This collection of hotels is not particularly well known, but offers great values for the budget minded travellers. The chains are: Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality Inn, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, Mainstay Suites, Suburban, Econlodge and Rodeway Inns.
A word of warning is that these hotels vary greatly in quality, comfort, location and condition. I tend to stay with newer Comfort Inns, Comfort Suites, Clarion and Cambria Suites. Because of the variance in quality I HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you consult tripadvisor.com before booking any Choice hotel property. There are some real steals and some real lemons.
The rewards program was featured several months ago because of the very advantageous exchange rate with Amtrak Guest Rewards, Continental Airlines and Southwst Airlines. The program was used by many, but I found that the points are worthwhile in lots of locations.
We stayed at a Choice hotels property in Cairns, Australia last year and were very satisfied. It was an older family run hotel, but clean (the big deal with me), well located, reasonably priced and available during a busy season.
Our upcoming trip to New Zealand is loaded with Choice Hotels. I found that they had more hotels, with better redemption rates, and more locations than my typical big three of Hilton, Marriott and Starwood. Of course the fact that they are all free stays is really critical and I had little trouble with availability except in Queenstown
One drawback of the program is the ability to book AWARD STAYS only 30 days in advance domestically and 60 days in advance for international reservations.
In addition to the hotels, they have an online shopping mall, numerous other partners and one of the most extensive airline mile redemptions in the industry. You can convert your Choice points into 20+ airlines including Southwest Airlines.
And the last but probably one of the best features is the affiliation with Preferred and Summit Hotels which offer great high end hotels throughout Europe. A unique combination, budget minded in the US and high end in Europe????
Don’t overlook this chain.
IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card
- Annual Fee: $49 fee waived for the first year
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Hotel
The IHG Rewards Club Visa is often cited as one of the most underrated hotel credit cards, with good reason. The official offer is for 70,000 points after $1,000 spent within three months, with the first year’s fee waived. The card comes with an annual free night certificate that can be used at any IHG property, including Intercontinental hotels - making this certificate worth upwards of 50,000 points. This is far more generous than some other hotel cards, which limit the categories in which free night certificates can be redeemed.
Cardholders earn 5 points per dollar at IHG hotels; 2 points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants; 1 point per dollar everywhere else. Moreover, you’ll get a 10% rebate on award redemptions, up to 100,000 points per year. The card also comes with Platinum status, though that doesn’t get you much with IHG. Still, this is a fantastic card to have in your wallet, with benefits that far outweigh the already low $49 annual fee.
- Earn 70,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
- Enjoy a free night of card membership at over 4,700 hotels worldwide
- Earn 5 points for each $1 spent at our hotels
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
- Bonus points redeemable at hotels such as Intercontinental® Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn®
- Automatic platinum elite status, as long as you remain a cardmember
- $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $49