Saturday, August 6, 2011

Choice Rewards and Air Miles

The Choice Hotels chain of hotels gives members the option of earning points toward hotel stays or frequent flier miles with several airlines of choice.  For most of the upper-level hotels in the chain, guests can earn either 10 points per dollar spent on the room or 250 airline miles per stay for most airlines (although this can vary by airline).  The question can arise on which choice to make.

Frequent visitors may find the opportunity to earn free nights appealing.  However, some guests may prefer to rack up some miles.  Members of the Choice Privilege program can choose to spend their points on options other than free hotel stays.  1,000 frequent flier miles can be had for 5,000 points.  However, this is not the most cost-effective use of points.  When using the points to buy miles, the member must cash in 4 nights @ $125/night.  The chain has many hotels that cost quite a bit less than $125/night.  Some rooms can be had for about 1/2 that cost.  If a member can book a single night stay at four hotels for $65/night, he or she can get the same 1,000 miles for about 1/2 the cost.

To recap:
Scenario 1--Cashing in 5,000 Choice Rewards points (costing $500) for 1,000 miles = $.50 per mile cost
Scenario 2--Spending $260 for 4 nights to earn 1,000 miles (250 per night) = $.26 per mile cost

Please keep in mind that multi-night stays at a single property earn only 250 miles.  The 250 miles are per stay.  If you are going to stay more than one night, it would probably be better to choose the points for that stay.  You can change your preference for each stay to maximize your earning potential.

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