Earlier I wrote about how Club Carlson is being rebranded as Radisson Rewards. This is part of a bigger shift, as Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group is being rebranded as Radisson Hotel Group, to better leverage the Radisson name. The brand has quite a bit of recognition in Europe, though management acknowledges that the brand is lacking in the Americas (in terms of quality and quantity), so they’re going to work on building some new flagship properties in the Americas, and also improving existing properties.

In addition to the rebranding, there are also some changes being made to the Radisson Rewards program. The thresholds required for elite status have been lowered, and at the same time the points bonuses for Silver and Gold members have been decreased slightly.

There’s also a positive change to the co-branded credit card, which I didn’t write about earlier. This used to be known as the Club Carlson Visa Card, but is now known as the Radisson Rewards Visa Card. There are a few versions of this card, though the Radisson Rewards Visa Signature Card has a $75 annual fee, and offers 40,000 points upon your account anniversary every year.

That’s a reason that I’ve had the card for years and have no plans to cancel it. I’ve actually never used the points I earned for the renewal, so I now have a few hundred thousand points with them. Even though I don’t value the points that much, I do think they’re worth more than 0.1875 cents each.

On the page outlining the new Radisson Rewards program, I noticed the following:

There weren’t any more details regarding this, so I reached out to get clarification about this benefit. Specifically, the Radisson Rewards Visa Signature Card will offer:

  • A free night certificate after spending $10,000 within a year
  • An additional free night certificate after spending another $10,000 within a year (two certificates after $20,000 of spend)
  • An additional free night certificate after spending another $10,000 within a year (three certificates after $30,000 of spend)

The free nights are good for a year, and are only valid at US properties, including Radisson Blu, Radisson, Radisson RED, Park Inn by Radisson, and Country Inn & Suites by Radisson.

Previously the card offered one free night certificate after spending $10,000, so what’s new is the additional reward for spending $20,000 and $30,000.

For reference, here’s the Radisson Rewards award chart:

You can potentially redeem those certificates for stays at 70,000 point properties. The card ordinarily offers five points per dollar spent.

Assuming you spent $30,000, you’d earn 150,000 points (5x points for $30,000 of spend) plus three free night certificates, which could potentially be redeemed for stays that cost 210,000 points. So that’s potentially up to 360,000 points worth of value for $30,000 worth of spend, or as much as 12 points per dollar of value.

Now, I wouldn’t value the three nights anywhere close to 210,000 points, since you have to apply a discount for only being able to redeem efficiently at a few properties, and for the expiration within a year.

The real issue is how few good properties Radisson has in the US (which they’re trying to improve). They have only four Category 7 properties:

Even if you’re going to go down to Category 6 properties, that only opens up three US hotels:

If you spend $30,000 on the card you’d have enough for five nights (and then some) at a Category 7 property, like the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago. That hotel sometimes goes for $200+ per night, though I’d have to apply some discount, since you’re forgoing points by redeeming points rather than booking a paid stay. Let’s say that a stay is worth ~$150 per night, so you’re getting about ~$750 worth of rewards for $30,000 of spend.

That’s pretty good, as it’s a return of ~2.5%. However, that’s not significantly better than the next best options for everyday, non-bonused spend.

I commend Radisson for adding this new spend thresholds to their cards. Some may find it to be worthwhile, especially if you consistently stay at hotels like the Radisson Blu Chicago.

Personally this still doesn’t interest me, since Radisson has so few good properties in the US, so you’re really limited in where you could get value with this. If they had a bigger portfolio of good hotels I’d definitely take advantage of this. However, I think most people would find themselves redeeming these certificates at much lower category properties, where the value isn’t as good.

Is anyone tempted by the new free night certificate spend thresholds on the Radisson Rewards Card?

(Tip of the hat to Nick at Frequent Miler)

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