Choice Privileges Visa Signature Card Review

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The Choice Privileges Visa Signature Card, issued by Barclays, offers a decent blend of rewards and perks for a hotel card without an annual fee. There are better general-purpose travel rewards cards out there, but if you tend to stick to Choice hotel brands such as Comfort and EconoLodge, and you don’t travel very often, this may be a great choice for you. 

Choice Privileges® Visa Signature® Card

Overall Rating
3.4
Choice Privileges® Visa Signature® Card
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.74% - 24.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 15 points per $1 spent at eligible Choice Hotels. Earn 2 points per $1 spent on all other purchases. Earn 5 points per $1 on eligible Choice Hotels gift cards.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 3%
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
2.2
for Fees
3.2
for Rewards
3.0
for Credit
3.7
Current Offer

Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days.

Who Is This Credit Card Best For?

  • Avatar for Deal Seeker Persona
    Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain See more cards
    Deal Seeker
  • Avatar for Road Warrior Persona
    Hits the road often, whether for work or play See more cards
    Road Warrior
  • Avatar for Adventure Seeker Persona
    Loves to explore places and experience new things See more cards
    Adventure Seeker
  • Avatar for Brand Loyalist Persona
    Frequently shops with a particular merchant and wants to be rewarded for their loyalty See more cards
    Brand Loyalist

This credit card is best if you primarily stay at Choice Hotels properties when you travel. There are 12 brands in the Choice Hotels network with more 7,000 properties worldwide, so you’ll have plenty to choose from. But these tend to be more budget-level properties than luxury properties, so if you’re going for the occasional splurge we might recommend another brand such as Marriott or Hyatt. 

We’d also recommend this card if you only travel occasionally. If you travel more frequently (such as a few times per year) you might be better off with a premium travel rewards card. That’s because even though they generally come with an annual fee, what you earn through the card’s rewards program may exceed your annual fee. 

Pros
  • Competitive welcome bonus

  • Anniversary point bonus

  • 0% APR balance transfer offer

  • Good earnings rate at Choice Hotels properties

Cons
  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Points can expire after 18 months of inactivity

Pros Explained

  • Competitive welcome bonus: We calculate that the card’s bonus is worth more than all but one no-annual-fee hotel rewards card. 
  • Anniversary point bonus: If you spend at least $10,000 per year, you’ll get an 8,000 -point bonus on your cardholder anniversary, which is enough points to book a rewards night.
  • 0% APR balance transfer offer: While not unheard of, a travel-focused card with 0% APR balance transfer offer isn’t the norm. The Choice Privileges card gives you 15 months of 0% interest on balance transfers. 
  • Good earnings rate at Choice Hotels properties: You’ll earn 15 points for every dollar you spend at a Choice Hotels hotel—more than double what similar cards offer. 

Cons Explained

  • Foreign transaction fee: Typically, travel cards don’t have foreign transaction fees. However, the Choice Privileges card charges a 3% fee on foreign transactions. If you travel abroad, be wary of this charge. 
  • Points can expire after 18 months of inactivity: If you go more than 18 months without having some sort of “qualifying activity” like redeeming or earning points, your points will expire.  

The Choice Privileges suspended point forfeitures through Dec. 31, 2020.

Bonus for New Cardholders

If you spend at least $1,000 within the first three months, you’ll earn a 50,000 -point bonus. We estimate that Choice Privileges points are worth 0.84 cents each, which makes this bonus worth about $420 when you redeem them for more Choice Hotels stays. 

Barclays claims that this is enough points to book up to six rewards nights at a Choice Hotels property. But remember, their estimate is a best-case scenario and it may not always be possible to book six nights with your bonus. For example, a room’s points cost can fluctuate depending on the demand and the day of the week, so the number of actual hotel stays 50,000 points buys you might be less than you expect.

Choice Privileges indicates that, while there are rooms for 6,000 points per night, most rooms you book will cost more than 8,000 points per night. 

Earning Points & Rewards

There are two ways to earn spending-based points with the Choice Privileges Visa Signature Card. 

First, everything you buy will earn at least two points for every dollar you spend, and when you use your card at Choice Privileges hotels, you’ll instead earn 15 points per dollar. That’s a much higher earnings rate than most similar hotel rewards cards offer.  

If you spend at least $10,000 in a calendar year, you’ll earn an 8,000-point bonus at your next cardholder anniversary. Hitting that spending threshold requires an average monthly spend of $834. 

If your account is past due, you may not be able to earn points.

Redeeming Rewards

Choice Privileges offers several ways to redeem your rewards, but we’d recommend sticking to the basics and using them for hotel stays because your points are most valuable when you use them that way. Your points are worth about 0.84 cents each when you redeem them for stays at Choice Privileges properties. 

In general, you’ll need 8,000-35,000 points to book a rewards room, with some hotels in Asia requiring 75,000 points per night. One of the nice things with this program is that you can use points and cash to book a stay if you don’t have enough points saved up for the hotel you’re looking to book.

Also, you can redeem your points for charitable donations and gift cards.

Transferring Points

You can transfer your points to several airline programs and one rail program, but the transfer ratio isn’t that great compared to other cards, so we don’t recommend it. Furthermore, Choice Privileges has two groups of transfer partners. The first group processes your points transfers quickly: 

  • Aeroplan: 5:1, minimum 5,000 points
  • Alaska Airlines: 5:1, minimum 5,000 points
  • Amtrak Guest Rewards: 6.4:1
  • Club Premier: 5:1, minimum 5,000 points
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer: 2.5:1, minimum 20,000 points
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards: 3.3:1, minimum 6,000 points
  • United MileagePlus: 2.5:1, minimum 5,000 points

The second group of travel partners include big names, but it can take between two to six weeks for your points to transfer: 

  • American Airlines AAdvantage: 5:1
  • Czech Airlines: 5:1
  • Spirit Airlines: 5:1
  • Velocity Frequent Flyer: 2.5:1

How to Get the Most Out of This Card

You can wring the most value from this card by using it exclusively to pay for stays at Choice Hotels and by hitting the $10,000 spending bonus each year. Aside from that, we’d recommend evaluating what your greatest spending areas are, and whether a card with higher bonuses in those categories could work. 

For example, you’ll earn 2 points per dollar spent on gasoline purchases with this card, which translates into 1.68 cents of value towards a Choice Privileges hotel stay. But if you use another card that offers 2% cash back on gas purchases, you’ll earn 2 cents per dollar spent that you can use for anything you want, including Choice Privileges hotels stays.

Excellent Perks

This card comes with one perk that The Balance's editorial team considers a valuable benefit:

  • Elite hotel status: You’ll automatically be bumped up to the first elite tier level (Elite Gold) with this card, which nets you 10% more points on Choice Privileges hotel stays, among other things. 

Other Features

  • Discounts when booking through the Choice Privileges app or website

Customer Experience

Barclays ranks slightly below average and finished ninth out of 11 credit card issuers in J.D. Power’s 2020 survey of credit card customer satisfaction.

Barclays offers 24/7 phone-based customer service. Through the Barclays app, you can manage your accounts and view your complimentary FICO score

Security Features

Barclays offers standard security features such as text alerts and two-factor authentication. You’ll get access to even more security features if you use the mobile app, where you can lock your card, use contactless payments, and more. 

Fees to Watch Out For

This card doesn’t come with any fees that are out of line for similar cards, with the exception of the 3% foreign transaction fee. If you stay in the United States this shouldn’t be a problem but the whole point of a travel card is to travel, and sometimes abroad—and if you do, we suggest leaving this card at home.

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CURRENT CARD
Choice Privileges® Visa Signature® Card
overall rating
3.4
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.74% - 24.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 15 points per $1 spent at eligible Choice Hotels. Earn 2 points per $1 spent on all other purchases. Earn 5 points per $1 on eligible Choice Hotels gift cards.
Our Methodology
At The Balance, we are dedicated to giving you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews. To do this, we collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances.
  • Our Reviews Are Always Impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive. The scores and reviews come directly from the data we collect and our editorial expertise, and we focus on three areas:
  • How Much Does It Cost? With credit card debt at an all-time high, we believe you should know the cost of carrying a balance. Because of that, we give regular purchase APRs significant weight in overall scores, and cards receive low marks if they have an array of pricey fees.
  • What Are the Rewards Worth? Cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely. To simplify the problem, we built a system that fairly compares rewards and gives them a dollar value. We do this by looking at the ways you can earn and use rewards, which includes evaluating Americans’ typical spending habits and analyzing common travel patterns.
  • Does It Make Your Life Easier? Our scoring system favors cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting customer service. Finally, we give preference to credit cards that have several tools for dealing with fraudulent charges.
  • For every review on The Balance, we hold the credit cards to these standards, and we set the bar high. While we recognize the appeal of splashy features like six-digit sign-up bonuses, our approach ensures that credit cards with the best combination of value, affordability, and accessibility receive the highest scores. See our full methodology for more details.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. Barclays US. "Choice Privileges Visa Signature Card." Accessed Nov. 6, 2020.

  2. Choice Privileges. "Frequently Asked Questions." Accessed Nov. 6, 2020.

  3. Choice Privileges. "Rules and Regulations." Accessed Nov. 6, 2020.

  4. Choice Privileges Rewards Exchange. "Exchange Loyalty Points." Accessed Nov. 6, 2020.

  5. J.D. Power. "Customers Losing Faith in Credit Card Issuers as COVID-19 Pandemic Lingers, J.D. Power Finds" Accessed Nov. 6, 2020.