Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information and offers.
Choice Privileges points have fueled many memorable stays for me over the years. While the Choice Privileges program doesn’t offer the same level of elite perks as some hotel loyalty programs, one area the program excels in is redemption value.
For example, I once spent almost a month at an all-inclusive resort using Choice points. And earlier this year I stayed in a three-bedroom house in New Zealand with Choice points. I’ve also used Choice points to book numerous modestly-priced award nights for city-center stays in Japan and Europe.
In short, it’s possible to get significant value from Choice points. But if you redeem a lot of Choice points, you’ll also need to earn a lot of Choice points. So, here are some of the ways you can earn Choice points.
Earn points by staying at Choice Hotels
I’ll start with the most obvious way to earn Choice points: staying at Choice hotels. You’ll earn 10 Choice points per dollar on most point-eligible stays at Cambria, Clarion, Clarion Pointe, Comfort, Econo Lodge, Everhome, MainStay Suites, Quality, Rodeway Inn, Sleep Inn, Suburban Studios and Ascend Hotel Collection properties in the following regions:
- The United States
- Europe (excluding Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden)
- The Middle East
- Central America
- The Caribbean
- Asia-Pacific region, including China, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia and India
You’ll earn points based on how long you stay at MainStay Suites, Suburban Studios and Everhome Suites. If you stay six nights or less, you’ll earn 10 points per dollar spent. However, if you stay seven nights or longer, you’ll earn 5 points per dollar on the first 30 nights and no points for additional nights after the first 30.
You’ll also earn 10 Choice points per dollar when staying at select Radisson Individuals, Radisson Collection, Radisson Blu, Radisson, Radisson RED, Park Plaza, Park Inn by Radisson and Country Inn & Suites by Radisson properties — but only in the following regions:
- The United States
- Latin America
- The Caribbean
You usually won’t earn points on taxes and incidental charges, except in the Asia-Pacific region (excluding Japan). You’ll earn 10 points per dollar on accommodation, tax, restaurant and bar charges, laundry fees and phone calls there.
Additionally, you’ll only earn points on point-eligible stays. Point-eligible stays are booked directly with a hotel (excluding Ascend Hotel Collection all-inclusive resorts and casino locations) or through Choice’s reservation line, website or mobile app. The following types of stays aren’t point-eligible:
- Rooms booked using an ineligible rate plan or for less than $40 per night
- Some hotel-initiated promotions
- Reward night stays
- Complimentary rooms
- Points plus cash reservations
- 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 (unless otherwise expressly noted), wholesale packages and group tours
- Stays booked using the employee discount or the friends, family and associate discount
You can earn points on up to four rooms per night at the same hotel, though you will only receive bonus points for one room per stay. All of the rooms must be in your name, you must pay in full and you must stay in one of the rooms.
Except as noted above, Choice Privileges members earn 10 points per dollar on eligible stays. Elite members also get bonus points based on their elite status level:
- Gold: 10% bonus
- Platinum: 25% bonus
- Diamond: 50% bonus
Gold, Platinum and Diamond elite members also get a welcome gift on point-earning stays at select properties. However, this welcome gift varies based on brand and location as follows:
- Cambria Hotels in the U.S.: 250 bonus points
- Radisson Individuals, Radisson Collection, Radisson Blu, Radisson, Radisson RED, Park Plaza, Park Inn by Radisson and Country Inn & Suites by Radisson in the U.S., Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean: 250 bonus points
- Clarion, Sleep Inn, Quality or Mainstay Suites property in the U.S.: A complimentary snack and beverage at check-in or 200 bonus points
- Econo Lodge, Rodeway Inn or Suburban Studios property in the U.S.: A complimentary snack and beverage at check-in or 100 bonus points
100 to 250 Choice points are only worth $0.60 to $1.50 based on TPG’s valuations. So, don’t feel bad about indulging if you’d value a snack and drink higher than the points.
Choice Hotels’ Your Extras provides a few extra perks on select point-eligible stays that include a Sunday through Thursday night. Not all hotels participate in Your Extras; non-participating hotels include WoodSpring Suites locations, some third-party (non-Choice hotels) and some MainStay Suites, Suburban Studios, Everhome Suites and Ascend Hotel Collection properties.
You must opt in for the Your Extras program, and the perks vary by country. But, in the U.S., you can choose one of the following to get on each eligible weekday stay:
- 400 points (worth $2.40 based on TPG’s valuations)
- 100 airline miles with participating carriers
- $2.50 Amazon.com credit
- $5 coffee gift card
- $3 Uber trip discount
You can change your choice for upcoming stays at any time. But, the perk you have selected at check-in will be what you get for that stay.
Bonus points packages
You can often select a points accelerator package when booking a paid Choice Hotels stay.
These packages usually cost a bit more and may not be the cheapest way to buy points. But, these packages can be useful if someone else is paying for your stay and is unlikely to notice or care that you booked a points accelerator package.
Finally, you can often use promotions to earn extra Choice points when staying with Choice. Check our current hotel promotions post to see what’s currently on offer. But, know that Choice offers a few reoccurring promotions, including its 8,000 points or $50 gift card for every two stays promotion that can be great for road trips and frequent but short stays.
Earn with Choice Privileges credit cards
You can earn Choice Privileges points with the two cobranded Choice Hotels credit cards.
- 10 points per dollar on stays at participating Choice Hotels properties and on Choice Privileges point purchases
- 5 points per dollar on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, home improvement stores and phone plan services
- 1 point per dollar on other purchases
It has a $95 annual fee (see rates and fees), but offers 30,000 bonus points every account anniversary and 20 elite night credits each calendar year. And if you’re a new cardholder, you can earn 60,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first three months. See our Choice Privileges Select Mastercard review for more details.
- 5 points per dollar on stays at participating Choice Hotels properties and on Choice Privileges point purchases
- 3 points per dollar on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, home improvement stores and phone plan services
- 1 point per dollar on other purchases
Cardholders also get 10 elite night credits each calendar year, enough for at least Gold elite status. If you’re a new cardholder, you can earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first three months.
Transfer points to Choice
Another option to get more Choice points is to transfer rewards from other programs. Specifically, you can transfer:
- Citi ThankYou Rewards points to Choice points at a 1:2 ratio
- American Express Membership Rewards points to Choice points at a 1:1 ratio
- Capital One miles to Choice points at a 1:1 ratio
However, note that each program may only allow transfers in specific increments. And it’s worth considering whether converting transferable rewards to Choice points provides the most value. For example, you may find other Membership Rewards sweet spots that allow you to redeem your Membership Rewards points at a higher value.
You can receive Choice points as a gift, but the other member would buy them for you instead of transferring them from their account. You can only receive up to 180,000 purchased points each calendar year, regardless of whether these points are bought or gifted.
Choice Privileges dining rewards program
You can earn 5 Choice points per dollar when you go to restaurants participating in Choice Privileges Eat & Earn and pay with a linked card. Sign up for this dining rewards program, link one or more cards to your profile and then use a linked card when you pay for your meal at a participating restaurant.
Earn points with travel partners
Even if you aren’t staying at a Choice Hotels property, you can still earn Choice Privileges points on an upcoming trip. For example, you can earn 5 Choice points per dollar when you book a cruise through Choice Privileges Cruises and provide your Choice Privileges member number during booking.
You can also earn Choice points when you rent with the following car rental companies:
- Avis and Budget: 1,000 Choice points per rental from participating locations in the U.S and Canada
- Alamo: 500 Choice points per rental day (up to 2,000 points per rental) from participating locations in the U.S. or Canada (this partnership isn’t listed on Choice’s website, but is listed on Alamo’s website)
Based on TPG’s valuations, 1,000 Choice points are worth about $6. You must provide your Choice Privileges number when you reserve or pick up your rental to earn Choice points. Note that you may need to pay a daily frequent traveler surcharge if you choose to earn Choice points on your rental.
Another option for getting more Choice Privileges points is to buy Choice points. Normally, you can buy 4,000 or fewer Choice points for 1.28 cents each, 5,000 to 9,000 Choice points for 1.14 cents each and 10,000 Choice points or more for 1.03 cents each. As noted above, you can purchase or receive as a gift up to 180,000 Choice points each calendar year.
However, if you don’t need Choice points immediately, you may want to delay your points purchase. This is because Choice frequently offers buy points promotions during which travelers can buy points at a lower rate. The best price offered each year is usually during the annual Daily Getaways promotion. For example, during the most recent Daily Getaways promotion, buying Choice points for as little as 0.52 cents each was possible.
Other ways to earn points
Here are two final ways to earn Choice points for an upcoming redemption.
Plan a meeting
You can use the Planner Rewards program to earn points when hosting a qualifying event at a participating Cambria Hotels, Radisson Collection, Radisson Blu, Radisson, Radisson RED, Radisson Individuals, Park Plaza, Park Inn by Radisson and Country Inn & Suites by Radisson hotels in the United States, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean.
You’ll earn 3 points per dollar on eligible charges, including meeting space, guest rooms, and food and beverages. However, you can earn no more than 150,000 points per event.
To qualify, your group must book at least 10 sleeping rooms on a single night at a participating hotel. And you’ll want a written contract stating the Planner Rewards program applies to your event.
Refer a friend
The final way to earn extra Choice points is through the refer-a-friend program. Through this program, you can refer a friend using an online form. Then, when this friend completes their first points-eligible stay, you and your friend will each get 500 points. 500 Choice points are only worth $3 based on TPG’s valuations, but you can refer as many friends as you’d like.
Choice Privileges points can provide excellent value domestically and in Europe and Japan. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to earn Choice points.
My favorite way to earn more points is through stays, but I also buy Choice points when I can do so at a reasonable rate. And transferring Citi ThankYou Rewards points to Choice at a 1:2 ratio can provide good value for some redemptions.