Choice Privileges extends elite status for all, offers elite upgrades and bonus points

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to stymie international travel, we've seen most (but not all) major hotels and airlines make changes to their loyalty programs such as extending elite status and offering other promotions to incentivize business. One notable holdout had been Choice Privileges, but as of today the company has joined the trend by extending elite status for all members, as well as a few other changes.

Let's take a closer look at each of these and how they'll affect you.

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Choice elite status extensions

At this point, extending elite status has become the industry standard as business and leisure travelers alike remain grounded and unlikely to hit qualification thresholds this year. Choice has extended all members' current elite status through Dec. 31, 2021, regardless of the number of nights you stay this year. Other major programs such as Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors and World of Hyatt have already announced similar status extensions, putting pressure on competitors like Choice to follow suit.

Related: Complete guide to hotel elite status during the coronavirus outbreak

Reduced elite status requirements

No one knows exactly when travel will start to pick up again, but even if things snapped back to normal today, we've already lost 25% of the elite-qualifying year. As reported by Frequent Flyer Bonuses, to compensate for this, Choice has announced reduced thresholds for elite status qualification in 2020:

  • Gold status: earned after staying seven nights as opposed to 10
  • Platinum status: earned after staying 15 nights as opposed to 20
  • Diamond status: earned after staying 25 nights as opposed to 40

This change is best for those gunning for top-tier Diamond status, which saw its qualification requirement cut by a whopping ~37%. While extending elite status is an important first step, it counterintuitively disincentives people from traveling during this current year. Reducing the number of nights required to earn elite status is a great way to get people on the road again, once it's safe to do so.

Related: The best hotel credit cards

Elite upgrades and bonus points

In addition to extending elite status, Choice is giving its current elites a limited-time upgrade to the next tier. Gold members will be upgraded to Platinum status and Platinum members will be upgraded to Diamond. If you stay at least five nights by Dec. 31, 2020, you'll keep your upgraded tier through Dec. 31, 2021. Otherwise, your status will revert to your current level next year.

Diamond members can't be upgraded as there's no higher tier, but they aren't being left out either. Choice is offering them a 10% bonus, in addition to their standard 50% elite bonus, on all points earned through Dec. 31, 2020.

Related: Hotel elite status matches and challenges

Suspending points expiration

In addition to the above changes, all Choice Privileges members will see their points expiration suspended until Dec. 31, 2021. This gives you plenty of time to make plans for your points over the next year and a half without worrying about them expiring in the midst of the current pandemic.

Related: How to keep points and miles from expiring

Bottom line

It's taken some companies a while to come around, but the coronavirus pandemic requires decisive action to keep valuable loyalty programs running smoothly. Choice's decision to extend elite status and offer upgrades or bonus points to current elite members should help maintain customer loyalty moving forward.

Featured photo courtesy of the Cambria LAX.

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