Nov152016

$888 Choice Privileges points I bought gave $2,500 hotel room value

Choice Privileges points are my favored hotel points currency for the past few years due to high redemption value I find for hotel stays. Some people are gearing up to make a 25-stay run for Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond during the first two months of 2017 before the launch of World of Hyatt.  I just don’t see much value with Hyatt Hotels limited hotels worldwide and high average room rates and reward rates for places I will travel in 2017.

I have hotel points in all the major hotel loyalty programs. In the past month, as I planned some 40 hotel nights in stays for 2016 and 2017, the best hotel stay value I generally found for places I am visiting are through reward nights and paid nights with the lower end hotel chains. My hotel stay strategy has really turned to the least usual suspects with most of my upcoming stays over the next four months primarily with Choice Hotels, Wyndham Rewards, IHG Rewards Club, Best Western Rewards and Club Carlson.

Hilton, Starwood and Hyatt, even when considering elite benefits, did not make my best value cut for 90% of hotel nights I have planned in 2016/2017.

2016 By My Numbers: $888 Choice Privileges points I bought gave $2,500 hotel room value in reward nights

Intuitively I know Choice Privileges provided great value for my hotel travel in 2016. This morning I tracked my hotel spend for Choice Hotels stays through 2016 to objectively calculate the value of Choice Privileges points compared to  room rates for hotels I stayed during 20 nights.

Since March 2016 I purchased 161,365 Choice Privileges points for $888.

I paid an average $5.50 per 1,000 points for 162,000 Choice Privileges points I redeemed to this point for hotel reward nights in 2016.

162,000 Choice Privileges points gave me a room rate redemption value estimated at $2,518 based on the room rates for these hotels at the time I booked my reward nights. I stayed 8 nights in Scandinavian hotels in Denmark, Sweden and Norway and last week I stayed 7 nights in New Zealand at Choice Hotels.

Redemption value for $2,518 in room rates at Choice Hotels purchased with 162,000 Choice Privileges points is $15.54 per 1,000 points.

My redemption value for Choice Privileges points in 2016 is $15.54/1,000 points.

There is a significant mark up in points redemption value compared to the price I paid for Choice Privileges points. My cost averaged $5.50 per 1,000 points. My hotel reward night redemptions averaged $15.50 per 1,000 points.

Every 1,000 Choice Privileges points I redeemed saved $10 on hotel room rate averaged across 162,000 Choice Privileges points purchased and redeemed in 2016. That is a $1,600 discount on Choice Hotels room rates in 2016. The ultimate cost to buy points for reward nights was only 35% of the hotel’s published room rates. Getting a 65% room rate discount is hard to match, even with the best online travel agency deep discount rates.

Choice Privileges counts reward nights for elite qualification. I earned Platinum elite status for 2017 with 20 nights in 2016. Probably the biggest advantage of Platinum elite is a 75 day window for reward night bookings at USA and international hotels. Choice Privileges base members can only book within 30 days prior to hotel arrival.

The Details

I added up all the Choice Privileges points I purchased and room rates I paid to acquire points in 2016. This analysis looks at my Choice Privileges reward nights to determine my redemption value for $888 in hotel spend on points in 2016. My points purchases were from U.S. Travel Association’s Daily Getaways sale in April 2016 when I bought 104,000 Choice Privileges points for $442. In March, I picked up 9,365 points for a 2-night mattress run in Monterey at an Econolodge and Rodeway Inn for $86. I can’t even call Monterey an authentic ‘mattress run’ since I simply walked in the hotel rooms for a few minutes on a couple of weekday afternoons, snapped some room and property photos, sat on the bed to see if it was hard or soft, then drove a couple miles back home. Then, throughout the year I conserved these points by booking Choice Privileges Points Plus Cash rates for many of my stays. The purchase of 48,000 points through Points Plus Cash reward nights is a fixed rate: $7.50 per 1,000 points. Points Plus Cash reward nights cost me an additional $360 in 2016.

Motel reward room nights were a combination of standard rewards and Points Plus Cash reward stays.

Choice Privileges Points Plus Cash Rewards

In 2016 the cost for a Points Plus Cash reward night was reduced from 8,000 to 6,000 points + copay (Fixed rate $7.50 per 1,000 points).

  • 8,000 points standard reward = 6,000 points + $15
  • 10,000 points standard reward = 6,000 points + $30
  • 12,000 points standard reward = 6,000 points + $45
  • 16,000 points standard reward = 6,000 points + $75
  • 20,000 points standard reward = 6,000 points + $105
  • 25,000 points standard reward = 6,000 points + $142.50

Any Choice Hotel with Standard Reward availability has the same rooms available as Points Plus Cash rewards.

I purchased 48,000 points for $360 through Points Plus Cash reward night stays during 2016.

Skt Petri

Skt. Petri Copenhagen, Choice Hotels Ascend Collection

20,000 points per night or $285USD per night.

My 3-night stay at Skt. Petri cost 60,000 points. Skt. Petri is Sankt Petri, named for St. Peter Church across street, oldest building in central Copenhagen.

My average cost to buy Choice Privileges points in 2016 was $5.50 per 1,000 points. Skt. Petri cost $110 per night using points for $285 room night. Copenhagen is crazy expensive for most hotels. July 2017 will be my third July hanging out in Denmark’s party city with the world’s happy people. Choice Privileges points are useful there and all around Scandinavia.

One of my reasons for this article overview of Choice Privileges is in way of support for the three New Zealand Choice Hotels reviews I will write this week for Quality Inn Auckland Parnell, Econolodge Auckland Central and Econolodge Napier. Going to New Zealand and staying at Choice Hotels using Choice Privileges points is a little outside the box for most travelers.

As far as I recall, I never spent the night in an Econolodge before New Zealand. I stayed six nights in Econolodge hotels in New Zealand last week.

Econolodge Napier might be the best Econolodge in the world…or at least probably the only Econolodge worldwide with its own operating brewpub in the hotel restaurant.

Napier Brewpub

Reward redemption value in New Zealand was not in the same league as huge discounts on many of the Scandinavian hotels I stayed in 2016, but there was good value to be found. I paid 52,000 points for six Choice Privileges reward nights in New Zealand. My average cost was $50 per night for six nights in New Zealand on reward stays for hotels with $111 average nightly rates. I’ll link my New Zealand Choice Hotels reviews to this post.

Loyalty Traveler related articles for 2016 Choice Hotels stays:

How two $36 EconoLodge nights get me to 20,000 Choice Privileges points (March 7, 2016).

Only 104,000 Choice Privileges points from Daily Getaways this year (April 5, 2016).

Review Quality Airport Hotel Stockholm Arlanda 10,000 points Choice Privileges reward night (April 21, 2016).

Stockholm Clarion Hotel Sign great deal on points, convenient airport train access (July 13, 2016).

Hotel Review Clarion Hotel Energy Stavanger, Norway (Aug 19, 2016).

Skt. Petri Hotel Copenhagen, Nordic Choice Ascend Collection (July 6, 2015).

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. Hi, where were you showing such expensive for hotel prices for Copenhagen? I’m showing a number of very good, centrally located ones for next July for $125-150 per night

    The chains are always going to be overpriced, so your cost of $110 per night probably saved you $20-30. But then factor in the depreciation risk of holding points and that you are out the $ for almost a year….

  2. I need to work in three non-reimbursed nights before the end of the year to get Choice Diamond. Do you think it’s worth it?

  3. How do you find the Points & Cash nights option? I’ve got over 20 nights this year with Choice and havent seem them.

  4. MarkM – When I choose the rate of Choice Reward nights I see the cash and points for the search I just did. I did a test and saw that if you are not signed in it shows the points only (not cash and points)..

    Are you signed in?

  5. @Cogswell – Best deal I see today for a comparable 4-star hotel on dates I will be in central Copenhagen is $169.

    There has really been no depreciation in Choice Privileges points over past three years. if anything, they have become more valuable for my hotel stays. Even if I only save $20 per night, that is $400 saved over the course of 20 nights.

    I can book a flexible cancellation hotel now for Copenhagen and keep my eyes open for good deals between now and next July.

    Prices are relatively low for Copenhagen now, but this past year I did not even know I would be in Copenhagen in July 2016 until I planned my trip in May 2016. At that time there were some hotel rooms in Copenhagen for about $110, but not centrally located like Skt. Petri.

  6. @Carl P. – Depends on your stay pattern if it is worth it for you. Room upgrades on 40 nights would be a nice benefit and you get an extra 25% points. That is an extra 2,500 points per $1,000 hotel spend so negligible value. You can buy 2,500 points for $17.50 with Points Plus Cash.

    100 days advance booking for reward nights can be a great benefit, but only if you need it and use it to secure rooms.

    Sounds like you travel for business and don’t pay for rooms much. I travel for leisure and mostly stay on points so I get great value from early booking for reward nights.

  7. @Mark M. – you must be signed into account to see Points Plus Cash reward option or to see room category types available for rewards.

    Another one of the big advantages of Choice Privileges is some hotels offer many room category types for same number of points as standard room. I have booked suites at several hotels for the same number of points as the most basic room.

  8. Your experience is similar to mine. I just booked seven nights around Christmas and New Year’s at a Quality Inn in Orlando for 42K points total, purchased recently with one of the 50% bonus promotions for just over $300. When I called to book the hotel (my online account has not worked for months), the reservation specialist told me the going price for the room was $134 per night. Of course, I would have needed to add tax onto that price while reward nights do not incur that cost. I got about $1000 worth of room for just over $300.

    I’ve found similar values throughout the Choice Privileges program. I tend to earn points during the stay two/earn one promotions and spend during the breaks between promotions, such as the Christmas/New Year’s holiday period. I’m very satisfied with the Choice program.

  9. Do you know which portal has the best reward for choice bookings?

    (I really like choice points and i have over 500K of these)

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