Jan232015

Choice Privileges launches Points Plus Cash rewards

Choice Privileges launches Points Plus Cash rewards this week in what the program claims is the first in changes coming for 2015. The new option is available for U.S. members of Choice Privileges for hotel reward nights at hotels listed for 10,000 points or more per reward night.

From what I have gathered, the Points Plus Cash option requires a Choice Privileges member be logged in to your account and you need at least 8,000 points in account. Points Plus Cash reward option is pay $15 per 2,000 points. The program appears to be closer to IHG Rewards Club than Cash & Points options in other chains.

Choice Privileges Points Plus Cash*

10,000 points reward night = 8,000 points + $15.

12,000 points reward night = 8,000 points + $30

16,000 points reward night = 8,000 points + $60.

20,000 points reward night = 8,000 points + $90.

25,000 points reward night = 8,000 points + $127.50

* these are my estimates of the Points Plus Cash reward price. I have no Choice Privileges points in my account, so I can’t verify actual Points Plus Cash rates. Please comment if these numbers are not what you find when searching reward rates and I will update.

Basically you are buying points at $7.50 per 1,000 points. That is a high price, even though it is lower than the $11 per 1,000 points purchase price. The annual U.S. Travel Association Daily Getaways usually offers Choice Privileges points for under $5 per 1,000 points.

Choice Privileges terms state a maximum 250,000 points may be purchased in a calendar year for Points Plus Cash Rewards. That would be 31 nights at hotels with 16,000 points reward nights.

One of the odd features is Points Plus Cash rewards do not count for elite qualification when regular reward nights count.

[Update 1-30-15: Choice Privileges Points Plus Cash reward nights are elite qualifying. Apparently there was an error in Choice Privileges Program Rules since the wording changed  during the past week. I was notified by a representative that Points Plus Cash reward nights are elite qualifying.]

This new reward option is only a day old and I do not currently have any Choice Privileges points in my account after my 216,000 Nordic Choice Hotels trip to Norway last September.

My primary question is whether these Points Plus Cash reward nights are offered in Norway and Sweden? This will be a great option for conserving points if a $400 per night hotel room in Bergen, Norway can be purchased for 8,000 points + $60.

Please share information in the comments if you have Choice Privileges points and more insight into how the system works. Here is a FlyerTalk thread on this new reward option from Choice Privileges.

Choice Privileges Points Plus Cash

1.
This offer is valid for U.S. Choice Privileges members only.

2,
All Choice Privileges program rules and regulations apply including Choice Privileges Reward Nights rules.

3.
The purpose of Points Plus Cash is to provide an option for you to purchase the difference in points between the full amount of the reward night and 8,000 points.

4.
At least 8,000 Choice Privileges points are needed to make a Points Plus Cash reservation.

5.
Only hotels with reward night point levels of 10,000 points or higher per night are eligible for redemption through Points Plus Cash.

6.
Cash portions of Points Plus Cash reward nights are in U.S. dollars.

7.
Total cost of points will be shown during the booking process before you purchase.

8.
A valid credit card is required and will be charged immediately to complete the point purchase transaction.

9.
If you cancel your reservation in accordance with the hotel’s cancellation policy stated on your reservation confirmation, all points used for the reward night, including those purchased through Points Plus Cash, will be re-deposited into your Choice Privileges account.

10.
All purchases are non-refundable.

11.
Points Plus Cash reward nights can only be reserved online at www.choicehotels.com.

12.
You must be logged into your online Choice Privileges account to complete a Points Plus Cash reservation.

13.
A maximum of 250,000 points can be purchased in a calendar year through Points Plus Cash.

14.
Points Plus Cash reward nights cannot be combined with any other discount.

15.
Points Plus Cash reward nights do not:

a. Qualify for bonus points offered as part of any other promotion through Choice Hotels.  This includes, but is no limited to, the national promotions such as Take Two Separate trips, Earn One Night Free.
b.  Earn elite  bonus points.

16.
Points Plus Cash reward nights do not count toward Elite status. [Update 1-30-15: Apparently this was an error since the wording changed and I was notified by a representative that Points Plus Cash reward nights are elite qualifying.]

17.
If you are unable to use your room and fail to cancel your reservation by the specified time on your confirmation, Choice will not credit your account with the points that you redeemed and/or purchased.

18.
Choice may periodically modify Points Plus Case at any time, with or without notice, including but not limited to, the maximum point purchase amount and minimum points required for participation.

19.
There are no blackout dates.  Restrictions, taxes and fees apply.  There are over 1,500 Choice hotels with reward nights available at 8,000 points or less.  Reward night locations worldwide are available from 6,000 to 35,000 points (excluding Australasia, where reward nights are available up to 75,000 points).

20.
Point requirements may vary based on time of year.  Visit www.choiceprivileges.com for details and redemption level information.

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. Hi Ric – thanks for the info. I can verify that the numbers are correct for 10000/12000/16000 ones and I do see points + cash options for hotels in Bergen, NO. This is a great way to stretch the balance and agree would be better if can purchase them at a lower cost.

  2. @Sherman – that is music to my ears. Last May I was in the California gold country foothills during the Daily Getaways sale frantically driving in search of cell phone reception.

    When I finally got a signal, I tried making a purchase of Choice Privileges points only to repeatedly have my purchase denied.

    Turned out the home address on my Diner’s Club account was missing a number and I could not buy points due to address discrepancy. I didn’t have my American Express card with me.

    This year I will be ready to buy points when the sale happens. Might even have an opportunity to earn bonus points from some USA stays. Norway and Sweden travels on the cheap in July 2015 is my goal.

  3. I can confirm your information. I just booked a 25,000 point hotel in Australia and was offered the opportunity to instead pay 8000 points and $127.50.

    I declined because I buy my points during the Daily Getaways auction. I calculated that my 25,000 points cost me about $93, so obviously this is “no deal” for me.

    That said, more choice is better than less, and if you don’t have enough points this could be a reasonable option in circumstances where room rates are expensive and point redemptions are cheap. For example, the room I reserved would have cost about US$250. I would not have paid that — I would have stayed elsewhere — but if you wanted to stay there, $127 and 8000 points would obviously be a better deal.

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