Choice Hotels Elite Welcome Amenity Now Available At All Properties

A couple months ago Choice Hotels announced they would begin offering elite members a welcome amenity upon check-in. They weren’t exactly clear on what that would be, though they did say there would be an option to receive bonus points instead of the small gift.

The new elite benefit was to be introduced in two phases:

  • On June 1, Cambria, Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Sleep Inn, MainStay Suites, Quality Inn, and Clarion brand properties began offering welcome amenities
  • Ascend Hotel Collection, Econo Lodge, Rodeway, and Suburban Extended Stay hotel properties rolled the program out today, August 1

At the time, they didn’t tell us how many bonus points you’d get, and I was cautiously optimistic that it would be on the order of 500. Well, Choice eventually updated their elite benefits page to indicate that Gold and higher member would receive:

  • 250 bonus points at Comfort Suites and Comfort Inn properties
  • 200 bonus points at Clarion, Sleep Inn, Qualityand Mainstay properties

And everyone apparently gets 250 bonus points — or a collectible coaster!! — at Cambria.

That said, I’m still not sure we know how many bonus points we’ll get at the other properties. And they are supposed to begin offering the welcome amenity today!

I can just imagine how that conversation will go at check-in: “Thank-you for your loyalty with Choice Hotels. Would you like a bottle of water or some unknown number of points?”  

I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

How is Choice’s elite recognition working?

I had planed to stay at a Quality Inn back in June while on a road trip where I would have had a chance to try out my Gold status under the new program. But then we decided to push a little farther that day so I ended up cancelling the reservation.

But from the looks of this FlyerTalk thread, the program is off to a bit of a rocky start with most folks reporting that they have not yet received any bonus points. Apparently the terms and conditions state that points may take up to 30 days from the completion of the stay to post, so I guess maybe it just takes some time. Still, that seems odd given that I’ve never really had any trouble with regular Choice points posting quickly.


Clarion Hotel Folketeateret in Oslo, Norway

Bottom line

I’m really glad to see that Choice has enhanced their loyalty program, modest as it may be.

In the current era of consolidation and high occupancy, it seems most chains are going in the opposite direction, so it’s great to see Choice buck that trend. That said, it’s a bit disappointing that they didn’t have a smoother roll-out of the program. It’s hard to fathom why they can’t post the bonus points at the same time as the regular points — that way you’d at least know whether or not you got them or whether you need to follow-up about then.

Then again, at my valuation of Choice points — 7/10 of a cent each — I suppose it would might be hard to justify a call anyway, unless you had a bunch of missing points to clean up all at once.

What has your experience been with the new Choice elite benefit?

Comments

  1. Stayed at an Econolodge a couple of days ago. Was given a bottle of water, cheese crackers, and a rice crispy treat. Wasn’t asked about a points option.

  2. I don’t know any any business traveler, except maybe in the Nordic countries, would stay at a Choice branded hotel. At least around here all the Quality Inn hotels are ancient Holiday Inn properties that refused to do the 2009-ish renovations required to keep the Holiday Inn flag out front.

  3. Choice Hotels about twice a week that give me an option bottle of water and crackers or bonus points. It’s always about the bonus points!

  4. @ FNT .Delta Diamond – Oh please…

    Some of the Choice properties in the U.S. are quite nice, particularly Comfort Suites and Cambria properties. Some Quality Inns are also quite nice and are well reviewed.

    Granted, some of the properties are older and some of the lower tier properties are a little rough around the edges. Yet, I’ve never stayed in a Choice property that wasn’t clean and comfortable.

    Perhaps not status oriented – important to some – but they tend to deliver the basics quite well.

  5. @FNT Delta Diamond no kidding. I view holiday inns as “camping” and thus to be avoided at all costs. A Choice hotel…yeah not a chance in hell

  6. Choice hotels are hit and miss. Some Comfort Inn, Sleep Inn’s and Comfort Suites and even a few Quality inn’s can be great while so many of the older Quality Inn’s just need to be spun off. We don’t have Cambria in this area but they sound nice.

    Choice needs to inspect the older hotels or ones with poor ratings and either have the hotels & rooms brought up to standard or get rid of them.

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