BEST CREDIT CARDSBEST CREDIT CARDSWELLS FARGO CHOICE PRIVILEGES SELECT MASTERCARD: PILES OF POINTS FOR A $95 ANNUAL FEE

Wells Fargo Choice Privileges Select Mastercard: Piles of Points for a $95 Annual Fee

With a big sign-up bonus, useful everyday bonus categories and 30,000 anniversary points, the card can help Choice Hotel regulars quickly stack up points for free stays.
Craig Joseph Author Avatar
May 16, 2024 8:53 p.m. PDT
Edited by
Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

The Bottom Line

4.9

NerdWallet rating

The Wells Fargo Choice Privileges Select Mastercard touts a big sign-up bonus, useful everyday bonus categories and travel benefits like no foreign-transaction fees and a credit for TSA Precheck or Global Entry. Cardholders also receive automatic Choice Hotels platinum status and 30,000 points every account anniversary year. The card can help Choice Hotel regulars quickly stack up points for free stays.

Choice Privileges® Select Mastercard®
Annual Fee
$95
Rewards Rate
1x-10x
Points
Intro Offer
60,000
Points
Recommended credit score
Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
20.99%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR
Recommended credit score
Annual Fee
$95
Rewards Rate
1x-10x
Points
Intro Offer
60,000
Points
Recommended credit score
Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
20.99%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR
Recommended credit score
  • Annual fee

    $95

  • Rewards rate

    1x-10x

  • Bonus offer

    Earn 60,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months - enough to redeem for up to 7 rewards nights at select Choice Hotels® properties.

  • Intro APR

    N/A

  • Ongoing APR

    APR: 20.99%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR

    Cash Advance APR: Refer to Important Credit Terms

  • Balance transfer fee

    5%, min: $5

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

View Rates and Fees
  • Select “Apply Now” to take advantage of this specific offer and learn more about product features, terms and conditions.
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months - enough to redeem for up to 7 rewards nights at select Choice Hotels® properties.
  • Earn 10X points on stays at participating Choice Hotels properties.
  • Earn 5X points on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, home improvement stores and phone plan services. Plus earn 1X points on other purchases.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Up to $800 of cell phone protection against damage or theft. Subject to a $25 deductible.
  • Receive 20 Elite night credits qualifying for at least Platinum level status each calendar year.
  • No Foreign Currency Conversion Fee.

Detailed Review

The Choice Privileges® Select Mastercard® from Wells Fargo lets new cardholders rack up points quickly through a big sign-up offer and bonus rewards in useful everyday categories. Cardholders also get automatic Platinum elite status in the Choice Privileges, plus other perks like Global Entry credit and anniversary bonus points. The card is worth considering for road warriors who stay frequently at Choice properties and get value out of the Choice Hotels loyalty program.

Choice Privileges® Select Mastercard®: Basics

Card type: Hotel.

Annual fee: $95.

Sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months - enough to redeem for up to 7 rewards nights at select Choice Hotels® properties.

Rewards:

  • 10 points per $1 spent on stays at participating Choice Hotels.

  • 5 points per $1 spent on purchases as gas stations, grocery stores, home improvement stores and phone plans.

  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

APR: The ongoing APR is 20.99%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR.

Foreign transaction fee: $0.

Other benefits:

  • Earn 30,000 bonus points every account anniversary.

  • 20 elite night credits per calendar year.

  • Automatic Platinum elite membership in the Choice Privileges program.

  • Global Entry or TSA Precheck credit every four years.

  • Cell phone protection.

🤓Nerdy Tip

In 2022, Choice Hotels acquired the Radisson Hotel properties in North and Central America. Radisson Americas points have been converted to Choice points at a rate of 2 Choice Privileges points to 1 Radisson Rewards point.

Compare to Other Cards

ANNUAL FEE
$95
INTRO APR
N/A
REGULAR APR
20.99%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR
RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE
ANNUAL FEE
$0
INTRO APR
0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
REGULAR APR
18.24%-28.24% Variable APR
RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE
ANNUAL FEE
$95
INTRO APR
N/A
REGULAR APR
21.49%-28.49% Variable APR
RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE
Get more smart money moves — straight to your inboxBecome a NerdWallet member, and we'll send you tailored articles we think you'll love.

Benefits and Perks

Points for free nights stack up quickly

New cardholders of the Choice Privileges® Select Mastercard® can rack up points for free nights quickly, starting with a big sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months - enough to redeem for up to 7 rewards nights at select Choice Hotels® properties.

Free nights with the Choice Privileges program range from 8,000 to 35,000 points per night (excluding properties in the Asia-Pacific region, which can cost up to 75,000 points per night). That means the sign-up bonus could be worth 11 free nights at the lower redemption levels or close to 3 nights at a top-tier property.

Cardholders will also earn 5 points per $1 spent in useful spending categories like gas, groceries, home improvement stores and cell phone plans, in addition to 10 points per $1 spent on paid stays at a Choice Hotels brand. These popular bonus categories should make it relatively easy to collect a pile of points.

In addition to the over 7,000 participating Choice Hotels properties worldwide, 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, at one of the Bluegreen Vacation resorts, and even for unique college sports experiences at partner universities.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Choice Privileges also has several 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. Be aware this won’t represent the best value for your points.

Generous anniversary bonus points

The Choice Privileges® Select Mastercard® comes with a $95 annual fee. But you’ll receive 30,000 points each time you pay that fee. That’s nearly enough points for a free night at a top-tier property, or almost 4 nights at the lowest redemption rate. Most hotels will cost more than $95 per night, making the annual fee a good investment as long as you’ll use the points.

NerdWallet values Choice points at 1 cent each. This is a baseline value, drawn from real-world data, not a maximized value. In other words, you should aim for award redemptions that offer 1 cent or more in value from your Choice points. That means 30,000 anniversary points are worth around $300 toward Choice stays — much more than the annual fee.

Automatic Platinum status

Choice Privileges® Select Mastercard® holders will receive automatic Platinum elite status in the Choice Privileges program, which comes with the following perks:

  • 25% bonus on points earned at participating Choice hotels.

  • Early check-in and late checkout.

  • Reserved parking at international properties.

  • Welcome gift at international properties.

  • Elite customer service phone line.

To reach Platinum status without the card, you’d have to stay 20 nights at eligible Choice Hotels properties in a calendar year. With the Choice Privileges® Select Mastercard®, you’ll automatically receive those benefits before you log your first stay each year.

While Platinum status perks like early check-in and late checkout can be quite valuable at times, and the 25% boost when you're paying cash for stays is a nice kicker, its not the most exciting hotel elite status out there. Hilton Honors™ Gold elite status comes automatically with the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card and includes food and beverage credits up to $50 each day depending on the property brand. Plus, you'll get the fifth night of your stay free when you book with points.

Travel benefits

Cardholders will receive a statement credit of $100 every four years as reimbursement for either the Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee. These federal programs can help you cruise through airport security and customs with less intrusive screening. Just charge the fee to your card and the reimbursement will be processed automatically.

You’ll also avoid foreign currency conversion fees (otherwise known as foreign transaction fees) when you use the card internationally, allowing you to amass points when you use the card abroad without added cost.

Cell phone protection

Like all Wells Fargo consumer credit cards, the Choice Privileges® Select Mastercard® comes with cell phone protection. For only 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.

🤓Nerdy Tip

The Choice Hotels Mastercard® is a World Elite Mastercard that comes with special benefits at specific retailers, including extra perks at DoorDash, Lyft, Fandango and ShopRunner.

Drawbacks and Considerations

You may want more choices

Holding a specific brand’s credit card can be limiting since you won’t earn bonus points for stays at other hotel chains. If you are brand-agnostic and prefer to shop around for the best rates or would rather earn flexible travel rewards, you’ll want to give this card a pass.

While Choice does have a few higher-end brands like Ascend and Cambria, the majority of their properties are budget brands like Econo Lodge, Quality Inn and Comfort Inn. If you're looking for luxury, aspirational hotels for the vacation of your dreams, Choice points may not get you there.

Most people would be better off with a general travel rewards card with transferable points, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. It offers 5 points per $1 spent on all travel purchased through Chase, 3 points per $1 spent on dining (including delivery services), streaming and online grocery purchases, 2 points per $1 on travel purchased outside of Chase and 1 point per $1 spent on everything else, in addition to an annual $50 hotel savings benefit (terms apply). You’ll also get access to travel transfer partners and be eligible for the following signup bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

You can only book 100 days in advance

Every travel loyalty program has its restrictions. The big one for Choice Privileges is the inability to book an award stay more than 100 days in advance of your travel. That can be a real burden to anyone who likes or needs to book early.

If you want the flexibility to book anywhere at any time with no restrictions, consider the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, which lets you earn an unlimited 2x miles on every purchase. Miles can be used for a statement credit against travel purchases, to book travel on the Capital One travel portal or transferred to over 15 travel partners. The card has a $95 annual fee and comes with the following one-time bonus: Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

Other cards offer more flexible value

From paid stays at Choice Hotels to bonus categories, there’s no doubt that points are easy to earn with the Choice Privileges® Select Mastercard®. Cardholders will rake in a massive 22 points per $1 at Choice Hotels for paid stays, including 10 points per $1 spent at the hotel by using the card, plus 10 points per $1 as a Choice Privileges member, plus an additional 2.5 points per $1 as a Platinum elite member.

Easy hotel points are nice, but a general travel rewards card that earns flexible points will provide more value for most people without restricting users to the Choice Privileges program. The Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card has a $0 annual fee and earns 3x points per $1 spent on gas, restaurants, travel, transit, cell phone plans and streaming services. Those points can be redeemed for travel, gift cards or a statement credit, so you won’t be stuck using them just for hotel stays.

You can earn Choice points with other cards

If you want to earn Choice points for Choice stays, you can do that with other cards that provide more flexibility. American Express Membership Rewards points transfer to Choice at a 1:1 ratio. Even better, Citi ThankYou Rewards transfer to Choice at a 1:2 ratio for Citi Strata Premier℠ Card (and legacy Citi Prestige® Card) cardholders, and 1.5:1 for lower-tier Citi ThankYou® Point-earning cards. With those rewards systems, you can access not only Choice Privileges but many other hotel and airline programs.

The Citi Strata Premier℠ Card offers 3 points per $1 spent at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, hotels and air travel, in addition to a $100 annual hotel savings benefit (terms apply). You’ll also get access to travel partners, including Choice, and qualifying new cardholders can earn the following signup bonus: Earn 70,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening, redeemable for $700 in gift cards or travel rewards at thankyou.com.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Even for Choice Hotel loyalists, the 1:2 transfer ratio from the Citi Premier® Card to Choice Privileges may provide more value than the Choice Privileges® Select Mastercard® since you’d effectively earn 6 points per $1 spent on the 3x bonus categories, which may be likely to rack up points for Choice faster.

How To Decide If It's Right For You

The Choice Privileges® Select Mastercard® is a no-brainer for Choice Hotel loyalists. You’ll earn a big sign-up bonus and solid ongoing rewards that can be used for free nights, and the $95-annual-fee is more than made up for by the annual 30,000 point anniversary bonus (as long as you use your points). But if you’re less loyal to the Choice Hotels brand and still want to earn free night stays with more flexibility, you’ll do better with a general travel rewards card.


Methodology

NerdWallet reviews credit cards with an eye toward both the quantitative and qualitative features of a card. Quantitative features are those that boil down to dollars and cents, such as fees, interest rates, rewards (including earning rates and redemption values) and the cash value of benefits and perks. Qualitative factors are those that affect how easy or difficult it is for a typical cardholder to get good value from the card. They include such things as the ease of application, simplicity of the rewards structure, the likelihood of using certain features, and whether a card is well-suited to everyday use or is best reserved for specific purchases. Our star ratings serve as a general gauge of how each card compares with others in its class, but star ratings are intended to be just one consideration when a consumer is choosing a credit card. Learn how NerdWallet rates credit cards.

About the author

NerdWallet Pixel