Choice Privileges Preferred Hotels Partnership
Choice Privileges is an overlooked hotel program. I mean, I’m a bougie traveler so I’d never be caught dead at a Quality Inn, which is pretty much the whole Choice Hotels portfolio. Other brands include Econolodge and Comfort Inn (more places you'll find me :). Almost all properties are 2-star and 3-star. However, the Choice Privileges Preferred Hotels partnership is worth looking into because you can use Choice points to book some really bougie properties around the globe.
Preferred Hotels & Resorts Portfolio
Preferred Hotels & Resorts has over 700 properties in its portfolio spread over 85 countries. These range from upscale city hotels to full-on 5-star luxury resorts. The hotels are independent and unique. Think of it a bit like Hyatt’s partnership with Small Luxury Hotels.
Choice Privileges Preferred Hotels: Partnership Details
Choice Hotels has a dedicated page that discusses their partnership with Preferred Hotels & Resorts. Over 500 properties participate in the Choice Privileges program and are bookable with Choice points. The majority of their properties are in North America and Europe, although there are some in Asia and a handful on other continents. Choice Privileges Preferred Hotels reward nights must be booked over the phone. This is one unfortunate aspect of the program. Booking online would be so much easier, but this is unfortunately not an option. You can however search for award availability online for specific Preferred properties here. To book, you’ll need to call: (888) 770-6800.
You can check out the list of Preferred Hotels & Resorts bookable with Choice points. Use the filters to sort by category, region, or other property parameters. There is also a map view where you can view all participating Choice Privileges Preferred Hotels & Resorts.
How Many Choice Points Do You Need for a Free Night
Rewards nights range from 25,000 to 55,000 points per night for a Preferred Hotels & Resorts location. Choice Privileges categorizes Preferred Hotels & Resorts in four award tiers:
- 25,000 points per night
- 35,000 points per night
- 45,000 points per night
- 55,000 points per night
Unlike Choice’s own properties, these prices don’t change based on the date you book. The award tiers are set for each specific property. The trick now is figuring out whether or not you should book a property, as not all are worth the points price.
Choice Privileges Preferred Hotels Worth Booking
I’ll admit, many of the properties on the Preferred Hotels and Resorts list aren’t worth booking with Choice Points. You’ll do better paying cash. It’s not worth collecting Choice points if you’re going to use 35,000 for a night that would only cost you $250. On the flip side, there are some real gems where points make a ton of sense. Here are a handful of great options I found.
- This 5-star resort on the California coast with ocean views and a spa often runs over $800 per night. Definitely worth using 55,000 Choice Privileges points instead.
- Did you know there is an over-water hotel in Switzerland? I didn’t. This is another interesting 5-star pick that often costs $500 per night.
Allium Villas Resort, Bodrum, Turkey
- Prices vary based on the season, but it’s an award travel deal if you can use points for when this resort on the Aegean Sea is going for over $600 per night.
Farris Bad Hotel, Norway
- This hotel both overlooks a Norwegian Fjord and has a massive spa. Rates are often over $600 per night.
Preferred Hotel Rewards
Preferred Hotels & Resorts has its own rewards program called “I Prefer Hotel Rewards”. It’s unclear how this overlaps with Choice Hotels bookings, but it might be worth signing up for just in case it can provide any benefits for your stays. Membership is free, and the base “Insider” level offers the following benefits:
- Room upgrade
- Free internet
- Priority early check-in and late check-out
There is no breakfast benefit. Several of the properties on the list are all-inclusive, though. I've had Ipreferred Elite Status for years and they keep renewing it, they also offer a welcome amenity like a round of drinks when you check in.
How to Earn Choice Privileges Points
You might be thinking that this all sounds great, but how do I earn Choice points? Staying at Choice properties will certainly earn you points, but I have no interest in staying in a Quality Inn. No thank you. Fortunately, you have a couple other options for earning Choice Privileges points. Like most other hotel programs you can earn points in several ways like Choice Partner Offers and Shopping Portal earnings but as isusually the case the best way to earn lots of points is through credit card spend.
Transfer American Express Membership Rewards
Choice Privileges is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards. Points transfer at a 1:1 ratio in increments of 1,000. This is generally not all that great of a deal for most Choice properties, but there are some deals among the Preferred Resorts & Hotels where you can get more than 1 cent per point. Remember that you can always use Membership Rewards to book Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts for 1 cent per point. If you’re not getting better value by booking with Choice Points, this is likely the better play, as you will get all the other FHR perks. I should also mention that you can transfer points from Amtrak and Diners Club if you have them.
Choice Privileges Visa
The Choice Privileges Visa card, issued by Barclays, is another option for obtaining Choice points. The card isn’t all that hot, though. It earns just 2x Choice points per dollar spent on purchases. You can do a lot better with your Amex Gold card earning 4x Membership Rewards at supermarkets and restaurants. But the Choice Visa does come with a sign-up bonus of 32,000 points and doesn’t charge an annual fee. The bonus has been as high as 64,000 points in the past, which is probably the only point I might even consider picking up the card.
While Choice Hotels doesn’t offer much in terms of luxury with its own brands, the Choice Privileges Preferred Hotels partnership is worth exploring. You won’t get amazing value out of your Membership Rewards points, but there are some places where it’s at least a reasonable redemption. I’d at least browse the list to see what Preferred Hotels has to offer and see if they'll match your current hotel status because you won't earn Preferred Rewards on these stays but they'll probably honor elite benefits.