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I wrote earlier about buying Wyndham hotel points at a very cheap rate through the Discover America promotion. The points sold out in minutes and many folks were disappointed that they couldn’t get any. Readers on the West Coast requested me to post similar deals the night before, so here goes!
On May 3, 2012 at 12:00 pm (pre-sale) or 1:00 pm (regular sale) EST, you can buy Choice hotel points via the Discover America promotion for about 0.42 cents per point with an extra 10% discount for using an American Express card compared to the regular price of 1.1 cent per point.
As always, Travel by Points has a great spreadsheet summarizing the different point options.
Some readers don’t want to have anything to do with Choice hotels, whose hotels include Quality Inn, Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Rodeway Inn etc. Others will be thrilled at the possibility of Big Travel with cheap hotel nights!
Here’s how you can use these cheap Choice hotel points:
1. 16% to 25% Discount on Southwest Airlines Travel. Each Southwest Airline point is worth 1.67 cents towards Wanna Get Away fares.
6,000 Choice hotel points currently transfer to 1,800 Southwest Airline points. This means that you’re spending $25.20 (6,000 Choice points X Cost of 0.42 cents per Choice point bought via the Discover America Promotion) to get $30 (1,800 Southwest points X 1.67 cents per point) worth of Southwest points.
This works out to a ~16% discount on Southwest Airlines travel or a 25% discount if you get the 10% discount on buying Choice points for using an American Express card.
2. Top off for Southwest Companion Pass. The Southwest Companion pass is one of the best deals for domestic travel. Most folks earn 100,000 points out of the 110,000 points required for the Companion Pass via credit card sign up bonuses and use these 10 ways to get the extra 10,000 points needed.
But you could get the Choice hotel point package (36,000 points for $156) and convert those points to 10,800 Southwest Airlines points to top-off for your Companion Pass!
Do note that technically hotel transfers are not supposed to count towards the Companion Pass, so this could change anytime.
3. $34+ Choice Hotel Stays. Choice hotels have a LOT of hotels, many of which are very affordable on points. For example, 1,500 hotels cost less than 8,000 points per night or $34 if you buy Choice points at 0.42 cents per point!
Choice hotels start at 6,000 points or $25 a night if you buy points at 0.42 cents per point and go up to 35,000 points or $147 a night. Some hotels in Australia are up to 75,000 points, but those hotels aren’t great values.
$33 for a hotel room in the heart of Paris is a GREAT deal!
However, the same room will cost 25,000 points in peak summer season, but that’s still only $105 if you buy points at 0.42 cents per point.
You can get cheap rooms in London, Paris, and Rome quite easily and cheaply using Choice points. Emily and I used Choice points to stay in Sao Paulo, Brazil last year. The room was large, clean, and comfortable and was just around the corner from Rua Oscar Freire.
You can also redeem Choice points at the more luxurious Preferred Hotel Group or at Barcelo resorts.
4. US Air Grand Slam. If there is a US Air Grand Slam in 2012, it could make sense to stock up on Choice hotel points to transfer to US Air during the Grand Slam. Mommy Points has a great post explaining the details.
Keep in mind
1. Points purchased via Discover America will expire on December 31, 2014. Unlike other hotel programs, earning or redeeming points will not extend the expiration date.
2. You can redeem points only 30 days in advance in the US or 60 days in advance for locations outside the US. Elite members can redeem further in advance. However, it is easy to request a status match by emailing Choice customer service and asking them to match your existing status with other hotel chains.
3. Points needed for a room at the same hotel fluctuate based on the season.
Check out this great post by Loyalty Traveler on 3 things to know about Choice hotels.
This won’t be easy
I do NOT expect it to be easy to get these points because a lot of folks will be after them!
If you do decide to participate, be sure to be at your computer a few minutes before the offer starts (12 noon EST) and to either click refresh or press “F9″ to refresh the page to see when the offer is available.
And don’t worry if you’re not able to get the points in you cart at first. There are always point packages which get returned since folks don’t buy them. Don’t give up until it says “Sold Out.”
Sign-up for a Choice account BEFORE you attempt to buy the points packages, because you will be asked for your Choice account number.
Bottom Line: Buying Choice points through the daily getaways could help you in having Big Travel with Small Money in many ways. But there are limited packages and lots of folks will be after them. Good Luck!