(EXPIRED) Choice all-inclusive 60K bonus promo: Buyer beware

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An email just came in from Choice Privileges noting their new promotion to get 40% off at all-inclusive resorts across the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America and a bonus 60,000 Choice Privileges points (along with a bunch of other benefits). I wanted to write a quick post warning readers to beware that we’ve had multiple reader reports of poor service from Choice, failure to honor the bonus points, or being charged a cancellation fee despite terms that previously said otherwise (update: We’ve now also had a success report from a reader who got the points as promised a few weeks after checkout, so YMMV). If you really want to book one of the included properties and this promo offers a good price, it’s worth trying to get this deal — but it likely isn’t worth the headache if you are going after this for the points.

The Deal

  • Choice Privileges is offering 60,000 points with an all-inclusive booking of $500 or more for new bookings from made by May 25, 2021 for travel until December 22, 2021 (but see some negative data points from the previous promo below).
  • Direct link to this promotion

Key Terms

  • $50 cancellation fee
  • See the fine print on the landing page

Quick Thoughts

Choice ran similar promotions last year. See these posts for the general idea about how it works:

Unfortunately, reader experience with this promotion has not been good. Reader Ma Si commented in response to one of those posts:

I did everything by the book. I confirmed the promotion with two Choice hotels booking agents on Nov 20, 2020 and completed the booking via these two agents at Dreams Huatulco Resort and Spa in mid December 2020. The booking process itself was a ridiculous story in itself as was my stay there. By the way, I live full-time at a Hilton and know a few things about hotels.

I received no bonus points 11 weeks later. And after unfruitful 7 hours spent on the phone with various Choice hotels and amresorts agents I can again summarize my experience with the same word, ridiculous. My experience included getting disconnected many times, no call back, some completely clueless low IQ agents, blatant lies of their tech folks, claims promotion never existed, etc, etc … although generally friendly agents. But their claim that Dream Huatulco is not an amresort takes the cake, given it is listed with 50 other resorts on amresorts.com front page.

Folks, all I could advise you is just avoid this brand.

And that was not an isolated data point. We received this email from a reader named James just a couple of weeks ago:

Love your content. I would like to give you an update about Choice Privileges—way back in Nov I booked a resort stay in Mexico during the 70000 point promotion. Needless to say this company/program is a JOKE. Recently called to say I would need to move resorts/change dates due to resort closure for “remodeling”. After multiple frustrating phones calls during which no one ever come up with answers to my questions or fix the reservation and waiting on a “supervisor” to call me (5 phone calls, multiple twitter messages and 3.5 week time frame) i gave up and cancelled the reservation and got charged 50$ to do so. Ultimately the twitter rep contacted me to offer 8000 points as compensation—needless to say I laughed and declined. I remember NICK saying he doubted the offer would stand and based upon this experience I think he was correct—should have listened—-never will I deal with this company again and God bless anyone who does. Keep up the good work and maybe I will listen to you guys next time!!

It’s a bummer that James got charged a cancellation fee since the terms of last year’s promotion said cancellation would be free (note: this latest version of the promotion has a $50 cancellation fee, but the previous iteration advertised free cancellation). I had noted that last year’s promotion was confusing because the promo landing page made a big point to note that the deal featured free cancellation, but the final page of the booking process noted a $50 cancellation fee in the fine print. A different reader reached out to us to let us know that she was also told that the fee would be $50 but she held firm that the promo had advertised free cancellation. She had to wait days to get a call-back and get this resolved, but she didn’t end up paying the $50. In this segment below from a Frequent Miler on the Air episode late last year, I commended her for sticking to her guns and not rolling over and paying the fee — but I wonder how many like James above get frustrated into paying the $50 fee.

While the cancellation fee is clearly listed at $50 this time around, the challenge that readers have had over getting choice to honor the least valuable part of this promotion aren’t a very positive sign in my opinion.

I had originally intended to book this, but I’m glad I didn’t bother. If I wanted to go to one of the included destinations, I’d probably still book it and consider the points a pleasant surprise if they came through, but I’d not book this specifically for the points given that I don’t have a ton of confidence in Choice making good on the promo as advertised.

Update: We have now had one success report from a reader who received the points as advertised, so YMMV. If you could count on an easy experience getting the points, this promotion might make a lot more sense.

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Sasha

I want to add my experience with this promo. One account received the points correctly and sometime soon after checkout (unsure exactly how soon but I saw it when I logged in to look). Another account is missing 20,000 points, somehow they credited only 50k instead of 70k. Haven’t heard back yet…. So I think Choice doesn’t make it obvious that the points have been credited since you only see the point show up in your 3 month activity summary – it does NOT show up in your activity breakdown. This is very confusing. So look in your 3 month activity summary – it will consolidate the number of points that were adjusted into your account – to see if you have been credited. I think this may also be why agents are so confused by the crediting for the promo too, because it’s hard to see if the points have been added. Good luck!