I’ve become more and more of a fan of the Choice Hotel points lately. I get great value out of them when my family goes to Scandinavia of course. But this week, I’ve been helping friends book rooms to watch the eclipse, often at 50-75% discounts. And many of those bookings have been with Choice points.
Choice doesn’t have the most glamorous of properties in their portfolio. But when you need a room in Grand Island, Nebraska, or Carbondale, Illinois, you can’t be picky. And since Choice has a fixed price award chart, the cost in points generally doesn’t change, so even if the hotel jacks up their rates in anticipation of selling out, you can still book the room for the normal price in points.
I even picked up a Rodeway Inn in Nashville on Sunday prior to the eclipse for 10,000 points. I told my friend it wouldn’t be fancy, but it’ll get you in position to see the eclipse. Sadly, he decided not to use it.
A lot of folks are shocked that you can outright buy the points to book these incredible bargains. But you can also earn them the old-fashioned way by actually putting your head in a bed. So if I’ve convinced anyone to carry a small balance of Choice points just in case, now is a good time to pad your account balance as they just announced their fall promotion.
Kate Moss sculpture outside the Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret
Choice Hotels fall promotion
Choice calls their fall promotion Stay Twice, Earn a Free Night and it is basically the same one they run a couple times per year. I don’t really like that marketing — it ought to be called Stay Twice, Earn 8,000 points because that’s what it really is.
Whether you choose to book a hotel that costs 8,000 points, or save them for Norway where the Clarion Collections are 16,000 points, is then up to you.
The terms of the promotion are pretty straightforward.
- Stay twice between August 31 and November 11, 2017
- After your second stay, your account will have 8,000 points
- You can do the deal as much as you want
- All Choice brands are included
Choice actually has a funny way of awarding the points from this promotion. On your first stay, the points will post as usual. Then on your second stay, they’ll true up your account such that you end up with 8,000 for the two stays.
It’s a little confusing at first, but works out in the end.
Lounge at the Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret in Oslo
It used to be that you could acquire Choice points at 0.75 cents each, and that’s what I used to value them at. But with that method now dead, I’d actually value them a little higher. I mean, I just bought a bunch earlier this week at 0.77 cents during their 30% discount sale, so I must value them at more than that, right?
But whatever, 0.75 cents is probably a good ballpark so let’s use that. That means you’re getting about a $60 return in points after two stays.
That’s certainly not a bad return on a Choice property given that they often cost between $50 and $80 to start with. So if I was deciding between a Choice property and a Wyndham property, I’d probably choose Choice because of this promotion.
On the other hand, it’s not going to be mattress run worthy unless you manage to find a hotel that costs less than $30.
Choice points can be very useful in certain parts of the world. We’ve now stayed at three Clarion Collection hotels in Norway and found them all to be fantastic.
I’ve recently learned that they can also be really useful when eclipse chasing since Choice has plenty of properties that are off-the-beaten path, or smack dab in the middle of the path of totality.
So while this eclipse is about to set sail, there’s always 2024 to get ready for! And the best part is Choice points no longer expire as long as you have some activity in your account every 18 months.
Where do you use Choice points?