Choice is currently running a good promotion for stays at their Cambria Hotels brand, offering at least 20,000 points when staying at Cambria properties twice by September 7, 2020.
When writing about that promotion, I noticed that the description of the promotion from Choice Privileges had some unusual wording (my bolding):
Complete two stays at Cambria hotels before September 7, 2020 and you’ll earn enough points for a future free night at any Cambria location when you stay before November 30, 2020.
It seemed strange that they said you’d earn enough points for a free stay before November 30. My initial thought was that perhaps they were issuing temporary bonus points that expired at the beginning of December, but that wasn’t the case. Instead, the terms of the promotion included this clarification:
There are 50+ Cambria Hotels with reward nights available at 20,000 points or less until 11/30 to allow for a free night redemption at all Cambria Hotels during this period. Point requirements may vary based on time of year starting 12/1.
While that explanation was certainly much better than having the bonus points disappearing into the ether, it still wasn’t good news as it paved the way for a possible devaluation of the Choice Privileges program – at least for the Cambria Hotels brand anyway.
Choice Privileges is a bit of a quirky loyalty program as they only make award nights available a few months in advance. I’ve therefore been keeping an eye on Cambria redemptions since writing about their current promotion and they’ve now extended the booking period for award nights through January 31, 2021.
The first ten or so properties I checked at random made it seem like it was unalloyed good news – the award pricing was either the same as before or free nights got even cheaper. However, I then came across a property which would be charging 25,000 points per night from December 1, so that was an indication that there might be a limited devaluation on the cards.
Sure enough, there are 13 Cambria Hotels properties that will – at least on some nights – be charging 25,000-30,000 points per night starting from December 1, 2020:
- Cambria Hotel Washington, D.C. Convention Center
- Cambria Hotel Ft Lauderdale, Airport South & Cruise Port
- Cambria Hotel Miami Airport – Blue Lagoon
- Cambria Hotel Westfield-Indianapolis
- Cambria Hotel Boston, Downtown-South Boston
- Cambria Hotel Traverse City
- Cambria Hotel Downtown Asheville
- Cambria Hotel New York – Chelsea
- Cambria Hotel New York – Times Square
- Cambria Hotel Philadelphia Downtown Center City
- Cambria Hotel Rapid City Near Mount Rushmore
- Cambria Hotel Richardson – Dallas
- Cambria Hotel Miami Airport – Blue Lagoon
That doesn’t tell the full story though. For example, the Cambria Hotel Traverse City is charging 20,000 points per night for all stays from August 23 through November 30. From December 1 through January 31, the pricing will range from 16,000 points per night to 25,000 points per night. That means that although you’ll have to pay an extra 5,000 points per night on some dates, other dates you’ll have to pay 4,000 fewer points per night.
That kind of change is even more pronounced for the Cambria Hotel Westfield-Indianapolis. From now through November 30, award nights cost 16,000 to 20,000 points per night. From December 1, they’ll cost anything from 12,000 to 25,000 points per night which is a huge range.
My focus was mainly on properties costing more than 20,000 points from December 1, but there were a few other devaluations. For example, award nights at the Cambria Hotel Phoenix Chandler-Fashion Center cost in the range of 16,000 to 20,000 points per night through the end of November, but from December 1 every single night through the end of the schedule (January 31, 2021) will cost 20,000 points.
It’s not all bad news though. While some of these properties are getting more expensive from the beginning of December, a number of them will be decreasing in price. For example, the Cambria Hotel Denver International Airport will go down from 20,000 points per night to 16,000 points, as will the Cambria Hotel St Petersburg-Madeira Beach Marina. Other properties are going from 16,000-20,000 points per night down to 12,000-16,000 points per night.
While we never like to see award nights getting more expensive, this isn’t necessarily a devaluation of the Choice Privileges program. With a number of other properties reducing their redemption rates, it seems to be more of a revaluation than a devaluation. With December 1 to January 31 including some holidays and New Year, it’s perhaps not surprising that some hotels would charge more for award nights seeing as the Choice Privileges program already operates on a somewhat-dynamic basis for its free nights.
Having said that, I’ve not checked award nights for the Choice Privileges program as a whole, so it might be that there are more significant changes at their non-Cambria brands – let us know if you spot any kind of trend like that.