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Choice Hotels Has Launched 2 Credit Cards: Which Is Best? | Credit Cards

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Key Takeaways

  • Choice Hotels offers two credit cards to match your budget and travel style.
  • With recent expansion, Choice Hotels has more than 7,000 locations ranging from budget to luxury.
  • Comparing a variety of factors – such as fees, bonuses and earning power – will help you choose which card best fits you.

Choice Hotels is making a name for itself with new credit cards, acquisitions and higher-end properties. With its transition to Wells Fargo, Choice Privileges members now have two credit cards that compete with other hotel brands based on earning power, welcome bonuses, benefits and annual fees. Learn more about Choice Hotels credit card options, including what they offer, how they differ and how to choose which fits your spending best.

Choice Hotels Brands and Locations

Travelers have 22 brands to choose from within the Choice Hotels portfolio. The chain has over 7,000 locations in more than 40 countries and territories.

Premium Mid-Tier Budget and Longer-Term Stays

Cambria Hotels


Radisson Blu

Radisson Red

Ascend Hotel Collection

Radisson Collection

Radisson Individuals

Park Plaza by Radisson

Comfort Hotels

Country Inn & Suites

Quality Inn

Sleep Inn

Clarion Hotels

Clarion Pointe

Park Inn by Radisson

Radisson Inn & Suites


Everhome Suites

MainStay Suites

Rodeway Inn

Surburban Studios

Woodspring Suites

For many years, Choice Hotels was a last resort option for me because I prefer aspirational brands over economy when booking award hotel stays. But after staying at the Cambria Nashville last summer, I realized that Choice’s upmarket strategy is worth paying attention to. Plus, with its recent acquisition of Radisson Americas and pursuit of Wyndham Hotels, there are numerous mid-tier and luxury properties being added to its portfolio.

Overview of Choice Hotels Credit Card Options

Choice Hotels credit cards migrated from Barclays to Wells Fargo in May 2023. At the same time, Wells Fargo launched a Choice Hotels credit card with no annual fee for budget-conscious travelers. Shortly thereafter, Wells Fargo released an upgraded card with a reasonable $95 annual fee that includes a renewal bonus, Platinum elite status and higher earning power. Points from the cards are redeemed for hotel stays.

Choice Privileges® Mastercard® Choice Privileges Select Mastercard
Annual Fee None $95
Welcome Bonus 40,000 points after spending $1,000 within the first three months 60,000 points after spending $3,000 within the first three months
Earning Rates

5 points per dollar at Choice Hotels

3 points per dollar on gas, groceries, phone plans, and home improvement purchases

1 point per dollar on everything else

10 points per dollar at Choice Hotels

5 points per dollar on gas, groceries, phone plans, and home improvement purchases

1 point per dollar on everything else

Elite Status Gold (10 night credits) Platinum (20 night credits)
Other Benefits

Cellphone protection against damage or theft (up to $800 with a $25 deductible)

No foreign transaction fees

30,000 bonus points upon renewal each year

Up to $100 reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck every four years

Cellphone protection against damage or theft (up to $800 with a $25 deductible)

No foreign transaction fees

Choice Privileges Mastercard: No Annual Fee

The Choice Privileges Mastercard is ideal for travelers who want to earn Choice Privileges points without paying an annual fee. It includes a generous welcome bonus and the opportunity to earn rewards on Choice Hotels stays and everyday expenses.

Welcome Bonus

When you open this Choice Hotels credit card, you’ll earn 40,000 Choice Privileges points after spending $1,000 in the first three months. These points are enough for up to five award nights at Choice Hotels properties.

Earning Rates

You can turn your everyday expenses into future vacations with the Choice Privileges Mastercard. You’ll earn five points per dollar on purchases at Choice Hotels. Plus, you get three points per dollar on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, home improvement stores and phone providers. All other purchases earn one point per dollar.

Elite Status Benefits

When you have the Choice Privileges Mastercard, you automatically receive Gold elite status upon approval. Benefits of this first-tier elite status include early check-in, late checkout, complimentary upgrades and a welcome gift.

Other Perks

Cardholders also receive complimentary cellphone protection and no foreign transaction fees. Your cellphone is protected against damage or theft up to $800 with a $25 deductible. As Choice has properties around the world, you can use this Choice Hotels credit card when traveling internationally without being charged foreign transaction fees.

Choice Privileges Select Mastercard: $95 Annual Fee

Travelers who stay at Choice Hotels regularly receive additional perks and value with the Choice Privileges Select Mastercard. I have a few international trips planned this year where I’ll be staying at some Choice Hotel properties. I plan on taking advantage of upgraded elite status, higher earning power and an annual renewal bonus that comes with this card.

Welcome Bonus

Spend $3,000 within three months to earn 60,000 bonus points with this card. The minimum spending requirement is substantially higher than the no-annual-fee card, but it is a reasonable amount for the average household to meet.

Earning Rates

Cardholders who plan on using the Choice Privileges Select Mastercard for everyday expenses will earn points quickly. It earns 10 points per dollar at Choice Hotels plus five points per dollar on gas, groceries, phone and home improvement store purchases. These bonus categories earn up to twice as many points as the no-annual-fee version of the Choice Hotels credit card.

Elite Status Benefits

The Choice Select Mastercard includes 20 night credits, which qualify for Platinum elite status. Although Platinum benefits are nearly identical to Gold status, these night credits bring you halfway to earning Diamond elite status.

Other Perks

In addition to cellphone insurance and no foreign transaction fees, the Choice Select credit card includes other valuable benefits. The first benefit is reimbursement of up to $100 for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck once every four years.

Additionally, you’ll earn 30,000 bonus points each year you renew the card. These bonus points are added to your existing rewards balance so you can book future free night awards. With Choice Privileges points worth an average of 0.6 cent each, this bonus is worth $180 in hotel stays, which more than covers the fee each year.

How to Choose Between the Choice Hotels Credit Cards

There are two quality Choice Hotel credit card options, but figuring out which one is better for you depends on a variety of factors. For me, I’m focused on getting the most value for my travel dollars. Here’s how I made my decision to get the Choice Privileges Select Mastercard over the no-annual-fee Choice Privileges Mastercard.

  • Welcome bonus. The welcome bonus opportunity is 50% higher with the Choice Select Mastercard. Plus, our family’s monthly expenses can easily meet the higher minimum spend requirement.
  • Anniversary bonus. With the Choice Select Mastercard, you’ll receive 30,000 bonus points each year you renew the card.
  • Elite status. Although the benefits for Platinum and Gold tiers are nearly identical, the biggest advantage is being closer to reaching the 40 night credits needed for Diamond status. Diamond status includes 50% bonus points for qualifying stays and daily breakfast for two.
  • Earning power. The Choice Select Mastercard earns up to double the points on bonus category purchases.

Choice Hotels Credit Card Application Rules

If you’re interested in applying for a Choice Hotels credit card, it helps to know about Wells Fargo application rules. The bank limits customers to a maximum of one new Wells Fargo credit card every six months. Wells Fargo also prohibits earning a welcome bonus if you’ve received a new account bonus from either Choice Hotels credit card within the last 15 months.

The Bottom Line

Choice Hotels continues to build out its hotel portfolio with properties ranging from budget-friendly to luxury. With this expansion, I can see it competing with other major hotel brands for more of my travel dollars. Both Choice Hotels credit card options include automatic elite status, bonus points and additional benefits. Overall, I picked the Choice Privileges Select Mastercard for its larger welcome bonus and because its higher earning power and anniversary points easily offset the $95 annual fee.

Sarah Goldberg
Sarah Goldberg

Sarah is a seasoned financial market expert with a decade of experience. She's known for her analytical skills, attention to detail, and ability to communicate complex financial concepts. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Finance, is a licensed financial advisor, and enjoys reading and traveling in her free time.

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