On the plus side, Choice Privileges members have a new way to redeem points. Barcelo is the newest Choice Privileges partner and members can redeem points for hotel stays at participating properties in Mexico, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Stays during the low season are 10,000 points per night and 16,000 points per night during the high season (Dec. 19, 2009 through April 1, 2010) plus an additional $35 per person per day for an all-inclusive package that includes food and beverage service. For children under the age of 12, the cost is $25 per day. Participating properties include Barcelo Costa Cancun, Barcelo Maya Beach and Barcelo Punta Cana Beach Resort. You will need to call the Choice call center to make reservations at (888) 770-6800.
On the minus side, Choice Privileges recently reduced the number of Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards credits members receive for point redemptions, which is the third devaluation the program has made in the past year.
Now, members will receive only 1.5 credits instead of two when redeeming 6,000 points. In July 2008, the program raised the number of points required from 5,000 points for two credits to 6,000 points for two credits.
Bottom line: Each time the ratio has changed, members have not been notified in advance. The FlyerTalk member who broke the news to other members said, “Accidentally found this on the Choice site…” In our opinion, that’s not good and can lead to other statements such as this from another FlyerTalk member, “Well I am done with Choice after many loyal years.”
If members are informed of a change like this in advance, at least they can take advantage of the offer at the old rates just one last time and it helps take the sting out of the change.