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You could be forgiven for not knowing much about Choice Hotels and its loyalty programme ‘Choice Privileges’. Despite being one of the largest hotel groups in the world (6,000+ hotels), it doesn’t get a lot of coverage in the UK, or even in the wider Points/Miles blogosphere. That’s a shame, because Choice Privileges Points can actually be rather brilliant and are a very useful tool to have in your ‘travel hacking’ arsenal.
I’m going to highlight a few particularly good examples over the next week, so will just include a couple in this post.
Buy Discounted Choice Privileges Points
Before I get onto how to use Choice Points, I should explain that until 17th August 2017 you can buy them with a discount of up to 30%.
If you buy at least 40,000, the cost per Point works out at ~0.6p each, which (as you’ll see in a moment) can result in some tremendous savings. I recently bought some myself, and it took about 24 hours for the Points to hit my account.
New York Bargain
New York can be expensive, particularly in the Summer. Using Points isn’t normally much better either with most of the major hotel programmes charging large amounts.
A (very unwelcome) feature of the Manhattan hotel market is that getting a room with 2 beds in it is generally considerably more expensive than a standard 1-bed Double room. That’s just plain annoying when travelling with someone you’d rather not share a bed with.
Take, for example, Choice’s ‘Clarion Hotel Park Avenue’:
With tax, the cheapest rate for a room with 2 beds works out at ~£213 for a random date this summer.
A (very welcome!) feature of Choice Privileges is that you can routinely pick any room you want when redeeming Points, without paying anything extra – and that includes suites, as you’ll see in a later post.
Another (delightful!) feature of Choice Privileges, is that the Points pricing is often a little odd and can bear precisely no relation whatsoever to the cash cost of a night, peak travel dates, or anything else sensible. So for the same room at the same hotel on the same date as above, you could use just 12,000 Choice Privileges Points:
In the sale, 12,000 Choice Points work out at ~£72 (if you bought 40,000+). Compared to the cash rate of £213, that’s a 66% saving!
The Points rate can be cancelled until 4pm NYC time the day before the stay too, whereas the cheapest cash rates are non-refundable, so the saving is actually even higher if you compare like with like.
Even if you would never pay £200+ for a Clarion Hotel (fair enough, neither would I!), £72 for a 2-bed room in Midtown Manhattan during the Summer Holidays, with breakfast, is an absolute steal! I had a good look and it was genuinely difficult to find anything remotely comparable for much under £200.
As I mentioned, Choice Privileges Points pricing is weird – book the same hotel on a relatively cheap Sunday night when the cash rate is ~£100 and the Points price is inexplicably 25,000 Points:
Yes, the cash rate more than halves, and the Points rate more than doubles… As I say – extremely strange.
Closer to home, Choice offers a few properties in London that can be good value using Points:
At a cost of 0.6p per Point in the sale (when purchasing 40,000+), 10,000 Points would set you back £60.
The hotels don’t look amazing, but when London is busy and cash rates are high, using Points could work out very good value. Now that Accor Happy Mondays is gone, Choice Privileges Points can help fill that gap.
You can get 500 bonus Points on your first cash stay if you don’t already have a Choice Privileges account by signing up using a referral link (I get 500 Points if you stay too, thanks!).
You can also get an additional 500 Bonus Points for every cash stay that includes a Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday night.
Status matching is possible (and the previous restriction that your account must be US-based has now been lifted to include European accounts too).
I’ve got a few other standout Choice Points redemptions up my sleeve that I’ll be sharing very soon! Are you already a Choice Privileges collector?