Citi ThankYou Choice Hotels Partnership: Solid Value with Preferred Hotels
I pontificate plenty about my favorite card issuer, Amex. However, Citi has increasingly thrown us wacky, but good, news and recently provided more to ponder. Citi just surprised us by announcing that they have linked up with Choice Hotels for points transfers. This addresses one major flaw I previously described about Citi – its dearth of domestic partners. Not only that, Citi addresses another weakness with this development – its complete lack of hotel partners. And, best of all, the transfer ratio is one ThankYou Point to two Choice points! Upon hearing of this new partnership and transfer ratio, my brain went directly to a unique Choice partnership – Preferred Hotels and Resorts. Today, I’ll provide several examples of how to obtain high value out of the Citi ThankYou Choice Hotels partnership via the Preferred Hotels and Resorts program.
Choice Preferred Hotels Partnership Include These Locations:
Here’s a sample of the great destinations included in the Preferred Hotels and Resorts program. It’s not limited to these locations – you can search and check availability of all 349 locations here.
- Las Vegas
- New Orleans
- New York City
- Puerto Vallarta
- San Diego
- San Francisco
Solid Value Redemptions
According to Miles to Memories’ average point values, Choice points are worth 0.6 cents each. Taking into account the new transfer ratio of 1:2, ThankYou cardholders can reasonably obtain 1.2 cents per point (cpp) on Choice redemptions. That’s somewhat competitive with airline partner redemptions, especially for domestic flights, and better than 1 cpp cashout via Premier or Prestige. Let’s take it a step further, though, and look at maximizing via Preferred Hotels and Resorts. Here are a few examples, including a few hotels I brought up previously.
Montage, Laguna Beach, CA
The Montage sports an excellent location on a coastal bluff above the Pacific. The sprawling property spans 30 acres, houses a 20k square foot spa, and three signature restaurants. Choice program members can book for a nightly rate of 55k Choice points and dates are widely available through the end of December. That’s 27.5k ThankYou points for a free night. I’m seeing a king room available for $1,195 per night over the first weekend in December.
ThankYou Point Value: 4.2 cpp
Kahala Hotel & Resort, Honolulu, HI
The Kahala is an Oahu escape just 15 minutes from Waikiki. Guests can interact with dolphins in the private lagoon and relax on property’s white sand beach. Scuba diving and exercises classes overlooking the ocean are also available. This property has been through a few different iterations, previously as the Kahala Mandarin Oriental, and the Kahala Hilton before that. The Choice rate is 55k points nightly. Rooms start at $505 the first weekend in December.
ThankYou Point Value: 1.8 cpp
Inn by the Sea, Elizabeth, ME
Located about 20 minutes outside Portland, the Inn by the Sea is on a sandy mile of beach on the Maine coast. I’m drawn to the traditional design of the property with modern finishes. The Choice points rate is 55k per night. A traditional room is available during the first weekend of December for $381 per night.
ThankYou Point Value: 1.4 cpp
The Fullerton Bay Hotel, Singapore
This intimate waterfront hotel on Marina Bay only has 98 guest rooms and suites. Guests can enjoy five different dining experiences at the property, from hawker classics to modern French. The rooftop holds a 25 meter rooftop pool and jacuzzi with outstanding views. Rates start at 664 SGD (about 493 USD) during the first weekend of December. The Choice points rate is 55k per night.
ThankYou Point Value: 1.8 cpp
Hotel Stein, Salzburg, Austria
This historic hotel in the center of Salzburg underwent a two year renovation and reopened in 2018. The distinctive interiors are decorated with lighting fixtures and glass works of art by Venetian glassmakers. Steinterrasse is their rooftop restaurant which offers panoramic views of Salzburg. Booking dates are widely available through December, but some weekends are full. I found rates of 130 Euro (about 151 USD) for weekday nights in mid-December, but rates vary widely, with many nights over 200 Euro. Choice points rate is 35k points per night, or 17.5k ThankYou points.
ThankYou Point Value: 0.9 cpp
Hotel Monaco & Grand Canal, Venice, Italy
There’s no place quite like Venice. Views from the Hotel Monaco of the Grand Canal are staggering. The hotel’s restaurant features a terrace overlooking the Grand Canal, Punta della Dogana, and the San Marco Basin. Rates can vary widely, but I found a Classic Room rate over the first weekend of December is 382 Euro (444 USD). The Choice points rate is 55k per night.
ThankYou Point Value: 1.6 cpp
A Few Caveats
As you can tell, ThankYou point values can vary widely for Preferred Hotels and Resorts stays. Regardless, keep in mind your travel goals and don’t place too much emphasis on the cent per point value for a lower priority destination. And if you find that a given redemption value is under 1 cent per point, you’re better off cashing out at 1 cent per point and booking on your own.
Unfortunately, online booking for Preferred Hotels and Resorts stays using Choice points isn’t available. Choice members must call 888-770-6800 to redeem points for these stays. Also, bookings are only available for single or double occupancy, so family trips will prove challenging. Worse, it appears that Choice’s 100 day limit for advance bookings applies to these reservations, as well. I could not find availability beyond January 2022 for any Preferred properties. Here’s the fine print on this rule from the Choice Hotels website:
Members must make their free night reservation no more than 100 days prior to planned arrival for all locations worldwide.
Citi ThankYou Choice Hotels Partnership – Conclusion
Thanks to the new Citi ThankYou Choice Hotels transfer partnership, Citi cardholders have another option for redemptions of considerable value with Preferred Hotels and Resorts. And let’s not forget redemptions with Choice’s own hotels. I haven’t addressed those great options in this article, and I look forward to writing about that more soon. Overall, I’m happy Citi continues to improve the flexibility of their ThankYou points currency, even if it’s in their uniquely wacky fashion. Bring it on! What do you think of Choice redemptions via Preferred Hotels and Resorts?
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Do any have any experience calling the toll free number to actually book a room? I have found CP customer service to answer in a different country with “english as a second language” representatives. While the reps do their best to be helpful, it can be a frustrating experience.
[…] to Memories has a post dedicated to luxurious Preferred Hotel partners, but I personally don’t like an idea of blowing huge wads of Choice points on Preferred Hotel […]
Great news, hope the redemption rate remains high. Question – as someone without any Citi Thank-you points cards, what are the options / recommendations for getting a first TYP card? (Stocked up on MR and UR and don’t care about 5/24).
The exact order depends on your spending habits and goals, but in general, I would recommend in the following order: Premier, Double Cash, Rewards+, and Custom Cash. If you already have a Citi card, consider product changing to a Double Cash rather than applying. The Double Cash generally doesn’t have a welcome offer, and Citi has liberal product change policies (you can jump card “families”, like AA to Double Cash). My recent Citi article may help you decide how to move forward.
Thank you! I like the 4-card deck to gain over time, I’ll probably review SUBs and rank them in the order to go for based on factoring that in; my current / only Citi is an AA Business card, so no product changes, and Citi has been pretty generous in bonus offers for the last few years to justify it (and it’s my only AA card); thanks, now on to putting these 4 in the best order for me:
Citi Custom Cash for $500 spend in the highest 5x category
Citi Premier for spend in 3x categories which aren’t part of the Custom Cash spend
Rewards+ for small purchases
Double Cash for anything else that isn’t earning at least 2x
That’s a sound spending strategy for all four cards. You’re probably already doing this, but ensure to incorporate the welcome offer amount in your prioritization and decision making.
A post says Citi permits only 1 new TYP card every 24 months, true?
Yes, that’s my understanding in terms of welcome offer eligibility. Hence the heavier importance of going after the highest welcome offer card first (Premier) and PC’ing to the Double Cash rather than applying.