Daily Getaways 2014: Transfer Choice Privileges Points to Airline Miles, Skip Wyndham

American Express and the US Travel Association are back with their annual Daily Getaways promotion, during which they offer several travel packages — often some points or a discounted hotel room. The exact offer changes every day, but there are some good deals. Fortunately they announce them in advance so you have some time to consider each offer before attempting to purchase it.

Daily Getaways logo

There are four important things to keep in mind when participating in Daily Getaways:

  1. Save 10% off the advertised price by paying with an American Express card.
  2. Each person can buy only one of each offer, but in the case of some offers, like hotel points, there may be multiple offers of different amounts. You can buy one of each.
  3. There is incredible demand for some offers, probably because we bloggers talk them up. Be ready to buy and click like crazy as the sale window opens each day at 10 AM (PT). If by chance your click goes through, it is held until you complete the purchase. If your click did not go through, try again as these purchases time out in about 10 minutes.
  4. Packages are rarely exactly what is advertised in the headline, and even after reading the fine print you may be able to use them for other purposes.

Today I’ll discuss two of the Daily Getaways for the first week that touch on this last point. (My prices in this and later posts will assume the 10% discount from using an American Express card.) Wyndham Rewards has several offers on Monday, May 19, and Choice Privileges has its own slate on Wednesday, May 21. I don’t normally stay at Wyndham or Choice properties. I will on occasion when there are no other options, but I don’t do it often enough to make it worth buying those nights in advance.

Wyndham Rewards offer

However, Wyndham and Choice aren’t actually selling discounted room nights despite very specific headlines like “two nights at Cambria Suites for $165.” In fact, they’re really selling the hotel points in their loyalty programs you would need to book those free nights. You could choose a shorter stay at a nicer property or a longer stay at a cheaper property. You could combine the points with those you’ve already earned or buy additional offers (remember, just one of each size).

Personally, I like to buy points from these hotel programs I usually ignore and transfer them to airline loyalty programs.

Wyndham Rewards — May 19

The problem with Wyndham’s offers is that they recently devalued their transfer chart for airline loyalty programs. You used to be able to transfer blocks of 8,000 points to get 3,200 airline miles. This was a great deal that I had used before in previous Daily Getaways. If still in effect, it would have provided the opportunity to buy miles with a program such as American Airlines for just 1.35 cents each.

Daily Getaways 2014 - Wyndham Airlines

But as of January 31 of this year, Wyndham has changed their airline conversion policy to allow just 1,200 miles in exchange for 6,000 points. It’s a smaller threshold, but it also means you can’t buy and transfer to airline miles for any less than 2.7 cents each. Even then, this price is only available if you buy a block of points evenly divisible by 6,000 with no unused remainder. Only the last, “2 nights at Wyndham” in the form of 60,000 points, fits this bill and only 100 such offers exist. I don’t recommend buying Wyndham Rewards points through Daily Getaways.

Choice Privileges — May 21

I am much more comfortable recommending the purchase of Choice Privileges points. There are only four different offers instead of five, but the total number for sale is greater, meaning you may have better odds of purchasing one. Furthermore, Choice’s points have retained their value. You can transfer 5,000 points to get 1,000 miles with several airline programs, and many of the offers for sale are in multiples of 5,000 points. I love when there’s no remainder!

Choice Privileges airline transfer partners

The prices still vary because the cost per hotel point varies, but you can buy airline miles as cheaply as 1.86 cents each with “2 nights at Cambria Suites” (40,000 points). I consider this a decent value for Alaska Airlines miles, which many people have been willing to purchase for about 2 cents each through its Fly & Buy program.

Daily Getaways 2014 - Choice Privileges Airlines

We’re not done yet. Choice also lets you transfer points to Southwest Airlines at a different rate: 6,000 points for 1,800 Rapid Rewards points. These Rapid Rewards points have themselves been devalued, but The Frequent Miler still assigns them a value of roughly 1.65 cents each. By re-working the chart above, we see that we can purchase Choice Privileges points and transfer them to Rapid Rewards at a cost less than 1.65 cents in three of four scenarios. I recommend buying “2 nights at Comfort Suites” (32,000 points) because although it has a remainder, it still has a lower price than the evenly divisible “3 nights at Comfort Inn” (36,000 points).

Daily Getaways 2014 - Choice Privileges Southwest

Note: To be more exact, The Frequent Miler says Rapid Rewards points are worth 1.53 cents after accounting for the opportunity cost of not earning more points when you pay for a flight. But I rarely include opportunity costs in my own valuations, and this number is still higher than the cost of purchasing them through Choice Privileges.

Summary

There are no good values for Wyndham Rewards points in this year’s Daily Getaways unless you plan to stay at Wyndham properties. However, you can find some good values in purchasing Choice Privileges points and transferring them to an airline loyalty program. If transferring to a traditional airline, like Alaska Airlines, I recommend buying a block of 40,000 points to effectively buy miles at 1.38 cents each (and redeem close to 2 cents). If transferring to Southwest Airlines, I recommend buying a block of 32,000 points to effectively buy miles at 1.32 cents each (and redeem close to 1.65 cents).

About 

Scott created Hack My Trip while traveling on a budget during graduate school and continues to share his thoughts on better travel. He maintains elite status with American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Hyatt, and Starwood.
Email // Twitter // Facebook // Google+ // Subscribe by RSS

 
‹ ‹ Previous Post Next Post › ›
  • GUWonder

    I wouldn’t buy these Choice points to transfer them into airline miles, as the hotel program operator could well devalue the transfer rate without notice (as has been done before) and as USAir (for Oneworld) and Avianca/Lifemiles (for Star Alliance) sell miles frequently at around 1.5 to 1.9 cents per mile. And with Starwood sometimes selling points I can get miles for other airlines at around 1.8 cents per mile too.

    I am considering buying Choice points for hotel stays but I already have a huge stash so am not that eager this year as in years prior. Also Choice seems to be on the cusp of a devaluation (given its cut back on promos) so I’m not comfortable hoarding points at this point with them. The airlines are jacking up the prices at which they sell miles and Choice’s contracts with the airlines are now just about where Wyndham’s contracts were just before Wyndham did its various devaluations too. This could get unexpectedly ugly too and Choice transfer ratios to the airlines are going to have to approach Wyndham’s because of the changed airline mile purchase cost structure coming up for them too.

    People in the US with decent credit couldby doing a few credit card sign ups and engaging in manufactured spend.

    • Scottrick

      I don’t deny there are often cheaper opportunities to buy miles, but not all miles are created equal. This is a good price for buying miles with Southwest, United, and Alaska Airlines, which can often be used more flexibly than those with US Airways and Avianca.

      As for the risk of devaluation, I am more concerned with the risk that Choice could devalue its hotel award chart. When points are purchased, they are often deposited quickly, and then I immediately transfer them to an airline. That creates a very small window for Choice to devalue its airline transfer program.

  • Marshall

    Scott:

    Better use for Choice points is booking rooms in Europe. Can often get rooms for 8 to 10K points per night. Biggest probelm with holding them, other than devaluation, is that they expire after two years. Of course, you should have a reasonably soon use for them so as to avoid both of those problems. Other problem with Getaways is the time required could be put to better use doing MS.

  • calwatch

    It’s a good way to rescue “stranded” points from Choice, provided that you can get the right multiple. I’ll have to review my Choice balances, which is pretty negligible, and determine if I want to convert them to something more useful like Rapid Rewards points. Essentially you are prepaying travel if you do it this way, and I fly Southwest enough so that the points will probably be used within the next few months.

  • bbtiger

    Just wondering if anyone has experience of buying Choice points with Daily Getaways, how long would they take to post the points? I know the T&C said within 10 biz days, but hopefully much faster? I’d like to redeem a room for Jun1, too risky?

    • Alexander

      Last time it was really close to 10 business days. It would be risky for Jun 1, since there will be Memorial day on 26th.

  • Jason

    I wrote a similar post about converting Choice points to Southwest RR points. In my calculations, I got each Southwest point to cost 1.23 cents per RR. How did you calculate your RR costs? Here’s mine:

    6,000 Choice points x 0.37 cpp = 2220 cents / 1,800 RR = 1.23 cents per RR

    • Scottrick

      1,800 Rapid Rewards points per 6,000 Choice Privileges points. So 32,000 Choice points = 5 x 1,800 = 9,000 Rapid Rewards points with 2,000 leftover Choice points that I view as a loss. I paid $119 for these, including the 10% Amex discount. That works out to $119/9,000 = 1.32 cents per Rapid Rewards point.

      At a cost of 0.37 cents per Choice point, you must be looking at the 40,000 or 32,000 offers. But both of those have remainders (32,000 has a smaller remainder). You have included the remainder in your calculations, but I excluded it. You should only include it if you already have or expect to have enough Choice points to make another transfer of 6,000 points.

      • Jason

        Doh! Thanks for the math lesson and clarification.

  • Sam

    Any idea why 40,000 Choice points cost $149, yet 36,000 cost $158?

    • Scottrick

      Probably because they advertise it as 2 nights vs. 3 nights, not as 36K vs. 40K points. Wouldn’t you pay a little more for 3 nights?

      • Sam

        You’re probably right that it is marketing. For a minute, I thought it might be like the old joke-two nights in a Comfort Inn costs 40,000 points but if you stay a third night, it’s only 36,000 points.

  • Craig

    Are these Daily Getaway deals for US Citizens only, do you know? I’m planning a trip to the US in December and it would be great to be able to take advantage of these deals…

    • Scottrick

      Anyone can purchase them.