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Is Radisson Rewards the best Amex Membership Rewards hotel partner?

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American Express Membership Rewards has three hotel partners in the UK, assuming you want to redeem for points instead of a voucher for a free room:

Hilton Honors, with a conversion rate of 1:2

Starwood Preferred Guest, with a conversion rate of 2:1

Radisson Rewards, with a conversion rate of 1:3

Because Starwood Preferred Guest points can be transferred into Marriott Rewards at the ratio of 3:1, you can add to that list:

Marriott Rewards, with a de facto conversion rate of 1:1.5

You can also redeem for various Melia properties via a voucher as I explained here.

Radisson Hamburg 350

Radisson Rewards, the loyalty scheme for Radisson, Park Inn and Park Plaza, is often forgotten about.  This is probably because the scheme is still relatively new – just six years old – and because their core brands are relatively low profile.

You ignore Radisson Rewards at your peril though.  The chain is bigger and broader than most people imagine, especially in London.

The Park Plaza hotel on Westminster Bridge (reviewed here) has become my default London property for visiting friends and family.  It is relatively new, it has a pool, it is in a fantastic location for the Westminster and South Bank tourist attractions and it is a relatively quick taxi ride to us.

The 1:3 ratio of American Express Membership Rewards points to Radisson Rewards points is very attractive.  Let’s look at how many Amex points you would need for a good quality hotel in London:

Radisson Rewards requires 70,000 points for Park Plaza Westminster Bridge which is 23,333 Amex points

Hilton Honors requires up to 70,000 points for Hilton London Tower Bridge which is up to 35,000 Amex points

Starwood Preferred Guest requires 20,000 SPG points for Le Meridien Piccadilly which is 40,000 Amex points

I would consider all three of these hotels to be relatively equal in terms of positioning, being the ‘just below the best’ property in London for that particular chain.

Radisson Rewards does not have the largest footprint of the hotel chains – although they are particularly strong in Scandinavia and have some good European properties – so there is no reason to do a speculative transfer of Amex points. If they have a good property in a place you need to go, though, it is worth a look. At the bottom end of the market, some Park Inn hotels are only 15,000 Radisson points, ie just 5,000 Amex points.

The other thing you can see from the analysis above is that Radisson Rewards actually offers better value than pretty much any other Membership Rewards redemption.

You will be getting around 1p per Membership Rewards point in the Park Plaza example above.  I don’t value an Avios point – or any airline currency – at more than 1p.  Redeeming Membership Rewards points for gift cards tends to get you just 0.5p.

Remember that you can get a generous 20,000 Membership Rewards points for free when you sign-up for the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold card.  That would be well over £200 of Radisson Rewards hotel rooms at peak periods.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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Comments

  1. Hilton Tower Bridge at 70,000/night is a poor comparator for this article IMHO as it is rarely that expensive. Just checked tomorrow 41000, a Saturday in August 51000, and Royal Wedding day on 19 May when it does hit 70000. Conrad is fairly stable at 70000ish but is that comparison really fair either? My guestimate for a comparable city centre Hilton group property most of the year would be 45000-55000 so call it 50000.for something like DT Westminster. Add to that, the flexibility of using points and cash at Hilton, the greater UK and global coverage, and the recent evidence amex can increase the transfer rate to 1:3 then perhaps the conclusion needs to be re-evaluated? I’m not saying it does but it’s worth considering. At the end of the day it’s a complex issue to boil down into a short, simple article with a general conclusion.

    Happy new year to all.

    • The Hilton would hit 70,000 points on any night where the cash rate exceeded £200. And, midweek for a business hotel next to EY’s HQ, £200 is a fair price much of the time. It is cheap at weekends admittedly.

      • I was still uncertain about that so checked 5 random week days over the next 4 months. Prices ranged from 39k up to 70k with 2 out of 5 for the latter. I realise it does not matter tnough because your article remains illustrative of any 70k Hilton night regardless of the hotel in question.

  2. HNY to all. Any thoughts on how to get c135k Club Carlson points (that I do not wish to use for Club Carlson hotel redempions) converted into Avios by whatever transfer/conversion method? Or is impossible?
    Thanks for your help

    • Genghis says:

      10:1 conversion (no intermediary necessary) so about a loss in value of about 2/3.

    • They convert into Avios but the rate is poor (10:1). You are a lot better off using them for hotels, even if it means selling them to friends on the cheap. If you value an Avios at 1p and a CC point at 0.33p then you are losing 2/3rd of the value.

  3. No Bits today, but found a useful thing on a Lufthansa flight this evening – Boingo access via Amex Plat works for free inflight WiFi 🙂 (posting it from on board just now!).

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