A few years ago we stayed at a Rodeway Inn in Ocean City, Maryland. It was a nice enough hotel and it was affordable, which was what we were looking for. It wasn’t until later that I learned they were part of Choice Hotels International, the same company that owns Comfort Inn, Sleep Inn, Cambria Suites, EconoLodge, and a few other brands I am less familiar with. I think of them as a budget hotel, which is to say they are clean and affordable hotels without much glitz or glamour.
Choice Privileges is the hotel rewards program of Choice Hotels International. Like other hotel rewards programs, it’s free to join and membership includes a few perks right from the start including express reservations, extended check-out (as late as 2:00), free high speed internet, and a complimentary newspaper.
You will earn 10 points per $1 USD spent at Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, and at a Ascend Collection hotel. You earn 5 points per $1 USD spent at MainStay Suites, Suburban, EconoLodge, and Rodeway Inn.
Your points expire on December 31st, two years after the year in which they were deposited.
You can also buy points if you are short of a reward, at a maximum of 10,000 per year per account. They are posted within 24 hours of purchase and the following cost schedule:
- 1,000-4,000 – $11.50 per thousand points
- 5,000-7,000 – $11.00 per thousand points
- 8,000-10,000 – $10.00 per thousand points
There are three membership tiers – Gold, Platinum, and Diamond.
Gold status is earned after 10 nights of stay per calendar year (reward nights are included). You get a 10% bonus on your point accumulation (so if you were to earn 100 points, you get 110). You’ll receive special Elite member offers and exclusive reservation and customer service phone numbers.
Platinum status is earned after 25 nights of stay per calendar year. You get a 25% bonus on your point accumulation. You get all the other perks of Gold status plus partner offer inserts and luggage tags.
Diamond stats takes 40 nights of stay per calendar year and with it comes a 40% bonus accumulation of points. You get all the perks of Gold and Platinum status plus 24/7 travel concierge service and a complimentary room upgrade, if available.
Redeeming reward nights is very straightforward. You log into your account and simply put in your standard hotel search, except you change the Rate to “Choice Privileges Reward Night.” There is no set rate schedule based on the hotel name but the rooms typically run in the thousands of points (minimum is 6000 points). I did a quick search of hotels in the Baltimore, MD area and here were some of the results:
- Quality Inn Downtown – 16000 points
- Comfort Inn & Suites – 12000
- Clarion Collection a Peabody Court – 20000
- Rodeway Inn Mid Town – 20000
- Quality Inn Harbor South – 8000
- Sleep Inn & Suites Airport – 10000
- Comfort Inn BWI Airport – 12000
In addition to rooms, you can redeem them for a variety of other gift cards, travel rewards (other loyalty programs) and even memberships (Costco), magazines (start at 4,000 points), and charities.
All in all it’s not a bad program. We stayed one night at the Comfort Inn in Arlington, Washington D.C. for around $100 and earned 930 points. At that rate, you get a free room with nine stays (not counting any promotions), which isn’t too bad of a rewards rate.