Choice Privileges Reward Program Review
Choice Privileges Reward Program
The Choice Privileges Reward Program was last reviewed on 11th July 2008
Econo Lodge and Rodeway Inn properties in the U.S. participate in the EA$Y CHOICE® rewards program. Under this program, you earn stamps toward free stays, discounted rooms or airline miles. Each night earns you one stamp, and you can accumulate up to five stamps for any single stay. Collect just three stamps and you can redeem them for a $10 room credit. When you collect six stamps, you can choose a $25 room credit toward your next stay or 750 airline miles/1 credit. Ten stamps give you a $50 room credit toward your next stay or 1500 airline miles/2 credits.
Credit Cards - Choice Privileges has a credit card issued by Bank of America to help members earn faster points. The Choice Privileges® Visa® Platinum Card allows cardholders to earn 15 points for every dollar when they use the card at Choice Privileges Hotels. 10 points come from being a member, and 5 additional points come from using the credit card. You can earn 2 points for every dollar that is spent on other purchases. New cardholders will earn 24,000 points after their first purchase on the card, which is enough to get three free nights stay. There is no annual fee for this card.
Earning Miles - Members can opt to earn miles rather than points when on their hotel stays. Members may earn 250 miles with Aeroplan®, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, the American Airlines AAdvantage® program, Continental Airlines OnePass®, Delta SkyMiles®, Frecuenta by Mexicana, Northwest Airlines® WorldPerks®, United Mileage Plus® or US Airways® Dividend Miles® or receive 0.5 Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® credits per stay at any Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites or MainStay Suites hotel in the U.S., Canada, Caribbean and Mexico.
Qantas flyers can earn 600 Qantas Frequent Flyer points for every qualifying stay at any Choice hotel in the United States, Canada, Caribbean, or Mexico. Furthermore, you can also earn 3 Qantas Frequent Flyer points for every Australian dollar charged to your room for qualifying stays in Australia or 600 Qantas Frequent Flyer points at any Choice hotel in New Zealand, Singapore, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, American Samoa and New Caledonia.
Redeeming Points - Choice Privileges members require anywhere from 6,000 to 25,000 to redeem for one night's stay. There are no blackout dates. Booking has to be done 30 days in advance. The program requires less points than many other hotel programs as 6,000 points equates to $600 in spending.
You can also use points for stays at independent luxury hotels around the world. Choice Privileges has arrangements with 135 properties in 22 countries. You need anywhere from 24,000 to 50,000 points for one night's stay.
Points to Miles Transfer - Members may redeem 5,000 Points for 1,000 miles with Air Canada Aeroplan®, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, American Airlines AAdvantage® program, Continental Airlines OnePass®, Delta SkyMiles®, Frecuenta by Mexicana, Northwest Airlines® WorldPerks®, United Mileage Plus® or US Airways® Dividend Miles® or for 2.0 Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® credits. Because it requires $500 in spending at Choice Privileges Hotels to earn 5,000 points (10 points for every dollar you spend), you will be effectively earning double miles.
Gift Certificates - Choice Privileges allows you to exchange points for gift certificates. You need 16,000 points to get a $50 gift certificate. The exchange ratio has the most value among any reward program we have reviewed. Here is why : You have to spend $1,600 at Choice Privileges Hotels to earn 16,000 points. Hence, effectively $1,600 of spending gets you a $50 gift certificate. Most reward program require 5,000 points to exchange for a gift certificate and this requires $5,000 in spending. Hence, you get a lot of value when you convert points for gift certificates.
Charity Donations - For those that are inclined to donate to charities, you can exchange points for monetary donations to the American Red Cross, the Armed Forces Relief Fund and UNICEF.
Elite Memberships - If there is fault with this program, it is that it has no elite membership levels. Frequent travelers expect to get better perks and treatment than regular members, but unfortunately, there just isn't any tier in the membership. Regular members get express reservations, special room rates, express check-in, free local calls and incoming fax, complimentary newspapers and extended check-out.
Verdict - The big positive features of the Choice Privileges program is its simplicity, having no blackout dates, low point requirements for a free night's stay. You can also transfer points to air miles at a good rate (after factoring in the cost to acquire miles). The program also gives tremendous value when you exchange points for gift certificates. Furthermore, members can earn faster point with the Choice Privileges® Visa® Platinum Card.
However, while the program is simple, its lack of elite membership status and perks may not go down as well with frequent guest.