Radisson Rewards seems to have hired a new marketing agency, and they’re trying to make a splash. Last week I got a funny e-mail from an “Associate” at Wye Communications, that began:
“I’ve been keeping up with your [coverage / blog posts / updates] and thought you’d be interested in sharing a new rewards offer from Radisson Rewards with your readers.”
I’m not sure if the Associate was supposed to pick just one of the three options in square brackets or if she was supposed to send out the e-mail as is.
Then just yesterday I got another e-mail from a “Manager” at Wye addressed, “Hi Points Chasers!” about an increased signup bonus which promptly made its way to all the mainstream blogs. I guess I’m flattered to be included?
Double elite stay credit when booking “premium” rooms
The first thinkfluencer e-mail I got was about an elite status promotion Radisson is running through December 28. The offer is for double points (base points, I assume) and double elite-qualifying stays and nights when you book a paid, premium room using the promotion code “RRDBLDBL.”
There are three moving pieces to elite status with Radisson Rewards:
if you hold the US Bank Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature Card ($75 annual fee) or Radisson Rewards Business Visa Card ($60 annual fee) you get automatic Gold status, which offers no benefits (besides a higher earning rate on paid stays);
Points + Cash and Award Nights both count towards elite status qualification;
Platinum status requires 60 elite qualifying nights or 30 elite qualifying stays, and gets you a limited breakfast benefit.
Since award stays count towards elite status qualification, if Radisson Rewards is your primary hotel loyalty program, you might have accumulated quite a few elite qualifying stays and nights, so you might be within striking distance of Platinum status if you have some more paid travel before December 28.
So if you do have paid travel, and are within striking distance of Platinum status, would it be worth booking a premium room in order to trigger this promotion? The good news here is that you don’t need to book a very premium room. As long as the property considers it a premium room, it qualifies. For example, at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel in Chicago I found a “2 Beds-Balcony” premium room for $159 before taxes, the same price as a $159 “King Bed” standard room.
However, Radisson properties are also always offering a range of booking discounts, especially in low business travel seasons like December, so you can probably find discounted prices too low to justify booking a full-price premium room. For example, the Radisson Blu Aqua is currently running a “flash sale” with rooms starting at $119 before taxes.
Thinkfluencers-only increased signup bonus for Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature Card
The second e-mail I got was for an increased signup bonus for the US Bank Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature Card. It’s a publicly available offer, but you do have to apply through a special URL, since it won’t show up if you navigate to the application through either US Bank’s or Radisson’s website.
The offer’s for 100,000 Radisson Rewards points after spending $2,500 on the card within 3 months (50,000 points after first purchase, which is the same as the standard offer).
For me, Radisson Rewards has a bit of neither-fish-nor-fowl character to it. Their credit cards make it easy to earn huge numbers of points, and their Category 7 properties still cost just 70,000 points per night (105,000 points for premium room awards), or $14,000 in unbonused credit card spend. You can earn an additional 3 nights at any Radisson Rewards property in the United States per cardmember year by spending $30,000 on the card, and you get 40,000 anniversary points with the Premier and Business credit cards.
But then you have to stay at Radisson Rewards properties, and that’s where the going gets tough. If you want to spend 5 nights at the Category 7 Radisson Blu Aqua in Chicago or Cassa Hotel NY 45th Street in Manhattan, then $30,000 in spend and a $75 annual fee works out to something like $135 per night. If you stay at lower-category properties, then of course your points go further, but your free night certificates are worth correspondingly less.
That’s why ultimately Radisson Rewards feels like a bit of a stunt. If you travel enough that you’re guaranteed to redeem your points and certificates each year, then it’s a perfectly fine addition to a credit card portfolio: get your $30,000 in spend done at the beginning of each year and then stick it in the sock drawer until your next anniversary. Likewise if you’ve been banned from American Express and Chase, you might not have many great opportunities to earn hotel points, so the fact that the card is issued by US Bank is a concrete material advantage.
But unless you find yourself consistently visiting places where Radisson Rewards offer a superior value to Hilton or Hyatt, or on the flip side if you travel so much that those balances need to be preserved for their highest and best redemptions, I don’t see any compelling reason to add Radisson Rewards to a travel hacking practice.