Choice Hotels, Penn National Gaming Reveal Loyalty Rewards Reciprocal Agreement

Posted on: January 13, 2021, 02:14h. 

Last updated on: January 13, 2021, 03:00h.

Choice Hotels International and Penn National Gaming are expanding their customer loyalty platforms to broaden appeal to members of both programs.

Choice Hotels
A Comfort Suites hotel, one of the brands owned by Choice Hotels. That company has a new loyalty partnership with Penn National Gaming. (Image: Wall Street Journal)

As part of the agreement, members of Choice Privileges can book stays at any of Penn’s 41 gaming properties across 19 states through the hotelier’s web site. Penn is one of the largest regional gaming companies in the US, with casino resorts in states such as Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, among others.

Choice Privileges members booking stays at Penn properties through the hotel operator’s site will accrue points for those stays. The program is slated to roll out this year.

Under the terms of Penn’s mychoice program, members can redeem points for equal value on slot play. For example, $1 worth of points redeemed will earn a user $1 in play, essentially one spin on most slots. However, the earnings are doubled for hotel accommodations, dining, and shopping.

Potentially Potent Partnership

Choice operates hotels under that brand and the Ascend Hotel Collection, among others. The Maryland-based company says it has 7,100 properties in its system, and that the arrangement with Penn brings another 7,000 rooms into the fold.

Rewards partnerships between gaming companies and traditional hoteliers are commonplace in the travel and leisure industry. For example, Caesars Entertainment and Wyndham Resorts allow members of the Caesars Rewards and Wyndham Rewards programs to redeem points at either of the companies’ properties.

For Penn, the tie-up with Choice Hotels makes logistical sense, because the latter has 1,500 hotels within an hour’s drive of the gaming operator’s various venues.

“Penn will also benefit from our award-winning global reservation system, which drives more than $9 billion in revenue,” according to Choice.

Leveraging Loyalty

With the coronavirus pandemic still weighing on the travel and leisure industry, companies are getting creative with rewards programs to remain on guest’s radars. For example, MGM Resorts said last year it will match tiers from rival casino loyalty clubs from around the country.

Caesars is seeking avenues for monetization, allowing a partner to use Caesars Rewards, generating recurring revenue in the process.

These agreements can pay dividends for hotel companies, too. That’s particularly true for operators such as Choice, which have deep portfolios buffering against dependence on destination markets that travelers are showing reluctance to return to because of COVID-19.

Gaming companies with expansive regional footprints, including Penn, are currently preferred by the investment community because gamblers and tourists can get to the venues via car. That trend underscores the potential for Choice Hotels and Penn, as rewards members can easily drive to an Ascend property, stay there, and spend time gambling at a Penn casino, earning points along the way.