Apr152013

Choice Hotels Los Angeles Reward Analysis for Spring Season 2013

Choice Hotels are a hotel chain consisting mostly of economy and midscale hotel brands with over 6,000 hotels worldwide, mostly in the USA. Choice Hotels has Cambria Suites and Ascend Collection as their brands for the upscale market. Ascend Collection is a group of independent, boutique hotels signing up with Choice Hotels for management and marketing.

Rodeway Inn and EconoLodge are the economy brands and these hotels can be nice properties in some locations or places you want to avoid. Read TripAdvisor.com to learn about neighborhoods and hotel property conditions. A couple of the Los Angeles hotel names include “near Home Depot”. I can’t picture Hyatt or Starwood using that descriptor.

Choice Privileges has one of the more complicated hotel loyalty programs. Points are earned at 10 points/$1 for seven brands and 5 points/$1 for the Rodeway Inn, EconoLodge, Suburban Extended Stay and MainStay extended stay brands. Points expire at the end of the calendar year, two years after they were earned. Points earned in 2013 expire December 31, 2015.

Choice Privileges Seasonal rates April 16 – June 30, 2013

The points spending side is the confusing part of the program. Choice Hotels reward rates change seasonally. Today, April 15 is the last day for this Choice Privileges Reward Season. Tomorrow reward rates change for hundreds of hotels for the April 16 to June 30, 2013 season.

4-15-13-LA-Reward Analysis 60 hotels

Observations for 60 Los Angeles area Choice Hotels

Surprising to see so few Choice Hotels brands in the Los Angeles area. I have a larger variety of the 11 different brands among the 19 Choice Hotels within ten miles of my home in Monterey, California than there are in the 60 Choice Hotels properties scattered around hundreds of square miles in and around Los Angeles, California.

Los Angeles Choice Hotels Brand Distribution

  • Clarion = 1 hotel at Universal Studios.
  • Comfort Inn & Suites = 18 hotels.
  • Quality Inn = 11 hotels.
  • EconoLodge = 7 hotels.
  • Rodeway Inn = 23 hotels.

EconoLodge and Rodeway Inn are Choice Hotels economy market segment hotel brands. Hotel stays earn only 5 points/$1 at these two brands. The current Choice Privileges promotion requires a 2-night stay to qualify for 8,000 points after two stays by May 15, 2013. This bonus can be earned multiple times.

Free high-speed internet is a benefit of Choice Privileges, however, Rodeway Inn is the singled-out brand where that benefit is excluded.

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Choice Priivileges In-Hotel Benefits

Rodeway Inn, aptly named for LA, is the most prevalent hotel brand for the SoCal roads with 23 of the 60 hotels in the Los Angeles area.

April 16-June 30, 2013 is the new season for a free night using Choice Privileges points. 17 out of 60 hotels in Los Angeles area change reward rate tomorrow. 15 hotels drop in reward price using points and 2 hotels increase price.

When calculating the hotel spend for a reward night, I assumed hotel stays are in brands earning 10 points/$1. Hotel spend could double if all stays in Choice Privileges hotel brands with low earning at 5 points/$1. These are EconoLodge, Rodeway Inn, MainStay Suites and Suburban.

$76.19 is average room rate for this April 24, Wednesday night in Los Angeles area.

Hotel Reward Category distribution for 60 Los Angeles area hotels for April 16 – June 30, 2013 season.

  • 6,000 points = 2 hotels.
  • 8,000 points = 20 hotels.
  • 10,000 points = 5 hotels.
  • 12,000 points = 9 hotels.
  • 16,000 points = 11 hotels.
  • 20,000 points = 12 hotels.
  • 25,000 points = 1 hotel.
  • 30,000 points = 0 hotels.

Comfort Inn Santa Monica was a top-tier 30,000 points reward for the season February 1-April 15, 2013. Weather improves and the rate goes down for spring season.

Average Redemption Value at $6.19 is quite close to $6.30 average redemption value for 60 hotels in New York metro area.

Average redemption value = Hotel room Rate/Reward Points (x 1,000).

$107/12,000 = $8.92 redemption value per 1,000 Choice Privileges points.

Average Hotel spend of $1,285 for a hotel room average rate of $76 is not a good rebate value. What turns this equation around is the current Choice Privileges promotion for 8,000 points every two stays. $152 in hotel rate to earn 8,000 Choice Privileges points is a decent deal.

In fact, picking up 8,000 points every two stays can be a fantastic deal for a trip to Europe this spring when many hotels have reward rooms at 8,000 points per night in places like central Paris.

Paris will be a follow-up article to this piece and the New York Choice Hotels survey. There is some real value in Choice Privileges points if you can live with staying in the Choice Hotels market segment to earn points and redeem points for good value free nights.

The appeal of collecting Choice Privileges points for me is the opportunity to burn points in Europe in places like Paris or London or Scandinavian countries where hotel rates are quite high and the cost of reward nights is low compared to U.S. rewards.

To burn Choice Privileges points requires earning Choice Privileges points somewhere. The best time of the year to earn Choice Privileges points is during the ‘two stays earns 8,000 points’ promotion running through May 15, 2013. Choice Privileges has offered about six months of the year the past couple years.

Los Angeles – a city on wheels.

Los Angeles is a maze of freeways. One city runs into another and portions of the city of Los Angeles, the actual city limits, are actually nearly 50 miles away from other parts of the city. There is no real focal point for Los Angeles outside of the Los Angeles Convention Center and LA Live/Nokia Center entertainment complex where urban revitalization of the past decade places a score of upper upscale hotels, shops and restaurants on the border of the extreme poverty line to the east of the LA Convention Center where about 10,000 homeless souls live on the streets.

The beaches around Los Angeles are a desirable hotel location and 15 to 30 miles from Los Angeles Convention Center which is also a way from LAX Airport. Beach towns away from the airport are expensive and a far drive from the valleys if those are your destinations for work or conferences. My stay in Los Angeles in mid-week January required 40 minutes each day to drive 8.0 miles from Beverly Hills to the Los Angeles Convention Center/LA Live complex. 

Public transportation options include bus, light rail and subway, but navigating the Los Angeles area on public transportation might not put you that close to places you want to be. The major sights of Los Angeles are miles and miles apart. Be prepared to plan your transportation time. Most people drive cars to get around and thus, the roads are nearly always packed with slow traffic.

The last Choice Hotels property I checked out was the Rodeway Inn Los Angeles Convention Center.

IPW2012 final night 065 IPW2012 final night 070

Rodeway Inn Los Angeles Convention Center 16,000 points

The Rodeway Inn LA Convention Center is about one mile from LA Live and the Convention Center on West Olympic Blvd with rates around $100 during conventions when the downtown hotels like Westin Bonaventure, Hilton Checkers and JW Marriott at LA Live are above $300 per night.

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. This sentence struck me:

    The appeal of collecting Choice Privileges points for me is the opportunity to burn points in Europe in places like Paris or London or Scandinavian countries where hotel rates are quite high and the cost of reward nights is low compared to U.S. rewards.

    How is the normal rebate value for Choice hotels in Europe versus the U.S? Your number of $1285 of spend for 1 $76 night in LA means almost 17 paid nights to get a free night. For example, if it took $1285 of spend in Europe for 1 free night, but nights averaged $257, it would mean only 5 paid nights would be required for a free night. So, it would be interesting to know what the actual values are there versus here.

    I guess, for me, the number of paid nights that would be required to earn a reward night is an interesting number for me. Basically the inverse of your value/1000 points. Not sure if which would be easier for deciding whether to pay or use points.

    My first reaction was that maybe the European hotels had to have lower point reward nights because their rates were higher (so the nights per spend was about the same), but thinking about it more, they may care more about the ratio of reward nights per paid night. Probably also depends on the amount of taxes for paid nights and for reward nights. Seems like it was Nevada who was trying to tax comped nights. Not sure if reward nights would be taxed also or just figured as a discount.

    My assumption would be that hotels would prefer to have higher rates and give more reward nights per paid nights than to have lower rates and give less reward nights per paid night because there are folks who don’t end up using their reward nights. I guess it would depend on the rate of non-redemptions.

    Anyway, thanks for the analysis.

  2. Would be nice to have you discussed which of the LA area hotels are on the rapid transit lines.

  3. @Martin Henner – I have tried to figure out the proximity of hotels to rapid transit lines in LA for my last two trips. Very difficult and time consuming.

    @Charles Clarke – Nerdwallet.com does their hotel points analysis based on the number of paid nights needed to earn a hotel reward night for that hotel.

    I prefer the dollar redemption value since I am looking to earn points cheaply and spend points for higher value.

    A $120 per night room for 12,000 points is going to require ten days to earn a free night when earning 10 points per $1. A $240 per night room for 12,000 points will take 5 nights to earn a free room.

    A hotel with higher priced rooms is going to require fewer nights to earn a free night when the reward cost is the same.

    My objective is to find how to earn 12,000 points for far less than $1,200 in hotel spend. Choice Privileges 8,000 points for two stays means I can earn 12,000 points for under $300 with four 1-night stays.

    I look at earning points separately from burning points.

    Rather than saying the $240 room for 12,000 points will take me 5 paid nights at that hotel to earn, I see that I can earn 12,000 points for $300 and get a $240 free room night with the bonus points. That is getting an 80% rebate on my $300 in hotel spend for a $240 hotel room for a hotel I otherwise would not have paid to stay.

  4. Makes sense.

    And looking at the # of paid nights required to earn a free night at the same hotel means that the numbers are counter-intuitive, at least for me, for which is the best place to stay to earn and the best place to burn. The expensive hotel that only takes 5 paid nights to earn a free night is the best place to burn points, while the cheaper hotel that takes 10 paid nights to earn a free night is the better place to earn points (especially with the 8000points /2 stays promotion).

    Though that could swap if your company is paying for your paid nights. In that case, you’d want to earn nights/points as quickly as possible. Being self-employed, it’s all out of my pocket…

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