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. the main website page is: http://www.choicehotels.com/ires/html/ChoicePrivileges