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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: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
Compare the Choice Visa to Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, one of the best rewards credit card and you'll see what we mean. The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card gives you a 2% 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 Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card 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 Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card 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
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.