Updated June 10th, 2019
If I kept track of “most improved” from year to year, Choice Privileges might be the most recent winner. When I last evaluated, the award currency was worth just .25¢, with that value primarily being driven down by an inability to book award stays more than 30 days in advance. One of this site’s golden rules is “if you can’t use a point, it’s effectively worth zero.”
This bring us to the present. Choice Hotels now allows their award travelers to book up to 100 days in the future. Still not the full-year we’d prefer to see, but a huge improvement nonetheless. Furthermore, we didn’t find a single instance of unavailability. Finally, all hotels now have a 10% reduction factor, recently decreased from 25. These three changes combined means our new ACRV value is a hugely improved .71¢ per point. This is a whopping 183% improvement since last year. Way to go Choice!
|Current||Previous Period||$ Change||% Change|
|30 Day Average||0.68¢||0.50¢||+0.18¢||+36%|
|90 Day Average||0.74¢||0.00¢||+0.74¢||n/a|
|30 Day Non-Zero||0.75¢||0.78¢||-0.03¢||-3%|
|90 Day Non-Zero||0.82¢||0.00¢||+0.82¢||n/a|
The above bell curve represents a relatively tightly bound grouping of hypothetical award redemptions. The two lines adjacent to the average represent one standard deviation in either direction. In other words, 68% of award redemptions should occur between the rates of .51 and 1.07¢.
A narrow bell curve is not necessarily a bad thing. For those who prefer reliability over upside it could be very good. For comparisons sake, take a look at the chart on United’s valuation page. Here, we have an instance where very high-value and very-low value award redemptions are all possible.
Our best for the month came from a one week hypothetical stay at the Comfort Hotel Bolivar in Rome. This was offered for $621.50 in cash or 48,000 points, providing a 1.32¢ redemption value. This redemption certainly doesn’t provide enough value per point to justify the transfer of a valuable Membership Reward, but it does compare well to other hotel chains.
Co-Branded Credit Card Option
The Choice Privileges Signature Card from Barclays is available, but honestly, it’s not a great option. Save for the hardcore Choice aficionado, but I doubt there’s many of those in the world. It earns 15 points per dollar spent at Choice properties. However, only 5 of those come from the card, the rest are from normal points on stays. I always find it very annoying when a co-branded card advertises their earn-rate this way.
The signup bonus is currently 32,000 points after a very reasonable $1,000 spend in 90 days. This is worth $227.20 based on current valuations. I’ve seen worse, but not by much. Finally, one will gain automatic Gold Elite status and earn 2 points per dollar on everyday spend.
If it were me, I’d skip this card and put my hotel purchases on my Sapphire Reserve, earning a 6.57% ROS, in addition to what I’ll get just for staying at a Choice property.
Compared to Industry Peers[wpdatatable id=17 table_view=regular]
Our recommendation would be to keep one’s valuable Membership Rewards right where one earned them, at Amex. Though much improved, this award program is still outshone in value by many other American Express transfer partners.