How to keep Choice Privileges points alive

12

Recently, AwardWallet alerted me that my Choice Privileges points were due to expire in 2 months.  So, I logged onto my Choice account to see what I could do to extend the life of my points.

Fortunately, it’s possible to reset the clock on your points for 18 months simply by earning or redeeming Choice points.

I wondered if booking and then cancelling an award stay would work?

Short answer: No.

Long answer: I booked an award night for 8K points and then my account immediately showed that the life of my points had been extended to about 19 months from today.  Yay!  Then I cancelled the award night in order to get my points back.  Then, my account immediately showed that my points would once again expire within 2 months.  Boo.

Next I wondered if booking and cancelling a points+cash stay would work?

Short answer: Yes!

Long answer: When booking a points+cash stay, you’re essentially buying the points you need at a discount.  When you cancel the stay, you get back more points than you started with (since you had bought the extra points).

I booked this stay for 6,000 points plus $32:

I paid $32 with a credit card that offers an annual travel rebate.  Since the charge comes from Choice Hotels, it is categorized as travel.  After booking the above stay, I had 6,000 fewer points and my point expiration date had been extended:

The question was what would happen when I cancelled the stay?  Would the expiration date reset back to 5/1/2021?

As you can see above, the answer was that I kept the new expiration date after cancelling the stay.  I’m now $32 poorer and 4,000 points richer.  In other words, I indirectly bought 4,000 points for $32 and reset the clock on my points.  Yes, I could have achieved the same thing by buying Choice points directly, but Choice would have charged me $48.40 for 4,000 points that way.  I saved about 35% by buying indirectly.  Also, if I bought directly, the charge would have come from Points.com and would not have coded as travel.

Other ways to keep points alive

Earn points

  • Book paid stays at Choice hotels earn points (and actually complete the stay)
  • Shop through the Choice Privileges shopping portal (Note: I’ve heard that this portal takes a long time to pay out, so make sure to do this many months before point expiration)
  • Rent a car from a company that offers Choice points as a rewards option (Avis or Budget, for example)
  • Sign up for the Choice credit card
  • Buy points from Choice for $12.10 per 1,000 points (poor value compared to the points+cash trick described previously)
  • Refer a friend who’s new to Choice Privileges and who is planning an upcoming stay

Spend points

  • Book an award stay (and actually complete the stay)
  • The following options offer poor value for your points:
    • Redeem points for gift cards
    • Redeem points to donate to charity
    • Redeem points for an AARP membership

Transfer points to Choice

  • Transfer points from Amex Membership Rewards to Choice Privileges (1,000 to 1,000)
  • Transfer points from Amtrak to Choice (5,000 to 15,000). Requires Amtrak elite status or $20K spend on the Amtrak World Elite Mastercard.

Transfer points from Choice

  • Air Canada Aeroplan: 5,000 Choice points to 1,000 miles
  • Alaska MileagePlan: 5,000 Choice points to 1,000 miles
  • American Airlines: 5,000 Choice points to 1,000 miles
  • Amtrak Guest Rewards: 32,000 Choice points to 5,000 Amtrak points
  • AeroMexico Club Premier: 5,000 Choice points to 1,000 miles (1,600 Kilometers)
  • Czech Airlines: 5,000 Choice points to 1,000 miles
  • Qantas: 20,000 Choice points to 8,000 miles
  • United: 5,000 Choice points to 1,000 miles
  • Southwest: 6,000 Choice points to 1,800 Southwest points
  • Spirit: 5,000 Choice points to 1,000 miles
  • Virgin Australia: 20,000 Choice points to 8,000 miles

Conclusion

It’s possible to indirectly buy Choice Privileges points for .8 cents per point by booking and then cancelling a points+cash stay.  While Choice points vary widely in value depending upon how they’re used, I’ve often found points to be worth 1 cent or more towards free nights.  As a result, I don’t mind buying points for less than a penny each.  The side benefit to doing so is that it causes your points expiry to reset for another 18 months.

Email:*
Please enter all required fields Click to hide
Correct invalid entries Click to hide
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

12 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments