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My parents happen to love the Choice Hotels brand (Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Clarion, etc..). And by love, I mean they often love the price. Choice Hotels also happens to have locations in the sort of “less traveled” destinations that my parents frequent. Rarely is there a Starwood or Hyatt Hotel along the side of the road on their road trips, but there is often a Choice hotel option.
So, I was excited for them when I saw yesterday on Flyertalk that Choice Hotels has been added as an American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner. This means that my parents (and everyone else) can top off their Choice accounts with some Membership Rewards points, if needed, to obtain free hotel nights on their next trip. It also means that if you are are looking for another US Airways Grand Slam hotel transfer hit, this may be a good option if you were already close to the number of miles needed to redeem for a hit (5,000 Choice points to 1,000 Dividend Miles).
Keep in mind that Choice Privileges points can be purchased directly from Choice for $11 per 1,000 points, so there are other transfer/redemption options for Membership Rewards points that will often get you a better return per point than Choice. However, if you are looking to top off your Choice Privileges balance, this could be a good way to do it if you are rich in points and low on cash.
The exchange rate is 1,000 Membership Rewards points to 1,000 Choice Privileges points. One other thing to keep in mind is that the Choice program only lets you book reward nights 30 days in advance for non-elite members in the US and Canada. That makes vacation planning using reward nights a bit tougher, so make sure you take that into consideration before you start transferring points into the Choice program.
While I doubt I will personally take advantage of this new Membership Rewards partner, I am still glad it was added. The more options we have to use our points, the better.