Looking for my new program

Old May 5, 18, 3:18 pm
  #1  
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Looking for my new program

I have been an IHG man for some 20 years, but for various reasons, I am looking for a new home and Choice seems to be fitting the bill.

I am semi-retired and travel an average of around 12 weeks a year, so obviously hotels are by far my biggest expense.

About 6 of these 12 weeks are likely to be spent in North America. The other 6 are often split between South Africa and various random places around the world. I nearly always travel solo and do a lot of road trips, often with 1-2 night stays.


The main things I am looking for in a program are:

Good points earning.

Low redemption rates.

Decent promotions (the 8k per 2 stays looks good).

Not too frequent devaluations.


All of my travel is self funded and essentially I am trying to get more bang for my buck, i.e. more time on the road for less $ and as many free nights as I can get.

I am not bothered about high end hotels or city locations. As long as a property is clean and secure and I have a comfortable bed and a hot shower, I am happy. I am also a smoker and prefer to have a smoking room, although motel rooms with outdoor access are also acceptable.

I know Choice is not a truly global chain, but I am hoping I can do well from it for my American trips. I can probably fill in the rest by cherry picking IHG Accelerate promos, mixed with hotels.com and Hilton points from my credit card.

Wyndham was another option I considered, but I am put off by the flat 15k redemption rate (I would rather have 2 free nights at an Econo Lodge than 1 at a Ramada).

Is there any reason why Choice should not be my new primary program?
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Old May 5, 18, 9:40 pm
  #2  
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DId you register for it yet?

If you register, it will probably work better if you register In Germany (since that seems to be where you're based), because then you'll get a 30 day reward booking window in Germany but a 60 day reward booking window outside Germany, before you earn any status. Those who register in the USA get 30 days within the USA, and 60 days outside the USA, but the USA is much bigger than Germany and so that doesn't work as well probably.
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Old May 6, 18, 2:36 am
  #3  
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Originally Posted by sdsearch View Post
DId you register for it yet?

If you register, it will probably work better if you register In Germany (since that seems to be where you're based), because then you'll get a 30 day reward booking window in Germany but a 60 day reward booking window outside Germany, before you earn any status. Those who register in the USA get 30 days within the USA, and 60 days outside the USA, but the USA is much bigger than Germany and so that doesn't work as well probably.
I actually have an old account, registered in the UK (when I used to live there). I just tried a couple of dummy searches in the USA and I seem to be able to see award availability 60 days out.
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Old May 6, 18, 7:32 pm
  #4  
 
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Originally Posted by sdsearch View Post
DId you register for it yet?

If you register, it will probably work better if you register In Germany (since that seems to be where you're based), because then you'll get a 30 day reward booking window in Germany but a 60 day reward booking window outside Germany, before you earn any status. Those who register in the USA get 30 days within the USA, and 60 days outside the USA, but the USA is much bigger than Germany and so that doesn't work as well probably.
Are you sure about that? I thought it's region based, not country. So if The Bouncer registers in Germany, has has a 30 day window in Europe (not just Germany) and 60 day window everywhere else.
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Old May 7, 18, 6:45 pm
  #5  
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Originally Posted by Viks View Post
Are you sure about that? I thought it's region based, not country. So if The Bouncer registers in Germany, has has a 30 day window in Europe (not just Germany) and 60 day window everywhere else.
It may be region-based in some way perhaps, but not necessarily in the conventional way of regions, because for us in the US it just says US and Canada, not Mexico, not Caribbean, etc.

In any case:

1. The OP is already registered in the UK.

2. The OP will have at least Gold is not Platinum CP status if they stay the number of night it'll seem they'll stay, and so for this year and next they'll have at least 50 days "near home" and perhaps 75 days everywhere. Though if they don't keep their Choice stays up after this trip, it could go back to 30 "near home" in 2020. (Though if they have a ton of points from this trip which they don't use up all at once, they may not have a problem keeping Gold status alive for a few years, since reward nights count toward CP status.)
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Old May 8, 18, 1:05 am
  #6  
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Originally Posted by Viks View Post
Are you sure about that? I thought it's region based, not country. So if The Bouncer registers in Germany, has has a 30 day window in Europe (not just Germany) and 60 day window everywhere else.
It’s definitely region-based, and then the question goes to how Choice defines a region. For a Germany-based program account with Choice, the 30 day award booking window restriction for general members applies to way more hotels in Europe than just hotels in Germany.

[Side note: Choice hotels in “Europe” for this purpose are not even 7% of all Choice hotels globally, but they are way more than just hotels in Germany..]

Last edited by GUWonder; May 8, 18 at 1:11 am
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Old May 8, 18, 1:53 am
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I have checked out the award availability and I can see 30 days for anywhere in Europe (I checked out random places in UK, Germany and Sweden) and 60 days in the USA.

I intend to ask for a status match from IHG Platinum, but I'll wait until July to do that so that it's valid through 2019 too. How likely is this to be granted? I'm guessing platinum is the best I can hope for.

I'm guess it's probably easiest and best just to keep my UK account, as it doesn't seem to matter which country within a region I'm registered in, as nolg as it's not the one I'm doing the most travelling in?

I live in Austria and work in Germany. Is there anything at all to be gained by re-registering in either of these countries? My UK based account only has 5,000-odd points.
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Old May 8, 18, 4:20 am
  #8  
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Originally Posted by The_Bouncer View Post
I have checked out the award availability and I can see 30 days for anywhere in Europe (I checked out random places in UK, Germany and Sweden) and 60 days in the USA.

I intend to ask for a status match from IHG Platinum, but I'll wait until July to do that so that it's valid through 2019 too. How likely is this to be granted? I'm guessing platinum is the best I can hope for.

I'm guess it's probably easiest and best just to keep my UK account, as it doesn't seem to matter which country within a region I'm registered in, as nolg as it's not the one I'm doing the most travelling in?

I live in Austria and work in Germany. Is there anything at all to be gained by re-registering in either of these countries? My UK based account only has 5,000-odd points.
Choice has a history of matching that IHG staty and granting Choice Platinum status.
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Old May 8, 18, 4:32 am
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Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post


Choice has a history of matching that IHG staty and granting Choice Platinum status.
Excellent!
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Old May 9, 18, 8:22 am
  #10  
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Originally Posted by The_Bouncer View Post
Excellent!
Thank you for your interest in our Status Match program with Choice Privileges The_Bouncer. We would love for Choice Privileges to be your new reward program.

Yes, Choice Hotels does participate in matching elite status. We can offer to match as high as our Elite Platinum status. The match would depend on the elite status requirements of the program you belong to. IHG Platinum would qualify for a match to our Elite Platinum status.

As you stated, since your Choice Privileges account is registered as a European account you would be able to reserve reward night reservations up to 30 days in advance in Europe and 60 days in other locations worldwide. This would not change when you update your account to reflect your current address in Austria since it is region based.

When you reach Elite Platinum status in Choice Privileges, this booking window would be extended to 75 days at all participating locations worldwide. When you are ready to have your status matched, please send an email to [email protected].

In your email, please include the following:

Full name
Choice Privileges member number
Proof of Elite status in other hotel loyalty programs. Such as a screenshot or copy of your other program's loyalty card (with expiration date) or a screenshot or copy of your other program's current statement or account status page.

You will typically receive a response within 7-9 business days letting you know if we were successful in matching your elite status. You may use this link for the full details on this offer.

We look forward to your next stay with Choice Hotels. Have a wonderful day!
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Old May 9, 18, 5:23 pm
  #11  
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Originally Posted by The_Bouncer View Post
I have been an IHG man for some 20 years, but for various reasons, I am looking for a new home and Choice seems to be fitting the bill.

I am semi-retired and travel an average of around 12 weeks a year, so obviously hotels are by far my biggest expense.

About 6 of these 12 weeks are likely to be spent in North America. The other 6 are often split between South Africa and various random places around the world. I nearly always travel solo and do a lot of road trips, often with 1-2 night stays.


The main things I am looking for in a program are:

Good points earning.

Low redemption rates.

Decent promotions (the 8k per 2 stays looks good).

Not too frequent devaluations.


All of my travel is self funded and essentially I am trying to get more bang for my buck, i.e. more time on the road for less $ and as many free nights as I can get.

I am not bothered about high end hotels or city locations. As long as a property is clean and secure and I have a comfortable bed and a hot shower, I am happy. I am also a smoker and prefer to have a smoking room, although motel rooms with outdoor access are also acceptable.

I know Choice is not a truly global chain, but I am hoping I can do well from it for my American trips. I can probably fill in the rest by cherry picking IHG Accelerate promos, mixed with hotels.com and Hilton points from my credit card.

Wyndham was another option I considered, but I am put off by the flat 15k redemption rate (I would rather have 2 free nights at an Econo Lodge than 1 at a Ramada).

Is there any reason why Choice should not be my new primary program?
The behavior you mention and the programs you're looking at are basically the same as me and the same programs I focus on.

While I do usually take a few seconds to actually calculate the relative cost/value of points redeemed or earned each time I book (i.e. I'd rather book a $60 place that earns $20 back in points over a place that goes for $50 with no rebate, but I'd rather pay $60 for a place than use $70 worth of points), my MO more or less generally ends up being:

-Book IHG Pointbreaks in the rare case it's available
-Pay for Choice during the stay-2-get-1 promo
-Redeem at Choice outside of that promo
-Pursue IHG Accelerate when it makes sense (i.e. the payout is enough to offset IHG's higher rates)
-Pursue some promos when the payout is good enough (Wyndham's quarterly-ish stay-two-get-one promos or maybe the occasional Marriott one, but not Hilton because "double points" still makes their ROI worse than just booking a Hilton via Hotels.com :P)
-Attempt an Orbitz BRG (or other BRGs if they're available, but they're rarer these days)
-Book everything else via Hotels.com with Welcome Rewards
-Book all of the above via a cashback portal--TopCashBack is usually, but not always, the best general option--for a few extra percent

If your hotel standards are similar to mine (i.e. lower than most FTers, who seem to find something to complain about everywhere except maybe the Park Hyatt Vendome or the Park Hyatt Maldives), then Choice is a fantastically rewarding program with a brand that keeps your out-of-pocket spend low.

I don't know if I can really add anything to what you've already come up with and what's been mentioned in this thread, but some of the discussion here is relevant and may be of assistance: 60 days road trip - which midrange chains?

Edited to add: right now, I'm valuing Choice points at 0.5cpp and IHG points at 0.6cpp, but that IHG point value ends up making me a little too quick to earn them and too slow to redeem, so I'm kind of leaning towards adjusting my IHG valuation down to 0.5cpp, too.
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Last edited by jackal; May 10, 18 at 10:45 am
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Old May 10, 18, 5:31 am
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Jackal, It seems you and I have very similar priorities. I don't really care where I stay, as long as it's clean, secure and reasonably quiet. A comfortable bed and a hot shower is really all I am bothered about. I have stayed in several Choice brands in the past and they are absolutely fine.

I have 5 months a year without work during the European winter, and my priority is to be able to travel for as much of that time as possible. I have stayed at the kind of "aspirational" properties that other FTers seem to obsess over and while they are nice, I would take a week on the road over a night at any of them. The bottom line is I am value conscious.

I have read the thread you mentioned and the Choice program seems to fit the bill. In fact, the more I read about it, the better it seems to get.

ChoiceHotels: Thank you for your response. It is very refreshing to see a representative from a large corporation actually reading what people write about them on travel forums and responding. I am very interested in the status match and will definitely go ahead with this.
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Old May 10, 18, 1:12 pm
  #13  
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Originally Posted by The_Bouncer View Post
Jackal, It seems you and I have very similar priorities. I don't really care where I stay, as long as it's clean, secure and reasonably quiet. A comfortable bed and a hot shower is really all I am bothered about. I have stayed in several Choice brands in the past and they are absolutely fine.

I have 5 months a year without work during the European winter, and my priority is to be able to travel for as much of that time as possible. I have stayed at the kind of "aspirational" properties that other FTers seem to obsess over and while they are nice, I would take a week on the road over a night at any of them. The bottom line is I am value conscious.

I have read the thread you mentioned and the Choice program seems to fit the bill. In fact, the more I read about it, the better it seems to get.

ChoiceHotels: Thank you for your response. It is very refreshing to see a representative from a large corporation actually reading what people write about them on travel forums and responding. I am very interested in the status match and will definitely go ahead with this.

You are quite welcome. It is our pleasure to assist in any way that we can. We want everyone to know that we are always happy to help.

I want to let you know about an exciting new change that just went into place on May 9, 2018. Redeeming points for Reward Nights is no longer restricted to your current elite level with Choice Privileges. All members can now search and redeem points for Reward Nights as far as 100 days in advance of arrival worldwide.

Make sure you log into your online profile first, before searching. Without logging in you will only be able to search for Reward Nights 30 days in advance of arrival. Also, reward night reservations need to be confirmed online at our main website www.ChoiceHotels.com. Reward Nights cannot be redeemed from the international or regional sites.

Please be aware that some of the messaging regarding confirming Reward Nights is not displaying correctly on the website. We are working to have this updated and we thank you in advance for your patience while we take care of this.

Currently, when logged into your online profile and searching for a Reward Night (outside of the current booking window for your elite status), the site will return a message stating that it can only be reserved up to the limit of the previous booking window determined by your elite status. Simply ignore this message and you will still be able to reserve a Reward Night up to 100 days in advance of arrival.

Before this change, the Reward Night booking window was 30 days without elite status, 50 days with Elite Gold, 75 days with Elite Platinum and 100 days for Elite Diamond.

Thank you for your interest in Choice Hotels and Choice Privileges! I look forward to your next stay with us!

Kevin C.
Executive Guest Services
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Old May 10, 18, 1:43 pm
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Thank you very much Kevin. It looks like I have found my new home.
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Old May 13, 18, 10:59 am
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Originally Posted by The_Bouncer View Post
Thank you very much Kevin. It looks like I have found my new home.
Enjoy your new home until Choice leaves you stranded. Diamond customer service is one step below useless.

It will only be a matter of time until your looking for another home.
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