This card earns solid rewards on stays within the Choice Hotels network and bonus rewards in useful everyday spending categories. If you frequent any of the 7,000-plus properties within the Choice Hotels program, this card will help you rack up points for free nights. Still, most people will do better with a general travel rewards card.
No annual fee
Cell phone insurance
No foreign transaction fees
Rewards have limited flexibility
No free anniversary night
Compare to Other Cards
20.99%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR
17.24%-28.24% Variable APR
0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Detailed review: Choice Privileges® Mastercard®
The Choice Privileges® Mastercard® is built for Choice Privileges loyalists. With elevated bonus rewards on some popular spending categories and a hefty welcome bonus, the card can help you easily rack up points for free stays at over 13 brands within the Choice portfolio.
Cardholders are also granted automatic Gold elite status in the Choice Privileges program, which gives an additional 10% bonus points per paid stay and perks like late checkout. However, even if you seek out a Choice Hotels property when you travel, you might be better suited with a general travel rewards card.
Wells Fargo Choice Hotels Mastercard: Basics
Card type: Hotel.
Annual fee: $0.
Welcome bonus: Earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months - enough to redeem for up to 5 rewards nights at select Choice Hotels® properties.
5 points per dollar spent on stays at participating Choice Hotels.
3 points per dollar spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, home improvement stores and phone plans.
1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
APR: The ongoing APR is 20.99%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR.
Foreign transaction fee: $0.
10 elite night credits per calendar year.
Automatic Gold elite membership in the Choice Privileges program.
Cell phone protection.
In 2022, Choice Hotels acquired the Radisson Hotel properties in North and Central America. Radisson Americas has its own loyalty program, but points can be transferred between the two programs at a rate of 2 Choice Privileges points to 1 Radisson Rewards point. Eventually, the programs will be integrated and you'll be able to book Radisson properties with Choice points.
Benefits and perks
You'll earn a pile of points for Choice hotel stays
Choice Hotels has a broad footprint of affordable, family-friendly hotels across the globe. If you find yourself seeking out brands like Quality Inn, Comfort Inn or Econo Lodge, paying for your stay with the Choice Hotels Mastercard will earn you 5 points per dollar spent at eligible properties. Plus you'll earn an additional 10 points per $1 spent at Choice hotels as a Choice Privileges member, and an additional 10% as a Gold status member.
If you’re a road warrior, the Choice Privileges® Mastercard® can help you earn free nights fast. Additionally, the card has no foreign transaction fees, so you won’t be penalized for using your card to earn points on stays abroad.
Most reward nights start at 8,000 points per night and go up to 35,000 points depending on the location and time of year, though properties in the Asia-Pacific region can cost as much as 75,000 points per night. Additionally, you can only make a points booking up to 100 days in advance of your travel. This could make it difficult to lock in your travel plans early.
In addition to participating Choice Hotels properties, Choice Privileges points can be used for free nights at PENN Entertainment casino resorts and hotels, the Circus Circus Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, luxury hotels within the Preferred Hotels & Resorts umbrella, Bluegreen Vacation resorts and even for unique college sports experiences at partner universities.
Automatic Gold status
Cardmembers will receive automatic Gold status in the Choice Privileges program, which comes with the following perks:
10% bonus on points earned at participating Choice hotels.
Early check-in and late checkout.
Reserved parking at participating properties.
Welcome gift at participating properties.
Elite customer service phone line.
To reach Gold status without the card, you’d have to stay 10 nights at eligible Choice Hotels properties in a calendar year. With the Choice Privileges® Mastercard®, you can fast-track your way to these benefits.
New cardholder bonus
The Choice Privileges® Mastercard® comes with the following bonus for new cardholders: Earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months - enough to redeem for up to 5 rewards nights at select Choice Hotels® properties.
The Choice Privileges® Mastercard® is a World Elite Mastercard that comes with special benefits at specific retailers, including extra perks at DoorDash, Lyft, Fandango and ShopRunner.
Cell phone protection
Most consumer credit cards issued by Wells Fargo offer cell phone protection, and the Choice Privileges® Mastercard® is no different. For a $25 deductible, your card will cover damage or theft of your cell phone if you pay your monthly cell phone bill with your card. Each claim is limited to $800 in repair or replacement costs and you’re limited to two paid claims per 12-month period.
Drawbacks and considerations
You'll be locked into redeeming at Choice
If you’re not a Choice Hotels loyalist, or you like shopping around for the best deal, you’ll want to give this card a pass. While the Choice Hotels footprint is expansive, holding a specific brand’s credit card is limiting since you won’t earn bonus points for stays at other hotel chains.
Though the Choice brand is growing and does include some upscale properties, if you're looking for luxury you'll do better elsewhere. Plus, the Choice elite program doesn't offer perks like free breakfast and room upgrades the way some other chains do.
There are other ways to use your Choice points than for Choice hotel stays, but they won't give the best value. Choice Privileges has a number of travel transfer partners, including United, Alaska Air and Southwest. If you are eyeing a redemption with those partners and need to top off your miles or points balance, transferring Choice Privileges points is an option.
A general travel rewards card that earns flexible points will provide more value for most people without trapping you into the Choice Privileges ecosystem. The Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card has a $0-annual-fee and earns 3x points per $1 spent on restaurants, travel, gas, transit, streaming services and cell phone plans. Those points can be redeemed for travel, gift cards or a statement credit, so you won’t be stuck using them with Choice.
There are other ways to earn Choice points
If you want Choice Privileges points for your next hotel redemption, other cards offer the option to transfer and more flexibility. American Express Membership Rewards points transfer to Choice at a 1:1 ratio.
The Citi Premier® Card has the potential to earn points that can be transferred to Choice, and it also gives you flexibility. It offers 3 points per dollar spent at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, hotels and air travel, in addition to a $100 annual hotel savings benefit (terms apply). While there is a $95 annual fee, you'll also get access to travel partners and be eligible for the following sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Plus, for a limited time, earn a total of 10 ThankYou® Points per $1 spend on hotel, car rentals, and attractions (excluding air travel) booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through June 30, 2024.
Even for Choice Hotel loyalists, the 2:1 transfer ratio from the Citi Premier® Card to Choice Privileges provides more value than the Choice Privileges® Mastercard® since you’d effectively earn 6 points per dollar spent on the 3x bonus categories, which is likely to rack up points for Choice faster.
How to decide if it's right for you
If you’re a Choice Hotels loyalist and are looking for a $0-annual fee card, the Choice Privileges® Mastercard® can help you rack up points for free nights. But if you’re looking for flexibility when you travel and don’t want to exclusively seek out a specific brand, you’ll be better served with a general travel rewards card.