One of the best ways to get extra perks and boost your earnings on hotel stays is to have a cobranded hotel credit card.
However, Choice Privileges members looking to add a new hotel credit card to their wallet have been out of luck recently as Barclays stopped accepting applications for its Choice Privileges® Visa Signature® Card in late 2022.
Luckily, a new product is coming from Wells Fargo. Choice Hotels recently made Wells Fargo the official credit card issuer and Mastercard the exclusive payments network for its Choice Privileges program. And later this year, the Choice Privileges® Mastercard® will hit the market.
Here’s what you need to know about this new Choice Privileges credit card.
The information for the Choice Privileges Visa and Choice Privileges Mastercard has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
New Choice Privileges Mastercard
Wells Fargo will begin accepting applications for its new Choice Privileges Mastercard by May 1. This no-annual-fee card will have several useful features, including World Elite Mastercard perks and no foreign transaction fees.
We’ll let you know when applications open. In the meantime, here is what else we know so far about this card.
When you make eligible purchases with the new Choice Privileges Mastercard, you’ll earn Choice points as follows:
- 5 points per dollar on qualifying stays at participating Choice hotels (including non-Choice branded hotels you book through Choice’s website, app or service center) and when you buy Choice points.
- 3 points per dollar on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, home improvement stores and phone plans.
- 1 point per dollar on other purchases.
However, purchases at some Choice hotels won’t earn 5 points per dollar. In particular, the Choice Privileges Mastercard eligible locations list excludes WoodSpring Suites and properties in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden.
Sign up for our daily newsletter
Choice Hotels acquired Radisson Americas in 2022 and plans to integrate Radisson Rewards Americas into the Choice Privileges program later this year. So, you should also earn 5 points per dollar spent at Radisson brands in the U.S., Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean once these hotels are bookable through Choice.
Related: 27 hotels you can book for less with Choice Hotels’ Sweet Spot Rewards
10 elite night credits for Gold status
As a Choice Privileges Mastercard cardholder, you’ll get 10 elite night credits each year as a perk of your card account. These elite night credits will get you automatic Gold status and could also help you earn higher tiers of Choice Privileges elite status.
I expect we’ll see changes to the Choice Privileges program, including elite status benefits, as Radisson Rewards Americas is integrated. So, although Choice Privileges elite status doesn’t currently provide many helpful benefits, it may become more valuable later this year.
You’ll get the elite night credits within 14 days of opening your card account. Then, you’ll get these credits each subsequent year by Jan. 15 if your card account was open as of Dec. 31 of the prior year.
Related: Is hotel elite status worth it anymore?
When you pay a monthly cellphone bill with the Choice Privileges Mastercard, lines on the monthly billing statement will be eligible for cellphone protection.
Coverage starts on the first day of the calendar month after you start paying a cellphone bill using your card. Coverage remains active as long as you continue to pay monthly cellphone bills with your card.
This protection covers “damage to, theft of, or involuntary and accidental parting of a cellphone,” although it won’t cover lost cellphones, electronic failure or issues related to device software.
If you have an eligible claim, this protection may reimburse you the cost to repair or replace the cellphone less a $25 deductible (up to $800 per claim and up to two paid claims per 12-month period).
Related: Link a credit card with cellphone protection to your mobile bill
How does this affect existing Choice Privileges Visa cardholders?
If you have an existing Choice Privileges credit card, your card will be converted to a Choice Privileges Mastercard in May. Existing cardholders should get access to the card’s new benefits and features on May 1 and shouldn’t see fees or annual percentage rates increase due to the conversion.
Switching over to the new Mastercard isn’t optional. However, here’s a quick look at the major differences between the Choice Privileges Visa and the new Choice Privileges Mastercard:
- Non-Choice spending: The new Mastercard will offer some bonus categories that earn 3 points per dollar spent, but other spending earns 1 point per dollar spent. The Visa offers no other bonus categories, but all other spending earns 2 points per dollar.
- Threshold spending bonus: The Visa offers 8,000 bonus points every year you spend $10,000 or more on purchases. This spending bonus isn’t listed as a benefit on the new Mastercard, though a spokesperson for Wells Fargo told TPG that existing cardholders will have one additional year to use this perk before it disappears.
- Elite night credits: The new Mastercard provides 10 elite night credits each calendar year (enough for Gold status), while the Visa provides Gold status. The elite night credits from the Mastercard may help you earn higher tiers of Choice Privileges elite status.
- No foreign transaction fees: The Visa charges a 3% foreign transaction fee, while the new Mastercard won’t charge any foreign transaction fees.
One aspect to consider if you have the Choice Privileges Visa is that the new Choice Privileges Mastercard may offer a sign-up bonus once it launches in May. We don’t know what the terms of the sign-up bonus will be nor whether current or previous cardholders of a Choice Privileges credit card will be eligible for the bonus.
However, if current and previous cardholders of the Choice Privileges Mastercard are excluded from earning the bonus, this could be a reason to close your Choice Privileges Visa before it is converted. Of course, closing a card can affect your credit score — so weigh your options carefully.
Related: Should I cancel or downgrade my credit card?
Choice Hotels will launch a new Wells Fargo Mastercard this spring named the Choice Privileges Mastercard. Existing Choice Privileges cardholders will see their cards converted to this product in May.
The new no-annual-fee Choice Privileges Mastercard may be a good option for Choice loyalists due to its 10 elite night credits per year and no foreign transaction fees. However, the earning rates are likely too low to compete with other travel rewards cards and everyday spending cards.