewards-earning strategy. This is not the best time to travel, domestically or internationally, as airlines have cut major parts of their route networks. But we are sharing this information to provide value for future travel once coronavirus concerns have subsided.

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 June 12, 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 2020 or early 2021 right away, leaving your points open to devaluation and making it hard to redeem for post-coronavirus international travel.

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.

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 hotels for your next road trip

Choice Hotels has a huge North American footprint, with locations spread throughout major cities, along highways and even many rural areas. If you’re planning a road trip, you may be able to score a good deal by purchasing Choice points and using them for stays along your route.

Booking Hershey Hotels Choice Screen Shot

For example, if you’re driving from New York to Chicago, you may want to stop in Hershey, Pennsylvania overnight to see the city and break up your drive. A night at the Comfort Inn & Suites Harrisburg/Hershey West costs $129 or 12,000 points for a weekend night in July. You can buy these points for $83 with the 30% sale, giving you a nice $46 discount on your stay.

Stay near the Grand Canyon and other national parks

A room at the Ridgeline Hotel At Yellowstone
(Photo courtesy of The Ridgeline Hotel At Yellowstone.)

Choice Hotels has a number of properties near major U.S. national parks like the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and Zion. In the case of Yellowstone National Park, The Ridgeline Hotel at Yellowstone costs $229 for a weekend night in July. Alternatively, you can book the same room for 10,000 Choice points, which you can purchase for just $69 during this promotion.

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

Soak up the sun in your favorite warm destination

Comfort Inn San Diego Old Town
(Photo courtesy of the Comfort Inn San Diego Old Town.)

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

For example, The Comfort Inn San Diego Old Town is located in the heart of the Old Town shopping district and within reach of all the city’s major attractions. A weekend stay at this property usually costs $148 per night, or you can purchase 10,000 points for just $69 and stay on the cheap.

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.

The information for the Chase Freedom Unlimited 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 photo courtesy of Choice Hotels.

JT Genter contributed to this post.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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