Jul142009

Choice Hotels for Economy Rates, Choice Privileges for Luxury Hotels

Choice Hotels sparked my attention this week after a closer look at the benefits and value of the Choice Privileges hotel loyalty program.  In my August column for Inside Flyer I rank some summer hotel loyalty promotions. I rated the Choice Privileges $50 gift card for three Hotel Stays a 2 of 5 hotel keys.

My gut feeling was a loyalty member would receive better value using 14,000 Choice Privileges points for a hotel stay rather than a $50 gift card. Now I have some data to back up this claim and I will share what I think is a good strategy for earning and spending with Choice Privileges points.

Choice Hotels Summer Promotion – 3 Stays Earn 14,000 points

Offer: Earn 14,000 points after 3 separate stays in Choice Hotels between May 21 and August 13. Only the Choice Hotels brands of Clarion, Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Cambria Suites, Ascend Collection, and Quality Inn are participating in this promotion. Restricted to residents of the US and US territories.

There is a separate promotion offering double points for stays at Econolodge, Rodeway Inn, Suburban, and MainStay Suites for residents of the US and Canada.

14,000 Points after 3 stays Promotion Link:

http://www.choicehotels.com/summerpromotionmidscale

 

Double Points Promotion Link:

http://www.choicehotels.com/summerpromotion

These offers do not require registration.

The 14,000 points offer is promoted as:

Stay 3 separate times. Earn a free $50 cash card!

The fine print states, “After every third qualifying stay between 5/21/09 and 8/13/09, enough points will be added to points earned to reach the 14,000 point level, which can be redeemed for a prepaid $50 cash card.”

 

This Choice Privileges promotion works differently from most hotel loyalty promotions offering a set amount of bonus points. The promotion wording here is “enough points will be added to reach the 14,000 points level”.

Here is an example to show the disparity this promotion can have for different types of Choice Privileges frequent guests.

Brad is a business traveler who stayed in a Quality Inn on Monday through Thursday night for three weeks while taking a computer training course.   Brad spent $1,000 on three separate 4-night stays. He has no elite status and earned the regular 10 points per $1 in hotel spending (tax excluded from points earning).  Brad earned 10,000 base points from hotel spending and only 4,000 bonus points from the Summer 3 Stays promotion. Brad earned 14,000 Choice Privileges points after 12 nights and $1,000 in hotel spending.

Jean is a leisure traveler who drove from Los Angeles to Seattle to visit her sister. Jean spent $150 for three separate 1-night stays in two Comfort Inns and a Quality Inn.  Jean earned 1,500 base points for her hotel spending and 12,500 points for the Summer 3 Stays promotion. Jean earned 14,000 Choice Privileges points after 3 nights and $150 in hotel spending.

Strategy Talk – Redeeming Choice Privileges points for Upscale Hotels

I keep in mind the potential value of earned hotel points when planning hotel stays. I generally have a plan for using the hotel points I will earn. The past decade has taught me one thing is for sure in the hotel loyalty world – Sit on your points too long and they will buy less.

Barcelo All-Inclusive Resorts

Choice Privileges has a points spending opportunity with hotel partner Barcelo for hotel nights at several of that hotel chain’s all-inclusive resorts in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. Stays during low-season are only 10,000 points per night plus $35 per adult per day for all-inclusive program which includes meals and drinks, including alcohol. Low season runs until December 18, 2009 and resumes on April 2, 2010. High season redemption rate is 16,000 points for stays December 19, 2009 to April 1, 2010.

There are good opportunities to leverage the value of your 14,000 points after 3 stays for much better value than $50.

Barcelo Properties Available with Choice Privileges points:

Mexico

            Barcelo Ixtapa Beach, Ixtapa

            Barcelo Huatulco Beach, Huatulco

            Barcelo Tucancun Beach, Cancun

            $150.00US per night for Dec 1-5, 2009, Superior room

            Barcelo Costa Cancun

            Barcelo La Jolla de Mismaloya, Puerto Vallarta

            $160.00US/night for Dec 1-5, 2009, Junior Suite Sea View

            Barcelo Karmina Palace, Manzanillo

            Barcelo Maya Beach, Mayan Riviera

            Barcelo Maya Caribe Beach, Mayan Riviera

Dominican Republic

            Barcelo Dominican Beach, Punta Cana

            Barcelo Puerto Plata

            Barcelo Punta Cana Beach Resort

            Barcelo Bavaro Palace, Punta Cana

            $148 per night, Dec 1-5, 2009, superior room          

$308 per night, Jan 24-29, 2010, superior room

 

Costa Rica

            Barcelo Tambor Beach, Playa Tambor

            Barcelo Langosta Beach, Tamarindo 

$149.40/night Mon-Thur, Nov 30-Dec 4, 2009

$277.20 per night, Jan 24-29, 2010

Nicaragua      

Barcelo Montelimar Beach, Playa Montelimar

Link: http://www.barcelo.com/BarceloHotels/en-GB/Choice/Barcelo-Choice

 

The high winter rates offer a much higher value for points redemption at 16,000 points per night during high season. The per day cost of all-inclusive food and beverage remains the same $35 per adult or $25 for children under 12. An extra 6,000 points per night buys a whole lot more value during the high season.

And you can always try to upgrade your room type before your stay. Extra cash goes a long way these days at hotel properties struggling for occupants.

I stayed at a Barcelo all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic during my last mileage run segment for the LatinPass 1,000,000 miles promotion back in June 2000. I traveled alone and drank too much and was lured into too many sports activities by the resort activity directors. I remember swallowing lots of water and feeling like I was going to drown competing in pool games with some Hungarian woman on my shoulders. Kelley had no sympathy for me when I called her up to say I’d lost my bank atm card.

Preferred Hotel Group:

Choice Privileges also partners with the Preferred Hotel Group for points spending opportunities with over 300 independent upper-upscale and luxury hotel properties around the globe.

There are three categories of hotel redemptions for these high-end properties at 30,000 points, 45,000 points, or 60,000 points per night.

Choice points can be redeemed for a free night at the Carlton New York or the Alchymist Grand Hotel, Prague, CZ for 60,000 points. Daily rates run about $275 per night in September.

http://www.phgoffers.com/searchResults.aspx?id=134

There are numerous high value redemption opportunities with Preferred Hotels Group for better value from Choice Privileges points spending than a member will typically receive using points for free nights at most Choice Hotels or $50 gift cards.

 

Kelley at Alchymist Hotel, Prague, Czech Republic (2007)

Kelley at Alchymist Hotel, Prague, Czech Republic (2007)

 Average Rates at Choice Hotel brands

 

 

Choice Hotels International brands

Market Segment- Number Hotels

(March 2009)

U.S. Average Daily Rate and 12 month ADR rate change

(March 2009)

 

Average Occupancy rate for Q1 2009

 

(March 2009)

 

Comfort Suites

Midscale w/o F&B

560

$84.48

(-1.8%)

 

 

47.1%

(-6.9)

Clarion

Midscale with F&B

155 (US)

 

$74.03

(-7.2%)

37.0%

(-4.4)

Comfort Inn

Midscale w/o F&B

1,452 (US only)

 

$73.96

(+0.4%)

45.9%

(-4.6)

MainStay Suites

Extended Stay

37

$71.08

(+3.0%)

50.5%

(-7.7)

Sleep Inn

Midscale w/o F&B

366 hotels

$67.49

(-0.3%)

44.9

(-5.3)

Quality Inn

Midscale with F&B

926 (US)

 

$64.73

(-2.5%)

 

39.1%

(-4.2)

Econolodge

Economy

821

$51.65

(+1.4%)

37.1%

(-1.4)

Rodeway Inn

Economy

352

$49.60

(+0.2%)

37.0%

(-3.9)

Suburban

Extended Stay

64

$42.60

(+3.8%)

52.0%

(-7.3)

Ascend Collection

Upscale

21

No data

No data

Cambria Suites

Upscale

13

No data

No data

 

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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Comments

  1. I’m learning tonight that Choice Privilege is not a great program. Why? because with a bunch of stays and bonuses I accumulated 10,000 points which will expire in December even if I have activity every 6 months. What does the 10,000 points get me as a hotel. Basically any Econolodge that has a $50.00 rate. That’s it. When i looked in Pennsylvania for a 8,000 point hotel (they say there are 1500 in the US) There are 12 and all in middle of State. Want NY State? There are 7! (All upstate 1 star Econolodge. So even a Gas Card can’t be obtained because you need 13,000. Choice ads are a ripoff! They lost MY loyalty now.

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