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Choice Privileges Visa Signature: Is It The Right Choice?

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"Not a card worth recommending - especially for general spending."

Contents

Fans of Choice Hotels are probably familiar with the Choice Privileges loyalty program. Like most hotel programs you receive reward points for hotel stays that can be used for complementary nights, upgrades and other awards. To supplement the rewards you would earn through their loyalty program, the company also offers the Choice Privileges Visa. Credit card holders earn additional points for any spending they make on the card, allowing them to use every day expenses to accumulate additional points.

Review Summary: Not For Every Day Use

Unfortunately, the credit card doesn't offer enough value for general spending for it to be used as your primary credit card. When it comes to your primary credit card, you really want to balance a high rewards rate with flexible choices in how you can redeem your rewards.On this front the Choice Privileges Visa underperforms against other options. For most spending categories the card only offers an average rewards rate of 1.6% while limiting cardholders to affiliated hotels and resorts. There are many credit cards that combine a higher rewards rate with greater flexibility and would be a much better choice for everyday use.

A Much Better Primary Travel Card: The Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard

Compare the Choice Visa to Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard, our best rewards credit card and you'll see what we mean. The Arrival Plus gives you a 2.1% rewards rate, the highest of any rewards usable on any travel expense. Whether you're looking to book a flight, stay at a hotel, or even rent a car, the miles earned through the Arrival Plus apply. Better yet those rewards are applied as a statement credit so you don't even need to worry about using a different booking system. The drawback of most loyalty awards are the restrictions in availability and choice, which will not be an issue here.

For your main personal rewards card, a good overall rewards rate is vital. Choice's offering simply gives up too much value to be a competitive first credit card. If you're in the market for an everyday card, go with the Arrival Plus instead of the Choice Visa. It's no contest.

A Decent Supplemental Card For Frequent Choice Hotel Consumers

As a supplemental card however, the Privileges Visa is a little better. If you use the card to pay for stays at affiliated hotels, the rewards rate improves coming in at more than 3%. The best part is that the card has no annual fee, meaning there is little drawback in keeping the card around. Frequent Choice clients can leverage the card's hotel specific rewards rate to squeeze out a little more than they would through their primary credit card. Simply keep it around and use it exclusively for the times you're staying at one of their locations. 

The card's easy to earn signing bonuses are also an added value. Your first purchase on the card, and the first stay you pay for with the card earn you 8,000 and 24,000 points respectively. This is a great way to get over $200 in bonuses.

Choice Privileges Visa Features And Benefits

 
Annual Fee $0
Rewards 5 points per $1 spent on Choice Privileges locations
  2 points per $1 spent on everyday purchases
Bonuses  8,000 points after you first purchase
  24,000 points when you pay for a stay with your new card 
Additional Benefits Automatic Gold Elite Status

In Depth Analysis

To help you understand the benefits and features of the Choice Privileges Visa, we take an in depth look at the value of its different benefits and clarify different details about the cards features.

Less Points Than Advertised

It is important to note that while most language around the card says that you earn 15 points per $1 spent at Choice Privileges locations, this is actually misleading. 10 of the points are earned for being a member of their loyalty program, whether or not you have the card. Having the card will only net you an additional 5 points per $1 spent. For the purposes of evaluating the credit card, we only consider the points earned from the card itself, since consumers could easily earn the other 10 points while paying with a different rewards card.

What Are The Points Worth?

While there are a number of redemption options for Choice Privileges points including gift certificates and transfers to airline mileage programs, the best use of your points is to book free nights at hotels. Based on a number of possible scenarios, we estimate each point worth approximately .8 cents on average. More aggressive use of the points can net you as much as 1 cent per point, but may limit the flexibility of your options. With 2 points per dollar spent on everyday spending, this yields an overall 1.6% rewards rate.

Automatic Gold Elite Status

Card holders are automatically upgraded to Gold status with the Choice Privileges program. As a gold member you are able to book free award nights 50 days in advance instead of 30, and earn an additional 10% in points for eligible stays. Without the card, Gold membership would require you to stay 10 nights (including reward nights) in a calendar year. This benefit provides a slight value for new cardholders, but its likely that for the Choice Visa to be worthwhile you're making significant stays anyway, so Gold status probably wasn't that far out of reach.

Participating Resorts and Reach

Choice Hotels tend to be discount and budget hotels, ideal for the budget conscience or for frequent work travel. One benefit of the Choice program is the extensive reach with over 5,500 participating locations. Participating brands include the following:

Comfort Inn Comfort Suites Quality Inn
Sleep Inn Clarion Hotel Cambria Suites
Mainstay Suites Subruban Hotels EconoLodge
Rodeway Inn Ascend Hotel Collection  

Compare It To Other Cards

Use our model to compare the credit card against your other options. 

Edit Monthly Spend: $1,430
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Card Annual Fee 2-yr Net Rewards Rate

The Net Rewards Rate is equal to the Rewards Value over two years divided by the total spending. The total spending is equal to the values entered into the tool and multiplied by 24 months. See the Rewards Value note to see details on how it is calculated.

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Bonus Value

The bonus field shows our estimate for the value of the card’s sign-up bonus. If the bonus is point or mile based, we multiply the total bonus points/miles by our estimate for their value to arrive at a dollar equivalent. We display $0 if there is no bonus or if the user doesn’t qualify for the bonus based on the current spending entered into the tool.

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

2-yr Rewards Value

The Rewards Value is calculated by adding together the rewards earned from charging purchases to the card over two years and any sign-up bonuses (if applicable). They are then multiplied by our estimated point/mile value, with any annual fees (if applicable) subtracted. All values are based on our own estimates for the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using a card.

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
$89 - Waived first year 2.92%
$420
Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days - that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit
$1,052
Graph Card Read Review More Details
Annual Fee $89 - Waived first year
APR 16.99%, 20.99% or 23.99% Variable

Card Details

  • Enjoy 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days - that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit toward an eligible travel purchase
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases
  • Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem
  • Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases made while traveling abroad
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on Balance Transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR will apply, 16.99%, 20.99% or 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • There is a fee for balance transfers.

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 68,640 x $0.011 = $721
Bonuses
40,000 x $0.011 = $420
Less Annual Fees -$89
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 1,052
The Choice Privileges® Visa® Card
No Annual Fee 1.65%
$62
Earn 8,000 bonus points after your first purchase
$593
Graph Card Read Review More Details
Annual Fee No Annual Fee
APR 15.24%, 19.99% or 24.99% Variable

Card Details

  • Earn 8,000 bonus points after your first purchase
  • Earn 24,000 bonus points after your first paid stay at any Choice Privileges location
  • 15 points for every $1 spent at Choice Privileges locations
  • 5 points for every $1 spent on additional Choice Privileges points or Choice Hotel gift card purchases
  • 2 points for every $1 spent otherwise
  • Cardmembers automatically get Elite Gold status
  • Book award and free nights twenty days before other members
  • 10% point bonus on points earned for eligible stays at Choice Privileges locations
  • Redeem points for reward nights at over 1,500 hotel locations, gift cards for a variety of merchants, donations, and memberships

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 68,640 x $0.008 = $531
Bonuses
8,000 x $0.008 = $62
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 593

Comments and Questions

Advertiser Disclosure: Some of the offers that appear on this website are from companies which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). The site does not review or include all companies or all available products. For more information please see our Advertiser Disclosure.