I wrote this post last year, and publishing it again with updated information. Current Choice packages will go live at 1 PM, May 15th.
I have a love/hate relationship with Choice program. I got some crazy good hotel deals in the past, though to be fair, some properties did smell like dog pee. We’ve stayed in a suite at Quality Inn near Niagara Falls for only $34 per night due to this deal, and in hotel near Clearwater beach that included hot breakfast. Neither was an aspirational redemption, but it provided a place to sleep and a pool to swim in. My kids enjoyed both hotels immensely.
If you are looking to acquire Choice points, your best bet is to just buy them tomorrow via Daily Getaways. Sure, there is a Choice co-branded credit card that can give you 32,000 points as a sign-up bonus (non-affiliate link), but there are better offers on the market, so I personally wouldn’t bother. You can also transfer Membership Rewards on 1:1 basis, though you’ll be better off saving them for mileage transfers.
There are four flavors of Choice points packages for sale:
With each deal you can purchase up to two sets. I suspect that all four will sell out quickly, though it looks like there are more packages for sale this time around. Last year, they were all literally gone within minutes, so it’s critical that you sign up for an alert and be at your computer right when the magic happens.
To me, the “sweet spot” is buying 28,000 points for $144. The quantity is decent, and the price works out to be 0.51 cents per point. Most people will be going after packages with the higher discount (human nature), so there will be more competition and higher likelihood of missing out. The rate difference to me is non-consequential, but it’s your call. If you have a spouse, you can each purchase two sets, so that’s an option as well.
A few things you should know about this Daily Getaways deal:
1) The points won’t expire as long as you have some activity in your account within 18 months. See more details on this page
2) I would NEVER buy Choice points speculatively. This program is super sleazy and devalues without notice on a regular basis. It doesn’t mean you should burn them immediately, but I encourage you to have a plan of some sort.
3) There are some genuinely good deals to be had. As I’ve mentioned earlier, we stayed in Niagara Falls area for only 8,000 points per night (now costs 12,000 points). The place was very basic, though. Honestly, most Choice properties in US are basic. One exception is Ascend collection, but hotels usually cost a boatload of points per night.
Choice has a huge footprint, so you will likely find a hotel no matter where you go. Whether you want to stay in it is another matter. If you are planning to do a long road trip this summer, you should absolutely look into this deal.
4) You can’t book more than 30 days ahead, 60 days for international destinations. That said, if you have an elite status with another program (IHG Platinum counts), contact Choice and they should match it. This will increase your booking window to 75 days and allow you to be an early bird who gets the worm. That’s important, see my second point.
5) Choice uses variable pricing for their hotels, so the same property may cost 8,000 points one month, and 12,000 points the next. Check several dates if you have some flexibility. You can find the points range by clicking on property name and scrolling down.
6) If you are going to Europe or Asia this summer, check if your destination has Choice properties. Scandinavia and Italy have some very good deals on points. Asia is also a great place to burn Choice points. Here are a few current examples in Tokyo:
7) One of the best perks of Choice program is that you can get a suite for the same amount of points as it would cost for a regular room. That’s a huge advantage for large families.
8) You can now use Choice points on vacation rentals. I didn’t see any spectacular deals, as most places tend to run at 30,000 points per night or more. Still, it’s worth a look.
10) You are technically allowed to use points for family members only, though there is no way for Choice to verify this. It’s a ridiculous and archaic policy.
11) Sign up for a free Choice membership number beforehand because you will have to input it during buying process. Every second counts!
12) The purchase should code as travel, though I can’t guarantee it. If it does, you will be able to use annual travel credit from cards like Chase Sapphire Reserve or US Bank Altitude Reserve to offset the cost. See more details on these products here
Great deals for your family vacation in USA
Here are just a few examples (as of time of writing):
The one at the top, Bluegreen Vacations Fountains resort is particularly interesting. It costs 16,000 points per night on weekdays, 20,000 points on weekends. The resort has multiple pools, slides and all kinds of activities to entertain children. It is a bit far from Disney parks, but ideally located if you plan to visit Sea World and Universal Studios.
You can potentially book a two-bedroom suite with kitchen (fits 6) as long as there is award availability. Those units go for $150-$250 per night, depending on the season. So, let’s say you buy two 28,000 points’ packages for a total of $288. That means you can potentially stay at this resort for three nights (assuming you include the weekend) for an average of $96 per night. That’s a great deal during holidays and spring break.
Be aware, this is a very popular property. I actually reached out to my reader Henry a year ago and asked him to check if two-bedroom units are bookable via points. Since I currently don’t have any Choice currency, the website will only show me the price, not the room options. He mentioned that two-bedroom units are definitely bookable, but inventory seems to be limited. So, you’ll have to be very flexible on dates.
2) Clearwater beach
It looks like a really cute (but not fancy) beachfront property. The cost is 20,000-30,000 points per night, a bit steep. But if you are traveling during peak spring season when hotels here cost $300 per night, it can makes sense to use Choice points. Some rooms have two king beds and fit five with a rollaway. Parking costs extra, but that’s typical for Clearwater beach.
3) Daytona beach
A decent deal during high season. The cost is 16,000-20,000 points per night and you can book a suite that fits four.
This is an interesting find. At 30,000 points per night, Kohea Kai Maui isn’t dirt cheap, that’s for sure.
That said, Hawaii isn’t exactly known as a bargain destination. If you can reserve a two-bedroom unit here for 30,000 points, I would say it’s a steal. We stayed in Kihei and I think it’s a great and laid-back area stay.
Using Choice points in Nassau, Bahamas
A very popular Choice option for traveling families is Comfort Suites Paradise Island
What’s interesting about this property is the fact that you get free access to Atlantis facilities, a huge perk:
Food in Bahamas is super expensive, so free breakfast here is worth quite a bit as well. Be aware, you will have to budget money for some fees even if you redeem points:
I did a dummy booking, and it appears they don’t charge an extra $40 per person for kids under 12, but you may want to double check on this one. I haven’t stayed at this property, but I can tell you that paying $150 per night here (plus surcharges) during spring break and Christmas is a very good deal:
Whether the rate on points stays the same by the time you are ready to book is a million dollar question.
Buying a Choice package via Daily Getaways promo can definitely be a terrific deal for some families, so do the math and see if it makes sense for you. This is a good opportunity for those who for whatever reason can not sign up for new credit cards. I’ve said before that travel hacking is about more than just sign-up bonuses and M/S. Sometimes it’s about arbitrage opportunities like this one.
If you have a lot of hotel points in other programs, it’s probably best to pass on this promo. I think I’m going to sit this one out. I’m currently low on hotel points, but we have a ton of plans for the foreseeable future. Stocking up on Choice points without a clear plan to use them within a year doesn’t seem wise. I also hate the idea of having such a short booking window.
Overall, the more flexible you are with your plans, the better chance you have at beating Choice at their own game. Hopefully, my write-up will give you time to do some research and decide whether to pull the trigger.
Readers, who is thinking about giving this deal a shot?
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.