May202019

All in for 267,000 Choice Privileges points at $1,368

Choice Privileges points are the only hotel points I place sufficient value in to buy and hoard a large stash when the purchase price is right. On May 15, 2019 Daily Getaways sales and Kids First Auction sales allowed me to buy 267,000 points for $1,368. That is an average $5.12 per 1,000 points. I am all-in with Choice Privileges points for the next year.

I estimate 267,000 points will potentially buy from 17 to 34 reward nights with posted room rates somewhere in the range of $3,500 to $5,000.

After spending a couple days studying places where there are good value hotels using Choice Privileges points, I have come up with a list of places I have in mind for travel over the next year. The Choice Hotels reservation system computer glitch last week that resulted in hundreds of hotels showing no reward night availability was rectified on Friday.

As soon as the points post my first two reward nights I plan to book from the 267,000 points will cost 40,000 points for $600 in room value.

That is only average value of what I estimate I can get with Choice Privileges reward nights. Most hotels I found with high value reward nights are in the 8,000 to 10,000 points range with room rates in the $200 to $250 range.

The primary impediment for me at the moment are Choice Privileges seasonal reward rates. There are around 20 hotels where I found great value for stays through June 30, but nearly all these hotels rise to higher reward rates for July 1 to September 15. As of this date, there is no way of knowing what hotel reward nights will cost at most hotels around the world on Septmber 16.

Hotels in Scandinavia in the Nordic Choice Hotels chain are properties that do not fluctuate in seasonal prices. My focus has been on finding hotel deals in other places.

When the hotel decides the destination 

Comfort Hotel Gardenia Sorrento Coast in Sorrento, Italy is located on Gulf of Naples on Sorrento Peninsula, the same peninsula as the top tourist draw Amalfi Coast and Positano.

 

Comfort Hotel Gardenia – Sorrento, Italy at 20,000 points/night

Reasons for the different dates in images above is due to another quirk of Choice Privileges. When there is only one room and I go through the process of getting to the check-out page, usually to see if the hotel adds additional taxes, mostly a USA issue, then that room does not immediately go back into inventory.

I checked the room rate for June 19 at 183.35 EUR and saw a reward night for the same date at 20,000 points. But that reward night on June 19 was temporarily blocked from redemption after I went to the booking page on the paid night to get the actual total price seen in the image. Vice versa for the reward night on June 25. No room availability at hotel showed after I dropped the reward night booking.

Bottom line is both nights at Comfort Hotel Gardenia Sorrento Coast had reward night availability, but I temporarily canceled out the inventory by going through the process of making a reservation, then stopping before actually booking a room night.

Since I have plenty of Choice Privileges points to burn, I am looking for places I can visit and stay in a hotel for points at $40 to $50 per night, which is the price I paid last week for 8,000 or 10,000 points. There are many hotels I found with seasonal rates through June 30 at these price levels.

Unfortunately my plans are set for summer travel and Choice Privileges only plays into that plan for about 6 nights. Seeing where I could book great deals using Choice Privileges points in June makes me want to change my summer travel plans, but that won’t happen. At this time I can only hope many of these hotels I found with reward nights at 8,000 and 10,000 points drop again to low rates after summer or return at these low rates for June 2020 when I can take advantage of the deals next year.

I have done a large amount of research on potential destinations where I can get a great Choice Hotel deal reward stay. Since I don’t know what rates these hotels will have on September 16, 2019 when I might actually travel to one of these destinations, I can only speculate where low priced reward nights at Choice Hotels will be in late September and October based on where low priced hotels are for the month of June. Nearly all the great reward stay deals I found for June are hotels that rise to much higher reward rates for July 1-Sep 15. More to the point for me is my summer travel plans are already set and I doubt I will manage a Choice hotels trip before September 16. I expect the Sep 16 reward rates to be posted sometime in the next 2 to 4 weeks during the month of June. That will allow a couple months to put together an autumn travel plan.

For example, Belfast, Northern Ireland has the Ascend Collection Ten Square Hotel in the center of the city across from Belfast City Hall. Reward rates are 8,000 points per night through June 30 for a King Bed, Executive Room priced at £190 / $242 USD per night. Reward rates are 20,000 points per night for July 1-Sep 15.

Ten Square Hotel ranks #24 of 50 hotels in Belfast.

TripAdvisor Ten Square Hotel – Belfast, Northern Ireland

I was questioned many times on why I go to a place simply for a good hotel deal, especially when taking advantage of IHG PointBreaks in the years when those were all 5,000 points per night. PointBreaks took me to places I had not considered visiting prior to picking the destination due to a PointsBreak deal, like Brno, Czech Republic; Clermont-Ferrand, France and Vilnius, Lithuania.

Brno and Vilnius are places I enjoyed and returned to again for more cheap nights. Clermont-Ferrand was an enjoyable place deep in France where I had a fun time for several days immersing myself in French culture, but the relatively remote location has kept me from getting back to that part of France.

Oh the Places I Might Go

Over the course of this week I will map out some destinations where I see great Choice Hotels reward night stay potential for my travels and possibly give you ideas for your own travels. My destinations generally fall into three regions with a selection of cities in the USA, a couple of Canada road trips for Ontario and Quebec and especially some opportunities for cheap hotels in the Maritime Provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and even remote St. John’s, Newfoundland.

In Europe I found good potential for hotel deals in Belfast, Northern Ireland; Galway, Ireland; Salzburg, Austria; Sorrento, Italy; Lecco, Italy; French Riviera, Atlantic Coast, France and some river routes in Germany.

Preferred Hotels & Resorts as a redemption partner of Choice Privileges adds even more higher end opportunities with a selection of hotels priced at 25,000 points per night.. These hotels open up destinations like Lviv, Ukraine, Malta, Spain, and Vilnius, Lithuania with even more far flung properties in Hong Kong, India, Madagascar and South Africa at the equivalent of $128 per night in Choice Privileges points. Unfortunately, these hotels require phone reservations and availability is not shown online at most hotels.

I even found a couple of hotels in my area where Choice Privileges points brings a $250 per night hotel room down to $101 using 20,000 Choice Privileges points.

The Oaks, Ascend Collection – Paso Robles, California

Friday July 26 – One Bedroom Suite

$331.70 or 20,000 Choice Privileges points for a suite at The Oaks, Paso Robles. This city is 110 miles south from Monterey and is a major wine producing community with numerous wineries throughout the area.

The Oaks Hotel in Paso Robles is available as a 20,000 points reward night. I can only look at PointsPlusCash reward night availability at the moment since I currently only have 18,000 points in my account. Looking forward to seeing the other 267,000 points from my purchases last week deposited soon. And especially awaiting the release of Sep 16, 2019 reward rates for hotels worldwide so I can develop a travel plan for late September-October to burn some more Choice Privileges points.

 

 

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. I may actually do a “RicStyle” trip this summer: I don’t know exactly where in Europe (or elsewhere) I’m going to go yet, so I might let “good hotel value” be a driving factor.

    Thanks for listing a few of the great values you have found so far. If you are going through the trouble of looking for good value places for the summer, I hope you dont mind posting more of the gems that you find.

  2. I was only able to buy 7 packages this year. One of the 55k packages eluded me. Heartbroken.

    I’ve used these points for college football weekends when room rates are $300-400. Makes a 25,000-point redemption look really good.

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