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Radisson Rewards: The Complete Guide

Nov. 30, 2018
Loyalty Programs, Travel, Travel Credit Cards
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Radisson Rewards, formerly Club Carlson, is the loyalty program of Radisson Hotel Group. With over 224,000 rooms in more than 1,400 hotels around the world, the Radisson Rewards program can help you unlock hotel awards primarily in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Based on our most-recent analysis of hotel loyalty programs, we value Radisson Rewards points at 0.3 cent each. We like Radisson Rewards for families because of the return through its premium credit card, the Radisson Rewards™ Premier Visa Signature® Card.

A night’s stay in low-category hotels anywhere costs an average of 27,632 points, meaning you would have to spend an average of $5,526 to earn a free night.

Despite the low value per point, does it make sense for travelers to invest in Radisson Rewards? In many situations, those who stay most often at this hotel chain can still earn rewards thanks to the generous earning opportunities.

In this article:

Radisson Rewards: The basics

Radisson Rewards was created by the merger of Radisson Hospitality Inc. (formerly Carlson Hotels Inc.) and Europe’s Rezidor Hotel Group. On March 5, 2018, the two hotel companies relaunched as Radisson Hotel Group, bringing Club Carlson into Radisson Rewards. Today, the Radisson loyalty program offers rewards points to travelers staying at their seven brands:

  • Country Inn & Suites by Radisson: An upper-midscale hotel brand featuring free Wi-Fi, complimentary hot breakfast and a Read It & Return lending library.
  • Park Inn by Radisson: A contemporary upper-midscale hotel with a colorful modern design.
  • Park Plaza: An upper-upscale hotel that targets business and leisure travelers with designs that align with the locations.
  • Radisson Red: An upscale brand focused on travelers searching for a different hotel experience — informal services and bold design are the hallmarks of this brand.
  • Radisson: The flagship brand of the collection, Radisson hotels provide an upscale stay that blends Scandinavian hospitality with modern design.
  • Radisson Blu: The upper-upscale brand of Radisson, Radisson Blu features luxury accommodations with personalized service.
  • Radisson Collection: The premium brand of Radisson, the Radisson Collection is a small group of unique, luxury hotels.

Radisson Rewards elite levels

Radisson Rewards offers guests four different loyalty status levels, based on which credit card they hold or how often they stay every year:

  • Radisson Rewards Club. Radisson Rewards Club is the base level for new members. Travelers earn 20 points per $1 spent on eligible hotel nights, along with meals and beverages charged to the room. When booking hotels, Radisson Rewards Club members are eligible for the members-only rate, which can mean savings up to 10% when booking on the Radisson website or mobile app. Members also get a 5% discount on food and drink at participating hotel restaurants and two complimentary bottles of water in their room with every stay.
  • Radisson Rewards Silver. After accruing six stays or nine nights, or getting the Radisson Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card, members jump to Radisson Rewards Silver status. At this level, guests earn 22 points per $1 spent on eligible hotel nights plus meals and beverages charged to their room. In addition to all of the Radisson Rewards Club level benefits, Silver members can request an early check-in or late checkout on eligible stays, qualify for complimentary room upgrades and roll over eligible nights toward elite status in the next year. As a guest, they receive a 10% discount at participating hotel restaurants.
  • Radisson Rewards Gold. Members get Radisson Rewards Gold status after 20 stays, staying 30 nights or getting the Radisson Rewards™ Premier Visa Signature® Card. Gold members earn 25 points per $1 spent on eligible stays and food and drink purchases charged to their room, as well as a 15% discount at participating hotel restaurants. On top of the Radisson Rewards Silver status benefits, Gold members receive two additional benefits: an in-room welcome gift during eligible stays and a 72-hour room guarantee when booking through the Elite Members Services line.
  • Radisson Rewards Platinum. At the highest end is Radisson Rewards Platinum status, earned after 30 stays or 60 nights. On top of all of the benefits from the other loyalty tiers, members get free breakfast at participating hotel restaurants and access to a dedicated Platinum Member Services Line. When reserving rooms using the exclusive member services phone line, room availability is guaranteed up to 48 hours before booking. Platinum members earn 35 points per every $1 spent at hotels and a 20% discount on food and drinks at participating hotels.

Radisson Rewards lifetime status

Unlike other programs, Radisson Rewards doesn’t offer lifetime status for continued elite status across multiple years. Instead, members must requalify for loyalty status every year. The only assured way to earn status every year is to hold the Radisson Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card or the Radisson Rewards™ Premier Visa Signature® Card, which grant Silver and Gold status respectively upon activation as a card benefit.

Earning Radisson Rewards points


While staying at Radisson hotels is the primary way to earn points, members can also do so through other offers. From holding a co-branded credit card to using partner offers, there is no shortage of ways to pick up more points.

Earning Radisson Rewards points at hotels

Members earn Radisson Rewards points based on their elite status. Rewards Club members earn 20 points per dollar spent on eligible rates, Silver members earn 22 points per dollar spent on eligible rates, Gold members earn 25 points per dollar spent on eligible rates and Platinum members earn 35 points per dollar on eligible rates.

“Eligible rates” are defined as “a rate identified in Radisson’s Hotels reservation system as eligible for points,” which excludes employee rates, friends and family rates, complimentary or barter rooms not booked on points, rates booked through an online travel agency and those booked through group or tour operator accounts.

On an eligible rate of $100 per night, you could earn:

  • Club: 2,000 Radisson Rewards points.
  • Silver: 2,200 Radisson Rewards points.
  • Gold: 2,500 Radisson Rewards points.
  • Platinum: 3,500 Radisson Rewards points.

Cards that earn Radisson Rewards points

Radisson Rewards offers four credit cards that earn points with every dollar spent — three consumer credit cards and one business credit card. All four allow cardholders to earn one free night e-certificate for $10,000 in spending, up to three e-certificates, every year they renew their card.

  • Radisson Rewards™ Premier Visa Signature® Card: Radisson Rewards™ Premier Visa Signature® Card offers the highest points per dollar spent, as well as the highest new cardmember bonus. New account holders can earn 50,000 Radisson Rewards points after their first purchase with the card, along with an additional one-time bonus of 35,000 points after spending at least $2,500 within 90 days after the card was opened. Cardholders earn 10 points per $1 spent at participating Radisson Hotels and 5 points per $1 spent everywhere else. The card also comes with immediate Radisson Rewards Gold status upon activation and has a $75 annual fee.
  • Radisson Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card: The Radisson Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card comes with a lower annual fee, but it also has fewer benefits and earning potential. New cardholders can earn up to 60,000 bonus points — 50,000 points with their first purchase on the card and an additional 10,000 one-time bonus after spending $1,500 on the card within 90 days after the account was opened. Cardholders earn 6 points per $1 spent at participating Radisson hotels and 3 points per $1 spent everywhere else. With a $50 annual fee, the card comes with Radisson Rewards Silver status immediately upon activation.
  • Radisson Rewards™ Visa® Card: The Radisson Rewards™ Visa® Card is the entry-level card. With no annual fee, this card offers the lowest new cardmember bonus and lowest points return for spending. New members can earn 30,000 Radisson Rewards points after spending $1,000 for purchases within 90 days after the account was opened. Then, you can earn 3 points per $1 spent at participating Radisson hotels and 1 point per $1 spent everywhere else. This card doesn’t come with elite status.
  • Radisson Rewards™ Business Visa® Card: For small businesses, Radisson offers the Radisson Rewards™ Business Visa® Card, with identical benefits to the Radisson Rewards™ Premier Visa Signature® Card. However, the annual fee on the business card is $60, which is $15 less than the consumer version of the credit card.

How to get more Radisson Rewards points

Like most hotel rewards programs, Radisson Rewards offers members different ways to earn extra points — most of which don’t involve staying at a hotel at all. You can earn bonus points through the following partner offers:

  • Car rental rewards: Radisson Rewards partnered with six car rental companies, including Avis, Budget, Enterprise and Sixt Car Rental, to offer extra points with each rental. Bonuses range from 300 Radisson Rewards points per car rental day to a flat 700 points per rental, with extras ranging from discounts to car upgrades.
  • Extras partners: Bonus points extend to the Radisson Rewards smartphone app as well. When using the partners in the “Extras” tab in the app, members can earn bonus points for restaurant reservations, buying tickets online and everyday shopping. Bonus offers include 200 points per seated reservation using Resy, 10 points per dollar spent at SeatGeek and Groupon, and 6 points per dollar shopping online at eBay, Jet.com and iTunes.
  • FTD flowers: When you order flowers with FTD online or over the phone using Radisson’s promo code, you can earn 1,500 Radisson Rewards points per purchase. Some exceptions apply.
  • Hotel promotions: Radisson Rewards also offers members the opportunity to earn extra points by booking promotional offers. Offers can range from earning bonus points on the first stay booked through the Radisson Rewards smartphone app, to double points on eligible rates at participating hotels.
  • Vinesse Wines: You can even earn bonus Radisson Rewards points for joining a wine club. New Vinesse Wines subscribers can earn up to 12,500 Radisson Rewards points when joining: 5,000 points with the first wine club shipment, 7,500 points with the second shipment and also 10 points for every $1 spent on wine or wine accessories on all future wine club shipments and orders.

Using Radisson Rewards points

What makes Radisson Rewards a well-rounded program are the multiple ways travelers can use their points. While redeeming points for hotel rooms is the primary method to use points, they can also be converted to airline miles, a Priority Pass membership, or donated to the American Red Cross.

Using Radisson Rewards for free hotel nights

Searching for award nights falls under two categories: award night stays and Points + Cash awards.

Standard award nights are available across seven categories, with Category 1 being the cheapest hotels and Category 7 being the most luxurious and in-demand locations. Their award chart ranges from 9,000 points for a standard Category 1 room, up to 70,000 points for a standard Category 7 room. When using points for a hotel room, we estimate your return is about 0.3 cent per point.

If you don’t have enough points for an award night, you can also reduce your overall cost for a night with a Points + Cash award. Using a Points + Cash award night, you pay a flat rate of points combined with a cash requirement determined at the time of reservation. How many points you pay is based on the category your hotel is in:

Other ways to use Radisson Rewards points

If you would rather use Radisson Rewards points for other travel benefits, the program has you covered. Points can be transferred to airline partners, used in hotels like cash or donated to charity. The other ways to use your miles include:

  • Airline miles: Radisson Rewards points can be transferred to over 20 airline partners, including Air Canada Aeroplan, American Airlines AAdvantage, British Airways Avios, Delta Air Lines SkyMiles and United Airlines MileagePlus. Members have three transfer options: 2,000 Radisson Rewards points for 200 miles, 50,000 Radisson Rewards points for 5,000 miles, or 100,000 Radisson Rewards points for 10,000 miles.
  • In-Hotel Express Awards: Radisson Rewards can also be used like cash for hotel extras at check-in or during your stay. Points can be used for food and beverages at participating hotel restaurants, an in-room movie, parking charges or spa services.
  • Gift cards: All hotel rewards programs offer gift cards as a redemption option and Radisson Rewards is no exception. Select gift cards in $10 increments are 7,000 points, $25 cards cost 18,000 points and $50 gift cards cost 34,000 points.
  • Cash cards: Radisson Rewards also allows you to exchange points for prepaid Visa cards, redeemable anywhere Visa is accepted. A $25 prepaid Visa card costs 20,000 points, a $50 prepaid Visa costs 35,000 points, and a $100 prepaid Visa costs 67,000 points.
  • Radisson gift cards: For European travelers, Radisson Rewards points can also be turned into gift cards redeemable at hotels. The gift cards are available in British pounds and euros but are only accepted at hotels in certain nations. Check if your hotel will accept gift cards before redeeming points.
  • Priority Pass membership: If you don’t want a premium credit card but still want to access airport lounges, Priority Pass is available through Radisson Rewards. You can spend 125,000 points to receive a unique invitation code that will cover the cost of Priority Pass membership for one applicant for one year.
  • TSA Precheck: Radisson Rewards are good for another premium credit card benefit: TSA Precheck membership. You can use 65,000 points to get a code to pay for a TSA Precheck authorization code, which will cover your $85 fee.
  • Donate points to the American Red Cross: The American Red Cross also accepts donations of Radisson Rewards points, which are then converted to cash. Members can donate a minimum of 3,000 points, with no limit on the number of points that can be given. Radisson Rewards will donate $1.60 for every 1,000 points given.

Good Radisson Rewards redemption options

  • Hotel room awards: The best way to use Radisson Rewards points is toward hotel rooms at over 1,400 hotels located on nearly every continent. When using points toward hotels, our calculations show your points are worth an average of 0.3 cent each. The most valuable use of points is to stay in major cities during peak travel seasons, where points can be worth as much as 0.7 cent each. When it comes to redeeming points, you won’t find a more valuable use than toward hotel rooms.
  • Points + Cash awards: Because Radisson charges a flat rate in points for hotel rooms on Points + Cash awards, some hybrid awards can be a good use of Radisson Rewards. If you can get more than 0.3 cent per point of value from a Points + Cash award, then it’s a good deal.

Bad Radisson Rewards redemption options

  • Gift cards: Although you could redeem Radisson Rewards points for gift cards and cash cards, you won’t get a very good return. When exchanging points for gift cards, your effective exchange rate is about 0.14 cent per point, which is nearly half of the 0.3 cent per point average on hotel rewards.
  • TSA Precheck: TSA Precheck costs $85 and it’s good for five years. When paying for it with Radisson Rewards, your points are worth 0.13 cent each. Before using points to pay for TSA Precheck, check to see if you have a credit card that offers this as a one-time benefit. Some American Express cards, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, offer TSA Precheck fee waivers as a benefit.
  • Priority Pass membership: If you hold a premium travel credit card, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or The Platinum Card® from American Express, then you already understand the benefits and value of Priority Pass. But paying for it with Radisson Rewards points is a really bad deal. First, the $299 membership costs 125,000 points, for a value of 0.24 cent per point — just under the average value of 0.3 cent per point. In addition, the points buy a Standard Plus membership, which gives members 10 free visits. All guests and visits after the first 10 cost $32 each. If lounge access is important to you, consider getting a premium travel card instead.

Bottom line

If you are an infrequent traveler who wants to earn hotel stays for everyday spending or are planning a vacation for a family, Radisson Rewards is worth your consideration. With a good rate of return for staying at hotels and spending on the Radisson Rewards™ Premier Visa Signature® Card, travelers who are more concerned about budget than luxury can potentially find great deals through Radisson Rewards.

On the other side, those who are primarily looking for luxury over convenience and discounts won’t be best served by Radisson Rewards. Instead, the best returns for those travelers may be found at World of Hyatt, which focuses on luxury hotel experiences, or Marriott Rewards, which offers over 25 brands ranging from economical to high-end and luxury.


METHODOLOGY

To determine the value of Radisson Rewards points, we analyzed prices in U.S. dollars and Radisson Rewards points at Radisson-affiliated hotels from November 2018 to April 2019 in the 10 largest U.S. media markets as defined by ratings and data company Nielsen, along with five randomly selected media markets. We collected the average prices in cash and points to find the average value of points in cents. The markets are New York; Los Angeles; Chicago; Philadelphia; Dallas/Fort Worth; Washington, D.C.; Houston; San Francisco; Boston; Atlanta; Salisbury, Maryland; Macon, Georgia; Madison, Wisconsin; Green Bay, Wisconsin; and Wichita, Kansas.

In addition, 12 of the world’s busiest cities for tourism as defined by the 2017 Mastercard Destination City Index were also analyzed from November 2018 to April 2019 to determine the average price in cash, points and an average value of points in cents. The cities are Bangkok; Shanghai; Chennai, India; London; Paris; Istanbul; Lima, Peru; Sao Paulo, Brazil; San Jose, Costa Rica; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Johannesburg; and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

The average value of 0.3 cent per point was determined from the mean value of all rewards across all surveyed cities. Individual city average values range from 0.2 cent to 0.7 cent per point.

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