Choice Hotels has launched a new promotion today and it’ll look familiar to anyone who’s paid attention to their promotions over the last few years as it’s identical other than the stay dates.
- Stay twice at Choice Hotels properties and earn 5,000-8,000 bonus points.
- Direct link to registration.
- Registration required at www.choicehotels.com/deals/free-night before the first qualifying check-out.
- The promotion is only available to members of the Choice Privileges Rewards Program who register for this promotion, and then make two separate qualifying stays at participating hotels (WoodSpring Suites hotels and Ascend Hotel Collection all-inclusive resorts, among others, are not participating) with arrival between June 10th, 2020 or later and both stays completed by September 7th, 2020.
- A “stay” is any number of consecutive nights at one hotel regardless of check-ins or check-outs. A “qualifying stay” is a stay that is during this promotion at a participating hotel through a qualifying channel (see Qualifying Channel, below) that is eligible to earn Choice Privileges points.
- Most stays are eligible to earn Choice Privileges points EXCEPT: rooms booked at rates below $40 USD per night, certain hotel initiated promotions, reward night stays, complimentary rooms, 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, group tours, and stays booked using the employee discount or the friends and family discount.
- Stays at vacation rental property locations and Choice Hotels properties in the following countries are excluded from this promotion: Japan, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia.
- You must maintain an address in the U.S. (includes U.S. territories) or Canada to be eligible.
- Registered members will be awarded a minimum of 5,000 to a maximum of 8,000 bonus points after the second qualifying stay. The number of bonus points awarded depends on the number of base points earned from the two separate qualifying stays, with points varying by hotel. The total of base points plus bonus points awarded, however, will be at least 8,000 points, which is the number of points required for a future free night at over 1,000 Choice hotels worldwide.
- Members must book stays via ChoiceHotels.com, the Choice Hotels mobile app, or 800.4CHOICE. Stays directly booked through Book by Google are also eligible, if the member adds his/her Choice Privileges number to the reservation prior to check-in.
- Corporate travelers may book through their online booking tool, GDS, or with a travel agent; however, reservations booked through Egencia’s Preferred Rate Program do not qualify for promotional bonus points.
- Choice Privileges member number must be provided upon check-in.
- To be eligible to earn bonus points, members must set their earning preference to Choice Privileges points in their online account. Any change made to earning preference will remain in effect after the promotion has ended, unless the member changes it.
- Allow 72 hours from check-out for points to post.
- Request for bonus points made by members who did not register for the promotion will only be considered up to 60 days after the promotion ends; request thereafter will be automatically denied.
As with their similar past promotions, Choice is marketing this as earning a free night when staying twice which, to an extent, is correct. However, it doesn’t come in the form of a free night certificate which can be used at any property; instead, you’re awarded bonus points which are enough to redeem for a free night at properties in their two lowest categories when taking into account your base point earnings.
Here’s how it works. Let’s say you book two separate one night stays that cost $75 each before tax. Choice offers 10x points per dollar, so each stay would earn you 750 points for a total of 1,500 points. Choice will add bonus points to that total to ensure you reach the 8,000 point threshold, so in this particular scenario you’d earn 6,500 bonus points.
If your stays are more expensive, the number of bonus points you’ll earn will be lower, although you’ll always receive at least 5,000 bonus points. To give an example of how that works, let’s say you book two separate stays – one which costs $300 and another which costs $425. That’s a total of $725 in spend which means you’d earn 7,250 points as standard. This promotion guarantees that you’ll end up with at least 8,000 points after staying twice, but that the bonus you’ll receive will be at least 5,000 points. In this scenario, you’re only 750 points short of having earned 8,000 points in the first place, so you’d be awarded 5,000 bonus points for a total of 12,250 points.
There are a few important things to note. First, the promotion dates aren’t entirely clear. The terms of the offer state that it’s valid on stays from June 10, but the top of the offer page states that it’s valid on stays starting from June 15. This likely won’t be an issue for most people, but if you’ll be staying before June 15, there’s a chance that it might not count.
A second thing to be aware of is the exclusion for room rates of less than $40. Some Choice properties are extremely cheap, so mattress running with low cost rooms can be tempting, especially if you’re only likely to stay once during the promotion period and so want to trigger the bonus points. The $40 spend requirement means that some of the cheapest rooms won’t be an option.
A third thing to remember is to click through from a shopping portal. Some hotel chains have paused their affiliate programs in recent months due to COVID-19 which means it’s not possible to earn cashback when booking paid stays after clicking through from a portal. Choice Hotels is an exception as they still seem to be available on most – or all – shopping portals. You can check the rates on Cashback Monitor here, but be aware that that list isn’t comprehensive. I noticed that TopCashback wasn’t listed which seemed surprising, so I went to their site directly to search. Sure enough, their listing for Choice Hotels states ‘No Cashback’, but the individual Choice Hotels brands are available for 6% cashback at the time of writing this post.
You can therefore click through to those brands and book your stays which will still trigger the bonus points from this promotion provided you stay twice by September 7.