Details: Brutal Radisson Rewards Program Changes

Details: Brutal Radisson Rewards Program Changes

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Last week, Radisson revealed it would soon be making some changes to its loyalty program. Those details have now been fully revealed, and it seems like pretty bad news to me. Note that this applies to the “standard” Radisson Rewards program, and not the Radisson Rewards Americas program.

The new Radisson Rewards program

Radisson Hotel Group has refreshed the Radisson Rewards program, “to provide special experiences that will make members feel even more appreciated, while also making it simple to access a world of exclusive advantages.”

With this, we’re seeing major changes to elite perks, as well as a shift to dynamic award pricing. Let’s go over all the details. Before we do, let me remind everyone what Radisson communicated to members last week about the program, to see if the company lived up to its promises.

Radisson Rewards promised “faster access to exclusive VIP benefits,” described as follows:

Our new program will be created with a completely new approach to loyalty in mind. The enhancements are meant to make it easier to earn and redeem points, improving upon traditional loyalty programs. Existing members will benefit from a simplified tier structure, which will be reduced from four to three tiers so you can elevate your tier status more quickly and unlock benefits faster. Members will be able to use their points exactly how and when they would like with a new dynamic redemption model. Enjoy more flexibility—choose how many points to spend on an Award Night, combine any amount points with cash to use for room bookings acting as a discount, or even use points to pay for hotel services during your stay at check-out.

Radisson Rewards promised “even more generous benefits for members,” described as follows:

Radisson Rewards aspires to be the most generous and rewarding program in the industry, providing its members with benefits such as our Member Only Rate, room upgrades, and discounts on food and beverages in hotel bars and restaurants making each stay even more rewarding. Top tier members receive additional benefits such as free breakfast, access to exclusive VIP areas, early check-in and late check-out, as well as complimentary free nights.

Radisson Rewards has made major program changes

New Radisson Rewards member elite tiers

Previously Radisson Rewards had four membership tiers (three of which were elite), while now the program has three membership tiers (two of which are elite). These are named as follows:

  • Radisson Rewards Club is the entry level membership tier, and members earn 9x points per dollar
  • Radisson Rewards Premium is the lower level of elite status, and members earn 27x points per dollar
  • Radisson Rewards VIP is the highest level of elite status, and members earn 36x points per dollar

Below you can find the elite perks. There are some minor changes to the requirements to earn status and perks, but there’s nothing here that stands out as being particularly revolutionary.

New Radisson Rewards membership tiers & benefits
New Radisson Rewards membership tiers & benefits

The thing that stood out to me most about these changes was the elite points bonuses. Top-tier elite members earn a 300% points bonus compared to regular members. Um, wow. As a point of comparison, World of Hyatt Globalist members earn a 30% points bonus compared to standard members.

As you’d expect, that either means non-elite members are incredibly poorly rewarded, or elite members are extremely well rewarded. Given the direction so many programs are headed nowadays, I’m sure you can guess which is the case. 😉

For context, previously base members earned 20x points per dollar spent, so earnings rates for non-elite members have been cut by more than 50%, not even factoring in a devaluation in points. In fairness, elite status can be earned pretty easily.

New Radisson Rewards dynamic award pricing

Radisson Rewards has introduced full-on dynamic award pricing. There’s no longer an award chart. For that matter, this isn’t even like Hilton Honors or Marriott Bonvoy, where the number of points required may or may not vary based on the cash cost of a stay.

Rather you can redeem points toward the cost of any hotel stay after searching for a room with cash, and then during the booking process there’s a sliding scale that lets you redeem anywhere between 10 points and enough points for the total cost of the stay.

New Radisson Rewards points redemption feature

It would appear that each point gets you somewhere between 0.2 and 0.28 cents toward the cost of a stay. Note that this is compared to the after tax cost of a stay, which isn’t even necessarily reasonable, since most taxes wouldn’t otherwise apply if redeeming points. In some cases I’m seeing way worse value as well, so I’m trying to be generous here and give the program the benefit of the doubt.

As a point of comparison, previously I valued Radisson Rewards points at 0.3 cents each, and that was intended to be conservative, to allow room for outsized redemptions. The value of the program has decreased considerably here.

Keep in mind that non-elite Radisson Rewards members earn 9x points per dollar spent, so the return those members are earning on stays is tiny. As a point of comparison, Marriott Bonvoy offers 10x points per dollar spent to non-elite members, and I consider those points to be worth well over twice as much.

These changes have been made without advance notice

Last week Radisson Rewards emailed members to inform them that program changes would be announced soon. I suspect most people didn’t anticipate that the new program would be implemented one day to the next without advance notice, completely altering redemption opportunities. This is incredibly disappointing and sleazy on Radisson’s part.

If you haven’t yet redeemed your points, they’re suddenly worth less overnight.

You can still transfer points to Radisson Rewards Americas

There’s at least one silver lining to this no-notice devaluation. In the summer of 2021, we saw Radisson Rewards split into two, with a separate loyalty program for the Americas. This was because the Chinese government essentially owns Radisson, and the United States has restrictions around data the Chinese government can access.

That was taken a step further in the summer of 2022, when Choice acquired Radisson Hotel Group Americas. While Radisson Rewards Americas continues to be a separate loyalty program, I imagine at some point we’ll see some changes there.

The good news is that for now it’s still possible to transfer points between Radisson Rewards and Radisson Rewards Americas for free, and there are no changes to Radisson Rewards Americas. So that’s something that many people may wish to do, given this overnight devaluation.

Radisson Blu Style Hotel Vienna

My take on these Radisson Rewards changes

These Radisson Rewards program changes are rough, and the lack of advance notice of a new award pricing model is quite disappointing. I’m failing to see all the positive things that Radisson was touting ahead of this announcement.

Many members will no doubt appreciate the flexibility of being able to redeem their points however they’d like, but the extent to which the value of the program has been gutted here is pretty unbelievable. Standard members are earning just 9x points per dollar spent (compared to 20x points before), and on top of that the value of each point has decreased.

As a point of comparison, below is what Radisson Rewards’ award chart previously looked like.

The old Radisson Rewards award chart

At a valuation of 0.25 cents per point (which seems pretty average here as far as redemption value goes), that would be like valuing a free night at a Category 1 hotel at ~$38, or valuing a free night at a Category 7 hotel at ~$188.

You’d think that Radisson Rewards’ geographic limitations (not having any properties in the Americas) would encourage the company to be more generous with its program to garner loyalty, but instead we’re seeing the opposite, as the program is less generous.

Radisson Blu Hotel Frankfurt

Bottom line

Changes have been made to the Radisson Rewards program. We’ve seen the number of membership tiers reduced from four to three. While there are some changes to elite perks, the biggest change is that the number of points that non-elite members earn has been cut by more than 50%.

Worst of all, we’ve seen the introduction of dynamic award pricing, and each point will generally be worth less than before. So while this new system makes redeeming points easy, it sure doesn’t make it rewarding.

What do you make of these Radisson Rewards changes?

Conversations (43)
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  1. Bo Guest

    I can't even find a way to perform a search for European hotels prices paid in points. I've been clicking around the appropriate website (radissonhotels.com, which shows my large point balance) for 15 minutes. Did they just stop allowing point redemptions altogether?

  2. Carl Guest

    These changes are terrible. A london hotel room typically costing £320 (Mayfair Radisson) on the old program was available for 75,000 points. The same hotel room now requires 150,000. In effect Radisson just made my points worth 50% less.

  3. Ed Guest

    I have been on the phone with them every day for the last 5 days. Worst hotel point program. I have accumulated 352k points. Can't even find out how to redeem the points. Said transfer the points to Radisson hotels.com so I did. Still can't see anything there on that website. It's a total joke. Basically years of collecting points for nothing, and the hotel I booked before for 15k points is now 75k points.

    I have been on the phone with them every day for the last 5 days. Worst hotel point program. I have accumulated 352k points. Can't even find out how to redeem the points. Said transfer the points to Radisson hotels.com so I did. Still can't see anything there on that website. It's a total joke. Basically years of collecting points for nothing, and the hotel I booked before for 15k points is now 75k points.
    I can't wait to use these points and close my credit card. It's disgusting.
    I will stick with IHG still the best deal. Love IHG. Radisson sux arse.

  4. richard Guest

    just tried booking a hotel in rome and my 446,000 points are virtually worthless whereby if i knew this change was coming and booked the room last month I could have gotten my 5 nights totally free with points to spare! back to radisson america the points go.

  5. Samo Guest

    Devaluation is bad, but losing upgrades as an ex-platinum member is even worse. Technically we still get the best available room, however, we're now merged with the gold level (VIP level has the same qualification requirement as gold level used to have), which means that in practice, we won't get many substantial upgrades anymore as there will be way too many people competing for them.

    Goodbye Radisson, you used to be a nice chain.

  6. Richard Guest

    I have 550,000 points in the international program and 5000 points in the US program. I think I will transfer to the US program. I do hope the US program does merge with the Choice program. I just noted my "favorite" Holiday Inn is now a Choice hotel. The hotel does have a wonderful view of the city if you know what room to book. I don't have any status with Choice so I need to check on a status match, though.

  7. Anji Guest

    Wow. What a shit show with Radisson. The hotel I was looking at changed from 30000 points per night to 120000 points per night. Terrible this change. Never again will I use Radisson.

    1. BlackHill Guest

      The hotel that I was looking for went from 30000 points to 262788. Just horrible

  8. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

    Not that One Mile At A Time, View from the Wing, etc. covered Radisson much but I feel like the worst hotel and airline loyalty programs won't change their practices until (1) owners de-flag for better chains, (2) the chain goes bankrupt, or (3) all the blogs and travel loyalty influencers speak with one voice and black list a chain like Radisson. Look at Delta and Marriott. Both devalued their loyalty programs at the height...

    Not that One Mile At A Time, View from the Wing, etc. covered Radisson much but I feel like the worst hotel and airline loyalty programs won't change their practices until (1) owners de-flag for better chains, (2) the chain goes bankrupt, or (3) all the blogs and travel loyalty influencers speak with one voice and black list a chain like Radisson. Look at Delta and Marriott. Both devalued their loyalty programs at the height of the pandemic. And yet all the blogs and influencers continue to pimp their credit cards.

  9. Josh Guest

    Unbelievable, I had a reservation at the Radisson Blue Maldives for 75k points per night and now they are trying to charge me an extra $120.54 per night plus taxes and fees (previously none) in addition to the 75k points per night that they already charged me. Is that even legally possible? Can they change the terms of an existing booking and try to make me pay several hundred more dollars?

    Can this be taken up with corporate?

    Has this happened to anyone else?

    1. DCS Diamond

      This is the sort of garbage that should be reported to the Consumer Protection Bureau. Any program is free of alter its terms and conditions or even make wholesale changes to the program itself. But what it cannot do do is to retroactively alter reservations to charge more than a consumer paid before the programmatic changes. All reservations that predated the changes must be "grand-fathered" and honored as per the original T&C or the entire...

      This is the sort of garbage that should be reported to the Consumer Protection Bureau. Any program is free of alter its terms and conditions or even make wholesale changes to the program itself. But what it cannot do do is to retroactively alter reservations to charge more than a consumer paid before the programmatic changes. All reservations that predated the changes must be "grand-fathered" and honored as per the original T&C or the entire enterprise is a huge scam!

    2. Nathan Guest

      Most Maldive hotels also charge for boat/air local transfer from MLE - get ready for that also in your bill, and yes I have also seen these extra "fees". Plus they sometimes only fly once a day as well so don't miss the only time.... I sometimes get the feeling the points/miles game died in the pandemic as well.

  10. DCS Diamond

    Keep in mind that non-elite Radisson Rewards members earn 9x points per dollar spent, so the return those members are earning on stays is tiny. As a point of comparison, Marriott Bonvoy offers 10x points per dollar spent to non-elite members, and I consider those points to be worth well over twice as much.

    That is just nonsense that is based on valuing a Radisson point at ~0.3cent/Radisson point and a BONVoY point at...

    Keep in mind that non-elite Radisson Rewards members earn 9x points per dollar spent, so the return those members are earning on stays is tiny. As a point of comparison, Marriott Bonvoy offers 10x points per dollar spent to non-elite members, and I consider those points to be worth well over twice as much.

    That is just nonsense that is based on valuing a Radisson point at ~0.3cent/Radisson point and a BONVoY point at ~7cent/BONVoY point, with the redundant and bolded use of the program names designed to stress that those points currencies are like apples and oranges, and comparing just the "cents" to claim one "worth" more than twice the other makes no sense, even in travel blogosphere. Moreover, simple common sense indicates that there is no economic or financial model by which one hotel loyalty program can generate and offer twice the "value" or "worth" of any other program. If there is such a model, we're waiting with bated to be enlightened...either that or just just wake up to the facts and stop making the bogus claim.

    There’s no longer an award chart. For that matter, this isn’t even like Hilton Honors or Marriott Bonvoy, where the number of points required may or may not vary based on the cash cost of a stay.

    Unless I am missing something, it is unclear to me how Radisson's version of dynamic award pricing (as per the image of the Cash/points slider), which an earlier version of this post had referred to as "revenue-based", differs from Hilton's? The key question is whether Radisson award costs will be capped roughly at the prior maxima of each hotel category. If there is such a cap, then it should still be possible to achieve higher redemption values than the max value of 0.28cpp claimed in the post. In other words, it is important to wait until the implementation details are clear before making big pronouncements.

  11. David Guest

    If you have the misfortune of needing to stay at a Radisson, it seems even OTA travel programs like hotel.com are more rewarding than Radisson’s own loyalty program. Might as well never book direct with them.

  12. ORDTGU Guest

    What? Dubai: 698,214 points for AED 743.38 (US 202.39) INSANE, just yesterday that same stay was 30K. A 23 fold increase. 23X! No Way! I hope this is a glitch. If this is true all my points will be redeemed on gift cards.

    1. Anji Guest

      Exactly same. Over a day the points I have is worthless.

  13. Hank Tarn Guest

    BRING BACK CLUB CARLSON. It really is that simple!!!

  14. Kate Guest

    I’ve consolidated points for my husband and myself into one Radisson Americas account. Fortunately I redeemed some points last summer for my son in London at the Mayfair. Wondering if I should try to use some my 400k Americas points before the Choice consolation. I guess a complete pipe dream that they would give us any notice of what happens to the Radisson points with the Choice purchase.

  15. Kevin Guest

    Was planning a trip to the Radisson Blu Maldives... had enough points in my account yesterday for 9 nights... now those same points are worth 2 nights... lmao idk to be pissed or laugh at how comically pathetic that is

  16. Eskimo Guest

    Suddenly Choice Hotels is starting to look good on the haters.

  17. eponymous coward Guest

    So this pretty much means you should book a Radisson hotel on hotels.com (buy 10 get one free) and use a card that earns well on travel expenses, huh?

  18. DCS Diamond

    Question:

    There are two Radisson Rewards programs: Radisson Rewards & Radisson Rewards Americas.
    Do the two programs use the same co-branded credit card, named Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature®?

    1. Philco Guest

      That card is dead. It was associated with the US program when the split occurred but the card is no longer available and those of us who held it have had our cards converted to a generic US Bank CC.

    2. Christian Guest

      There is NO credit card for either program! Radisson Rewards Premier Visa was for the US program but it was discontinued earlier this year.

  19. Andrew Guest

    wow that's a mess guess i will be avoiding them internationally. i do still wonder about the Canada/US merger with Choice and hopefully that's a more reasonable change

  20. Tony Guest

    I have a feeling point transfer will end soon. I was dissappointed, so I mov e d all my 420000 points to americas hoping they wpnt devalue anymore in the choice scheme...

    1. Christian Guest

      We are kind of between a rock and a hard place at this point! If you park them in the US program you run the danger of Choice devaluing them significantly when the programs merge and give us a crappy conversion rate. If they give us a decent conversion rate you end up with points in the Choice program with 30 day award redemption rules and pretty much low to mid-tier properties.

    2. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      I wouldn't be surprised if the owners of the few good Radisson properties start converting to other brands. Loyalty programs drive revenue, especially at smaller brands with reduced footprints. The most loyal customers have to go out of their way to stay with you. Why would anyone make a Radisson property their first choice going forward? I don't know anyone who stays at Choice properties over Marriott, IHG, Hilton or Hyatt.

  21. Dr. Trent, PhD in Travel Guest

    Thanks for the Update. I was fortunate that, right before the announcement, I redeemed most of my Radisson points on an Europe trip next year. While the redemption value was still not stellar, I'd imagine it is still better than the redemption value now. Furthermore, Radisson points are probably best used in Europe, as I was able to book one family room (that fits a family of 4) in cities like London and Amsterdam. I...

    Thanks for the Update. I was fortunate that, right before the announcement, I redeemed most of my Radisson points on an Europe trip next year. While the redemption value was still not stellar, I'd imagine it is still better than the redemption value now. Furthermore, Radisson points are probably best used in Europe, as I was able to book one family room (that fits a family of 4) in cities like London and Amsterdam. I still have about 100K points left, and I will transfer these points to Radisson Americas (and redeem some nicer Radisson Blus in North America). Who would have thought splitting the Radisson programs, while confusing and troublesome at the time, becomes a saving grace for us?

  22. Scott Guest

    I just tried a booking for the Radisson Blu Abu Dhabi Corniche.

    Total cost for one night is AED 556 (USD 151). If I redeem the entirety of my 150K Radisson Rewards points via "pay with points", the cost for one night is reduced to AED 476 (USD 129).

    Thus, I can get approximately $20 for my 150K points. Yikes.

    1. Expat Guest

      Based on the new earning rates, you'd have to spend well over $16,000 for that $20 discount *faceslap* Even elites would have to be spending over $4,000 for $20 off a stay? Why would anyone choose to earn points with Radisson? Makes a ton more sense to book a Radisson through OTA (like Hotels.com) now.

    2. EH Guest

      @Expat, are you sure your math is correct?

    3. Rupert Guest

      There is an interesting feature you didn't mention: Discount Booster. Instead of 27pt/$ as a Premium member, you can choose a 20% discount on the room rate (an extra 10% over regular members) and only earn 9pt/$ as before. That makes status a lot more rewarding than many other programs - even at a value of around 0.2ct that's around 12% "reward rate"... After only 3 stays/5 nights. Radisson is like the Cashback card of...

      There is an interesting feature you didn't mention: Discount Booster. Instead of 27pt/$ as a Premium member, you can choose a 20% discount on the room rate (an extra 10% over regular members) and only earn 9pt/$ as before. That makes status a lot more rewarding than many other programs - even at a value of around 0.2ct that's around 12% "reward rate"... After only 3 stays/5 nights. Radisson is like the Cashback card of hotel programs...
      My Gold status was extended as Premium to 12/23 as well...

  23. philco Guest

    A quick check shows about $0.0027-ish US per point at a few locations I was looking at. But this overstates the value because you are also using the points to offset the cost of taxes which weren't generally charged on point redemptions before (outside of occupancy type taxes). Haven't decided if I'll transfer them back to US or just burn the last of my points in Europe ASAP where I can use them quickly and be done with this dumpster fire of a loyalty system.

  24. Christian Guest

    As someone that is fluent in German and just read the other blog article you referenced....Not sure that one reader telling him that the redemptions are working out at 15000 points for Euro 30 is a reliable source. Is this actually published somewhere or are we making assumptions on 1 blog reader of YHBU's blog?

    1. Christian Guest

      Updating my own post...this is a dumpster fire after all now that I have figured out the tedious process of finding award redemption costs after the update. Overall pretty upset since I just moved most of my points out of the US program since I am not a big Choice fan and figured I would be better served with them in the Worldwide program since I travel frequently in Europe. Since the change I get...

      Updating my own post...this is a dumpster fire after all now that I have figured out the tedious process of finding award redemption costs after the update. Overall pretty upset since I just moved most of my points out of the US program since I am not a big Choice fan and figured I would be better served with them in the Worldwide program since I travel frequently in Europe. Since the change I get to try and figure out if they are better in the Worldwide RR dumpster or back in the US Choice/RR dumpster. Is this change causing others to reevaluate? And if so what are you doing?

  25. Ed Guest

    Just booked one night at Radisson BLU Zürich for next June, 113,044 points. Will transfer my remaining balance to Radisson hotels America. Can this be done online?

  26. ArnoldB Guest

    I guess I am one of the 0,001% who actually sort of benefits from these changes in the short term. Got a Radisson Gold Status via Status Match from HH Gold this year (until 02/23) because I had a 5-night-stay with no other points alternative. Now with the changes, Gold turned to Premium and the 5 nights (which amounted to nothing before) is already enough to extend the Premium Status until 12/23. That gives me...

    I guess I am one of the 0,001% who actually sort of benefits from these changes in the short term. Got a Radisson Gold Status via Status Match from HH Gold this year (until 02/23) because I had a 5-night-stay with no other points alternative. Now with the changes, Gold turned to Premium and the 5 nights (which amounted to nothing before) is already enough to extend the Premium Status until 12/23. That gives me 10 more months of Status to use my points.

    In addition, the new system lets me use my 18k points directly as a discount now, whereas before the "cash & points" seemed optional as my 1-2 hotels that I was targeting did not offer that before and I would've first had to buy at least 12k more points (15k redemptions were pretty much nonexistant).

    So yeah, actually quite beneficial to me in the sense that it gives me more time and makes it easier to get rid of my remaining points which did not amount to much. And let's me focus on Hilton Honors, whereas before I considered maybe changing 1-2 stays to Radisson to at least reach the 30k for a 1 night redemption.

  27. TravelinWilly Diamond

    From a pure loyalty standpoint, there is no compelling reason to stick with Radisson unless you’re already a top tier member.

    The road to becoming top tier is hardly rewarding.

    1. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      And who wants to stay in their properties? They have some nice properties in the Nordic countries where bigger brands are few and far between, but on the whole Raddison is never going to be a first choice over Hyatt, Marriott, IHG or Hilton. Especially with the loss of the North America properties.

  28. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

    This makes absolutely no sense (or cents) at all. Radisson already had arguably the worst-known loyalty program of a major chain. Radisson also already had arguably one of the worst hotel portfolios, especially after losing its U.S. hotels. Now you completely destroy whatever value the program had? This is either incompetence or malpractice. If anything, Radisson should be adding value to its program since its hotels are not attractive propositions for many customers.

    This makes absolutely no sense (or cents) at all. Radisson already had arguably the worst-known loyalty program of a major chain. Radisson also already had arguably one of the worst hotel portfolios, especially after losing its U.S. hotels. Now you completely destroy whatever value the program had? This is either incompetence or malpractice. If anything, Radisson should be adding value to its program since its hotels are not attractive propositions for many customers.

    1. Ric Garrido Guest

      Sample bookings I tried this morning for a few different hotels in different countries with different currencies in Europe came out to $2.80 per 1,000 points value when paying with points as a Club member.

    2. Nun Guest

      Wow. 75K was the top price on a standard room, and now that's worth $210 USD. Maybe they're doing this to account for inflating cash prices. Just moved everything back to Americas for now.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

TravelinWilly Diamond

From a pure loyalty standpoint, there is no compelling reason to stick with Radisson unless you’re already a top tier member. The road to becoming top tier is hardly rewarding.

2
Scott Guest

I just tried a booking for the Radisson Blu Abu Dhabi Corniche. Total cost for one night is AED 556 (USD 151). If I redeem the entirety of my 150K Radisson Rewards points via "pay with points", the cost for one night is reduced to AED 476 (USD 129). Thus, I can get approximately $20 for my 150K points. Yikes.

1
FNT Delta Diamond Guest

This makes absolutely no sense (or cents) at all. Radisson already had arguably the worst-known loyalty program of a major chain. Radisson also already had arguably one of the worst hotel portfolios, especially after losing its U.S. hotels. Now you completely destroy whatever value the program had? This is either incompetence or malpractice. If anything, Radisson should be adding value to its program since its hotels are not attractive propositions for many customers.

1
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