The problem with running a recurring promotion like Choice Privileges 8,000 points after two stays or Marriott MegaBonus is the flak that arises when the promotion is downgraded. Choice Privileges last promotion from 12/12 to 2/19 offered 3,000 bonus points per 2 stays. Marriott MegaBonus went from two offers with free night certificate after two stays at category 1-5 hotels down to category 1-4 as the standard offer for the current promotion.
2-night stays required at four Choice brands
Trips at Econo Lodge®, Rodeway Inn®, Suburban Extended Stay Hotel®, or MainStay Suites® hotels must be a minimum of two consecutive nights to qualify as an eligible stay. These are the economy and extended stay brands of Choice Hotels.
The other brands in Choice only require a 1-night stay to be eligible for this promotion. Choice Hotels other brands are Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality Inn, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites and the Ascend Collection.
250 Points Elite Bonus
Elite Diamond and Platinum members will receive 250 Choice Privileges bonus points with every qualifying trip if they book on ChoiceHotels.com; these members can also book directly with a hotel but will not earn the 250 bonus points.
How Choice Privileges counts bonus points for this promotion
Choice Privileges offer for 8,000 points is variable bonus points since the bonus is only the points needed to reach 8,000 points after two stays.
For example, spend $100 per night at a Clarion Hotel for two 1-night stays and $200 in hotel spend earns 2,000 base points. The bonus will be 6,000 points to reach 8,000 points. Spend $500 on two 3-night stays at Comfort Inn and earn 5,000 base points. The bonus will be 5,000 points since there is a minimum bonus of 5,000 points after two qualifying stays with this offer.
The bonus points are maximized with minimal spend. Stay twice on 1-night $50 stays at a Quality Inn and earn 1,000 base points and 7,000 bonus points.
Choice Privileges advertises this offer as ‘earn one free night at over 1,500 hotels’. This claim is based on the fact that about 25% of the 6,000+ hotels in the Choice Hotels brands globally are at the 6,000 points or 8,000 points level. In the USA, many of these low tier hotels are at the low end of the economy chain segment and may be located at the low end of the socioeconomic neighborhood of the city where you are staying.
Europe on 8,000 points per night, maybe?
The real value of Choice Privileges points comes with travel to Europe and other places outside the USA where the award rates tend to be far lower for better hotels than in the USA.
In Fall 2013 most Choice brand hotels in Europe, including London and Paris, in Comfort Inn, Quality Inn and Clarion brands were seasonally available for 8,000 points per night. Choice Privileges has not had widespread hotels listed at 8,000 points per night since November. Most of the urban hotels are now 20,000 to 25,000 points per night.
Current Choice Privileges award seasons posted for hotels
- February 1 – April 15, 2014
- April 16 – June 30, 2014
Choice Privileges Reward Night Seasons for Comfort Inn Vauxhall, London
Choice Privileges only allows members to book award reservations for international hotels outside your home region within 60 days of arrival. High elites have a longer booking window up to 100 days. Award rates for hotels have been posted through June 30, 2014. We will need to wait until after April 15 to see what July and August award rates will be.
Scandinavian Value with Choice Privileges points
One of the great values for Choice Privileges are the 150 or so hotels in Scandinavia with award nights mostly at 16,000 to 20,000 points per night. Some of these hotels have $250+ room rates.
Clarion Hotel Royal Christiana Oslo, Norway is available for 16,000 points per night or $276 per night. This is a fine hotel in central Oslo near the train station.
Clarion Hotel Royal Christiana Oslo photo from my March 2013 visit to one of the world’s most expensive cities. $20 for a Big Mac at McDonald’s and $15 for a glass of beer at a restaurant makes a hotel room with a free breakfast a big travel budget savings.
It remains to be seen if 2014 will see Choice Hotels in Europe drop to 8,000 points again for one of the seasons in the second half of 2014. I am sitting on more than 150,000 Choice Privileges points that I hope will take me to some nice hotels at low award rates this year. If not, I know the points will offer value on road trips through the rural western U.S. where many towns offer little loyalty choice besides Choice and Wyndham brand hotels.
Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.
Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.