Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.
Folks looking to earn their Southwest Companion Pass (the best deal in domestic travel!) and those interested in saving money at hotels in Europe can get a good deal with this sale on Choice Hotel points.
Until 5:00 pm Eastern Time today, you’ll get a 50% bonus when you buy points through the Choice Hotels website. Normally, you’ll pay $11 per 1,000 points. With this deal, you’ll get 1,500 points for $11, or ~0.73 cents each.
I’ll explain how this flash sale can help you get the best deal in domestic airfare!
The Big Secret Value of This Sale Is the Southwest Companion Pass!
With the Choice Hotels flash sale, you can buy up to 50,000 points and get a 50% bonus. So the maximum number of points you can get is 75,000 (50,000 points x 1.5).
Choice Privileges points usually cost $11 per 1,000, or 1.1 cents per point. But with this deal, you’ll pay ~0.73 cents per point.
You can transfer Choice Hotel points to various airline frequent flyer programs, including Southwest, American Airlines, United Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and US Airways. But the transfer ratios aren’t very good.
For example, you can transfer 5,000 Choice Hotel points and get 1,000 American Airlines miles. Normally, it costs ~$62 to buy 1,000 American Airlines miles (including taxes and a $30 transaction processing fee).
With this deal, you’d pay $44 for 4,000 Choice Hotel points, and get a bonus of 2,000 points (6,000 points total). So you’d pay less to buy Choice Points and transfer them to American Airlines than by buying from American Airlines directly. But you’re still paying 4.4 cents per mile, which is NOT very good.
This might be useful for folks who just need a few extra points to top-off their airline account for an award ticket, but otherwise I wouldn’t recommend it.
But if you’re short Southwest points for the Companion Pass, this could be a VERY good deal.
To earn the Companion Pass, you need 110,000 Southwest points in a calendar year. And with the pass, your companion flies with you for almost free on both paid and award tickets! It’s like getting 2 for the price of one.
Suppose you signed-up for 2 of the Southwest 50,000 point credit card offers earlier in the year. After completing minimum spending requirements, you’d have 104,000 Southwest points in your account. So you’d still be short 6,000 points for the Companion Pass.
You could spend another $6,000 on your Southwest cards to earn the last 6,000 points you need.
Choice Hotel points transfer to Southwest at a ratio of 6,000 Choice Hotel points to 1,800 Southwest points. So to get 6,000 Southwest points, you’d transfer 24,000 Choice Hotel points (24,000 Choice Hotel points = 7,200 Southwest Points).
Through the Choice Hotel 50% bonus flash sale, you’d pay $176 for 16,000 points ($11 per 1,000 points), but you’d also get an 8,000 point bonus, for a total of 24,000 points.
I’d much rather spend $176 to get my Companion Pass than $6,000!
You’d earn the Companion Pass (worth potentially thousands of dollars) and have 7,200 Southwest points in your account. Southwest points are worth ~1.43 cents each towards airfare, so you’re getting a value of ~$103 (7,200 points x ~1.43 cents per point). And they’re worth double that (~$206) if you use your Companion Pass!
That’s an excellent deal!
Note: If you time it right, you can use this deal to get the Companion Pass in early 2015. There are 50,000 point offers available for both the Southwest Premier (personal) and Southwest Premier (business) cards (not my links).
You could buy Choice Hotel points now and transfer them to your Southwest account in early 2015. As long as points from the 50,000 point Southwest cards post to your account in 2015, you could earn the Companion Pass until the end of 2016. That’s almost 2 full years of Big Travel with Small Money!
Is This a Good Deal for Hotel Stays?
Link: Choice Privileges
In the past, Choice Hotel points have gone on sale for less through the Daily Getaways promotion (where you could buy them for as little as ~0.41 cents per point), but this could still be a good deal for some!
Choice Hotel points can be used for stays at any Choice Hotel, which include:
- Comfort Inn
- Comfort Suites
- Quality Inn
- Sleep Inn
- Cambria Suites
- MainStay Suites
- Suburban Hotels
- Econo Lodge
- Rodeway Inn
- Ascend Hotel Collection
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 programs.
Award nights cost between 6,000 and 35,000 points (except for a few hotels in the Australasia area, which can cost up to 75,000 points per night). And unless you have Choice elite status, you can only book award stays 30 days in advance for hotels in the US or Canada, and 60 days in advance internationally.
Let’s see if buying points through this deal for an award night is a better deal than paying for a room!
1. Example: Quality Inn & Suites, Kissimmee, Florida
The Quality Inn & Suites is located close to Disney World, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld Orlando in Kissimmee. Breakfast is included.
A paid, refundable night in November costs ~$73 including taxes.
An award night at this hotel costs 6,000 Choice Privileges points.
Through the Choice Hotels 50% bonus flash sale, you can buy 6,000 points for $44 ($44 for 4,000 points, plus a 2,000 point bonus). So you could save ~$29 by using points for this room instead of paying cash (~$73 cost of paid room – $44 cost of point for same room)!
That’s not bad! But you won’t always save money this way, so do the math before you book (and make sure award nights are available)!
You can save more if you use Choice hotel points for expensive hotels in Europe.
2. Example: Clarion Collection Hotel Principessa Isabella, Rome, Italy
Located near some of Rome’s main attractions, the Clarion Collection Hotel Principessa Isabella offers free Wi-Fi and breakfast.
One night at this hotel in November costs 104 euros, or ~$132.
An award night for the same room costs 10,000 Choice Privileges points. That’s not many points for a very nice hotel in Europe with breakfast included!
So if you bought points through the Choice Hotels 50% bonus flash sale, it would cost $77 for 10,500 points ($77 for 7,000 points, plus a 3,500 point bonus). You’d save ~$55 by using points for this room instead of paying cash (~$132 cost of paid room – $77 cost of points for same room)!
I’d gladly pay $77 per night for a nice, centrally located hotel in a major European city. That’s a great deal.
Today only, you’ll get a 50% bonus when you buy points from Choice Hotels. The maximum number of points you can buy is 50,000 (plus you’ll get 25,000 bonus points). The offer is only good from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Eastern Time.
Normally, you’d pay 1.1 cents a point for Choice Hotel points, but with this deal, you’ll pay ~0.73 cents per point.
You could save money with this deal, especially if you use points to book expensive European hotels. But do the math 1st to see if it makes sense for you.
Will you buy Choice Hotel points through this flash sale? What’s your favorite way to use them?