Editors’ note: We’ve updated this guide with the most recent information.
Choice Privileges is the rewards program for Choice Hotels. And you’ll soon be able to book even more hotels through the Choice Privileges rewards program, as the Radisson Rewards Americas loyalty program will fold into the Choice Privileges program in the coming months.
We don’t know what changes the integration of Radisson Rewards Americas will bring to the Choice Privileges rewards program. But it’s currently possible to get significant value from Choice Privileges promotions. And it’s relatively easy to find good value award night redemptions using Choice points.
Today, I’ll guide you through what you need to know about the current Choice Privileges rewards program so you can decide whether Choice Hotels membership is right for you. As we write for a mostly U.S.-based audience, I’ll discuss the Choice Privileges program as it applies to U.S. residents.
Choice Privileges offers four status tiers. You’ll become a Member once you sign-up for a free Choice Hotels membership. Beyond that, there are three Choice Privileges elite status tiers: Gold, Platinum and Diamond.
Choice Privileges Member
When you sign up for a Choice Privileges membership, you’ll automatically get Member status, which provides the following benefits:
- Access to the exclusive Member rate.
- Receive Your Extras on stays that include a Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday night. Your Extras include bonus points, airline miles or a choice of gift cards.
On top of these benefits, Choice Privileges Members earn 10 points per dollar spent at most Choice hotels.
Choice Privileges Gold
You’ll earn Choice Privileges Gold status after completing 10 qualifying nights in a calendar year. Only reward nights and nights that earn points count toward elite status, and some stays at extended-stay brands earn fewer qualifying nights.
On top of the benefits available to Choice Privileges Members, Gold members also get the following perks:
- 10% bonus points.
- Up to nine elite rollover nights per calendar year.
- Welcome gift at participating hotels in the U.S. and Canada.
- Early check-in and late check-out, when available, at participating hotels.
- Elite reserved parking, when available, at participating hotels.
- Elite customer hotline.
Due to the 10% bonus, Choice Privileges Gold members earn 11 points per dollar spent at most properties.
Choice Privileges® Visa Signature® Card holders currently get Choice Privileges Gold status as a card benefit. However, once the new Choice Privileges® Mastercard® launches later this year, cardholders will get 10 elite night credits each year (which will provide you automatic Gold status and could help you earn higher tiers of Choice Privileges elite status).
The information for the Choice Privileges Visa and Choice Privileges Mastercard has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Choice Privileges Platinum
You’ll earn Choice Privileges Platinum status after 20 qualifying nights in a calendar year. On top of the benefits available to Choice Privileges Gold members, Platinum members also get the following perks:
- 25% bonus points.
- Up to 19 elite rollover nights per calendar year.
- Ability to enroll in Avis Preferred Plus.
Due to the 25% bonus, Choice Privileges Platinum members earn 12.5 points per dollar spent at most participating properties.
Choice Privileges Diamond
You’ll earn Choice Privileges Diamond status after 40 qualifying nights in a calendar year. On top of the benefits available to Choice Privileges Platinum members, Diamond members also get the following perks:
- 50% bonus points.
- Up to 39 elite rollover nights per calendar year.
With the 50% point bonus, Choice Privileges Diamond members earn 15 points per dollar spent at most participating properties.
Related: Is hotel elite status worth it anymore?
How to earn Choice points
There are many ways to earn Choice Privileges points. Here’s a quick overview of popular ways to earn Choice Privileges points.
One benefit of Choice Privileges membership is that you’ll earn 10 points per dollar on your room rate at most participating Choice hotels. Elite members earn 10% to 50% bonus points based on their status tier.
However, taxes, restaurant or other incidental charges usually won’t earn points. You also won’t earn points at WoodSpring Suites properties or in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden. And stays of seven nights or longer at MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay Hotel and Everhome Suites earn 5 points per dollar spent up to 30 nights (subsequent nights won’t earn any points).
You usually won’t earn Choice Privileges points unless you book directly with Choice Hotels or one of its properties. Specifically, the Choice Privileges rules and regulations state that you can only earn points on stays booked through:
- The toll-free express reservation line.
- The Choice Hotels website or mobile app.
- Directly with the hotel (except for Ascend Hotel Collection all-inclusive resorts and casino locations).
Most stays booked through these methods are eligible to earn Choice Privileges points. However, the following types of stays aren’t eligible:
- Rooms using an ineligible rate plan.
- Room rates below $40 per night.
- Certain hotel-initiated promotions.
- Reward night stays and Points Plus Cash reservations.
- Complimentary rooms and rooms paid for as part of a convention or meeting.
- Rooms booked through a travel agent or third-party online retailer, including online travel agencies, wholesale packages and group tours.
- Stays booked using the employee discount or the friends, family and associate discount.
You can earn extra points during stays through the Choice Privileges Your Extras program and Choice Privileges promotions.
Credit card spending
If you frequently stay at Choice Hotels properties, you may want to get a cobranded Choice Privileges credit card. Luckily, Wells Fargo is launching a new Choice Privileges Mastercard this spring that will earn Choice points as follows:
- 5 points per dollar on qualifying stays at participating Choice hotels (including non-Choice branded hotels you book through Choice’s website, app or service center) and when you buy Choice points.
- 3 points per dollar on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, home improvement stores and phone plans.
- 1 point per dollar on other purchases.
Related: Best hotel credit cards
Transfer points from other programs
You can also earn Choice points by transferring rewards from the following transferrable currencies:
- American Express Membership Rewards points: Transfer at a ratio of 1 Amex point to 1 Choice point.
- Capital One miles: Transfer at a ratio of 1 Capital One mile to 1 Choice point.
- Citi ThankYou Rewards points: Transfer at a ratio of 1 ThankYou point to 2 Choice points.
However, before completing the transfer, you should carefully consider whether Choice Privileges is the best transfer partner for your transferrable rewards.
Buy Choice points
Buying Choice points is another way to boost your Choice Privileges balance. However, the cost per point varies depending on how many points you purchase and whether there is a discount offer. Without a discount offer, Choice points typically cost 1.03 cents each when you purchase at least 10,000 points per transaction.
Related: Current buy points and miles promotions
Earn with partners
With a Choice Privileges membership, you can earn Choice points with the following partners:
- Choice Privileges Eat & Earn: Enroll one or more credit or debit cards in Choice Privileges Eat & Earn and then earn Choice points when you pay with an enrolled card at participating restaurants and bars.
- Avis and Budget car rentals: Get up to 35% off and earn up to 1,000 Choice points when you rent with Avis or Budget.
- Choice Privileges Cruise Partners: Earn 5 Choice points per dollar spent when you make a new booking for a qualifying cruise through Choice Privileges Cruise Partners.
- Golf by Choice: Earn Choice points when purchasing tee times, golf equipment and apparel through the Golf by Choice program. Gold members earn 10% more points, Platinum members earn 15% more points and Diamond members earn 20% more points.
- eRewards: Earn Choice points by taking surveys.
Refer a friend
You can earn 500 Choice Privileges points when you refer a friend to the Choice Privileges program. Specifically, you and your friend will each earn 500 points after they join the program and complete their first points-eligible stay. There’s no cap on the number of friends you can refer.
Related: How to refer friends and earn points, miles or cash credits
Through the Planner Rewards program, you can earn Choice Privileges points when you host events at participating Cambria Hotels. To qualify, your event must include at least 10 guest rooms on a single night.
You’ll earn 3 points per dollar on eligible charges, including hotel rooms, food, beverage, meeting rooms and equipment. However, you won’t earn points on taxes, fees, incidental charges and gratuities. To ensure you earn points as a meeting planner, it’s best to get a written meeting contract with the hotel that specifies that you’ll earn points through the Planner Rewards program.
How to redeem Choice points
Now that you know how to earn Choice Privileges points, let’s consider the different ways you can redeem Choice points. You’ll usually get the most value when you redeem Choice points for hotel stays, but we’ll also discuss other options.
Redeem for a free night
Choice Hotels properties aren’t aligned into categories. And there’s no set award chart. But you can find the current and upcoming redemption rates on each property’s webpage.
Generally, a Choice Privileges reward night will cost 6,000 to 35,000 points. Based on TPG’s valuations, 6,000 points are worth $36 and 35,000 points are worth $210.
However, the window for booking reward nights is relatively short. Specifically, you can only reserve a room using points 100 days before planned arrival.
And, since you can book premium rooms at some properties using the same number of points as standard rooms, you’ll want to snag these soon after the booking window opens.
You can also redeem Choice points for stays at participating Preferred Hotels and Resorts worldwide. Award nights at Preferred Hotels and Resorts properties cost between 25,000 and 55,000 points per night. You can check availability online, but you must call to book.
Related: 8 mistakes to avoid when redeeming hotel points
Redeem using Points Plus Cash
Booking a Points Plus Cash rate may seem appealing if you want to conserve points. But you won’t earn points on these bookings.
To see if you can book a particular property using Points Plus Cash, search for a reward night and see if a Points Plus Cash rate is below the reward night option.
You’re effectively purchasing points if you book using the Points Plus Cash option. In the case shown above, you could book a refundable rate with free cancellation until shortly before your stay for $461, 30,000 points or 6,000 points plus $204.
In this example, you’d buy 24,000 points for $204 with the Point Plus Cash option — effectively purchasing Choice points for 0.85 cents per point (higher than TPG’s valuation of 0.6 cents per Choice point). But, if you redeemed 30,000 points for the $461 night, you’d get a redemption rate of 1.54 cents per point — so this might be a good time to buy Choice points for your stay.
If you cancel a Points Plus Cash booking, you’ll be refunded entirely in points. So, you can essentially use Points Plus Cash bookings to purchase Choice points. However, you can’t purchase more than 250,000 points in a calendar year through Points Plus Cash bookings.
Redeem for college sports experiences
You can redeem Choice points for college sports experiences. The options change frequently, but you can see what’s currently available on the Choice Hotels website.
Buy a gift card
You can redeem your Choice Privileges points for physical gift cards, although you can only make one redemption every 48 hours.
For most types of gift cards, there are $25, $50 and $100 options, with the $100 option costing double the $50 option and four times the $25 option.
Most $25 gift cards cost 8,000 points, so you’ll only get a value of 0.31 cents per point. As such, we typically recommend other redemption options.
Related: What credit cards should you use to purchase gift cards?
Donate your points
There are currently six options if you want to donate your Choice Privileges points:
- American Red Cross, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Executive Leadership Council, Hotels for Heros and Operation Homefront: $5 donation for 1,000 points, $10 donation for 2,000 points, $15 donation for 3,000 points, $20 donation for 4,000 points and $25 donation for 5,000 points (0.5 cents per point).
- Polaris Project: $10 donation for 1,000 points, $20 donation for 2,000 points, $30 donation for 3,000 points, $40 donation for 4,000 points and $50 donation for 5,000 points (1 cent per point).
As you can see, donating your points provides a decent redemption value. If you choose the Polaris Project, which works to prevent and combat human trafficking, you’ll get a redemption value of 1 cent per point. As with gift cards, you can only make one donation transaction every 48 hours.
Related: The best credit cards to maximize your nonprofit donation
Redeem for magazines
You can redeem your Choice Privileges points for a magazine subscription. Subscriptions range from 300 points for 12 issues of NewsChina to 4,000 points for 12 issues of Fortune.
If you want to read any of the available magazines, this could be a reasonable use of your points.
Exchange your points for miles
You can also exchange your Choice points with the following loyalty programs online through the Choice Privileges Rewards Exchange program:
- Air Canada Aeroplan: Exchange 5,000 Choice points for 1,000 Aeroplan points.
- Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan: Exchange 5,000 Choice points for 1,000 Alaska miles.
- Qantas Frequent Flyer: Exchange 2,000 Choice points for 800 Qantas points.
- Radisson Rewards Americas: Exchange 1,000 Choice points for 2,000 Radisson Rewards Americas points.
- Southwest Rapid Rewards: Exchange 6,000 Choice points for 1,800 Southwest points.
- United MileagePlus: Exchange 5,000 Choice points for 1,000 United miles.
- Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer: Exchange 2,000 Choice points for 800 Velocity points.
Choice Privileges occasionally offers transfer bonuses. For online exchanges, rewards will generally post within 48 hours. But, in some cases, it may take up to seven days.
There are some additional programs to which you can transfer Choice points by calling Choice Privileges Customer Service:
- Aeromexico Club Premier: Exchange 5,000 Choice points for 1,600 Premier points.
- Czech Airlines OK Plus: Exchange 5,000 Choice points for 1,000 OK Plus miles.
- Spirit Airlines Free Spirit: Exchange 5,000 Choice points for 1,000 Spirit points.
However, you may need to wait two to six weeks for the rewards to reach your account.
Redeem for golf gear
You can redeem Choice points for golf equipment and apparel through the Golf by Choice program. For example, you could get a Taylormade Stealth Driver for $580 or 193,330 points (giving you a redemption rate of 0.3 cents per point).
Redeem for a cruise credit
Finally, you can redeem your Choice Privileges points for a cruise credit from Cruises for Choice Privileges (powered by Cruise411).
Specifically, you can redeem 85,000 points for a $250 cruise credit. This provides a redemption value of 0.29 cents per point. Or, you can redeem 160,000 points for a $500 cruise credit, which provides a redemption value of 0.31 cents per point. These redemption rates are well under TPG’s valuation of 0.6 cents.
Related: 15 ways that cruising newbies waste money on their first cruise
Award booking process
To use your Choice Hotels membership and book a reward night stay, go to Choice’s website and log in to your account. Then, enter your destination, dates, number of rooms and number of guests. Finally, before clicking “Find hotels,” click on the drop-down for “Special rate” and select “Use Choice Privileges points instead.”
Once you click “Find hotels,” you’ll get a results list. You can filter these results by amenities, distance from your destination, brands and price range. You can also sort the results by relevance, price, distance, rating or discount.
To compare hotel locations on a map, you can click “Map” to see hotel information and a map on a split screen.
Click “See availability” for a property to see the available room types. Generally, you’ll see a selection of room types.
If you click “Rates & details,” you’ll be taken to a page where you can compare the award rate with paid rates. In this case, you’d get a redemption rate of 2.67 cents per point (much higher than TPG’s valuations).
If you click “Book room” next to the award night option, you’ll reach a final page before confirming your booking. This page will provide useful information, including the cancellation policy and any additional fees you must pay on-site. To finalize the booking, click “Make reservation.”
Maximizing Choice Privileges
As you’ll see in this section, there are several ways to maximize the Choice Privileges program.
The Choice Privileges program frequently offers promotions. One recurring promotion allows you to earn at least 8,000 points after every two stays. Based on TPG’s valuations, 8,000 Choice points are worth $48.
This promotion usually requires that you have a nightly rate of at least $40. But you can maximize this promotion if you stay in one-night increments at inexpensive properties with a nightly rate of $40 or more. And this promotion usually doesn’t cap how many times you can earn the bonus. So, promotions like this can be a great way to boost your points balance.
Related: These promotions will make your next hotel stay more rewarding
Sweet spot redemptions
There are plenty of opportunities to get outsized value from Choice Privileges points. For example, in Europe and Japan, you can often get well-located properties for 12,000 points or less per night.
But, Choice points can also provide great value in the United States. For example, some good-value Choice Hotels are near national parks and in large cities. For inspiration, check out the hotels currently featured as Choice Hotels’ Sweet Spot Rewards.
Lowest price guarantee
Like many hotel loyalty programs, Choice Privileges offers a best rate guarantee. Choice’s lowest price guarantee applies when you book directly with Choice and then find a lower publicly available price.
You must complete the claim form within 24 hours of making your booking. And there are several restrictions and exclusions. So, check out the terms and conditions before making a claim to avoid disappointment.
Within 48 hours of your claim, a Choice Hotels representative will contact you. If your claim succeeds, Choice will honor the lower rate for your stay. Plus, if you’re a U.S. or Canadian resident, you’ll receive a $50 reward card after your stay. Or, if you’re an international resident, you’ll receive the first night free.
Get top-tier Choice Diamond status
U.S., Canadian and European Choice Privileges members who have elite status with another hotel loyalty program can get top-tier Diamond status after one qualifying stay at a Cambria Hotel. To request Diamond status, email Status_Match@choicehotels.com with the following information:
- Your full name and Choice Privileges number.
- Proof of elite status with another major hotel loyalty program.
- A copy or screenshot of a folio/receipt from a points-eligible Cambria stay in the last 12 months.
You can expect a response in three to five business days. If your request is approved, you’ll gain Diamond status for the rest of the year if your Cambria stay or your request was between January and June. But you’ll get Diamond status through the end of next year if your Cambria stay and request are both between July and December.
Related: Shortcut elite perks with status matches
Utilize the Your Extras program
Choice Privileges’ Your Extras program provides something extra on select stays. To earn a Your Extras benefit, book a points-eligible stay that includes a Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday night.
You must opt into this program and select which Extra to receive before check-in. However, the types of Your Extras benefits vary depending on location and your residency.
Frequently asked questions
How much are Choice Privileges points worth?
Choice Privileges points are worth 0.6 cents each based on TPG’s valuations. This valuation considers the price at which we would buy Choice Privileges points and the redemption value we can usually get when redeeming them. However, as you can see from the above examples, the exact value can vary depending on the hotel and dates of the stay.
How many Choice Privileges points do you need for a free night?
A Choice Privileges reward night costs between 6,000 to 35,000 points in most parts of the world.
Do Choice Privileges points expire?
Choice Privileges points expire if you don’t earn, redeem or purchase Choice points for 18 consecutive calendar months.
Related: How to keep your points and miles from expiring
What is the best Choice Privileges brand?
Overall, the highest quality Choice Privileges brand is likely Cambria Hotels. Cambria Hotels aim to be modern, approachable and stylish while fitting the needs of business travelers and the wants of leisure travelers. However, I’ve also found some Ascend Hotel Collection properties that are high quality.
The Choice Privileges program provides a solid value proposition. Of course, the Choice Privileges program may change once Radisson Rewards Americas is integrated.
But for now, there are often lucrative Choice Privileges promotions. And there are also plentiful opportunities at both the low and high end of the reward night spectrum where you can get ample value.
However, the Choice Privileges elite status levels provide significantly fewer benefits than other hotel loyalty programs. So, if you’re looking for valuable elite benefits, you may want to consider a different program.