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Choice Privileges Select Mastercard review: Ample Choice Hotel perks for dedicated fans

A great card for people who embrace the Choice Hotels rewards program. 

 /  12 min
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Snapshot

3.5

Bankrate rating
Info
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Bottom line

The Choice Privileges® Select Mastercard® delivers an excellent option for Choice Hotel travelers who want to maximize their hotel perks. But if you want better value for your rewards points and miles, better options are available.

Best for Choice Hotels loyalists
3.5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Bankrate score
Info
Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Recommended Credit

Intro offer

Info

N/A

Offer valuation

Info

1X points - 10X points

Rewards rate

Info

Annual fee

Regular APR

Choice Privileges Select Mastercard overview

Choice Hotels’s latest foray into the credit card space is a great choice for travelers dedicated to the Choice brand and a natural step up from the no-annual-fee Choice Privileges Mastercard. 

The Choice Privileges Select is the mid-tier hotel card for Choice Hotel lovers and is priced as such: Cardholders will pay $95 annually and enjoy a healthy suite of hotel perks, including automatic Platinum Elite status. This is in addition to a strong rewards rate on Choice Hotel purchases and a solid rate on several everyday categories such as gas stations, grocery stores, home improvement stores and phone plan services. 

While the Choice Privileges Select comes strong with the perks, it suffers the same problem that many other hotel rewards cards do: an overall weak point value. Bankrate’s latest point and mile valuations place Choice Hotels points at roughly 0.6 cents on average, which is weaker than the average point values of general travel rewards cards.

  • Credit Card Cash Back

    Rewards

    • 10X points on stays at participating Choice Hotels properties and Choice Privileges point purchases
    • 5X points on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, home improvement stores and phone plan services
    • 1X points on other purchases

    Expert Appraisal: Typical
    See our expert analysis

  • Rewards

    Welcome offer

    • Earn 60,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first three months

    Expert Appraisal: Typical
    See our expert analysis

  • Credit Card Search

    Rates and fees

    • APR: 20.99 percent, 25.24 percent or 29.99 percent variable APR, based on creditworthiness
    • Annual fee: $95
    • Balance transfer fee: 5 percent per transfer, minimum of $5
    • Late payment: Up to $40

    Expert Appraisal: Good
    See our expert analysis

  • Congrats

    Other cardholder perks

    • Anniversary bonus: 30,000 bonus points each account anniversary 
    • Automatic Platinum Elite status 
    • Up to $100 statement credit toward TSA PreCheck or Global Entry every 4 years 
    • Up to $800 of cell phone protection against damage or theft when you pay your monthly cell phone bill with your card (subject to a $25 deductible, maximum two paid claims per 12-month period)
    • Mastercard World Elite benefits

    Expert Appraisal: Good
    See our expert analysis

Choice Privileges Select pros and cons

Pros

  • Checkmark

    Anniversary bonus points can more than offset the card’s annual fee.

  • Checkmark

    Automatic Platinum Elite status provides a large value boost and brings you halfway to Diamond Elite, which offers even more value.

  • Checkmark

    Earns a solid rewards rate on Choice Hotels stays and a few useful everyday categories.

Cons

  • Point value is low compared to other hotel rewards programs.

  • Points transfer to travel partners at a value loss.

  • The card’s perks don’t include travel insurance, which is off putting for a hotel travel card.

Why you might want the Choice Privileges Select Mastercard

Sporting a strong combination of hotel perks alongside a modest annual fee, the Choice Privileges Select has plenty to offer for Choice Hotel enthusiasts.

Rewards rate: Solid earnings on several everyday categories

On top of the impressive 10X rewards rate on Choice Hotel brands, the Choice Privileges Select also earns 5X points on several useful everyday categories, including gas stations, groceries, home improvement stores and phone plan services. This is a generous spread of categories for a co-branded hotel card, and while other cards on the market cover these categories more effectively, it’s handy to be able to build points toward your next hotel stay without doing so strictly through hotel purchases.

Plus, the automatic Platinum Elite status that comes with the card gives you an extra 25 percent bonus points and up to 10X bonus points on your Choice Hotel brand stays. That means if you spend $1,000 on a Choice Hotel stay, you’ll earn 10X points from the Choice Privileges Select Mastercard and up to 10X more points and 25 percent bonus points from the Choice Hotel Platinum Elite status. All in, that’s up to 22.5X points combined between the card and the loyalty program, which means 22,500 points for a $1,000 booking. 

For comparison, the Marriot Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card earns up to 17X points between the card’s rewards rate and Silver Elite status in the Marriot Bonvoy loyalty program. The potential rewards rates that you can get with the Choice Privileges Select and Choice Privileges program beats out many other competitors.

Rates and fees: No foreign currency conversion fee

The Choice Privilege Select doesn’t charge a foreign currency conversion fee, which is less common on hotel cards than on airline cards or general travel cards. This is a major boon for international travelers, as purchases made abroad won’t cut into your potential reward earnings. Given the potential value of the card’s perks, you’d expect the Choice Privilege Select card to cost more than its $95 annual fee. 

Cardholder perks: Free elite status piles on the value

While the Choice Privileges Select’s earning rate is nothing to sneeze at, the card’s true value shines through in the additional perks. Opening an account grants you an automatic placement into Platinum Elite status. This status is the penultimate elite tier in the Choice Hotels rewards program and awards the following perks: 

  • A 25 percent bonus to earned rewards
  • Reserved parking at Choice Hotel locations
  • Early check-in and late check-out
  • Welcome gift on check-in
  • 19 elite rollover nights
  • Exclusive member services hotline
  • Status match with PENN Play Preferred casinos
  • Room upgrades at eligible hotels

The 25 percent reward bonus alone is an excellent addition to the card’s strength, turning your 10X points rewards rate into 12.5X points on Choice Hotel purchases. Add in the extra up to 10X points you get just from being a member in the Choice Privileges loyalty program and you’re earning up to 22.5X points between the card’s rate and the loyalty program rate. But the additional perks, such as reserved parking, early check-in and late checkout and potential room upgrades offer some extra comfort to your stay on top of their monetary value. 

Moreover, entering Platinum Elite status means you’re halfway to Diamond Elite status. In essence, this perk is worth 20 nights at a Choice Hotel property. With just 20 more qualifying night stays at Choice Hotels, you’ll reach Diamond Elite and enjoy even more value, including a 50 percent bonus to your earned rewards, 39 elite rollover nights, complimentary breakfast and guaranteed room availability at select hotels.

The Choice Privilege Select Mastercard also grants a 30,000-point bonus on each account anniversary. This is a third of the value of the welcome offer and could be worth up to three stays at select Choice Hotel properties.

Why you might want a different hotel credit card

Hotel credit cards cater to a niche audience, and the Choice Privileges Select is no different. Here’s why you might want to look at other card options.

Rewards value: Weak compared to the competition

While the Choice Privilege Select Mastercard offers a great assortment of perks for Choice Hotel fans, the point value of the rewards program itself is lower than some competing hotel rewards programs. For example, Bankrate’s latest points and mile valuations place the World of Hyatt points at an average of 2.3 cents each and Wyndham Rewards at around 0.9 cents each. 

We place Choice Hotel points in comparison at around 0.6 cents each on average. So, if you make comparable point redemptions on Choice Hotels and Wyndham Rewards, you’ll gain more value over time with Wyndham.

This weak value is exacerbated by the fact that several credit card rewards programs can transfer points to the Choice Privileges program. Both American Express Membership Rewards and Capital One Miles can transfer points to Choice at a 1:1 ratio. And notably, Citi ThankYou Points transfer to Choice at a 1:2 ratio. This means you can open a more flexible rewards card like the American Express® Gold Card or Citi Premier® Card and potentially earn points in categories you couldn’t with the Choice Privilege Select while still turning those purchases into Choice Privilege points.

Interestingly, the Choice Privileges Select Mastercard allows you to transfer your earned points to various travel partners, such as Air Canada, AeroMexico and Qantas Frequent Flyer. However, points transfer at an especially poor value, with many transferring at a 5:1 ratio. This essentially makes point transfers a non-viable option and something of a “trap” redemption option.  

Welcome offer: A solid offer, but behind the competition

The Choice Privileges Select comes with a welcome offer that appears to punch above the weight of its ongoing annual fee. Spend $3,000 within your first three months of account opening and you’ll earn a hefty 60,000 bonus points. This isn’t terribly far off from competing cards on the market, but competitors still pull ahead. For example, the Capital One Venture Rewards card offers a 75,000 mile bonus after you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening. Meanwhile, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless offers 3 Free Night Awards (each valued up to 50,000 points) after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.  

Travel insurance: Not included with the card’s perks

The Choice Privilege lacks any form of travel insurance. That means if you book a hotel stay or flight and need to cancel at the last minute, you may lose out on your money spent. This is a shame, as travel insurance can save you hundreds of dollars when needed and offers a welcome peace of mind for frequent travelers. It’s also a common feature on mid- and high-tier travel cards, so it’s absence is notable on the mid-tier Choice Privilege Select. 

First-year value vs. ongoing value

The ongoing value of the Choice Privilege Select Mastercard compares favorably with the card’s upfront value thanks to the card’s excellent perks. Since the card doesn’t offer an intro APR, the main advantage of your first year with the card is the welcome offer. 

You’ll pay $95 for the card. However, you’ll also receive 30,000 bonus points every card account anniversary. In addition, you’ll receive automatic Platinum Elite status starting from the first year, which usually requires you to stay 20 nights at eligible Choice Hotels locations to earn. Here’s the estimated value if we assume each point is worth 0.6 cents on average.

Benefits and costs First year value Ongoing value (no welcome offers)
Welcome offers +$360 (60,000 points after you spend $3,000 in purchases in your first three months at a value of 0.6 cents per point) -
Perks +Automatic Platinum Elite status +$25 (Global Entry or TSA PreCheck statement credit) +Automatic Platinum Elite status +$25 (Global Entry or TSA PreCheck statement credit) +$180 (30,000 bonus points on each card anniversary)
Annual fee -$95 -$95
Total value $290 $110

How the Choice Privileges Select compares to other hotel cards

As a mid-tier hotel card, the Choice Privileges offers solid value at a low price. Here’s how it stacks up to some of the competition. 

Image of Choice Privileges® Select Mastercard®
Bankrate Score
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
3.5
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply
Apply now Lock
on Wells Fargo's secure site

Annual fee

$95

Intro offer

60,000 bonus points
Info

Rewards rate

1X points - 10X points
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Image of Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card
Bankrate Score
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply
Apply now Lock
on American Express's secure site

Annual fee

$650

Intro offer

Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points
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Rewards rate

2X - 6X
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Image of Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Bankrate Score
Apply now Lock
on Chase's secure site

Annual fee

$95

Intro offer

60,000 bonus points
Info

Rewards rate

2x - 5x
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info

Who is the Choice Privileges Select right for?

Given the niche nature of the Choice Privileges Select card’s perks, there’s primarily one type of person who would best benefit from this card. 

Bankrate’s Take — Is the Choice Privilege Select Mastercard worth it?

Yes, but only if you primarily stay at Choice Hotel properties when you travel. The card’s Choice Hotel perks offer enough value to make it a no-brainer for travelers who prefer the Choice Hotel brand. 

If you like to stay at various hotels during your travels or want a card that offers more flexibility and raw point value, there are other great travel cards on the market that can fit the bill.  

How we rated this card

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We rate credit cards using a proprietary card scoring system that ranks each card’s estimated average rewards rate, estimated annual earnings, welcome bonus value, APR, fees, perks and more against those of other cards in its primary category.

Each card feature is assigned a weighting based on how important it is to people looking for a card in a given category. These features are then scored based on how they rank relative to the features on other cards in the category. Based on these calculations, each card receives an overall rating of 1-5 stars (with 5 being the highest possible score and 1 being the lowest). 

We analyzed over 150 of the most popular rewards and cash back cards to determine where each stacked up based on their value, cost, benefits and more. Here are some of the key factors that influenced this card’s overall score and how the score influenced our review:

Written by
Steve Dashiell
Editor, Credit cards

Steven Dashiell is an editor for Bankrate and CreditCards.com with expertise in rewards credit cards, financial literacy, and helping consumers build and maintain their credit.

Edited by Senior Editor, Credit Cards

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