Big point increases in New Zealand

Old Mar 27, 09, 9:38 pm
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Big point increases in New Zealand

Most expensive hotels in New Zealand last week was 25,000 points, now 75,000 points. Lake Wanaka I have booked in two weeks for 10k per night, now 75,000 per night, hope this is not an indication of what is to come worldwide.
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Old Mar 27, 09, 10:18 pm
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It seems like a mistake (I've occasionally seen errors that correct themselves after a few days or so).
The Choice Privileges terms state the maximum points needed is 35,000 points (and that's just for the HI properties):
You may redeem a free night for as little as 6,000 points. Reward nights are available in the following tiers: 6,000, 8,000, 10,000, 12,000, 16,000, 20,000, 25,000, 30,000 and 35,000.
http://www.choicehotels.com/ires/en-US/html/GPRules

There's also a notice on the website right now:
ATTENTION: You may experience limited access on Saturday, March 28, 2009 from 12:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. EST. Our site will be undergoing maintenance during this time. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause
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Old Mar 28, 09, 6:26 am
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Unfortunately it is not a mistake just tried to add a night, by calling and was told Wanaka hotel is now 75K points. I have 3 other nights reserved for 10K points. (reserved a month ago) All hotels in Auckland have at least doubled in points required. This has nothing to do with the website malfunctioning because the point incresase actually appeared Wednesday. (I thought it was a mistake at first also) Website now working correctly and points increases remain at new levels. I just wish it was a mistake. Remember they can change the rules and point requirements without notice and it looks like they just have done that in New Zealand.
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Old Mar 28, 09, 6:34 am
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I still think it's a mistake.
They can change the requirements without notice, but they still have to update the T&C.
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Old Mar 28, 09, 11:38 pm
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Originally Posted by soitgoes View Post
I still think it's a mistake.
They can change the requirements without notice, but they still have to update the T&C.
Australia, New Zealand and Singapore are currently being integrated into the worldwide program. The T&C's of the integrated program state:

You may redeem a free night for as little as 6,000 points. Reward nights worldwide are available from 6,000 to 35,000 points (excluding Australasia where points required are up to 75,000).
On the other hand, you can now earn points in this part of the world
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Old Mar 28, 09, 11:47 pm
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Originally Posted by perthite View Post
Australia, New Zealand and Singapore are currently being integrated into the worldwide program. The T&C's of the integrated program state:
Sure enough. The terms now say that.

That's a pretty absurd point level considering you can redeem at the Preferred/Summit properties for 40-50K points/night.

EDITED TO ADD:
While I anticipated some point increases when Australasia was added to the program, I did not anticipate them to increase to this absurd level. I think they're out of their tree. It's a shame because I am planning to be in Australia in August and was going to redeem. But not for 40-75K points/night.

Last edited by soitgoes; Mar 28, 09 at 11:57 pm
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Old Mar 29, 09, 12:00 am
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Originally Posted by soitgoes View Post
Sure enough. The terms now say that.

That's a pretty absurd point level considering you can redeem at the Preferred/Summit properties for 40-50K points/night.

EDITED TO ADD:
While I anticipated some point increases when Australasia was added to the program, I did not anticipate them to increase to this absurd level. I think they're out of their tree. It's a shame because I am planning to be in Australia in August and was going to redeem. But not for 40-75K points/night.
I never booked anything in New Zealand as a member of the Australasian program, but the highest level for New Zealand redemptions was 34,000 points. That is a huge change.

EDIT: Having a look from Australia, it seems that anything in the Clation Collection is 75,000. Everything else seems much the same as it did.

Last edited by perthite; Mar 29, 09 at 12:11 am
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Old Mar 31, 09, 9:06 pm
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This is strange abrupt increase. Hope they roll it back. Is this something to do with the expansion of the program to Au? Wish it did not happen.
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Old Mar 31, 09, 9:08 pm
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Luckily I just made the booking before this increases, although I wish I could make some changes.
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Old Mar 31, 09, 9:40 pm
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Originally Posted by UA Fan View Post
This is strange abrupt increase. Hope they roll it back. Is this something to do with the expansion of the program to Au? Wish it did not happen.
There was a frequent guest program already in place in Australia/New Zealand, so I guess that may have something to do with these levels. I don't know how the old program worked, but the program is still described on http://choicehotels.com.au

It was also called Choice Privileges. Point earnings were 10 per AUD or NZD (depending on hotel location). Awards ranged from 16-38K points. Since 1 USD is worth more than either an AUD or NZD, it does look like they roughly doubled the points needed to redeem in Australia/New Zealand from the Choice Privileges Australasia rate.

Australia
Award Levels Points
Silver 38,000 points
Red 33,000 points
Blue 28,000 points
Green 24,000 points
Pink 20,000 points
Yellow 16,000 points

New Zealand
Award Levels Points
Red 34,000 points
Blue 25,000 points
Green 21,000 points
Yellow 18,000 points

Asia/South Pacific
Points Country
From 17,000 Papua New Guinea
From 16,000 Singapore
Code:
General Program Information

   1. You may enjoy Choice Privileges benefits at all Comfort, Quality and Clarion hotels across Australia and New Zealand, plus other participating Choice hotels across the Asia Pacific region.
   2. You must maintain New Zealand or Australian address to be a Member, receive Hotel Benefits ("Hotel Benefits"), earn and redeem Points ("Points") and receive Program statements.
   3. The Choice Privileges Australasia Rewards Program does not operate in conjunction with any other Choice Privileges program outside of Australasia.
   4. Choice Privileges points expire two years from the statement period in which the points were earned.
   5. Choice Privileges members may only redeem points in the following Asia Pacific countries Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Singapore.

Reservation Services

   1. As a Member, you may make reservations at the Standard Corporate Rate (if available) or at other valid rates through the Program toll-free priority reservation line at 1 800 812 002, your travel agent, or the Program website (choicehotels.com.au).
   2. You may use the toll free Program Priority Reservation Line in Australia only.
   3. You may use the applicable Choice Privileges points earning rates, but not with any other discount or promotional offers.

Earning Points

   1. You must make the reservation under your name.
   2. A minimum of one night's accommodation is required before the Choice Privileges member can earn points. If you are not staying at the hotel, points cannot be earned on other hotel services, such as food and beverages.
   3. Members can only claim points for a maximum of 3 rooms per night.
   4. Members can only claim points for a maximum of 7 consecutive nights.
   5. As a Member, you are the only person who may earn Points for your account.
   6. If both you and another Member share a room, Choice Hotels will credit Points to the Member reserving the room.
   7. You earn Points for stays on the following standard rate plans (SRPs). They are: Rack, Corporate (SCR), Government/Military (SGM), VIP (SPC) VIP Nett rate (SNP).
   8. You do not earn Points for complimentary rooms, rooms paid for by third parties as part of a convention or meeting, or rooms booked through a travel agent as a part of wholesale packages or series tours.
   9. You earn 10 Points for each whole dollar (local currency) that you pay in accommodation, restaurant, bar charges, laundry and phone calls.
  10. Points are not earned on conference costs or tours and packages purchased via the member's room account. Points are also not earned on purchases from retail outlets.
  11. You may redeem your earned Points as early as 15 days from the date you check out if you reserved your stay through the Priority Reservations Line, the Program website, or a travel agent using an automated reservation system.
  12. Companies cannot elect to redeem points for company purposes.
  13. In the event that food and beverage expenses are charged back to a member's hotel account from a local restaurant or where the hotel's restaurant is a separate entity, the provision of points is at the discretion of the hotel.

Hotel Benefits

   1. Upon check-in, you may request that the hotel upgrade your room. The hotel will accommodate your request if it has an available upgrade.
   2. If you do not receive a Program service at the hotel, you must advise the front desk staff of the problem right away and give them a chance to correct the situation. If the hotel staff are unable to satisfy you, the hotel will determine the value of that service and seek the best way to provide you with a comparable value service or credit you a maximum of one night's room charge.
   3. Membership in Choice Privileges automatically makes you a member of Choice Privileges Worldwide. With Choice Privileges Worldwide, you may enjoy the following Hotel Benefits at Choice Hotels in the USA, Canada, Caribbean, Mexico and Europe: corporate rate, complimentary room upgrade (subject to availability at check-in), free local newspaper each weekday morning and extended check-out two hours past the standard time. Point earning or use is not available at these locations.

Temporary Card

   1. The Choice Privileges Temporary Card is only an interim measure to provide instant recognition and the ability to earn points on your next stay.
   2. If a Temporary Card continues to be in use 30 days after validation, the card will be terminated.
   3. Temporary Cards need to be validated before use.
   4. Point earning is only applicable for the members 'next stay'.

Awards & Redeeming Points

   1. Awards are only redeemable for standard room types and are subject to specific award availability.
   2. PIN numbers must be quoted at time of award reservation.
   3. Choice Hotels may periodically modify the Program, with or without notice, by adding, changing or deleting Awards, Points given, Award thresholds, participating hotels or travel partners. If Choice Hotels modifies the Program, you may not be able to obtain Awards previously promoted.
   4. You are responsible for any tax liability and disclosure obligations related to your Points and Awards.
   5. To guarantee Express Check-in, reservations must be made in advance through the Choice Privileges Priority Reservations line and guaranteed with a credit card.
   6. Award nights are valid for two persons only. Extra person rates are applicable and are set by the individual property.

Award Nights
You may redeem a free night for as little as 16,000 points.

   1. You must make your free room night reservations through the dedicated Choice Privileges Service Centre on 1 800 806 644 number no more than 30 days and no less than 1 day before your planned arrival.
   2. Your free room night does not include incidental charges such as restaurant bills.
   3. The hotel will hold your room reservation until 7 am on the day after your scheduled arrival.
   4. You may only change reservations dates through the dedicated Choice Privileges Service Centre and by the date and time noted by the reservation sales consultant at the time of the original booking. Cancellation of a booking will result in the forfeiting of points. The change must be for the same hotel.
   5. If you are unable to use your room and fail to cancel your reservation, or if you do not claim the room by the specified time, Choice Hotels will not re-credit your account with the Points that you redeemed for that room.
   6. You will not earn Points for free award nights.
   7. You may not reserve free award nights through a travel agent and free award nights are not commissionable to travel agents.
   8. You may find the award level for any hotel at choicehotels.com.au, refer to the Choice Hotels Directory or by calling the Choice Privileges Service Centre on: 1 800 806 644.
   9. Choice Hotels may change the award levels or level of any hotel at any time without notice.

Qantas Frequent Flyer points

   1. Members of both the Choice Privileges program and Qantas Frequent Flyer program may only receive points on stays in one of the programs. This must be elected by the member at the hotel.
   2. You must be a member of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program to redeem Choice Privileges Points for Qantas Frequent Flyer points.
   3. You may redeem Choice Privileges Points for Qantas Frequent Flyer points by calling the Choice Privileges Service Centre on 1 800 806 644 and providing your Qantas Frequent Flyer number and quoting your Choice Privileges PIN number.
   4. Allow two weeks for Qantas Frequent Flyer points to be credited to your Qantas Frequent Flyer account.
   5. Changes, reissuance or recredit of Points is not allowed once you have made a request to redeem Choice Privileges Points for Qantas Frequent Flyer points.
   6. The Qantas Frequent Flyer name is a registered trademark of Qantas Airways Limited. Qantas reserve the right to change their Frequent Flyer program at any time with or without notice. Qantas is not responsible for products or services offered by other participating companies.

Air New Zealand Airpoints

   1. Choice Hotels partnership with Air New Zealand commenced 1 January 2006.
   2. Members of both the Choice Privileges program and the Air New Zealand Airpoints program may only receive points on stays in one of the programs. This must be elected by the member at the hotel.
   3. Air New Zealand Airpoints members must become Choice Privileges members to earn Air New Zealand Airpoints at Choice hotels.
   4. You may redeem Choice Privileges Points for Air New Zealand Airpoints by calling the Choice Privileges Service Centre on 1 800 806 644 and providing your Air New Zealand Airpoints number and quoting your Choice Privileges PIN number.
   5. Allow two weeks for Air New Zealand Airpoints to be credited to your Air New Zealand Airpoints account.
   6. Changes, reissuance or recredit of Points is not allowed once you have made a request to redeem Choice Privileges points for Air New Zealand Airpoints.
   7. Air New Zealand reserve the right to change their Airpoints program at any time with or without notice. Air New Zealand is not responsible for products or services offered by other participating companies.

Choice Privileges Service Centre

You may phone the Service Centre line, Monday - Friday, 8.00 am - 5.30 pm Australian EST on 1 800 806 644 or alternatively write to the Choice Privileges Service Centre at: GPO Box 4992WW, Melbourne, VIC 3001. You may also send the Service Centre a fax at +61 (03) 9243 2471 or via email to [email protected].au. Please be sure to include your member number on all correspondence.
Member Record Changes

You are responsible for advising Choice Hotels through the Choice Privileges Service Centre of any changes in your name or address. This can be completed in writing, via e-mail or by calling the Service Centre and quoting your PIN number. For name change requests you must provide Choice Hotels with supporting written legal documentation, including your signature and Member account number, plus the date of your request. Choice Hotels abides by the National Privacy Principles, please email [email protected], visit our website at choicehotels.com.au or write to the Choice Privileges Service Centre for a copy of our Privacy Statement.
Other Terms & Conditions

   1. Choice Hotels may add, modify or delete Program terms or conditions with or without notice and may terminate the Program at any time.
   2. You may not transfer your Points to anyone or by any means, including through a will or divorce decree.
   3. You may not combine your Points with Points belonging to anyone else, including your spouse.
   4. You may only maintain one Program account. If you open more than one Program account and have more than one Membership number, Choice Hotels will credit Points to only one account and terminate the other account.
   5. You may not sell or barter Points or redeem Points for cash.
   6. Choice Hotels may modify the Points listed in your Program account based on actual stay information.
   7. If you have questions about a Program statement, a processed stay, or Points for a stay, you must contact the Choice Privileges Service Centre within 60 days of the statement date. You have six (6) months from date of stay to notify Choice Privileges Service Centre of any paid stays that have not appeared on your statement. If you do not notify the Choice Privileges Service Centre within six (6) months from the date of stay, points will not be awarded. You must provide the Choice Privileges Service Centre with your hotel receipt indicating your paid stay, plus your membership number, and other appropriate and unaltered documentation. Once received, please allow up to 45 days to process your request. Choice Hotels will make a good faith effort to understand and process your question or request.
   8. You should retain all stay documentation until you receive your Program statement showing that Choice Hotels credited Points to your Program account.
   9. You will receive a statement only when you have gained or redeemed Points during the previous four months.
  10. You are responsible for understanding the Program rules and tracking your Points.
  11. Choice Hotels and its Choice Privileges partners are not responsible for delayed, lost or misdirected mail, statements or other correspondence.
  12. If you do not earn Points for six consecutive months, Choice Hotels may remove you from the Program's active mailing list.
  13. If you do not earn Points for 18 consecutive months, Choice Hotels may remove you from the Program. If Choice Hotels removes you from the Program, you will forfeit your Points.
  14. Choice Hotels may terminate the program at any time without prior notice.
  15. If Choice Hotels terminates the program, you must redeem your Points for Awards and complete your Award stays within six months after the Program End to avoid forfeiting your Points.
  16. Choice Hotels and its partners will take appropriate administrative and legal action if you abuse, violate or defraud the Program, Membership Guide, Membership application, reservations or Hotel Benefits, Points or Award redemption, or any federal, state or local law, including, but not limited to, cancelling your Membership and invalidating your Points and Awards.
  17. Choice Hotels may, at its sole discretion, revoke your Membership and Points if you do not pay outstanding Choice Hotels brand hotel accounts when due.
  18. The Program and/or Point awarding or redeeming is void where prohibited by law.
  19. Choice Hotels interprets all Program rules.
  20. Choice Hotels may share Program information with Choice Hotels travel partners. You may ask that Choice Hotels exclude your name and address by writing to the Choice Privileges Service Centre.
  21. Existing Choice Privileges members will be awarded 500 bonus Choice Privileges points for each new member they refer to the Choice Privileges program, up to a maximum of three (3) new members. Each new member needs to provide the name and membership number of the existing Choice Privileges member when applying for membership to enable the bonus points to be credited.
An increase is one thing, but this level of increase is absurd. It really turns me off from Choice Privileges. You can't book very far in advance, so no notice changes like this sting.
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Old Apr 3, 09, 3:17 pm
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I just found out this morning when I tried to look for places where we could use up account balance before losing them end of the year. Last year I wound up donating my bal of 4K to Red Cross.

There are huge disparity amoung pt levels - take a look of properties in Japan, versus those in Australia / NZ...

In 2007 we booked several nights at Queenstown on a Clarion Select or whatever it was called, a property perched on the Shotover River where the Jetboats turned, for 10K a night. It was a very nice boutique hotel. Same 10K got us a dump in Te Anau, that nobody knew such hotel except the girl at the tourist information center - a hotel has changed hand several times and ended up with Choice group but not a single sign outside the hotel indicating such.

The pt levels in many locations, including US, are so absurb now, and there is no way to extend the expiration of account balance, plus the restriction in advance booking - totally turn us away from this program.

They are only useful to us on roadtrips to places like National Parks, where most often you have to stay in a motels. Otherwise we would get much more value for our money by going thru Priceline bidding.

It seems Choice has forgotten it has to compete with Best Western, Holiday Inn Express, Fairfield, Hampton, and even Four Points and Hilton Garden Inn, just off the top of my head.
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Old Apr 3, 09, 4:32 pm
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They did this thing in such a backwards manner. What they should have done is converted the Australasia CP points into new CP points at some conversion rate other than 1:1. Instead, they are converting them 1:1 but adjusting the Australia/New Zealand point rates.

The point levels have become bizarre and extremely high in some cases. There is little correlation between property quality or cost and point level. When luxury properties go for 40,000 points and a Quality Inn goes for 75,000 points one has to go "huh?".

Sorry, Choice, but you're pushing me away.

I'll stick to HHonors, Priority Club, and, to a small extent now, SPG.
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Old Apr 3, 09, 5:51 pm
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Originally Posted by soitgoes View Post
They did this thing in such a backwards manner. What they should have done is converted the Australasia CP points into new CP points at some conversion rate other than 1:1. Instead, they are converting them 1:1 but adjusting the Australia/New Zealand point rates.

The point levels have become bizarre and extremely high in some cases. There is little correlation between property quality or cost and point level. When luxury properties go for 40,000 points and a Quality Inn goes for 75,000 points one has to go "huh?".

Sorry, Choice, but you're pushing me away.

I'll stick to HHonors, Priority Club, and, to a small extent now, SPG.
I must agree that this makes no sense whatsoever for properties abroad.

That said, with Choice's seemingly never ending promo's, I find it difficult to justify NOT staying with them. I've got about 150k points expiring at the end of the year - I'm almost hoping that I don't need them for a family excursion so I can cash them in for gift certs. It's not a fantastic conversion rate (64k = $200) BUT it is a great opportunity to get some value out of expiring points.
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Old Apr 3, 09, 8:35 pm
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Originally Posted by nitro View Post

That said, with Choice's seemingly never ending promo's, I find it difficult to justify NOT staying with them. .
I think other chains also provide this benefit.
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Old Apr 4, 09, 10:19 am
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Originally Posted by UA Fan View Post
I think other chains also provide this benefit.
You're right of course - there are other chains out there. I prefer HHonors over Choice -- From what I've witnessed over the last 5 years, on a year-round basis, Choice clearly wins out with regards to promos (I'm somewhat captive to these two brands in my area).
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