The Radisson Rewards Visa Card Adds Bonuses For Spend

Filed Under: Club Carlson, Credit Cards

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)

  1. Not interested in this benefit because of the lack of decent properties in the US. If they made these certificates available for global use, then I would definitely be interested. Also, find it funny how they roll out this rebrand with links that take you to old information. I would have expected the a more solid announcement and notice before the rebrand happened along with notification of the changes. Just shows you how poorly run Radisson Rewards fka Club Carlson is as a company.

  2. Since it only mentions being able to use at Raddison brands in the US, I wonder if that means they cannot be used at the Cassa in NYC. Would be interesting to know if they will include the property even though it’s not Radisson branded.

  3. So much about credit cards, lounges, hotels. Where are the flight reports? That’s what we are all waiting for.

  4. Great spend 10 k for the hope to use a free night at a sub par property only in NA lol
    Thanks but no thanks when I can get a free night an ihg property with the ihg Chase visa
    For 50 bucks just for the cards annual fee
    They must do drugs to think this is rewarding

  5. Are the changes effective immediately? If my annual fee is in July and I’ve already spent $10k, can I push through another $20k before July and get 3 nights?

  6. Ben, will the business card offers the same benefit? Also have you come considered switching to the business card? It offers the same benefit for a lower annual fee.

  7. I love the Club Carlson (Radisson Rewards) Visa, and this just boosts my love for it. I’m not a corporate traveler so I never actually have paid hotel nights, so I need a card that maximizes points on regular everyday spending (and not car rentals, restaurants, and airlines).

    We have three little kids, and don’t want hotel costs to be prohibitive to trip length, so to us the most important thing is lots of reward nights. The card already has the best ratio of hotel spend to regular spend of any hotel card (5 points on everything versus 10 points for hotel spend; even the holy IHG card is only 2:5 and even then its only on gas, grocery, and restaurants), plus I get 40k points a year, plus the annual free night. Now I get TWO more! Just $30,000 of spending gets me 8 free nights a year at a mid-level redemption (150k points, + 40k bonus points = enough for 5 nights at the 38,000 point level, plus 3 free certificates). AMAZING! LOVE IT!

  8. All of their cards STILL charge you a 3% foreign transaction fee on international charges. How very 1990s.

  9. Will the current club carlson business cardholders be grandfathered in to the new “up to 3 night cert” benefit?

  10. Any benefit in cancelling the Club Carlson card to wait for a good sign up bonus with the new card? I haven’t seen anyone talk about this yet. Thanks

  11. Does this credit card still offer the 3rd night free when using points to pay for two nights? I got this deal about 4 years ago, but I don’t see it anywhere in the list of benefits. Thanks.

  12. @ Arturo — I think it actually a “buy one get one free” and they don’t offer it anymore, unfortunately.

  13. Lucky,

    Do you have any more details on this free night after $10,000 spend? Radisson is actually starting to add some nice properties in New York so I shifted some spend to this card. I spent $30,000 and am supposed to get 3 certificates.

    You can imagine my surprise when I called in and NO ONE there knows anything about it. The first agent told me to call Radisson as they are in charge of it. Radisson told me they know nothing about this and they aren’t in charge of this and have no information on credit card spend. They directed me back to US Bank.

    I called US Bank again and the representative had me on hold for 25 minutes while she checked. She said that I’d either get the certificates within 1 month of my cycle OR at the end of the year when my credit card annual fee is due. HUH??

    She said someone will get back to me within a few weeks to let me know which. This seems totally strange. Do you have any information on when this e-certificate is supposed to credit? It’s a shame when a company takes the time, expense and trouble to market some program and then they can’t execute on it.

    I questioned the representative why no one knows the answer to this. She said “no one qualifies for this extra night as barely anyone spends much on this card”. I told her that still isn’t an excuse. The customer service is really horrible and really hard to imagine they don’t readily know the answer to this.

    Any help from you would be greatly appreciated.

  14. @Mike Saint, you get your passes for spend after the annual renewal fee is paid. A couple weeks after if I remember right. Also, they are valid only for domestic Radisson properties.

  15. @Mike Saint, I got my three e-certs a few weeks after my annual fee was paid. This is my primary card, so it was a breeze for me to get all three nights.

  16. Thanks Jeffrey and Donald!

    It’s amazing to me that US Bank (the issuer of the card) couldn’t tell me that today. OK, I’ll wait for the annual renewal fee to post. Just out of curiosity, where did you guys redeem your awards?

    Thanks again for the helpful information.

  17. @Mike Saint: Of the three I got this year, I used two on the Radisson Blu in Chicago (because we have to be there anyway, but in the past we would make a trip just to use them there), and the other on the Radisson JFK Airport (because it was 44k points which was probably going to be my second most expensive room domestically this year).

    At the time (June) there were literally zero Manhattan hotels in the portfolio, but now Radisson is advertising THREE! That’s a huge change in a few months!

  18. @Mike Saint, the whole information system connected with the free night certificates is poor. Customer service reps generally have no clue about them, and you’ll hear all sorts of variations. I was told the same stories as you (and more), only after more calls did I finally reach someone who know the deal. But you do get the free night certs after paying the annual fee.

  19. Thanks again Donald and Jeffrey. Bummer that I just saw my annual fee just posted in July so I have to wait all the way until next year to get them. I will burn all 3 nights on a trip to NYC as some of those hotels are pricey and look nice (a rarity for US Radisson hotels).

    Jeffrey – Yeah, I totally agree with you. Their website is really really old and clunky. So good to have people willing to share info like you guys. They still never called me back yet to let me know.

  20. The free nights are based on the card year, not calendar year, correct? For example if I opened the card in August and I’m close to the threshold for another free night with Aug-Nov spending there is no reason to accelerate spending into December, correct?

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