Today’s offer on Daily Getaways is for a 43% to 51% discount on Choice Privileges points. You can buy more than one package if you want lots of points, but my analysis below only considers the benefits of each package individually. You can get a complete list of upcoming Daily Getaways offers by reading my original post. Each day new offers go on sale at 10 AM Pacific, or 1 PM Eastern.
Choice Hotels is typically associated with budget-friendly properties like Comfort Inn, Quality Inn, Clarion, and EconoLodge. Reward nights range from 6,000 to 35,000 points in North America. While I have nothing against them (and have stayed at many in my life) this blog usually focuses on aspirational properties. A better use, in my opinion, is to transfer these points to airline loyalty programs.
Transfer partners include Amtrak and 11 airlines, including United MileagePlus, Alaska Mileage Plan, American AAdvantage, Southwest Rapid Rewards, and Aeroplan (Air Canada’s loyalty program). Even Spirit is a member. Exchange ratios vary, so I recommend you use my Points Transfer Calculator to look them up. However, here are some examples of what you can do with the different packages available from Daily Getaways.
14,000 points for $80 (3,143 available)
2,800 miles with United, Alaska, American, or Aeroplan. That’s enough to keep your account active if you were worried about miles expiring, and perhaps top off your balance for your next award. However, 2,800 miles aren’t going to get you anywhere by themselves. Southwest will give you 4,200 Rapid Rewards points. Amtrak gives you nothing until you have enough to transfer 32,000 all at once.
28,000 points for $144 (1,571 available)
The input doubles, and so does the output. 5,600 miles with Alaska Airlines is enough to try booking some of its discounted short-haul awards. At least, you can fly one-way.
42,000 points for $205 (1,048 available)
With 42,000 points you’ll get 8,400 miles with the large U.S. carriers; more short-haul awards in more programs become available at the 7,500-mile level. Southwest will give you 12,600 points. Amtrak will give you 5,000 points but you’ll have 10,000 Choice points leftover that you still need to use somehow.
55,000 points for $265 (800 available)
You can now get 11,000 miles in most airline loyalty programs or 16,500 Southwest Rapid Rewards points. I’m less familiar with Air New Zealand’s Airpoints program, but I know that the ratio is much lower because they’re more valuable. At this point, you can get 137 Airpoints.
Are any of these a good value? The cost is about 2.4 cents per mile when you transfer to the mainstream loyalty programs, but Alaska Airlines often sells their miles for something closer to 2 cents each. It might be worthwhile if you need United or American Miles. United in particular has high prices closer to 3.5 cents, making it worthwhile to buy and transfer Choice points.
As for Southwest Rapid Rewards, View from the Wing recently mentioned a devaluation to Wanna Get Away fares while improving the value for other fare types. It’s essentially equalizing the value across all fares.) At about 1.28 cents per Rapid Rewards point, buying and transferring them from Choice is a bad deal.
Bottom line: Choice Privileges can be good for United, American, and maybe a few other programs, but you shouldn’t buy them if you plan to transfer to Alaska or Southwest.