Two New Choice Privileges Credit Cards Have Just Dropped, With Offers Up To 90,000 Points

In February I detailed the upcoming launch of a Wells Fargo Choice Privileges card. That card is now available, there is also a premium card too, and both have limited-time offers. Details here.

No Annual Fee Choice Privileges Card

The no annual fee Choice Privileges Mastercard offers:

  • Initial bonus: 60,000 Choice Privileges Points after spending $1,000 in qualifying purchases during the first three months (limited-Time offer)

  • Ongoing earn: 5x on Choice stays; 3x at gas stations, grocery stores, home improvement stores, and phone plans; 1x on other purchases

  • Elite status: Automatic Gold status in the Choice Privileges program in the form of 10 elite nights (enough to keep Gold) each calendar year.

  • Key additional benefit: cell phone protection

You’ll have some status in the program, and a head start on earning status each year, at no annual fee. That’ll be something for some Choice guests to consider.

Premium Choice Privileges Card

The Choice Privileges Select Mastercard comes with a $95 annual fee and offers:

  • Initial bonus: 90,000 Choice Privileges points after spending $3,000 in qualifying purchases during the first three months (limited time offer)

  • Ongoing earn: 10X points on stays at participating Choice hotels; 5X points on qualifying purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, home improvement stores, and phone plans; 1X points on other purchases

  • Elite status: Automatic Platinum Elite Status in the form of 20 Elite night credits each calendar year.

  • Annual retention bonus: 30,000 points every account anniversary

  • Other benefits:: Cell phone protection; no foreign currency conversion fee; TSA PreCheck or Global Entry statement credit

I view this as a very strong card for spend at Choice Privileges properties. I value a Choice point at $0.006 so 10x earn is a 6% rebate. I should flag that others value Choice points more highly. Frequent Miler values them at $0.0068.

The difference here lies in our methodology, I believe asking ‘how much hotel spend can you offset with points’ overvalues points, since it doesn’t account for the way cash is more valuable (you can spend on more things); that points are more subject to inflation (at least pre-JPow); and that the value of points varies based on whether they put you over the top towards an award or not. Still, even using a higher number I wouldn’t use it for 5x categories.

Who Should Get These Cards?

If you’re a regular Choice Privileges guest, these cards get you status.

  • The no annual fee Choice Privileges Mastercard provides Gold status, which is worth having if you wouldn’t earn it on your own. It’s also a head start towards higher status. If you’re going to apply for a limited set of cards, for instance you’re trying to stay under Chase’s ‘5/24’ cap (where Chase generally won’t approve you for new cards if you’ve had more than 4 new ones in the last 24 months) it might be a hard sell to take one of those slots. But once you have it, keep it.

  • The $95 annual fee Choice Privileges Select Mastercard provides Platinum status. In fact it gives you the nights which are halfway to Diamond status. And the card is worth the annual fee based on the points bonus it awards each year. The limited-time introductory offer makes it worth getting as well.

    These are both good cards to have and keep. The up front bonus on the annual fee card is appealing, and the annual bonus on that card makes it worth keeping. The credit towards elite status each year is helpful as well. You’ll have to decide where it falls in your own priority of cards, but I place it in the bucket of worth getting and worth keeping but not worth spending on outside of accelerator categories.

    Where there was huge a missed opportunity for Choice and Wells, I think, is to leverage the Choice program to encourage spend. You get the same elite nights whether you use the card or not. There’s no encouragement to keep spending for those who want to rise higher in the program.

    Not Top Of Wallet

    If what you want are Choice’s points you’re at least twice as well-off for your spending getting a no annual fee 2% cash back card and using it for the bulk of your spending, and using the cash back to buy Choice points.

    Choice will sell points from ~ 1 cent apiece at regular price, and they’ve run points purchase bonuses (of ~ 25% – 50%) for at least one third of the last year. Those bonuses/discounts mean that you may even come out further ahead than 2x with a cash back strategy and buying points versus using these cards for your everyday spending.

    Put another way, earning 1 Choice Privileges point per dollar – which I view as worth around 60 basis points but are arguably worth 70 basis points – is simply too low a reward to make either of these cards your new go-to for everyday use. That’s why I say those engaged in the Choice ecosystem should get one of these cards, but probably not use it much.

  • About Gary Leff

    Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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    1. If we have the old Barclay’s Choice Rewards card, are we eligible for the sign up bonus?

    2. If you have any contacts at Choice, it would be great if they resolved the issue many have transferring Radisson Americas to Choice. This can fail even if both accounts are recently active and both have points. Choice reps can’t help. I can’t even tell if anyone is trying to fix this.

    3. What if you get both cards? Do you get 30 nights and now only need 10 nights for Diamond status?

    4. @Nun “great if they resolved the issue many have transferring Radisson Americas to Choice”

      Oh my! I didn’t know this was a common problem, but I certainly have it. I have been trying to make this wholesale transfer (Radisson Americas to Choice Privileges) for months and keep failing without any explanation from Choice, Radisson, or

      Thanks for your comment and I’ll keep looking for solutions.

    5. I threw in the towel with Radisson America and will likely never stay in one again
      The overseas call center is horrible.I took some measly amount of miles and cut my future losses.Sad as I liked the brand overseas.But with no easy way to contact Radisson Int that was the final death knell

    6. I am also interested to know if we have the old Barclay’s Choice Rewards card, are we eligible for the sign up bonus?

    7. I called Wells Fargo. They transfered me to Choice. They said Yes you will get the signup bonus.

      I found this -Eligibility for introductory bonus rewards offer
      You may not be eligible for an introductory bonus rewards offer if you opened a Choice Privileges Mastercard Credit Card or a Choice Privileges Select Mastercard Credit Card within the last 15 months from the date of this application and you received an introductory bonus rewards offer – even if that account is closed and has a $0 balance.

      So I’m assuming if you just got Barclays choice card 15 months ago, you would not be eligible but if you have had it longer than 15 months, you qualify for the bonus

    8. The people working for Wells Fargo and Choice are complete idiots. I have been transfered back and forth countless times.
      My anniversary month is May. I spent $10000 on my Barclays card. I want my 8000 bonus points but they did not show up in my june statement ( actually, the wells fargo statements never mention how many points you have earned the last month!!)
      Wells fargo just told me that anniversary reward is only for new members. i argued it out with them and read from their website and after consulting higher ups, they informed me i was right but there was no idea of when I’ll be getting them. They were going to transfer me again to Choice to find that out and told them NO, only the bank knows how much i spent. Wells fargo of course, has no info on how much i spent at Barclays. I can’t wait to cancel this card but want my points first!. Help!!

    9. Radisson Americas customers are getting cheated by Choice. Radisson points are being force converted into Choice points at a ratio of two Radisson points per one Choice point. I routinely got more than 1 cent per point value out of my Radisson Americas points. Choice points are worth well under 0.5 cents per point. Net result, theft of more than 75% of the value of your Radisson points

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