In September 2014, I spent 13 nights in Norway staying at 5 different Nordic Choice Hotels in Oslo, Larvik, and Bergen. I also made site visits to several other Nordic Choice Hotels in Oslo and Sandefjord. I had purchased 216,000 Choice Privileges points that year through Daily Getaways for about $900. The rooms I stayed in, including several suites, had lowest room rates totaling over $5,000 USD for my two weeks in Norway. At the time Norway was ranked the most expensive tourist destination worldwide.
In April 2018 I was able to buy 233,000 Choice Privileges points through Daily Getaways for $1,123, about $5 per 1,000 points. Choice Privileges points potentially have extraordinarily high value at many hotels in Norway and Sweden, two countries where there are over 170 Nordic Choice hotels operating through Nordic Choice Hotels, an affiliate chain to Choice Hotels.
Nordic Choice Hotels
Nordic Choice Hotels has its own separate hotel loyalty program, Nordic Choice Club. Choice Privileges members can redeem points for Nordic Choice Hotels reward nights, but to earn points for paid nights at Nordic Choice Hotels requires Nordic Choice Club membership. Choice Privileges members do not earn Choice Privileges points on paid stays at Nordic Choice Hotels in Denmark, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden.
I belong to Nordic Choice Club too and finally earned enough points to make my first hotel reward redemption with 10,000 points for a summer 2018 reward night.
Cheap one way flights to Copenhagen and Stockholm on Norwegian, Wow Air and major alliance airlines from the San Francisco Bay Area mean I regularly find myself transiting through a Scandinavian city each year over the past few years. While most expenses in Scandinavia are comparatively high compared to USA prices, airfare and Choice Privileges hotel nights are the two real bargains for a budget traveler.
Today I looked at some hotel options in Sweden for traveling somewhere else in Sweden besides Stockholm, Uppsala and Malmo, the main cities in Sweden I have stayed over the past four years in either a Nordic Choice Hotel or a Radisson Blu hotel.
Malmo, Sweden is where I stay the night when passing through Copenhagen Airport CPH and I don’t want to pay the much higher rates for a Copenhagen hotel. Nightly room rates in Copenhagen under $200 can be hard to find in summer.
The 24-minute train ride From Copenhagen Airport, across the Oresund Bridge separating Copenhagen, Denmark from Malmo, Sweden is about $13 USD and gives the option to book Clarion Collection Hotel Temperance for 8,000 Choice Privileges points per night.
Two Nordic Choice Hotels in Copenhagen and two at Copenhagen Airport are either 16,000 points or 20,000 points. Ascend Collection Skt. Petri is my personal favorite choice. Clarion Copenhagen Airport, formerly Hilton CPH prior to 2018, is also 20,000 points.
Note: Hotel links go to Nordic Choice Hotels property sites. There is better hotel information provided by Nordic Choice Hotels. It is necessary to go through ChoiceHotels.com when booking reward nights using Choice Privileges points.
Most Nordic Choice Hotels require fewer Choice Privileges points than Nordic Choice Club points for reward nights, but there are some hotels with better Nordic Choice Club rates. The hotel I booked for an upcoming trip with 10K Nordic Choice Club points is priced 16,000 points through Choice Privileges.
In addition to 8,000 Choice Privileges points buying a $150 room night in Malmo, a feature of Nordic Choice Hotels in the Clarion Collection brand is the added benefit of both complimentary breakfast buffet and a light dinner meal buffet.
Note: the hotel brand must be Clarion Collection to include dinner buffet. This benefit is not offered at Nordic Choice Hotels branded only as Clarion Hotels, like Clarion Copenhagen Airport.
Many of the Clarion Collection Hotels in Nordic Choice Hotels changed brands to Ascend Collection and stopped complimentary dinner since I first started traveling to Scandinavian Nordic Choice Hotels in 2014.
Two meals and a room for 8,000 Choice Privileges points makes Sweden much more affordable for a budget tourist. In Sweden, I plan on $30 per day for grocery store food and $20 per person for an inexpensive restaurant meal with no drink. A lunch special for $12 to $15 is a good find.
One aspect of Sweden that has fascinated me since my first visit in January 1993 is the availability of high quality produce year-round in street markets.
North from Malmo
Here are some Nordic Choice Clarion Collection hotels offering great value when traveling 272 km/169 miles between Malmo and Gothenburg, Sweden, the third and second largest cities in Sweden.
Helsingborg, Sweden is a scenic coastal region at the point where the Oresund Strait is its narrowest, only two miles separating the coast of Denmark from Sweden. Denmark built fortresses on both sides of the strait to control the passage. Over 400 years until the mid-19th century, Denmark’s wealth came from taxing trade ships as they passed through the Oresund Strait.
Comfort Hotel Helsingborg Superior Room is available May 21 for 8,000 points when room rate is $159.
Standard Two Single Beds or Standard Double at Clarion Grand Hotel Helsingborg is 10,000 points for a $175 room rate this same night. Note this hotel is not a Clarion Collection, so no dinner meal included.
When my wife and I are traveling together in Europe, we frequently book two singles for more bed space, if a double bed is the only other option. We find it hard to transition from a California King bed at home to a double bed in European hotels. King beds in European hotels are frequently two attached single beds. In the UK, beds have a different measurement standard with a UK King bed the size of a U.S. queen.
Clarion Collection Hotel Norre Park in Halmstad is 10,000 points per night. This hotel has a family room for sleeping 5, with two bedrooms, living room and some kitchen facilities commonly available for Choice Privileges reward nights.
Family room Max. 5 persons
Our spacious family rooms (55-75 sqm) are ideal for families or groups of friends requiring extra space. These rooms have two separate bedrooms, a living room and a little kitchen. Furniture includes two comfortable single beds (90cm), another wider bed (105-120cm), and a sofa bed and armchairs. All the family rooms have two bathrooms. Most of the bathrooms have showers, others have baths. The rooms look out onto the courtyard.
Room rate is $197 for the 2 Singles Standard and $244 for the Efficiency family room on this date.
Clarion Collection Hotel Fregatten in Varberg is in the city center near the coast.
I love this wikipedia passage about Varberg, Sweden.
Varberg is located in a terrain of hills and plains. It is largely without trees and green areas, in its place are bald rocks and sand. The Swedish authoritative author and bishop Esaias Tegnér described it in 1826 as the least appealing place in Sweden, which has later been used in the marketing of Varberg. The sandy beaches are however very popular in the summer. Another main factor in Varberg is its natural surroundings. Just a 20-minute drive inland reveals a totally different landscape. Here you will be among an enchanting landscape: rolling hills with lakes and forests in contrast to the flatter coastal areas.
You can develop your own opinion of Varberg for 10,000 Choice Privileges points per night in a Superior room instead of laying out about $200 USD to rate the appeal factor of this coastal city. Clarion Collection Hotel Fregatten has a TripAdvisor review rating of 4.5 of 5 circles with more than 500 hotel reviews, so looks like most travelers are not put off by the location.
Sweden’s second largest city has 7 Nordic Choice Hotels. The best value hotel appears to be Clarion Collection Hotel Odin at 10,000 points per night. A Superior room with a double bed or two singles is priced at $211 USD on May 24.
There is also a splurge opportunity for The Avalon Hotel, Ascend Collection at 20,000 points per night. There is only standard room availability for most nights I checked. May 24 room rate is $213 per night.
Reviews from past hotel stays
Skt. Petri Copenhagen Choice Hotels Ascend Collection (July 17, 2017).
Skt. Petri Hotel Copenhagen, Nordic Choice Ascend Collection (July 6, 2015).