Today Only: A Good Deal for Choice Hotels, a GREAT Deal for Southwest Companion Pass

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Today only at 1:00 pm EST, you can buy discounted Choice Privileges points from Daily Getaways, and redeem them for hotel award nights or in the US and Canada.  Or you can transfer them to Southwest to earn your Companion Pass! 

From May 19, 2014 to June 20, 2014, a new travel deal will be available every weekday at 1:00 pm EST.  But you have to be quick to get in on the deals, because they usually sell out very fast!

Today Only A Good Deal For Choice Hotels A GREAT Deal For Southwest Companion Pass

Save Money on Hotels, Rental Cars, and More With Daily Getaways

Daily Getaways is a promotion sponsored by the US Travel Association and American Express.  You can buy discounted hotel and car rental points, and get cheap tickets to theme parks and other events.

And you’ll save an additional 10% if you use your American Express card.

Deal for May 21, 2014 – Choice Hotels Points

Link:   Daily Getaways Calendar

Link:   2 Nights at Cambria Suites for $165 (~$149 With AMEX Card) (40,000 Points)

Link:   3 Nights at Comfort Inn for $175 (~$158 With AMEX Card) (36,000 Points)

Link:   2 Nights at Comfort Suites for $132 (~$119 With AMEX Card) (32,000 Points)

Link:   2 Nights at Sleep Inn for $108 (~$97 With AMEX Card) (20,000 Points)

 Today’s deals are for Choice Privileges points, which can be used at any Choice hotel:

Although each deal is advertised as being for a certain number of nights at a specific hotel chain, you’re actually just buying Choice points, which can be used at any Choice brand hotel (not just the chain specified).

Note:  Choice points expire on December 31, 2 years after the year they were deposited to your account.  And you can’t extend them by having new activity in your account, like you can with some other hotel chains.

The deal goes live today at 1:00 pm EST, so you’ll need to have the site loaded on your browser and ready to click on the deal just prior to that time.  There are only a few hundred deals available, so they tend to sell out quickly.

And if you don’t have a Choice Privileges account, you should create 1 before the deal goes live because you’ll need your account number to make the purchase.

Is This a Good Deal?

Choice normally sells points for 1.1 cents per point, which isn’t so great.  But with this deal, you’re buying Choice points for 0.41 to 0.54 cents per point.

For example, in the Cambria Suites deal, it costs $165 for 40,000 Choice points, which works out to 0.41 cents per point ($165 cost to buy points / 40,000 points).  And for 2 nights at the Sleep Inn, it costs $108 for 20,000 Choice points, or 0.54 cents per point ($108 cost to buy points / 20,000 points).

And remember, if you use your American Express card, you’ll get a 10% discount.

The fine print says you can use the points for a stay at any Choice hotel in the US, but because they’re depositing the points directly into your Choice account, I don’t see how you wouldn’t be able to use them for a hotel overseas.

Choice hotel points are great for saving money in expensive European cities!

So will you save money buying points to redeem for award nights instead of paying cash for a room?  I did some random searches to find out.

The best uses of Choice hotel points are in Europe such as Venice, Rome, Scandinavia etc.  You can get some great deals on hotels there with Choice hotel points.

1.   Cambria Suites Miami Airport – Blue Lagoon

The Cambria Suites Miami Airport costs 20,000 Choice points for an award night on June 19, 2014, or $119 plus tax = ~$134. With the Daily Getaways deal, you’ll pay $108 for 20,000 Choice points.  So you’ll save ~$26 with Daily Getaways.

Today Only A Good Deal For Choice Hotels A GREAT Deal For Southwest Companion Pass

A Night at the Cambria Suites Miami Airport Costs 20,000 Choice Points, or $119 Plus Tax

However, if you book the non-refundable prepaid rate, you’ll pay ~$107.  And you’ll earn points for the stay.  This is also the cheapest rate I found when I searched on Kayak.

Today Only A Good Deal For Choice Hotels A GREAT Deal For Southwest Companion Pass

You’ll Save Money and Earn Points If You Book the Non-Refundable Prepaid Rate

In this case, if your travel plans are definite and you don’t mind a non-refundable room, you’d do slightly better by paying cash for the stay.  Otherwise, the Daily Getaways deal will save you money (but you won’t earn points).

2.   Econo Lodge Inn & Suites, Minot

I searched for a 2-night stay at the Econo Lodge Inn & Suites in Minot, North Dakota.  on June 23, 2014.  It costs 16,000 Choice points per night, or 32,000 total.

With the Daily Getaways deal, you’ll pay $132 for 32,000 Choice points.

Today Only A Good Deal For Choice Hotels A GREAT Deal For Southwest Companion Pass

You’ll Pay 16,000 Points per Night at the Minot, North Dakota Econo Lodge Inn & Suites

You’ll pay $231 for 2 nights if you book Choice hotels’ best available rate.

Today Only A Good Deal For Choice Hotels A GREAT Deal For Southwest Companion Pass

A 2-Night Refundable Stay at the Econo Lodge Costs $231

In this case, you’ll save ~$99 by using points from Daily Getaways.  That’s a much better deal!

3.   Clarion Hotel Sign, Stockholm, Sweden

Some of the best values using Choice points are booking award nights in high priced European cities.  I searched for a 2-night stay at the Clarion Hotel Sign in Stockholm, Sweden.  An award night costs 10,000 points, so you’d pay 20,000 points for the stay.  You can buy 20,000 points for $108 (~$97 if you use your American Express card) through Daily Getaways.

Today Only A Good Deal For Choice Hotels A GREAT Deal For Southwest Companion Pass

You’ll Need 20,000 Choice Points for a 2-Night Stay at the Clarion Hotel Sign in Stockholm, Sweden

But the best available paid rate for this room is 1,880 Swedish Krona, or ~$287.  So for a 2-night stay you’d pay 3,760 Krona, or ~$574!

Today Only A Good Deal For Choice Hotels A GREAT Deal For Southwest Companion Pass

It Costs ~$574 for 2 Nights in Stockholm If You Pay Cash!

You’ll save ~$477 (~$574 cash price – ~$97 cost of points) if you buy points through Daily Getaways and book award nights.  That’s an amazing value!

Note:  Remember, the fine print says you can use the points in the US.  But they’re depositing the points directly into your Choice account so I’m not sure how they’d stop you from using them in anywhere you want.

What Else Can You Do With Choice Points?

Choice points can be transferred to airlines at different ratios.  Some of the airlines include:

  • United Airlines
  • Southwest
  • US Airways
  • American Airlines
  • Spirit Airlines
  • Alaska Airlines
Today Only A Good Deal For Choice Hotels A GREAT Deal For Southwest Companion Pass

You Can Transfer Choice Points to Airlines but Each Transfer Ratio Is Different

If you bought Choice points at 0.41 cents per point through the Daily Getaways deal and used your American Express card, you’d pay 0.37 cents per point (0.41 cents per point – 10% discount).

Suppose you transferred 5,000 Choice points to US Airways and got 1,000 miles, that’s a 5:1 ratio.  So you’d be paying ~1.9 cents per mile (0.37 cents per Choice point x 5).  That’s about how much you’d pay for US Airways miles in their current buy miles bonus promotion.  US Airways normally sells miles for 3.5 cents each.

Transferring Choice points to airlines can be useful if you want a few miles to top-off your frequent flyer account for an award.

A Cheaper Way to the Southwest Companion Pass

If you’re working towards the Southwest Airlines companion pass, transferring Choice points to Southwest DOES count!  So if you’re short a few points to qualify for the pass, this could be a good way to do it.

For example, if you’ve gotten 104,000 points from 2 Southwest credit cards (100,000 points from the cards and 4,000 points from meeting the minimum spending requirement) you still need 6,000 Southwest points to get the Southwest Companion Pass.

Today Only A Good Deal For Choice Hotels A GREAT Deal For Southwest Companion Pass

You Can Transfer Choice Points to Southwest and They’ll Count Towards the Companion Pass

You can transfer 6,000 Choice points and get 1,800 Southwest points.  You’d need 18,000 Choice points which transfer to 5,400 Southwest points.

And with this deal, you can buy 20,000 Choice points for $108 (or ~$97 if you use your American Express card and get the 10% discount).  That’s a big savings over the usual price of buying 20,000 Choice hotel points for $220!

So if you need to top-off your balance for the Southwest Companion Pass, this is a very good deal!

What About Using Choice Points for Southwest Award Flights?

The number of points needed to book an award flight on Southwest is directly tied to the cash price of the ticket.  It costs 70 points per $1 (base fare), so each Southwest point is worth ~1.43 points (but sometimes can be worth more!).

To see if it would be worth buying Choice points through the Daily Getaways deal, then transferring them to Southwest, I did a search for a flight from Austin to Chicago on June 10, 2014.  The cash price of the ticket was $142 (base fare of ~$121 plus taxes and fees).

Today Only A Good Deal For Choice Hotels A GREAT Deal For Southwest Companion Pass

It Costs $142 to Fly From Austin to Chicago on Southwest

The same ticket costs 8,530 points ($122 base fare x 70 points per $1).  Plus a $2.50 fee.

Today Only A Good Deal For Choice Hotels A GREAT Deal For Southwest Companion Pass

You’ll Pay 8,530 Southwest Points for the Same Ticket

If you wanted to buy Choice points through the Daily Getaways deal, then transfer them to Southwest, you’ll need 30,000 Choice points, which transfer to 9,000 Southwest points.  (6,000 Choice points = 1,800 Southwest points).

You’d have to buy the 32,000 point Daily Getaway package, which costs $132 (~$119 With AMEX Card).

That’s cheaper than paying the cash fare of $142!  You’d save $10 ($142 for the regular cash price – $132 for the Daily Getaway Package), or $23 ($142 for the regular cash price – $119 for the Daily Getaway package with the AMEX discount) if you use your American Express card.  Remember, you’ll pay a $2.50 fee for each Southwest award ticket, so really you’re saving ~$7 to $20.

And you don’t earn Southwest miles for flights redeemed with points.

But if you need to book a Southwest flight, you’ll save money by transferring Choice points to Southwest from the Daily Getaways deal!

Bottom Line

With today’s Daily Getaways, you can buy Choice hotel points for as little as 0.41 cents per point.  And if you use your American Express card, you’ll get an additional 10% discount.

If you want to use the points for a hotel stay, check the cash price of the hotel 1st before you buy points.  In some cases it’s NOT worth it.

But this could also be a good deal if you need a few airline miles to top-off an account or earn the Southwest Companion Pass.  And you can save a few dollars on Southwest by using the points for award flights.

Remember, the deal goes live at 1:00 pm EST today.

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4 responses to “Today Only: A Good Deal for Choice Hotels, a GREAT Deal for Southwest Companion Pass

  1. The choice point, can it be use for other choice hotel or does it have to be cambria suite. Thanks.

  2. Buying 40K points for the Cambria Suites 2-night stay for $149, and then converting them to 8000 UA, US, or AA miles will yield 1.86 cents per mile. The cheapest promo I can find out there is the AA which comes up to $220 plus tax per 8K miles or ~ 3 cents per mile. So this is a good deal if you have a redemption in mind and want to save on topping off your miles account.

  3. I was just able to get one of these packages. I am going on a trip this weekend and next week. They say it could take up to 10 days but realistically how long does it normally take? I’m hoping it is less than 10 so I can use some of these awards for my upcoming trip.

  4. Thanks to Daraius Dubash. It was wonderful to see all these kind of posts from him. Once again thanks to you. I was very close to get my companion now.