Jan142016

New Choice Privileges Points Expiration Policy: inactive accounts forfeit all points Aug 1, 2017

Choice Privileges points expiration policy effective February 1, 2016 is a major program change. If a member is not active within 18 consecutive calendar months, that member will forfeit all accumulated Choice Privileges points.

On August 1, 2017 all inactive Choice Privileges accounts since February 1, 2016 will forfeit all their points.

The current Choice Privileges points expiration policy is an outlier in hotel loyalty programs. Choice Privileges points in a member’s account expire two calendar years after the year points were earned.

Current Choice Privileges Points Expiration Policy

  • Points earned January to December 2015 expire December 31, 2017.
  • Points earned in January 2016 expire December 31, 2018.

New Choice Privileges Points Expiration Policy effective Feb 1, 2016

  • Points expire after 18 months of account inactivity to take effect August 1, 2017.

Choice Privileges members who lose points on August 1, 2017 can request their points be reinstated to their original points expiration date for points earned in 2015 and Jan 2016 that would have expired under the current Choice Privileges points expiration policy at the end of 2017 or 2018.

Choice Privileges points expiration

New Policy Good for Frequent Guests at Choice Hotels

This points expiration policy is good for frequent guests in Choice Hotels.  Choice Privileges account activity at least once every 18 months keeps points from expiring in the future. Choice Privileges members who actually use the program can accumulate large amounts of points and save them for longer than 24 to 36 months, the maximum length of time before points expiration under the current program rules.

As a general rule of thumb, holding onto hotel points for more than two or three years will likely mean these points decrease in redemption value as hotel reward night rates increase in cost.

Personally, as a big user of Choice Privileges points, my problem is I can’t retain enough points for my hotel needs after frequent trips to Denmark, Norway and Sweden over the past 18 months and into 2016. The current points expiration policy was better for me and probably the vast majority of Choice Privileges members.

18 Month Expiration Policy is Bad for Most Hotel Guests

In general, I am against short term expiration policies for points and miles earned. Most hotel guests are not frequent guests who will stay in a Choice Hotels every year. The new policy makes points earned last year expire five months early and points earned in January 2016 expire 17 months earlier than under the current rules.

There will likely be some infrequent guest reading this post in two years wondering why all the points in their Choice Privileges account were wiped out.

In my opinion, 18 months is not a very long time to stay away from any single hotel chain and loyalty account.

Choice Privileges Points Expiration Details

CHOICE PRIVILEGES® POINT FORFEITURE POLICY

Choice Privileges members must remain active in the Program to retain the Choice Privileges points they accumulate.  If a member is not active within 18 consecutive calendar months, that member will forfeit all accumulated Choice Privileges points.  To maintain an active status in the Choice Privileges Rewards Program and retain accumulated Choice Privileges points, you must engage in qualifying activity, such as completing a qualified point-eligible stay, earning points, airline miles or Amtrak Guest Rewards points, redeeming Choice Privileges points, earning points from a purchase using your Choice Privileges Visa® card*, earning points with one of our partner programs, purchasing points, and referring a friend**.

Beginning February 1, 2016, members have until August 1, 2017 at 12:00 a.m. Pacific Time to engage in a qualifying activity before this forfeiture policy is enforced.  Any qualifying activity after February 1, 2016 will keep members’ points active for an 18 additional months. Starting August 1, 2017 at 12:00 a.m. Pacific Time and continuing on the first day of each subsequent calendar month thereafter, Choice Privileges points will be forfeited in accounts with no qualifying activity during the previous 18 consecutive calendar months. Qualifying activity keeps your points active for 18 additional months, beginning on the first day of the month after your activity is completed through the 18th month of inactivity. A qualifying activity is completed when points post or are removed from your account.

Not all activities count toward maintaining an active status in the Choice Privileges Rewards Program. The following are some examples of non-qualifying activities that do not count toward maintaining an active status in the Choice Privileges Rewards Program:  completing a non-eligible stay, registering for a promotion, gifting points (only counts as a qualifying activity for the member who receives the points, not the member who gifts the points).

*Available for U.S. members only.

**The refer-a-friend option awards points to your member account when a friend enrolls in the Choice Privileges Rewards Program and completes a point-eligible stay.  Your points will remain active for an additional 18 consecutive calendar months based on the date the points post to your account, not on the date when you refer your friend.

Members who earned points between January 1, 2015, and January 31, 2016, under the former point expiration policy, which carried a firm expiration of points on December 31, 2017, and December 31, 2018, respectively, will be eligible to request any points forfeited under the new forfeiture policy (stated above) be reinstated to their member account by contacting member services. This point reinstatement is only available for points earned between January 1, 2015, and January 31, 2016, and forfeited on August 1, 2017, where the member had no qualifying activity under the new forfeiture policy but whose points would not have expired until December 31, 2017, and December 31, 2018, respectively, under the previous point expiration policy.

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 »

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  1. I think this is a substantial upgrade for the Choice Privileges program. It was very frustrating to earn points and have a deadline to use or lose, regardless of the amount of activity on the account. I agree with Ric that an amount of time beyond 18 months would be preferable, but at least I can now keep what I have got, regardless of stay activity, if I use my fee-free Choice Privileges Visa on occasion. Thanks for the news!

  2. Personally I like the change. I’ve sometimes used points for gift cards (timed for when they were on for half price) to avoid losing points at the end of the year. I don’t foresee an 18 month period that I wouldn’t be at a Choice property (paid or using points).

  3. This I don’t mind – they are **frequent** guest programs, not ‘earn a little when you stay with us once every three years and maybe one day you’ll have enough points’ programs. As far as I can tell, it isn’t even an 18 month stay requirement, but rather a ‘earn or redeem at least 1 point in the past 18 months’ programs.

  4. To add to it, this is a big upgrade for those who rarely stay at Choice, as someone who stays once/year (say, seeing family at Christmas time) and earns 3,000-4,000 points each time will have a continuously growing point collection over the years, vs. having to cash them out within 2.

  5. So does this mean if I currently have points earned in 2015 that should expire in 2017 and I have activity after January 31 2016 and prior to August 2017, these will not expire or this only for points earned starting February 2016?

  6. As I read it, an award stay redemption followed by cancellation and redeposit of the points would qualify as an activity extending the life of your points.

  7. This is an excellent change to the program!

    I agree with others that one would have preferred a longer time within which to have activity than 18 months, but what you have not mentioned, Ric, is that there is an 800 lb. gorilla by which one can continue to have activity in one’s account.

    Although not explicitly mentioned in the terms and conditions set forth above, transfer of points into one’s Choice account should keep the account active.

    Someone mentioned transfers of Amtrak points, but there is a far easier partner to accomplish this — AMEX Membership Rewards.

    Now, one does not lose one’s points at the end of 2 years (prior rule) if you could not use the points transferred into Choice from AMEX as heretofore been the case; it would appear that such a transfer qualifies as point earning activity — consequently, continual replenishment of one’s account every 18 months should suffice to keep it alive in perpetuity.

    Why should a transfer from AMEX MR be considered qualifying activity?

    Because from above —

    A). One is “earning points with one of our partner programs;” and “[a] qualifying activity is completed when points post or are removed from your account.”

    B). When “gifting points” such activity “only counts as a qualifying activity for the member who receives the points, not the member who gifts the points.”

    Inasmuch as the transfer of gifted points counts as activity for the recipient, then it follows that a transfer from AMEX MR as outlined in A does indeed constitute a qualifying activity.

    In summation, prior to the above change, if you transferred AMEX MR into one’s Choice account you had an absolute maximum timeline of 2 years to use or lose those points.

    Now, one can continually replenish a Choice account by staying at a Choice property, using a Choice credit card, or transfer in additional AMEX MR points into one’s Choice account to sustain those points that heretofore may have been in there.

    I certainly welcome a way to lengthen the duration of the lifetime of points already in one’s Choice account, even if one must replenish that account from time to time in 18 month increments!

  8. The above comment should have read:

    “Now, one DOES lose one’s points at the end of 2 years (prior rule) if you could not use the points transferred into Choice from AMEX as heretofore been the case; it would appear that such a transfer qualifies as point earning activity — consequently, continual replenishment of one’s account every 18 months should suffice to keep it alive in perpetuity.”

    The rest is the same….

  9. The obvious solution is to get the fee-free Choice Privileges Visa card from Barclay and periodically put some spend on it. I have this card and like it. It gives 2 points per $ on all spend. Frequently Barclay will run a promotion on spending, too.

  10. Usually your analysis is good but you are off on this one. This is actually an upgrade considering how easy it is to maintain activity in the account under the current rule. This new change will bring parity to expiration of choice points to a lot of other hotels programs.

    To maintain an active status in the Choice Privileges Rewards Program and retain accumulated Choice Privileges points, you must engage in qualifying activity, such as completing a qualified point-eligible stay, earning points, airline miles or Amtrak Guest Rewards points, redeeming Choice Privileges points, earning points from a purchase using your Choice Privileges Visa® card*, earning points with one of our partner programs, purchasing points, and referring a friend**.

  11. This is a significant upgrade provided they do not diminish transfer ratios. As has been noted many places, this is another way to get the SW companion pass especially with the points and cash upgrade from last year. Losing points after 18 months of inactivity does not seem punitive to me as this is a loyalty program not a points transfer program, even though it can be used in that way.

  12. @peter S –
    I have to agree with you. For years my wife and I were pretty regular Choice Privileges members, so redeeming those expiring points wasn’t a problem. I always wished though that we were at least given the option to save them.
    That being said (@Jeff) they have had a knack of boosting point requirements fairly regularly over the years, so maybe not saving them for long periods of time is something to think about as well.

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