Choice Privileges points sale ends tomorrow, Tuesday July 28 at 11:59pm ET. Here is why I am thinking about buying the maximum 50,000 points for $385. That is $7.70 per 1,000 points rate.
- 4,000 to 7,000 points = 10% savings
- 8,000 to 12,000 points = 20% savings
- 13,000 to 50,000 points = 30% savings
What you need to know about Choice Privileges points
1. Points expire Dec 31, two years after earned. This means points purchased during this sale expire Dec 31, 2017.
Don’t buy hotel points speculatively. I know I will be able to burn 50,000 Choice Privileges points in September with 3 to 5 hotel reward nights in Europe and save several hundred dollars on lodging.
2. Members without elite status can only book hotels in country of residence up to 30 days in advance of stay. Hotels outside country of residence can be booked up to 60 days prior to stay. See Point #4 on elite benefits.
3. Choice Privileges member can book hotel stays for immediate family.
A member may redeem a reward night for an immediate family member (spouse, partner, children, parents, in-laws, brothers and sisters). Immediate family members (spouse, partner, children, parents, in-laws, brothers and sisters) can use the free night even if the member is not occupying the room.
When booking a reward night for someone other than yourself, be sure to ask the reservation agent to include the name of the guest in the notes field of the reservation. When booking a reward night through your online profile, be sure to include the name of the guest who will be staying in the room in the “Special Request” field.
4. Reward nights count for elite status.
Last year I earned Choice Privileges Gold elite for 13 reward nights in Norway. I have already re-qualified for 2016 Choice Privileges Gold and I expect to earn Platinum elite with 20 nights completed by the end of September, nearly all reward nights. The primary advantage of elite status is a longer booking window for reward nights.
Gold elite booking window increases to 50 days for country of residence. International hotels are still limited to 60 days before reward stay.
Choice Privileges Platinum elite opens the booking window for USA and international hotels to 75 days advance reservations.
Choice Privileges Redemption Value Examples in Norway and Italy
My travel plans in September look like I will be flying in and out of Bergen, Oslo and/or Stockholm for two round trip flights to California. Airfare is insanely low at under $400 round trip to fly British Airways and American Airlines out of Oslo or Bergen to San Francisco.
Oslo and Bergen are expensive hotel cities. Although, my check today shows many of the name brand hotels in Choice Hotels, Club Carlson and Best Western have far lower room rates via GetaRoom.com through Kayak.com than rates shown on the hotel websites. I might be playing with best rate guarantee claims once I get my itineraries set. I am seeing several properties in Oslo like Radisson Blu Park Hotel at $106 on Kayak.com via getaroom.com when the chain website is $175+.
Bergen is a better example to make my point for the good value of Choice Privileges points in Norway. Hotel rates start at around $100 per night and quickly climb into the $200 per night range.
1,692 NOK = $208 USD.
Clarion Collection Hotel NO13 is a property I stayed at last September. It is centrally located in Bergen and has some very cool boutique rooms. Probably the highlight of the hotel is its restaurant and bar, popular with locals. After five nights at Clarion Collection Havnekontoret, a hotel popular with tour bus groups, I enjoyed the complimentary evening dinner plate offered by Hotel NO13. It was a fixed hot meal and not a light buffet.
Clarion Collection NO13 Bergen is 12,000 points per reward night.
Buying 12,000 points during this sale means one free night at Clarion Collection NO 13 will cost $92.40 for a savings of $115 on the lowest room rate.
The thing to know about Nordic Choice Hotels in Norway and Sweden is the Clarion Collection brand includes a light evening meal. Norway was the most expensive travel country in the world last year. The drop in oil prices has meant a 27% devaluation in Norwegian Kroner NOK to the US Dollar since my September 2014 trip. The exchange rate today is 8.14 NOK = $1.00 USD. The exchange rate was 6.37 NOK in September 2014.
The dinner alone at a Clarion Collection hotel is a $25 to $30 value per person by Bergen restaurant standard prices. Here is my review of Clarion Collection NO13 from my stay last September.
Loyalty Traveler – Clarion Collection No 13 Bergen, Norway (Sep 15, 2014)
Lake Como, Italy – CLARION COLLECTION HOTEL GRISO LECCO
This hotel is ranked #3 of 11 hotels in Lecco, Italy on TripAdvisor.com with 4.5 circles after 334 hotel reviews. The hotel received TripAdvisor certificate of excellence. The location offers stunning views of Lake Como.
The lowest rate shown is $167 USD for a single bed room. The reward night rate using 10,000 Choice Privileges points offers a Double Superior lake front room. This room type is 160 EUR ($178.00).
This Choice Privileges sale offers points at the low rate of $7.70 per 1,000 points for purchases from 13,000 to 50,000 points. That knocks $100 per night off the room rate for Clarion Collection Hotel Griso Lecco and breakfast is included.
I have redeemed about 130,000 Choice Privileges points in the past two months for Orlando, Copenhagen and Boston. These points cost me about $600 in April’s Daily Getaways sale. The rooms I booked had published rates around $1,600. My nightly rate was about $75 for eight reward nights.
There are some great values to be found with Choice Privileges points in Europe, and even in the USA.