A few months ago Nick wrote about Capital One Spring, a corporate savings program which is open to everyone.
Since he wrote that post, the Spring program has added some additional partners, one of which is Choice Hotels. Capital One Spring lists the offer as 15% off refundable rates which sounds like one of those bog standard offers that doesn’t actually result in any savings due to other rates offering higher savings.
Out of curiosity though, I took a look at the discounts on offer and was pleasantly surprised to see that Capital One Spring can offer some very real savings or added flexibility on stays with Choice Hotels.
You can access the Choice Hotels offer on Capital One Spring here. You have to register with the Spring program, but one of the great things about it is that you don’t need a Capital One card to register.
On the Spring page there’s a link to ‘Get Deal’ which takes you through to the Choice Hotels website. The landing page is https://www.choicehotels.com/choice-privileges/spring-capital-one, but you do have to actually click through from the Capital One Spring website. The reason why is because the offer code only seems to get applied that way. When clicking through from Spring, the Special Rate field lists a Preferred Customer Savings Rate:
If you were to visit the landing page linked to above without clicking through from the Spring website, that special rate doesn’t appear.
That could make things a little trickier with earning cashback/rewards through a shopping portal, but there should be at least one workaround. When clicking through I received a prompt from Rakuten’s browser extension to activate 3% cashback for Choice Hotels.
If you were to click through to Choice from a shopping portal and then click through from Capital One Spring, I don’t know if the shopping portal would track. If you’ll be taking advantage of possible cheaper rates via Spring, it might be worth downloading the browser extension for the portal offering the highest rate for Choice as I suspect that would have a better likelihood of tracking.
Capital One Spring/Choice Hotels Search Results
OK, so that’s the basics – now it’s time for the actual results. There’s no guarantee that the rate available using the Capital One Spring ‘Preferred Customer Savings Rate’ will always be cheaper, but it particularly shines (or puts a Spring in your step perhaps) if you’re looking for a refundable rate.
For example, here are the tops of the search results for a two night stay in Montgomery, AL. The first screenshot is a regular search using the Best Available Rate, while the second is when using the Spring rate.
As you can see, there’s very little difference. The first property is $1 cheaper with Spring, while the other two are the same price. That might seem dull at first, but you can see the difference between the rates when clicking through to the list of rates for each property.
When choosing the Sleep Inn, here are the results on the Best Available Rate:
As you can see, the cheapest option is $61 per night for a non-refundable rate, with $71 being the cheapest option if you want to be able to cancel with no charge.
Compare that to the Capital One Spring rate at the same property for the same dates:
The non-refundable rate is still the cheapest of all the options, but the Spring rate is ~10% cheaper than the cheapest refundable rate.
In case you’re wondering, booking a special rate like AAA wasn’t any better than Spring. The AAA rate was still cheaper than the cheapest flexible rate, but still a few bucks more expensive than Spring at $64 per night.
Another example is the Comfort Suites Airport South in Montgomery. As before, the regular search result is shown first with the Spring rate beneath that.
With this particular example, the Spring rate is $5 per night cheaper than the cheapest standard rate available. When clicking through to check availability, here’s a list of the different rates available:
In this instance, the Spring rate is the cheapest of all the options. It’s ~10% less than the Everyday Rate which offers free cancellation and is also cheaper than the Pay Now and Save rate which is non-refundable. Booking with the Spring rate offers free cancellation, so in this case you get the best of both worlds – flexibility and the cheapest rate possible.
As with the Sleep Inn, the Spring rate was once again cheaper than even the AAA rate.
Capital One Spring has a partnership with Choice Hotels which is marketed as offering discounts of up to 15% on stays. While I the discounts aren’t always quite that high, I was pleased to discover that it did offer savings on their cheapest flexible rates and, in some cases, even cheaper than non-refundable rates while retaining the ability to cancel with no charge.