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If you stay with Choice Hotels often, you’ll be excited to learn about the launch of two new credit cards from Wells Fargo: the Choice Privileges® Mastercard®* and Choice Privileges® Select Mastercard®*. These products, launched in April 2023, provide automatic elite status and earn Choice Privileges Rewards on every purchase. With over 7,000 locations at brands including Comfort Hotels, Sleep Inn and EconoLodge, it’s easy to put those benefits to use.
Choice Privileges Mastercard
The no-annual-fee Choice Privileges® Mastercard®* is essentially a re-design of the former Choice Privileges® Visa Signature® Card* (no longer open to new applicants). The card earns 5 points per dollar at participating Choice Hotels properties, 3 points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores, home improvement stores and phone plans from landline and cell phone providers and 1 point per dollar on other purchases.
The card is also currently offering a welcome bonus of 60,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
The main benefit the Choice Privileges Mastercard offers is automatic Gold status, which comes with a 10% boost in earned points on all eligible stays. The card also includes cell phone protection subject to a deductible when you pay your monthly bill with your card and all standard World Elite Mastercard benefits.
Choice Privileges Select Mastercard
For a premium credit card with higher earning rates, more benefits and a stronger welcome bonus, check out the all-new Choice Privileges Select Mastercard. This credit card offers accelerated earnings: 10 points per dollar at participating Choice Hotels properties, 5 points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores, home improvement stores and phone plans from landline and cell phone providers and 1 point per dollar on other purchases.
There’s also a generous welcome bonus on this card, though with a higher spending requirement: earn 90,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 within 3 months.
The benefits on this version of the card are also enhanced. You’ll be upgraded to Platinum status just for holding the card—which offers a 25% points bonus on eligible stays in addition to a few other on-site perks. Perhaps more impressive is an annual account anniversary bonus of 30,000 points. For nearly all cardholders, that bonus will be worth more than the $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95 for each subsequent year. The fee is waived the first year to sweeten the deal.
The Select Mastercard also comes with an up to $100 credit toward Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fees once every four years. Like the no-annual-fee card, this one also includes cell phone protection subject to a deductible and World Elite Mastercard perks. There’s no foreign transaction fees for either card, a must-have feature for international travelers.
Earning and Redeeming With Choice Privileges
Both cards advertise extremely high earning rates when staying at Choice Hotels. In reality, these earning rates are composed of three pieces:
- Standard earning rates of up to 10 points per dollar spent at Choice Hotels for being a Choice Privileges member
- Credit card earnings: 5 points per dollar spent at Choice Hotels when paying with your Choice Privileges Mastercard or 10 points per dollar spent with the Choice Privileges Select Mastercard
- Elite bonuses of 10% for Gold status (included with the Choice Privileges Mastercard) or 25% for Platinum status (offered on the Choice Privileges Select card)
Indeed, your points will rack up fast if you hold either of these cards—it’s a total of 16 to 22 points per dollar spent at Choice Hotels, depending on your credit card—but keep in mind only a portion of these are directly from your credit card spending.
For other types of purchases, the rewards rate isn’t as exciting. That’s because hotel points are typically worth less than 1 cent each, so you may be better off making purchases with a 2% cash-back credit card or a general travel card that has more valuable rewards.
The welcome bonuses on both cards are quite generous in relation to Choice Privileges Rewards. Free nights begin at 8,000 points per night with even upscale properties typically priced at 35,000 points or less. Depending on your travel plans and preferences, the initial bonus alone could cover several nights. The Select card’s account anniversary bonus could also fund one or more complimentary nights.
In addition to Choice Hotels brands, members can redeem rewards for resort properties through a partnership with Bluegreen Vacations, luxury properties via Preferred Hotels and Resorts and casino hotels with brands such as Ameristar or Hollywood Casinos.
Comparing Both Choice Privileges Credit Cards
|Choice Privileges® Mastercard®*||Choice Privileges® Select Mastercard®*|
|Welcome Bonus||60,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months||90,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 within 3 months|
|Annual Fee||$0||$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95 for each subsequent year|
|Foreign Transaction Fee||None||None|
|Ongoing Earnings||5 points per dollar at participating Choice Hotels properties, 3 points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores, home improvement stores and phone plans from landline and cell phone providers and 1 point per dollar on other purchases||10 points per dollar at participating Choice Hotels properties, 5 points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores, home improvement stores and phone plans from landline and cell phone providers and 1 point per dollar on other purchases|
|Elite Status Offer||Gold||Platinum|
|Account Anniversary Bonus||N/A||30,000 bonus points every account anniversary|
|Other Notable Benefits||Get up to $800 of cell phone protection against damage or theft when you pay your monthly cell phone bill with your Choice Privileges Mastercard (subject to a $25 deductible).||Get up to $800 of cell phone protection against damage or theft when you pay your monthly cell phone bill with your Choice Privileges Select Mastercard (subject to a $25 deductible). |
Enroll in Global Entry TSA PreCheck® and receive an automatic statement credit up to $100 every four years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to your Choice Privileges Select Mastercard.
Should You Get a Choice Privileges Credit Card?
For the most part, Choice Hotels mostly focuses on basic yet comfortable properties, most of which are in the United States. Travelers who appreciate value-oriented stays will find plenty of hotels at convenient locations near vacation destinations or interstates. Someone who frequents these types of hotels will find merit to these cards. The welcome bonuses are quite high, as are the earning rates for stays at Choice Hotels.
The Choice Privileges Select Mastercard in particular offers a compelling value proposition, thanks to its higher earning rates and superior elite status upgrade. Though there’s an annual fee, someone staying with Choice Hotels just once a year could easily get a strong return on that cost by redeeming their account anniversary bonus points for one or more free nights.
For travelers who lean more toward luxury properties and international vacations, the integration with Radisson Hotels Americas (points transfer to Radisson hotels) and the Nordic Choice chain in Scandinavia offer some really interesting redemption opportunities. These cards might be the push you need to give Choice Privileges a second look and see what you might be missing.
Find the Best Hotel Rewards Credit Cards Of 2023
Choice Hotels aren’t glitzy, nor are the new Choice Privileges credit cards. But what they lack in flashiness is more than made up for with practical characteristics for travelers. They didn’t overlook any basics: earning rates for Choice Hotel stays and basic household goods are solid and automatic elite status is a nice freebie. Once you add in a welcome bonus and other perks, frequent travelers will find these a rewarding option to fill their wallet.