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When you think of the best hotel rewards programs, chances are the big four come to mind: Hilton, Hyatt, IHG and Marriott. These programs are mainstream and get the most attention. However, there is another hotel rewards program that deserves attention. In fact, it’s one of the best rewards programs out there: Radisson Rewards.
Radisson’s extensive portfolio
We know what you’re thinking: You haven’t seen a Radisson hotel in years, and the only ones still around look run down and not someplace you’d want to stay. Fair enough. But what many people don’t realize is that Radisson has eight brands and over 1,200 hotels around the world. Some of its hotels in Europe, Asia and the Middle East rival the best Marriott and Hyatt hotels:
The May Fair London (70,000 points per night).
Radisson Blu Dubai Waterfront (50,000 points per night).
Radisson Hotel New York Midtown-Fifth Avenue (70,000 points per night).
Radisson Bosphorus Istanbul (70,000 points per night).
The ease of earning free nights via credit card spending
The Radisson Rewards™ Premier Visa Signature® Card earns 10 points per $1 at Radisson hotels and 5 points per $1 everywhere else. So if you’re not booking paid stays at Radisson hotels, you can still earn free nights fairly quickly. It takes just $1,800-$14,000 worth of non-bonus spending to earn a free night.
Meanwhile, you’d have to do $2,500-$50,000 worth of non-bonus spending on Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card to earn a free night.
As for Hyatt, you’d have to put $3,500-$45,000 in non-bonus spending on the World of Hyatt Credit Card to earn a free night.
As you can see, Radisson Rewards requires significantly less spending to earn a free night. Most people have limited expenses they can charge to their rewards credit card, and being able to get maximum return on that spending is important.
The ease and perks of earning elite status
Radisson Rewards has three different elite status levels: Silver, Gold and Platinum. Here's how you can earn them:
Silver: 9 nights/6 stays.
Gold: 30 nights/20 stays.
Platinum: 60 nights/30 stays.
The Radisson Rewards™ Premier Visa Signature® Card comes with instant Gold elite status. Cardholders who already have Gold status receive 15 elite qualifying nights instead. Additionally, award nights count toward status, making elite status much more attainable.
» Learn more: Travel loyalty program reviews
The ease of earning a free night
Earning free nights at Radisson hotels is fairly easy. Radisson Rewards has seven hotel categories, requiring 9,000 to 70,000 points per standard award night. And Radisson doesn’t have peak and off-peak pricing like Marriott and Hyatt, so the number of points required for a free night remains the same all year.
Non-elite members earn 20 points per $1 spent at Radisson hotels. Translation: It takes just $450 to $3,500 worth of spending to earn enough points for a free night just by staying at hotels. In comparison, non-elite Hyatt members earn 5 points per $1 spent, and free nights range from 3,500 to 45,000 points per night (if you factor in the peak/off-peak pricing structure going into effect in March). At that rate, it takes World of Hyatt members $700 to $9,000 worth of paid stays to earn enough points for a free night.
With Marriott Bonvoy, members earn 2.5 to 10 points per $1 spent and free nights range from 5,000 to 100,000 points per night. That means it takes $500 to $40,000 worth of spending to earn a free night. Clearly, Radisson Rewards is much more rewarding in this regard.
» Learn more: Here's how much your points and miles are worth
The bottom line
With a rewarding program that makes earning free nights via paid stays and credit card spending easier than other rewards programs, Radisson Rewards is low-key one of the best hotel loyalty programs out there. While its hotels stateside leave something to be desired, there are many high-end hotels and resorts abroad that get you lots of value for your points. The fact that it has not yet implemented peak and off-peak award pricing is a huge plus.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card