Middle Age Miles

Choice Privileges Summer Promo Is Now Open – Earn at Least 8,000 Points for 2 Stays + Discounted Gift Card Redemptions

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Choice Privileges’ summer promotion is underway, for stays from now through August 9. It’s an interesting 2-pronged promotion – one for bonus points each time you complete 2 stays during the promotion period, and a second for discounted gift card redemptions. Let’s take a closer look.

Relevant Links

Register for the Choice Privileges “One Stay. Two Stays. Spend It Your Way” promotion here:

There’s also a good FAQ page for this promotion:

If you’re not yet a member of Choice Privileges, sign up here:

How Choice Advertises This Promotion

Choice advertises this promotion something like this – stay two times and earn a $50 gift card from a participating retailer.

How This Promotion Actually Works

As we noted, the promotion actually consists of two distinct parts:

Part 1 is a Bonus Points Promotion:

  • Stay twice at Choice hotels, with check-in dates between 5/7/2019 and 8/9/2019
  • For starters, you will earn Choice Privileges points as usual on your stays – 10 Choice points per dollar of spend on room rate
  • Then, total up the Choice points on your 2 stays, and:
    • If you have earned less than 3,000 Choice points on your 2 stays, Choice will give you enough bonus points to bring your total for the 2 stays up to 8,000 points; or
    • If you have earned more than 3,000 Choice points on your 2 stays, Choice will give you 5,000 bonus points
  • You can earn these bonus points each time you have 2 qualifying stays during the promo period
    • That is, it’s not a one-and-done
  • The promotion is subject to additional terms and conditions – we’ll look at those in more detail below

Got it? You’ll earn at least 8,000 points after your 2 stays, and more if your “normal” earning on the 2 stays exceeded 3,000 points (that is, if the total room rates for your 2 stays was greater than $300). This part is actually the same promotion that Choice just finished running for Spring 2019.

Part 2 is a Discounted Gift Card Redemption Promotion:

  • Normally, it takes 16,000 Choice Privileges points to redeem for a $50 gift card
  • During this promotion, certain participating retailers have discounted their $50 gift cards to 8,000 Choice Privileges points
    • Note that the cost of the GCs = 0.625 cents per Choice point
    • This is above our typical baseline value of 0.5 cents per Choice point, so it seems to us like a solid redemption opportunity
  • This discount runs from now through 9/30/2019
  • Participating retailers for this promotion are:
    • Physical GCs
      • Amazon
      • Applebee’s
      • Best Buy
      • Chili’s
      • Apple Store/iTunes
      • Kohl’s
      • Lowe’s
    • Digital GCs
      • Amazon
      • Applebee’s
      • Chili’s

Additional Terms & Conditions

There are a few requirements and exclusions for the bonus points part of this promotion:

  • You must register for the promotion before you check out of your first stay
  • You must have your earning preference set to Choice Privilegs points
  • You must book through:
    • ChoiceHotels.com, the Choice Hotels mobile app, or 800-4CHOICE (800-424-6423); or
    • If you’re an Elite Diamond or Elite Platinum member, you can book directly with a hotel; or
    • If you’re a corporate traveler, you can book through your online booking tool, GDS, or with a travel agent
      • But note that reservations booked through Egencia’s Preferred Rate Program do not qualify for promotional bonus points
  • A “stay” is any number of consecutive nights at one hotel regardless of check-ins or check-outs
    • That is, you can’t book a one-night stay on one night and another one-night stay on the next night and have it count as 2 stays for purposes of the promotion
  • The following types of stays are excluded:
    • Stays not booked using one of the methods described above
    • Rooms booked at rates below $40 per night
    • Reward night stays
    • Complimentary rooms
    • Rooms paid for as part of a convention or meeting
    • Rooms booked through a third party online retailer including online travel agencies (OTAs), wholesale packages, and group tours
    • Rooms booked with employee or friends & family discounts
    • Stays at Choice vacation rental property locations
    • Stays in the following countries: Japan, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Guyana and Ecuador

Analysis of the Promotion

First, as a reminder, the Choice family of brands includes:

  • Nicer properties at the top end of the Choice family:
    • Cambria
    • Ascend Collection
  • And other Choice hotel brands:
    • Choice Hotels
    • Clarion
    • Comfort Inn
    • Econo Lodge
    • Mainstay Suites
    • Quality Inn
    • Rodeway Inn
    • Sleep Inn
    • Suburban Extended Stay

This Choice promotion is interesting, but perhaps only modestly exciting to us. We don’t stay in Choice properties very often, and we’re trying to spend nights with Hyatt and Marriott right now in order to meet elite qualifying requirements. But we’ve registered for the promotion anyway, in case we have an opportunity pop up where it could help us. We always recommend registering for all of these hotel promotions, because we certainly don’t want to leave any points on the table!

Quantitatively, the Bonus Points part of this promotion looks like this:

  • If you paid less than $300 total room rate for your 2 stays, you’d earn 8,000 total pints. At our baseline value of 0.5 cents per Choice point, those points are worth about $40
    • But, in this promotion, you’ll be able to get 0.625 cents per point in value by redeeming for a $50 gift card (Amazon gift cards are almost as good as cash to us)
  • If you paid more than $300 total room rate for your 2 stays, you’d earn an extra 5,000 points. That’s an extra $25 in points rebate for the 2 stays (or $12.50 per stay).
    • Let’s assume that you paid $350 total. Your regular points earning would be 3,500 points ($17.50), and your promotional points earning would be 5,000 points ($25). Total points return would be $42.50, which is a points rebate of about 12.1% on your room rate (plus any elite bonus). That’s actually not all that exciting in terms of hotel promotions. We regularly see hotel promotions where points rebates run in the 15-25% range (although these days, that’s often only for the second and subsequent stays during the promotional period).

One other thing we wondered about this promotion was whether you could simply redeem your existing Choice points for gift cards at the promotional 8,000-points-for-a-$50-GC rate. We clicked through to make a points redemption after registering for the promotion, but as best we could tell, a $50 Amazon GC still costs 16,000 Choice points. Perhaps there’s a trigger in the system that only opens up redemptions for GCs at the promotional rate after you’ve made 2 qualifying stays during the promotional period.

Stacking Opportunities

Keep in mind that you can go through a shopping portal to earn extra points, miles or cash back for your stays at Choice properties. These stays will qualify for this promotion because ultimately you’re booking direct through Choice. It hasn’t been unusual of late for Ebates and Top Cashback to have days where you can earn 10% cash back on Choice reservations (or 10x Membership Rewards (MR) points, if you have a MR-earning account with Ebates).

Occasionally we’ve seen Amex Offers for certain Choice-family hotels. We’re not aware of any currently active Offers, but we might see some during the promotional period.

And of course, always be sure to pay with a card that maximizes your points-earning for hotels:

  • If you happen to have the Choice Privileges credit card, that’s the best option as it earns 15x at Choice hotels (points rebate of 7.5%) [UPDATE (5/9/19, 2:00 pm Central time): Upon further research, the Choice Privileges card only earns 5x at Choice hotels, despite advertising that you earn 15x. They are counting the 10x regular Choice Privileges points-earning to get to 15x. You actually earn only 5x on the card itself (points rebate of 2.5%). The “15x advertising” is at least a bit deceptive, if you ask us. In any event, you’re better off to use one of the other cards we mention immediately below.]
  • Otherwise, a card that earns points for general travel/hotel spend would work well, such as:
    • Chase Sapphire Reserve, for 3x Ultimate Rewards points (4.5%)
    • US Bank Altitude Reserve, for 3x USB points (4.5%)
    • Citi Premier, for 3x ThankYou points (3.75%)

What do you think of the new Choice Privileges Summer 2019 promotion? Are there opportunities here that we didn’t see? Will you be taking advantage of it? Please let us know in the Comments!

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