I was surprised to learn of the additional redemption options offered by Choice Privileges program. Typically I view this chain as a lower end solution – good for business stays or in those unusual locations where the more familiar brands aren’t so prevalent. If you look at their family of hotels you see many well known, brands, but what is not so obvious is that Choice Hotels has a relationship with a further 500 high end hotels with what I consider to be reasonable redemption rates.
For some reason they don’t list this option here on the banner, but when you click through for ways to redeem points there is a link to Luxury Hotels and Resorts that opens up the Preferred Hotel Group search engine, resulting in a list of hotels that can be redeemed for 30,000-60,000 per night using your Choice Privilege Points.
Since Hotel Devaluations, especially with the Hilton Honors Program now ramping up to 95,000 per night for their top hotels. have occurred I find that 30,000-60,000 is not a bad rate at all, and I particularly like that this Preferred Hotel group Program is with a lot of more independent and boutique luxury hotels which offers a diverse choice of options for the loyalty points traveler.
30,000 Choice Privileges Point Hotels
I was really impressed with the range of locations here, there was a lot of small towns, or countries that other US Chain Hotels do not have wide exposure in, plentiful properties in Mexico, and Places throughout Europe and the rest of the world. I checked several and found many of the 30,000 hotel level to be available for purchase for about $120 per night, so not amazing value, but if you do have the points not bad. One that stood out was The Peabody in Memphis which was available for 30,000 Choice points or $239 per night.
40,000 Choice Privileges Point Hotels
Yet again, an example of how these Preferred Hotel options plug gaps in our Loyalty Program locations – in a similar way to the the 30,000 tier there were a number that I thought weren’t great value, but there are gems out there, one of note was the Wort Hotel at Jackson Hole which is going for $399 per night on Hotels.com There were also several options for Tokyo, where I visit frequently such as the Keio Plaza Hotel ($240-$400 per night) and the Prince Park Tower ($160-$200 per night) and again, many more in Mexico where I am always looking for options near Playa Del Carmen. Really what struck me was the diversity of location – there are hotels offered in Madagascar and Mongolia at the 40,000 level!
50,000 Choice Privileges Point Hotels
At 50,000 per night new locations opened up, in Hawaii I liked that there was 3 Islands available, as most hotel chains are limited to the big island only, here we have Hana, Honolulu and Maui Wailea. On the East Coast there we lots of interesting options up the coast of Maine. There were 4 options in NYC, including the Helmsey Park Lane Hotel on Central Park South ($280-$400 per night) I also liked the Hermitage Hotel in Nashville, and The New Otani in Tokyo which are at similar price points depending on season. The diversity continued, with offerings as wide as Nicaragua and Iraq!
60,000 Choice Privileges Point Hotels
These are the top tier properties, and some highlights for me included: The Trump Hotels in NY and Toronto – Including Trump International and the SoHo location. A wide range of superb hotels in Italy, one that caught my eye in particular was the beautiful Grand Hotel Convento di Amalfi ($450+ per night)which is built into a monastery in the Amalfi Coast… and yet again some very novel locations for points redeeming, such as Papa New Guinea, Peter Island Tortola (one of my favorite places on earth) and Angola just in case Iraq at 50,000 wasn’t adventurous enough for you… also, whilst not the best value in terms of points/dollar I liked that the Leela Palace in Udaipur was available, it is one of those Bucket List hotels.
Earning Choice Privileges Points
I think in general the above redemption offers work best for someone who has accrued points through staying in the Choice Brand hotels in the US. You earn 10 points per dollar there, an a further 5 per dollar if you have the Choice Privileges Credit Card (which comes with upto 32,000 Points 8,000 on first spend and 24,000 more if you book a choice hotel with it – Link (non affiliate)
Transferring from Amtrak to Choice
- You need to hold the Amtrak Credit Card from Chase.
- You can transfer up to 25K Amtrak to Choice Privileges points per year if you have no status with Amtrak. The rate would be 25K Amtrak = 75K Choice Privileges points
- You can transfer up to 50K Amtrak to Choice Privileges points per year if you have status with Amtrak. The rate would be 50K Amtrak = 150K Choice Privileges points
If you need Amtrak Points you can transfer:
- Chase Ultimate Rewards 1:1 to Amtrak, then Transfer those to Choice= 1 Ultimate Reward= 3 Choice Points
- American Express Membership Rewards 1:1 for Choice Points (not a great option IMO)
- American Express SPG – Amtrak 1:1, then Transfer to Choice= 1SPG = 3 Choice Points (No 25% bonus that you get when transferring SPG – Airlines)
The best option in my opinion is Chase Ultimate Rewards, since they don’t come with the 25% Airline Transfer Bonus that the SPG points have when transferred in blocks of 20K – however it really depends on your current balances.
Overall there is some great value to be found here, but there are a lot of hotels that I think would be cheaper to just purchase outright. However, locations such as the Monastery in the Amalfi Coast seem like a bargain to me: $450 per night for 60,000 Choice Points, or 20,000 Ultimate Rewards is great if you are wiling to pay around $200 for the experience. It does strike me as one of those places where the location and property would be worth the cost of $200 per night. I also like that this program offers options in unusual locations that other Hotel Loyalty programs like Hyatt, Hilton and Starwood’s miss, so it is a great tool to have in the kit.