Choice Privileges is the fifth largest hotel chain in the world and has a total of 12 brands in its portfolio, which span more than 7,118 properties in over 41 countries and territories. These hotel and resort brands have distinct amenities and services that fit the preferences and budget levels of different types of travelers.
The difference between cash back and points is that the former is the most versatile type of credit card rewards, as it can be redeemed for anything, and there’s never any doubt about how much it’s worth. Points, on the other hand, have a value set by the credit card company and tend to be worth the most when redeemed for travel. Credit card companies won’t always clearly disclose points values, and those values can change over time. It’s possible that points could be worth 1 cent apiece one day and 0.8 cents each the next.… read full answer
You can spend points for many different things. Usually, you can trade them for travel, gift cards, unique experiences, charitable donations or even cash. There are no restrictions on what you can use cash for. You can typically redeem cash back for a statement credit, paper check, or direct deposit to a bank account. One thing credit card shoppers should watch out for are cards advertised as offering cash back that really provide points. For example, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ offers “5% cash back” in certain bonus categories. But what it actually gives is 5 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1, which cardholders can then trade for cash back at a rate of 1 cent each.
Earning rate: Usually at least 1% cash back or 1 point per $1 spent.
Devaluation: Points can be devalued by the issuer, while cash back can’t.
Redemption options: Statement credit, check or deposit for cash. Travel, merchandise, gift cards, cash and more for points.
When it’s the best choice: Points for frequent travelers. Cash back for everyone else.
Let’s take a look at two high-profile cards in a battle of cash back vs. points.
Citi Double Cash Card tops the cash back offerings with 2% cash back on all purchases and an introductory APR of 0% for 18 months on balance transfers, with a 3% (min $5) balance transfer fee. It also chases a $0 annual fee and requires good credit to get.
But if you’re a frequent traveler, Chase Sapphire Preferred is a more attractive option. It gives 2 points / $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and 1 point / $1 on everything else. It has an initial bonus of 100,000 points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. This card’s points are worth 1 cent each toward cash back or gift cards or 1.25 cents each toward travel. There’s a $95 annual fee and the card requires good credit.
For both cash back and points cards, you can expect to lose your rewards if your account closes for any reason. Most cards don’t let your rewards expire over time. But Citi Double Cash Card’s cash back expires if you don’t use your card for 12 months. And on points cards alone, your points can be devalued if the issuer decides to charge more points for its rewards. So, frequent redemption is essential.
So, the bottom line is that frequent travelers should check out points cards. Otherwise, cash is king.
Choice Privileges points expire after 18 months with no account activity as well as when you close your account with unused rewards. To prevent Choice Privileges points from expiring, redeem your points on a regular basis and make sure to cash in any unredeemed rewards before closing your account.
Even though Choice Privileges points expire only in these select situations, it’s still a good idea to avoid building up a big Choice Privileges rewards balance because that would make you more vulnerable to rewards devaluation.
If you’re trying to choose a hotel rewards program and are concerned about rewards expiration policies, you can see how the Choice Privileges points expiration policy compares to other popular companies’ policies in the table below.
Choice points are worth 0.77 cents each, on average. That means 10,000 Choice points have a value of about $77. Plus, Choice points are worth a bit less valuable than the average hotel points, which are worth roughly 0.95 cents each.
It's important to remember that the value of Choice points depends on how they are redeemed. They have the most value when used for Choice Privileges hotel reservations. You can easily calculate the value of Choice points for any redemption method, though. Just divide the dollar value of the redemption item by the number of points needed.… read full answer
How to Earn More Choice Points
One of the best ways to increase the number of Choice points that you earn is to apply for a Choice credit card. That can also help you reach a higher status tier in the Choice Privileges, further boosting your earning potential.
The easiest way to calculate the value of Choice points is to determine the dollar value of what you're redeeming for, minus any taxes and fees that you'll still have to pay, and then divide that amount by the number of points you're required to redeem. For your convenience, here's the formula:
Dollar Value of Redemption Item / Number of Choice Points Needed = Choice Point Value
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