Jul102017

Diners Club transfers to Best Western and Choice points

Diners Club has been my primary charge card for travel nearly 20 years. I keep this card as my primary travel card due to it being a charge card and not a credit card. I have to pay the balance in full every month, so I keep my daily purchases in check when traveling.

Plus, it gets me into most lounges where Priority Pass customers have lounge access.

The biggest travel value I got from Diners Club was in 2003 when British Airways ran its annual (at the time) double miles for Diners Club transfers. That promotion allowed me to exchange Diners Club points into British Airways miles to build my Executive Club account to 300,000 miles. I redeemed those miles for two First Class tickets flying British Airways Denver – London (stopover) – Singapore – Melbourne/Sydney – Singapore – London (stopover) – Denver for a 31 day trip and more than 30,000 miles of First Class flights.

I have not transferred any Diners Club points to other reward programs in the past three years since getting my SAS Scandinavian Airlines boosted to 10,000 points for a round trip domestic award ticket between Bergen, Norway and Narvik/Harstad Evenes EVE airport north of the Arctic Circle in Norway. That trip in September 2015 provided three nights at Hotel Articus Harstad, Clarion Collection.

Clarion Collection Hotel Arcticus Harstad, Norway

68.8° N in Harstad, Norway

(Funny to see me write in 68.8 N that I doubt I would return to Brno, Czechia, since there are so many places to travel. I am taking my wife to Brno in a couple of weeks.)

Best Western and Choice Privileges points

I blew it this year by not buying Best Western Rewards points during U.S. Travel Association’s Daily Getaways. 50,000 points were available for purchase for $275.

My issue is I sat on Best Western Rewards points for several years without finding much use for them. Last Christmas we found great redemption value at Best Western Premier Q Hotel Krakow.

Best Western Premier Q Hotel Krakow, down by the River Vistula

Then, in June, I found more great value hotels for Best Western Rewards points in Prague and Krakow, Poland.

Hotel Kinsky Garden, Prague, Czechia

554.40 EUR ($631.65) July 21-25

BW Hotel Kinsky Garden

Or 48,000 Best Western Rewards points at 12K per night.

Paying $275 for 50,000 BWR points three months ago would have been the smart financial move.

Daily Getaways Best Western points are good deal if you find right location (April 17, 2017).

Diners Club to the rescue for hotel points

Diners Club Rewards points have some unique loyalty program partners like SAS Eurobonus, Best Western Rewards and Choice Privileges.

  • 1,250 Diners Club Rewards points = 3,300 BWR points
  • 50,000 DC points = 132,000 BWR points

132,000 Best Western Rewards points is equivalent to $1,320+ in hotel reward value at some Best Western hotels like the above Best Western Prague Kinsky Garden Hotel at 12,000 points per night in lieu of paying $158 USD per night.

My transfer of Diners Club Rewards points to Best Western Rewards points went through in 4.5 days. I initiated the transfer on Tuesday morning and my Best Western Rewards points posted by Saturday evening.

As it turns out, I won’t be staying at Best Western in Prague. I changed my hotel plans. Still, I found other great redemption values for Best Western Rewards points for next winter’s travels.

Best Western recently acquired Sweden Hotels, a Swedish hotel chain. Best Western will have 135 hotels in Sweden, making Best Western the largest chain hotel in the country. The new hotels are not yet integrated into the Best Western Rewards system, but I’ll be very interested to analyze points redemption value when this process completes.

Best Western grows to 135 hotels in Sweden

I also have my eye on another Best Western hotel in Poland where a suite next winter goes for 8,000 points per night for a $121 per night room. That is $15 per 1,000 points redemption value. Best Western Rewards points can be purchased for $10 per 1,000 points.

One of the advantages of Best Western Rewards, Choice Privileges and Wyndham Rewards are the availability of different room types, including suites for standard reward points at some hotels.

There is one out of the way remote hotel in Europe where I want to book the $400+ per night Presidential Suite, a room available for points at under $100 per night, even if you had to buy points.

Not being coy, but I won’t reveal the Presidential Suite hotel name. This deal has been around at least four months and I doubt it would last another week if I revealed it to the blogosphere.

Suffice to say that there are several hotels around Europe in Best Western, Choice and Wyndham with suites regularly available for points.

You just need to search hotels to find high value redemptions.

Diners Club and Choice Privileges

  • 1,250 DC points = 2,400 Choice points
  • 50,000 DC points = 96,000 Choice Privileges points

I also blew it in May when I dropped out of bidding for the FlyerTalk KidsFirst auction last month for 45,000 Choice Privileges points. I went up to about $220 to $230 for two of the three weeks of auctions. The winning bids were around $230-$240.

KidsFirst Auction

96,000 Choice Privileges points will buy between 6 and 12 reward nights in Europe.

I have my eye on Porto, Portugal, where there are two Choice hotels at 8,000 points per night. But there are many low cost hotel options in Porto.

Scandinavia is where there is serious redemption value and travel savings for Choice Privileges points.

Norway: $275 per night SUITE, NO SMOKING

1 Bedroom Suite, Free Full Breakfast, Living Room, Sofabed-2Person, Balcony

Choice $275 suite Norway

Or 16,000 Choice Privileges points.

Choice 16K Suite norway

Looking at my photos again from Harstad, Norway has me thinking about another Arctic adventure in Norway this autumn, perhaps to Tromso. I am sitting on 10,000 SAS Eurobonus points earned from SAS flights the past three years, sufficient for a domestic round trip award ticket in Sweden or Norway.

Even if I don’t get to the Arctic, Choice Privileges points allow me to transit through Copenhagen and Stockholm airports inexpensively and take advantage of the many low cost transatlantic flight deals between California and these airports.

My go to hotels in Stockholm are Clarion Hotel Sign and Clarion Hotel Stockholm, both at 10,000 points per reward night.

Stockholm, Sweden: Clarion Hotel Stockholm trip report

Stockholm, Sweden: Three Stockholm Hotels at 10,000 Choice Privileges points per night

When in Copenhagen I frequently stay in Malmo, Sweden. Copenhagen is quite expensive for hotels. The train to Malmo from CPH airport takes about 20 minutes and costs around $13 USD one way. Clarion Collection Hotel Temperance Malmo, Sweden food alone worth 8,000 points.

Between Norwegian Airlines low one-way fares and major alliance low fare deals between Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm and San Francisco Bay Area airports, Choice Privileges points are valuable to me. I have averaged 20 nights per year the past few years at Choice Hotels, mostly for stays in Europe.

Diners Club points transfers met my needs for this year. Next year I will be more diligent in topping up my Best Western Rewards account during U.S. Travel Association’s Daily Getaways and buy more Choice Privileges points at every opportunity for discount purchases.

 

 

 

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. Hmm. I’ve been using my DC points for Alaska, but I’d forgotten about this option. Thanks.

  2. Do you know what the August 9, 2017 Club Rewards changes will be. I don’t see anything online or at DC’s site so far, but there’s a notice in my statement.

  3. @askmrlee – No. I have not seen the notice. Makes me think I might clean out my points balance before August 9 to take advantage of more Choice Privileges points, just in case there is a change to that transfer partner.

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