Just when you thought the hotel promotion pipeline had run dry, there's this from Choice hotels.
Through May 4, Choice Privileges members will earn 8,000 points for two stays at Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality Inn, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, Ascend Collection, MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay, Econo Lodge, or Rodeway Inn hotels. (Qualifying stays at MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay, Econo Lodge, and Rodeway Inn hotels must be at least two consecutive nights each.)
Non-elite members must book their stays at choicehotels.com or 1-800-4CHOICE. Elite members may book through any channel.
The proffered 8,000 points include the points normally earned for the qualifying stays, plus enough bonus points to bring the total to 8,000. What's so special about 8,000 points? Choice's website highlights a $50 gas card, available through July 31 for 8,000 points. But in the Privileges program, there are also a substantial number of hotels that offer a free night for 8,000 or fewer points. So it would be fair to position this as a "free night after two stays" offer.
Non-elite members who register for the promotion may earn the bonus twice; those who don't register are limited to one bonus. Platinum and Diamond elites may earn the bonus five times.
Deal or No Deal
Choice apparently thinks the $50 gas card is the key selling point of this offer. If you focused solely on the headline—"Get More Mileage Out of Your Travel Plans"—and didn't read the fine print, you'd miss the fact that the actual offer is 8,000 points, which can be redeemed for the featured gas card or for a free night.
While the soaring price of gas may give the card some promotional heft, a free night is likely to have more value to more consumers, both financially and emotionally.
Bottom line: This is a solid offer, disguised as a so-so offer.
Reader Reality Check
A free night, or a $50 gas card?
This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.