Mar302015

Choice Privileges seasonal award price influences my Alaska Airlines free flight plan

Many times I have stated on Loyalty Traveler that I am a last minute travel planner. I thought I had until tomorrow to book my Fly 2, Get 1 Alaska Airlines Ski the West free ticket I earned flying two roundtrip flights from San Francisco to Salt Lake City in January. Checked today to see I have to ticket today.

Then, my mother mentioned on the phone this morning that ferry service from Vancouver metro will take me to Victoria at little cost. I have been to Vancouver several times, most recently in 2011. The last time I visited Victoria was 2007 and that was only for a few hours on an Alaska cruise ship stop. Prior to that, Kelley and I stayed there in 2002 where my memory is watching an exciting Ireland World Cup soccer match one early morning.

I checked hotels around Victoria, BC to see many top rated hotels like Marriott Victoria Inner Harbour for $102 and Fairmont Empress $116. That reminds me that I received a free suite upgrade for Fairmont at the BAcon2 BoardingArea conference last September. I’ll have to dig that up and see if it is still valid.

Choice Privileges Seasonal Rates

What caught my eye were two Quality Inn Hotels in Victoria listed at $70 per night on Kayak.com. Choice Privileges reward nights showed the lowest category hotel reward at 6,000 points for a free night at Quality Inn Victoria Downtown Inner Harbour. The hotel receives 4 of 5 circles on TripAdvisor with 280 reviews. It is ranked #25 of 58 hotels in Victoria.

While there are plenty of boutique lodging places to stay in Victoria, this is not a romantic vacation getaway with my wife. I simply need a place to sleep and work with free hi-speed Wi-Fi while I explore the city.

What makes this Quality Inn Victoria property such a deal at 6,000 points per night, despite room rates as low as $58 USD per night, is an opportunity this Friday, April 3 to buy 36,000 Choice Privileges points for $155 during the Daily Getaways sale.

Six nights at $155 compared to $400 for six paid nights at the hotel. Weekends fetch higher rates.

$26 per night for a hotel in a major tourist city is great value.

I went back to Alaska Airlines website, entered the dates and found a miles award from San Jose SJC to Vancouver for $85 taxes roundtrip using my free ticket credit. Prices are about $300 roundtrip for a paid ticket. I paid $200 all-in for my two tickets to Salt Lake City in January so traveling to YVR for $85 is a good deal.

Before booking the Alaska Airlines frequent flyer award, I went back to Choice Privileges to check for availability of a hotel reward during my stay.

Choice Privilege rewards Victoria BC

Turns out that Quality Inn Downtown Victoria Harbour changes seasonal reward rates on April 16 increasing from 6,000 points per night to 16,000 points.

That $26 per night hotel room I can buy with Choice Privileges points increases to $69 per night in points on April 16.

Looks like I might be flying Alaska Airlines to Vancouver a week sooner than I planned.

Choice Privileges Victoria reward rates April 14

I can stay in Victoria for 50,000 fewer Choice Privileges points if I stay there before April 15.

Help this traveler out

My issue is I do not have any Choice Privileges points in my account right now. I can’t do a dummy booking to answer a question I have about a reward stay?

The image above shows Quality Inn Downtown Inner Harbour at 6,000 points per night for a stay April 14-18, 2015. But checking each night, the rate rise to 16,000 points occurs as of April 16.

My question, which some reader who has Choice Privileges points can answer, is does the rate change to 16,000 points  on a reward stay from April 14-18 or are all nights booked at 6,000 points if the stay begins before April 16?

I would think it changes to 16,000 points, but who knows how the Choice Privileges website processes a reward stay that overlaps seasonal reward price changes?

The other issue might be that I book my Alaska Airlines flight later today and I buy Choice Privileges points this Friday, April 3, yet I still risk the fact that the points might not be deposited in my account before I fly to Vancouver if I fly a week after buying the points. A couple of years ago when I bought Choice Privileges points in Daily Getaways, people expressed concern that it took 15 days for points to be deposited.

At least I have plenty of Victoria hotel options at low rates if my British Columbia early spring arrival turns out to be pointless.

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.

More articles by Ric Garrido »

Comments

  1. I just tried a dummy booking for your dates, and the Choice website wanted to deduct only 24000 points. This could be an ultimate YMMV situation, however, because I’ve frequently found the Choice website to return inconsistent results. But definitely worth a shot!

  2. Hi Ric – I love your blog and have learned a lot from you! I live in Vancouver (and happen to have some Choice points and Fairmont certs that expire by end of May). Please email me and perhaps I can help.

  3. I showed 24,000 for that time period. I even extended out 4 more days (4/14 to 4/22) and it gave a total 48,000.

    However 4/18 to 4/22 gives a total of 64,000.

  4. The Comfort Inn below it acts the same way. The whole stay is based on the first night rate, even if you stay 2 weeks.

  5. Ric, even though you can buy the points cheaper through Daily Getaways, I recommend valuing them closer to 0.7 cents each. I would never use 16,000 points to pay for a $69 room. I would pay cash, and save the points for later use.

  6. @UAPhil – I would not redeem 16,000 points for a $69 room either. I’ll be in Scandinavia this summer where 16,000 Choice Privileges points will buy a $300 room.

    Good thing I did not book my ALaska Air ticket until after my talking to my wife. She wants me to go in second half of April, so no 6,000 points Quality Inn Victoria Inner Harbour reward stay for me.

  7. Just curious why you are flying into Vancouver and then taking the ferry, when you could just as well fly into Victoria on Alaska.

  8. @bluecat – free award ticket was earned during Ski the West promotion for CA, OR. WA residents by flying to one of ten ski destination airports and only can be used for one of ten airports. Vancouver and Kelowna only choices in Canada. I ultimately picked Vancouver for numerous hotel options and the fact that I have been carrying around $40CAD in my wallet for a couple of months. Time to spend.

    Bozeman, Montana was second choice for a trip to Yellowstone, but I just was not feeling that rugged this week when it came time to book.

Comments are closed.