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Via Loyalty Traveler, Choice Privileges is offering a 10% bonus for buying Choice hotel points up to December 31, 2012.
Choice Privileges is the loyalty program for Ascend Collection, Cambria Suites, Clarion, Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, EconoLodge, MainStay Suites, Quality Inn, Rodeway Inn, Sleep Inn, and Suburban brand hotels.
1. Southwest Companion Pass
I wrote earlier, that you may be able to fly for free – for close to two years – if you apply for 2 Southwest credit cards. That’s because the 50,000 Southeast point sign-up bonus is currently (this could change any time) counting towards the 110,000 points needed for a Companion Pass within 1 calendar year.
Choice hotel points are among the cheapest way to get an extra 6,000 Southwest Companion Pass qualifying points to get to the 110,000 points needed for a Southwest Companion Pass.
You can redeem 6,000 Choice hotel points for 1,800 Southwest points. So you’d need to buy 18,000 Choice hotel points for $198 and transfer them to 5,400 Southwest points. 5,400 Southwest points are worth ~$90 (5,400 Southwest points X 1.66 per Southwest point), so your net cost is $108. You’d still be short 600 points, but you can only buy up to 20,000 Choice points (22,000 points with this offer) per calendar year.
With this offer, you can buy 11,000 points for $110 and 7,700 points for $77, so your total cost for buying 18,700 Choice hotel points is $187, so a savings of $11.
Also note that Choice hotels has an annual purchase limit of 20,000 points (22,000 points though this offer) per calendar year (January to December).
2. Cheap Hotels in Europe
Loyalty Traveler points out that Choice hotel redemption rates change seasonally. He gives the example of a hotel in London which costs 25,000 points during summer, but which costs only 8,000 points in winter.
This means that you can buy a hotel room in London (or other expensive European cities) for only $88, instead of the hundreds of dollars it would otherwise cost.
If you’re going after the Southwest Companion Pass or are interested in cheap Choice hotels in winter, it could make sense to stock up on Choice hotel points.
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