Update at 2:02 PM ET: The 40k and 32k packages were all taken within seconds. I snagged two 36k packages. How did you do?

Today is the third day of five weeks of discounted travel packages sponsored by the US Travel Association and American Express called Daily Getaways. Every weekday at 1 PM ET, a discounted travel package or packages will go on sale and will usually sell out in a few minutes. Some of the offers will be awesome; some will be duds.

Today’s Daily Getaways deal is to buy Choice Priveleges points for as little as 0.37 cents each. I expect this deal to sell out right away because it is the best hotel points deal of Daily Getaways.

The best use for Choice Privileges points is to redeem them for hotel stays in Europe on a very cheap award chart. They can also be converted to most major mileage currencies at a 5:1 ratio (1.85 cents per mile at these prices.)

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This is nearly an exact repeat of a deal from last year’s Daily Getaways, and that was the deal that I personally got the best value from in 2013.

  • How can you get in on the deal?
  • At what hotels can Choice Privileges points be used?
  • What are the high value uses of Choice Privileges points?
  • Are transfers of Choice Privileges points to airlines a good deal?
  • How did I save 88% on a hotel stay by participating in this deal last year?

The Deal

All Daily Getaways packages offer 10% off each sale price by paying with an American Express card, so that’s a no-brainer, and I’ll always quote prices after the American Express discount.

Today’s deal is on Choice Privileges points. Choice Hotels include all the following brands:

  • Comfort Inn
  • Comfort Suites
  • Quality Inn
  • Sleep Inn
  • Clarion
  • Cambria Suites
  • Mainstay Suites
  • Suburban Extended Stay
  • Econo Lodge
  • Rodeway Inn
  • Ascend Collection

Today’s offers:

  • 20,000 Choice points | $97.20 | 216 available | 0.49 cpp
  • 32,000 Choice points | $118.80 | 655 available | 0.37 cpp
  • 36,000 Choice points | $157.50 | 786 available | 0.44 cpp
  • 40,000 Choice points | $148.50 | 325 available | 0.37 cpp

Please note that Daily Getaways markets these packages as “Comfort Inn: Stay 3 Nights″ or “Comfort Suites: Stay 2 Nights,” but you are really just buying a set amount of points that can be used however you want.

Each Choice Privileges account can buy two packages of each size during Daily Getaways. I’ll try to buy two 40,000 point packages and two 32,000 point packages if I can. I’m skipping the 36k packages since they are more expensive than the 40k packages.

How to Use Choice Privileges Points

There are two main uses for the points: transfers to airline miles and hotel awards.

Transfer to Airlines

Choice Privileges points transfer to several airline programs. The best transfer option is Southwest at a 6,000 Choice Privileges points to 1,800 Rapid Rewards ratio.

Southwest points are very close to fixed in value at about 1.43 cents.

If you buy Choice Privileges points at 0.37 cents and convert them to Southwest points at a 6,000:1,800 ratio, it’s like buying Southwest points at 1.25 cents or .18 cents less than they are worth, about a 12.5% discount.

If you aren’t familiar with Southwest points, they are nothing like old-school frequent flyer miles. Southwest points can be redeemed for any Southwest flight, any time with no blackouts. The number of points you need depends on the cash fare. The exact amount is 70 times the base Wanna Get Away? fare, plus $2.50 in taxes per segment.

Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of booking a Southwest award.

Another benefit of transferring to Southwest points is that the Southwest points earned from the transfers will count toward the 110k points needed to unlock a companion pass.

Hotel Nights

The big value I got from my purchase of Choice Privileges points last year was using them to book expensive European hotels (redundant, right?) for very few points.

Namely, I used 20k Choice points for two nights at the Clarion Hotel in Stockholm, Sweden including free internet and breakfast:

  • My Price: $39, 10k points per night (cheaper than a hostel in Stockholm), which I had bought for 0.39 cents per point
  • Retail Price: $325 per night
  • Savings: 88% off

During Oktoberfest, I stayed three nights at a Comfort Inn a few miles outside of Munich proper, but with easy train access for 12,000 points per night when a Munich hostel wanted 75 euros per night.

Plus I stayed at adequate airport hotels in Oslo and Rome.

Using Choice Privileges points in Europe was never glamorous, but was always a huge time saver.

Choice Privileges awards start at 6,000 points ($22 at these prices) per night.

Note

If I’ve convinced you to compete with me for one of the limited number of packages, do sign up for a Choice Privileges account here now. You must have an account before buying the points today.

Purchasing the Packages

To maximize your chances of getting in on the deal, I recommend using a site like whattimeisit.com to figure out the official time. This year’s sales all started on time to the second. Keep refreshing for the best chance.

This is what happens if you try to purchase something where all quantities are already in someone’s cart.

This doesn’t mean the deal is sold out. If someone doesn’t complete his purchase, that quantity will immediately become available for someone else. Keep checking until the dreaded “Sold Out” appears.

The sale starts at 1 PM ET / 10 AM PT / 7 AM HT. Last year’s Choice packages sold out immediately, and I expect the same thing this year.

Do you plan to buy Choice Privileges points? Post your successful or failed attempt in the comments, so we can gauge how quick you had to be to snag a deal.

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