Choice best program for Scandinavia?

Old Jun 29, 16, 9:52 pm
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Choice best program for Scandinavia?

I'm looking to stockpile points for a 2017 trip to Norway and Sweden. It appears that Choice offers the most hotels in these countries? I normally use IHG or Marriott but there seem to be few choices with those two brands.
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Old Jun 30, 16, 10:06 am
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Originally Posted by tom_MN View Post
I'm looking to stockpile points for a 2017 trip to Norway and Sweden. It appears that Choice offers the most hotels in these countries? I normally use IHG or Marriott but there seem to be few choices with those two brands.
Also Carlson, with the Radisson brand, especially in the cities.
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Old Jun 30, 16, 2:42 pm
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Originally Posted by tom_MN View Post
I'm looking to stockpile points for a 2017 trip to Norway and Sweden. It appears that Choice offers the most hotels in these countries? I normally use IHG or Marriott but there seem to be few choices with those two brands.
To be precise: Choice probably has the most among hotel programs that exist in the US too.

Scandic has a lot, Rica has a bunch, Thon has a bunch, but none of the brands has ways to earn points in the US. (Once, Scandic partnered with Hilton for a few years, but that relationship was severed about a decade ago.)

Runners up to Choice (in terms of hotel programs that exist in the US) are Club Carlson (Radisson brand hotels in cities) and Best Western (in more rural locations). For an example of the latter in Norway's western fjords: Choice has a hotel in Sogndal, and then one in Eidsfjord, but that's a big distance between two. Halfway in between you'll find a couple Best Westerns.
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Old Jul 1, 16, 6:40 am
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Thanks. I should have added that Choice also offers the most points for travel if I rearrange it to fit 8000 point promos.

I also have some Carlson points and rarely stay there, but could fit some stays in for at least one free night. Or churn a credit card.

I'll be looking for hotel rooms that can sleep 3 also.
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Old Jul 1, 16, 8:28 am
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Choice Hotels in Scandinavia

My wife and I took a trip to Norway and Sweden in 2015 and stayed exclusively at Choice Hotels while there, using points. Pay particular notice to the Clarion brand when booking reservations in those two countries--quite often, there is a complimentary supper included with your stay, which, based upon our experience, was quite good. Also, the breakfast buffets are much, much better than the typical fare at Choice Hotels in the U.S. Those complimentary meals in Scandinavia seem to be a point of pride for the innkeeper rather than a necessary obligation.
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Old Jul 2, 16, 4:35 pm
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Choice Privileges, Best Western Rewards, Club Carlson and Starwood's SPG (due mostly to Design Hotels) are the best of the US programs for my award stays in Scandinavia.

Choice is great for redeeming for award stays; but for earning points in Scandinavia, it's literally the worst of the mentioned four programs.

Best Western has a large number of properties in Scandinavia, and covers large and small cities pretty well.

Choice has maybe 10-15% more properties in this region than Best Western has in the region. Carlson seems to me to have fewer properties in this region than Best Western.

Nordic Choice hotel breakfasts are a necessary obligation due to the brand requirements of the Nordic Choice group. And where the complimentary supper is present at Nordic Choice hotels, it's a requirement due to the Nordic Choice group's brand standard for Clarion Collection properties in the region. Nordic Choice manages the breakfast requirements in very specific detail.

Last edited by GUWonder; Jul 2, 16 at 5:57 pm
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Old Jul 3, 16, 1:27 am
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As soon as you get your Choice points you should book those hotels. They seem to be sold out awfully quick.
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Old Jul 3, 16, 7:58 am
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Originally Posted by s0ssos View Post
As soon as you get your Choice points you should book those hotels. They seem to be sold out awfully quick.
Not possible in general. At Choice, you can only book 60, 75, or 100 days out internationally depending on your elite status. Many people get their points way earlier than that, so they can't possibly book when they get them. Meanwhile, some hotels can sell out before the Choice award booking "window" opens up, no matter which elite you are. (Though some may "unsell" out later, if someone cancels.)

The proper advice is to book as soon your booking window opens (if possible). It has nothing to do with when you earn your points (unless you're earning them at the last minute).
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Old Jul 3, 16, 9:37 am
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Originally Posted by sdsearch View Post
Not possible in general. At Choice, you can only book 60, 75, or 100 days out internationally depending on your elite status. Many people get their points way earlier than that, so they can't possibly book when they get them. Meanwhile, some hotels can sell out before the Choice award booking "window" opens up, no matter which elite you are. (Though some may "unsell" out later, if someone cancels.)

The proper advice is to book as soon your booking window opens (if possible). It has nothing to do with when you earn your points (unless you're earning them at the last minute).
Interesting. I didn't know that. I was just looking in Scandinavia and noticed that in the northern regions there were simply no availability for award nights.

When you say "internationally" you mean outside of the US? Or depending on where you are registered?
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Old Jul 4, 16, 9:47 am
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Originally Posted by s0ssos View Post
Interesting. I didn't know that. I was just looking in Scandinavia and noticed that in the northern regions there were simply no availability for award nights.

When you say "internationally" you mean outside of the US? Or depending on where you are registered?
I'm guessing it's the latter, because it says something different depending on what your local Choice Hotels website is. For example, at choicehotels.com:
https://www.choicehotels.com/choice-...ts/free-nights
it says (in the fine print at the bottom):
Book up to 30 days in advance for hotels in the U.S. or Canada or 60 days in advance for hotels outside of the U.S. and Canada.

Reward nights can be booked 50 days in advance for Elite Gold members staying in the U.S. and Canada or 60 days in advance for hotels outside of the U.S. and Canada.

Reward nights can be booked 75 days in advance for Elite Platinum members and 100 days for Elite Diamond members.
But at Choice Hotels Europe, which is www.choicehotels.eu redirecting to:
http://www.choicehotelsuk.co.uk/en/c.../redeem-points
it says in bullet points near the bottom:
  • Book up to 30 days in advance for hotels in Europe or 60 days in advance outside of Europe
  • Reward nights can be booked 50 days in advance for Elite Gold members staying in Europe or 60 days in advance for hotels outside of Europe.
  • Reward nights can be booked 75 days in advance for Elite Platinum members and 100 days for Elite Diamond members
Please note, Choice's definition of "Europe" typically excludes Nordic Choice. So I'm not sure for Choice Hotels Europe members whether Nordic Choice properties are "in Europe" or "outside Europe" in terms of booking window.

Last edited by sdsearch; Jul 4, 16 at 10:01 am
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Old Jul 8, 16, 10:35 pm
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Disappointed that Choice did not match status with Hilton so I could get an early booking window for Scandinavia. They only do one status match per account and I did one in 2011.

I'm worried that I won't even have gold status in 2017. Is there another way to get status quickly without stays?
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Old Jul 9, 16, 4:29 am
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Try their cobranded credit card if you want gold status. No annual fee.

https://www.choicehotels.com/choice-...sa-credit-card

However, that doesn't extend your window for reward nights outside of US/Canada. Here is the fine print.

Book up to 30 days in advance for hotels in the U.S. or Canada or 60 days in advance for hotels outside of the U.S. and Canada.

Reward nights can be booked 50 days in advance for Elite Gold members staying in the U.S. and Canada or 60 days in advance for hotels outside of the U.S. and Canada.

Reward nights can be booked 75 days in advance for Elite Platinum members and 100 days for Elite Diamond members.

https://www.choicehotels.com/choice-...ts/free-nights

Originally Posted by tom_MN View Post
Disappointed that Choice did not match status with Hilton so I could get an early booking window for Scandinavia. They only do one status match per account and I did one in 2011.

I'm worried that I won't even have gold status in 2017. Is there another way to get status quickly without stays?
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Old Jul 9, 16, 8:23 am
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OK I see now, no advantage for Gold over basic in Europe for US members' booking window (strange).

I did notice that some of the 6000 pts + $75 could also be a money saver for those short of points. A typical room goes for about $200 or 16,000 points, so the first 6000 points is worth $125 then the next 10,000 points is worth $75. Unless there is some tax issue going on, or very bad rate for $$, I will book the points plus $$ since I won't be able to accumulate that many points. I wonder how the $$$ is handled locally, and why it is not possible to book in points + crowns?
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Old Jul 9, 16, 10:12 pm
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Originally Posted by tom_MN View Post
OK I see now, no advantage for Gold over basic in Europe for US members' booking window (strange).

I did notice that some of the 6000 pts + $75 could also be a money saver for those short of points. A typical room goes for about $200 or 16,000 points, so the first 6000 points is worth $125 then the next 10,000 points is worth $75. Unless there is some tax issue going on, or very bad rate for $$, I will book the points plus $$ since I won't be able to accumulate that many points. I wonder how the $$$ is handled locally, and why it is not possible to book in points + crowns?
It not handled locally. Again, the local program in Norway is not Choice Privileges, it's Choice Club (in Nordic Choice). It doesn't even have cash + points as far as I know (and its points may be valued differently anyway).

You are redeeming at Choice USA, and it's in essence letting you buy 10k points for $75 on the spot. The hotel is not getting the $75, the hotel gets whatever it would have gotten had you used 16k points.

And Choise USA does not accpect knoner of any kind, so that's why it's iin dollars.
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Old Jul 9, 16, 10:24 pm
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Originally Posted by sdsearch View Post
It not handled locally. Again, the local program in Norway is not Choice Privileges, it's Choice Club (in Nordic Choice). It doesn't even have cash + points as far as I know (and its points may be valued differently anyway).
Nordic Choice does allow redemptions. One time it worked on the website, one time I had to call in (they had no problem). There is also cash + points (at least in Stockholm).
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