Friday, July 31, 2009

Choice Privileges

Occasionally, not often, I travel on business and my employer pays my travel expenses including normal hotel charges.

Many people take advantage of business travel to stay in expensive hotels and dine in expensive restaurants. I make these occasions a win-win for me and for my employer by choosing Choice Hotels who’s well known brands include, Sleep Inn, Comfort Inn, and Comfort Suites. These mid-priced accommodations are generally less expensive than rooms selected by my colleagues; reducing the travel expense for my employer.

However, Choice Hotels has a “loyalty rewards” program they call Choice Privileges. I have a Choice Privileges account and every time I stay at a Choice hotel I’m credited with 10 Choice Privileges points for every dollar of invoiced cost (not counting taxes). So, a typical one-night stay at a Comfort Inn at $79 per night will earn me 790 Choice points.

In addition, Choice Hotels frequently runs promotions in which they offer 10,000 to 14,000 bonus points if you stay in three different Choice hotels within a 30 to 90 day pre-defined period. The catch with the promotions is that they must be different hotels, so when I have a two-day event scheduled I have to check out of one hotel and into another (sometimes across the street) in order to qualify for the bonus points.

It’s worth the hassle though. I’ve already taken a couple of free hotel stays by using some of my accumulated Choice Points and I now have enough in my account to cover the five day vacation Linda and I are planning for next month.

A win-win business travel situation for me and my employer allows my wife and I to eliminate the cost of accommodations from our vacation budget.

Link to Other Topics in the Special Report: Cutting Expenses

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