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Choice is undoubtedly one of the most undervalued hotel programs. For example, for stays until June 30, 2019, in Auckland, New Zealand, you can redeem just 6,000 points per night (which TPG values at $36) for a hotel in the heart of the city. Or, you can redeem 8,000 points per night (which TPG values at $48) at four different Choice properties in Tokyo, Japan. And now, Choice Hotels has announced a new spring promotion, during which you can earn enough points for a night at any these 6,000-point or 8,000-point properties after just two stays. There are more than 1,000 Choice hotels worldwide that currently cost 8,000 points or less per night.
To take advantage of this promotion, you’ll need to register for the promotion and make two separate qualifying stays with arrival between Feb. 26, 2019, and Apr. 26, 2019.
A “stay” is defined as any number of consecutive nights at one hotel, regardless of check-ins or check-outs. A “qualifying stay” is a stay that is during this promotion at a participating hotel through a qualifying channel that is eligible to earn Choice points. Stays that aren’t eligible to earn Choice points include:
Rooms booked at rates below $40 per night, certain hotel initiated promotions, reward night stays, complimentary rooms, 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, wholesale packages, group tours, and stays booked using the employee discount or the friends and family discount
Eligible qualifying booking channels include ChoiceHotels.com, the Choice Hotels mobile app and 800.4CHOICE. But, stays directly booked through Book by Google are also eligible if the member adds their loyalty number to the reservation prior to check-in. And, corporate travelers can book through their online booking tool, GDS or with a travel agent.
Stays at some properties are excluded. In particular, stays at vacation rental property locations and Choice properties in Japan, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Guyana and Ecuador are explicitly excluded.
You must maintain an address in the US or Canada and set your earning preference to Choice Privileges points in your online account in order to be eligible. Additionally, you must register at ChoiceHotels.com/freenight before check-out for a stay to count.
If you satisfy the promotion’s requirements, you’ll be awarded a minimum of 5,000 to a maximum of 8,000 bonus points after the second qualifying stay. The number of bonus points awarded depends on the number of base points earned from the two separate qualifying stays — but the total base points plus bonus points will be at least 8,000. Your points should post within 72 hours of check-out.
This promotion is particularly valuable since Choice points can be difficult to obtain. You could transfer American Express Membership Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio, but doing so is usually a poor use of a much more valuable currency. And, sometimes there are attractive buy points promotions, although you can only purchase up to 50,000 points per year. 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 in 90 days.
This promotion is a good way to stock up on Choice points — especially if you have some cheap one-night stays during the promotional period coming up. You’ll get at least 8,000 points after two stays, which TPG values at $48. So, you can get a decent return through this promotion even before you consider the credit card points you’ll earn and the return from clicking through a shopping portal. Even if you don’t have any upcoming Choice stays planned, you might as well go ahead and register for the promotion at ChoiceHotels.com/freenight in case plans change.
Featured image of Gowanus Inn and Yard, an Ascend Collection property bookable in Brooklyn, NY for 6,000-8,000 points per night last fall. Photo by the author.
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