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FTW to NFW – Reflecting on Each Choice Hotel Brand

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Choice Hotel Brands

Choice Hotel Brands

I’m enamored with Choice Hotels on multiple levels.  I enjoy the some of their hotel brands, the Choice Privileges program, redemption quirks, and the Wells Fargo Choice Select card, among other things.  We’re focusing on that first one today.  The Choice hotel brand variety runs the gamut, and it’s gotten even busier and wackier with the recent addition of Radisson Americas properties.  Choice is my second favorite hotel points currency out there, but they’re far from perfect.  They span from some brands I absolutely enjoy (FTW) to ones I never plan to visit (NFW), and plenty in between.  I have my beliefs about the brands, but I’m willing to be convinced otherwise.  Let me know your experiences in the comments!

Choice Hotel Brands
Radisson Blu Aqua, Chicago. Source: Radisson.


I’ll start with a few Choice hotel brands that are clear winners for us.  I’m a big fan of the following:

  • Cambria
  • Radisson Blu
  • Ascend
  • Comfort Inns/Suites
  • Country Inn and Suites

Cambria seems remarkably consistent across properties.  I’m excited to stay in more Radisson Blu locations at reasonable points rates.  My family and I do our homework researching Ascend, Comfort Inns/Suites, and Country Inn and Suites before any stay, and these brands have delivered reliably for us.

Quality Inn near Rocky Mountain National Park. Image source: Choice Hotels

In The Middle

There’s a hearty middle section where I have no passionate feelings one way or the other.  My family and I have limited experience at these properties but would consider them again under the right circumstances:

  • Radisson
  • Quality Inn
  • Sleep Inn
  • Clarion
  • Econo Lodge

I haven’t had a stay at any of these properties recently.  While I’ve considered them over the past few years, specific properties which aligned with our travel goals weren’t our first choice.  I still feel optimistic about these brands, though, and won’t blindly throw them out.

Econo Lodge is a hair from being on the NFW list.  But I have an odd fascination with the Econo Lodge Inn and Suites On The River in Gatlinburg, TN.  Staying here in a riverfront room is a random goal I still hold to this day.  Shocker, my family has no interest in joining me.

Choice Hotel Brands


I have zero plan to ever give these Choice hotel brands a whirl.  Here we go:

  • Woodspring Suites
  • Suburban Studios
  • Rodeway Inn

I’m generally not an always/never guy, but I don’t see us staying at any of these places.  My only experience, somewhat tangential, with any of these brands is my parents staying at a Woodspring Suites.  They chose this property because it was the only lodging in a somewhat convenient proximity to us in the past.  I vividly remember my mother, who speaks a negative word close to never, saying, “it was fine, but we won’t be staying there again.”

Incomplete Grades on these Choice Hotel Brands

I have zero experience at any of these properties, but I’m open, and in some cases excited to try them:

  • Radisson Red
  • Radisson Collection
  • Radisson Individuals
  • Park Plaza by Radisson
  • Radisson Inn & Suites
  • Clarion Pointe
  • Park Inn
  • Everhome Suites
  • MainStay Suites

Choice Hotel Brands

Choice Hotel Brands – Conclusion

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Choice eliminate some of these as they more fully take over the Radisson Americas brands.  I’m interested to see how that works out and the Privileges program evolves.  But in the meantime, hotel dorks like me have plenty to consider with Choice.  It’s nice to have options.  What do you think of the Choice hotel brands?  Do you suggest I take a closer look at certain ones or have horror stories from some of my favorites?

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Benjy Harmon
Benjy Harmon
Benjy focuses on the intersection of points, travel, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently roams throughout the USA close to expense-free. Benjy enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. I have never stayed at the Econo Lodge on the river in Gatlinburg, but I have stayed at the Baymont on the river in Gatlinburg—twice! I am not sure if it is saying much, but it is by far the best Baymont that I have stayed in. It is also on the north side of the Parkway, so you miss most of the traffic and can walk to everything.

  2. Choice Hotels are a third-tier brand. They have some decent properties but MANY are very, very not good. I’ll second the Galveston Island Country Inn comment above. I’d also avoid the Country Inn at Coco Beach Florida, it’s gross.

    Many of their run-of-the-mill Choice, Quality, Country Inn properties are comparable to run-down Fairfields or old outdated worn-out HIX hotels.

    Their best products are the Radisson Blu, Red, and Cambria. You are fairly safe with those. The rest of their portfolio is a crap shoot. You might stay in one Country Inn and it’s awesome, new, clean, and nice but the next one down the road is like staying in a crack house. That is the major problem with Choice is the lack of quality (no pun intended) control across their properties. They should change their marking slogan to “At least we aren’t Wyndham”.

    • DaninMCI,
      That’s a somewhat fitting assessment. I agree that much of Choice’s portfolio is a crapshoot. In my view, that’s an opportunity to find hidden gems. But to many others, it’s probably annoying, not worth the time, or both.

  3. Avoid the Country Inn & Suites on Galveston island, TX. No working Internet and the owners are totally at ease with not fixing it.

  4. Choice needs to use the radisson-induced brand expansion to define each of their brands and drop those that don’t fit into a Big Picture. Too many have no clear definition and Choice knows this, which is why they make no effort to define them.

    • L3,
      Agreed! I’d also like to see a refresh/streamlining of the brands down the road. Perhaps that will come in combination with the Choice Privileges program’s evolution.

  5. Radisson Red LHR was great! Nice bar and restaurant, very hip and lively. They also had a family room with a king bed and 2 pull down bunk beds in the wall.

    • Holly,
      Great to hear! Too bad that property isn’t part of this Choice/Radisson Americas marriage, though.


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