Choice Hotels’ loyalty program doesn’t get as much attention as other hotel programs. However, you’d be unwise to ignore the Choice Privileges program completely. Thanks to Choice’s unique reward pricing system, any of the hotel brand’s 7,000 properties could end up being a sweet spot for your travels.
Unlike other hotel loyalty programs, Choice Hotels doesn’t group properties into categories with set award pricing levels. Instead, each hotel’s points rate is fixed for a certain set of dates. When cash rates go up, the fixed points rates can offer great value. That means sweet spots are going to depend on where and when you’re traveling.
Some Choice hotels in Europe and Asia are pretty much always a great deal when you book with points. And if you know how to search, you can get a lot of value from your Choice points here in the States or at all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean. Let’s explore these sweet spots of the Choice Privileges program.
How to redeem Choice Privileges points
A night at a Choice hotel generally costs between 8,000 and 35,000 points, although some hotels in New Zealand and Australia can cost as few as 6,000 points. Some properties in the Asia-Pacific region cost up to 75,000 points, and all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean can cost as much as 100,000 points.
Members can book awards up to 100 days ahead of arrival. If you search for a property more than 100 days out, you’ll automatically be limited to the latest date you can currently book.
» Learn more: The complete guide to redeeming Choice Privileges points
Smart ways to spend Choice points
1. Use Choice points to book expensive destinations
Some Choice properties are in expensive destinations — from New York City to Vail, Colorado. Depending on the current cash price and award rate, you can often use your Choice points to get great value at these otherwise pricey properties.
For example, it can be expensive to stay in the heart of New York. However, Choice Privileges charges just 12,000 points per night at The Draper, Ascend Hotel Collection between July 1 and Sept. 15. This sleek hotel is located right in the heart of Manhattan, close enough to Times Square while not being in the middle of the madness.
Cash rates for a basic room at The Draper run around $300 per night before taxes and fees. However, you can book a room for just 12,000 points per night. That’s true even for the weekend of July 4.
If you want to visit Rocky Mountain National Park, consider staying in nearby Estes Park. There, you can get a room at the Ridgeline Hotel-Estes Park, Ascend Hotel Collection. Cash prices easily top $200 per night before taxes and fees. But you can redeem for a free night for just 8,000 points.
2. Use Choice points for all-inclusive resorts
In August 2020, Choice Privileges finished adding more than 50 all-inclusive resorts to its portfolio. Choice members can now earn and redeem points at luxury brands including Zoetry, Secrets, Dreams and Sunscape.
Unfortunately, many of these resorts require a substantial amount of points. An award night at some can cost as much as 100,000 points. But other all-inclusive resorts are available to Choice Privileges members at a much more reasonable rate.
Choice partners with multiple brands of all-inclusive resorts in the Dominican Republic. Depending on the season, the award rates at these properties can be quite affordable. For example, both the Dreams Punta Cana Resort & Spa and the Dreams Palm Beach Punta Cana are priced at 25,000 points per night until June 30.
However, as with most Choice properties, these award rates are available for only a limited number of dates. This Dominican all-inclusive is a good example. The award rate jumps from 25,000 points per night to 35,000 points per night starting July 1.
Still, 35,000 points per night is reasonable compared with the other all-inclusive resorts in the Choice Privileges program. The cheapest award rate that you’ll find near Cancun or Cozumel starts at 25,000 points per night, but rises quickly from there.
3. Book sweet spots in Japan
Comfort Hotels in Japan are perennial sweet spots. There are currently 58 Comfort Hotels in the country — including in major cities like Tokyo, Osaka and Sapporo. Many of them cost just 8,000 points per night.
Hotel rooms in Japan can be quite small, especially in big cities, such as this one at the Comfort Hotel in Tokyo.
Hopefully, you’re visiting Japan to see the country — not to spend time in a hotel room. So these rooms are perfectly adequate for resting, relaxing and planning which amazing restaurant, park or museum you’re visiting next.
Especially helpful for those traveling on a budget, most of these Choice hotels offer a complimentary Japanese breakfast.
4. Find sweet spots in Scandinavia
The Nordic Choice Hotels collection brings together more than 200 properties in the countries of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and the Baltics, many of them offering great deals for redeeming your Choice Privileges points.
Unlike most Choice hotels, where award rates vary from month to month, Nordic Choice Hotels generally cost only 8,000 to 10,000 points per night. And that doesn’t seem likely to change soon, since this points rate is listed as valid through Dec. 31, 2099.
If you book a Clarion Collection Hotel in Scandinavia, you can expect “an evening meal” to be included in your stay. Considering how expensive meals can be in Nordic countries, this can save you a significant amount of money.
There’s even a hotel in the Arctic that you can book with Choice points! The Funken Lodge is located in the Norwegian city of Longyearbyen in the Svalbard archipelago — one of the world’s northernmost inhabited areas.
The hotel is a great place to stay if you want to see the northern lights, explore glaciers and watch whales. When you get back to the hotel from venturing out in the Arctic, there’s even an on-site sauna to help you warm up.
The points price is just 12,000 points per night at this hotel now through March 30, 2023. But it can be tough to find availability at this sleek 88-room hotel, especially within the 100 day reward booking window. If you can find availability, jump on it and then plan your Arctic trip around those dates.
The bottom line
Award prices vary by the month at most Choice hotels, but you can still find sweet spots in the Choice Privileges program. By knowing where and how to look, you can easily get more than 1 cent per point from your Choice Privileges points at destinations near and far.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card