This is my review of the Scandic Friends loyalty programme.
If you are planning a trip to Scandinavia, there is a good cash saving to be had if you join Scandic Friends.
Scandic Friends is the loyalty programme for the Scandic chain of hotels. Scandic dominates the hotel scene in Scandinavia and also has a few properties in Germany and Poland.
If you are as old as me you will remember that Hilton owned the chain for a few years at one point. Famously, because the IT wasn’t integrated, they priced all redemptions at a flat 10,000 Hilton Honors points per night which was outstanding value.
A couple of years ago I stayed at the demolished-and-totally-rebuilt Scandic Continental hotel in Stockholm (photo above) which gave me a chance to experience Scandic Friends first hand.
We had booked into the Radisson Blu Royal Viking attached to Stockholm railway station for our first night and planned to return for a few days after Lapland. The Royal Viking was dark and depressing, however.
The Scandic Continental was across the street, looking brand new and shiny. It wasn’t a tough decision to move our stay for the following week.
(I was chatting to my wife about this hotel over the weekend when I knew I was updating this article. I remember it quite fondly, she remembers that she really didn’t like it. Neither of us can actually remember why we feel as we do!)
Save 20% with the Scandic Friends loyalty programme
Since four nights in a junior suite wasn’t going to be cheap, I decided to see if the Scandic Friends loyalty programme was worth a look. It was!
Here is the key benefit. Scandic Friends members get discounted room rates at weekends and over public holidays – see here. The discount code is FG2 if you want to check availability before signing up, which is free anyway.
The 20% discount is valid on all room categories and so we got a good saving on our junior suite. Outside weekends and holidays, members get a 3% room discount.
Note that, at the moment, the discount is less useful than it was. This is because some hotels have added aggressive promotional rates which still undercut a 20% discount on the standard rate.
Here are two other tips:
You get 500 bonus points in the Scandic Friends programme for signing up
This might not still happen, but roughly three days after I signing up, I received a promo offer of 3,000 bonus points on your first stay. You needed to opt in to this offer and then book within three months. It works OK if you have already booked, as we found out. There is no certainty that this offer is still running.
Members get a 10% hotel food and drink discount at weekends
How do I earn points?
It is a simple system outlined here. You earn 2 points per SEK / NOK / DKK you spend, 20 points per € and 6 points per PLN. Members with higher status receive a 25% bonus.
Points are awarded after VAT which, in Sweden, is 25% and so makes a noticeable impact.
You also earn points on food and beverage spend charged to your room but this is capped at 5000 SEK / NOK / DKK, 150 PLN or €500 per stay.
There is a 200 point bonus if you make your booking online.
The status levels do not offer much in the way of benefits and won’t be of interest for a one-off stay. You can find details here.
What can you do with Scandic Friends points?
Very little, except redeem for other Scandic Hotels. There are a couple of non-hotel redemptions but they are not relevant if you don’t live in the region.
Hotel redemptions are priced from 10,000 to 40,000 points per night.
There is no reward chart, just a list of hotels with the points required next to each.
I ended up with almost 25,000 points from my four night stay, which I ended up giving to a friend given that we had no immediate plans to head back to Scandinavia.
You can also use points to add items to be placed in your room when you arrive. For example, based on our stay at the Scandic Continental in Stockholm:
- Tray of savoury snacks 6,250 points
- Cheese and crackers 6,000 points
- Fruit plate 2,950 points
- Chocolate snack box 5,000 points
- Bottle of beer 2,450 points
- Soft drink 1,600 points
These are not great value compared to getting a free room (they are basically saying that 10,000 points gets you four bottles of beer or a free room in a 10,000 point hotel!) but it will help you get rid of any spare points when I do my reward stay.
Points have a three year expiry.
Are there airline partnerships too?
Yes, Scandic has two airline partners. These do not include British Airways or Virgin Atlantic however.
Finnair Plus members can double dip. You earn 500 miles per night AND you receive your Scandic Friends points as usual. I left 2,000 Finnair Plus points on the table here but I didn’t see any immediate use for them.
If you were doing a lot of Scandic stays, note that you can transfer Finnair Plus points to Accor (see here) and IHG Rewards Club (see here). You can top up Finnair Plus points with a 1:1 transfer from a UK American Express Membership Rewards account.
SAS EuroBonus members get a similar 500 miles per night BUT there is no double dipping. You need to choose between points or miles.
There is a potential saving if you have American Express Membership Rewards points
As you can see on the Finnair website here, you can redeem a handful of Finnair Plus points plus cash for a weekend night voucher valid at almost all Scandic hotels.
As Finnair Plus is a 1:1 transfer partner from American Express Membership Rewards, this is a deal you could use. You need to run the numbers based on the cash price and the voucher price.
The 20% discount on room rates at weekends and public holidays means that you should definitely consider joining Scandic Friends if you are travelling in Scandinavia.
There is no guarantee that you will earn enough points for a free night – although the sign up bonus, 3,000 points first stay bonus (if it is still running) and the online booking bonus means that you will hit 10,000 points with a spend of around £325. The 10,000 points redemptions are in the more obscure places though!
If you really won’t use them, you can usually convert your points into a donation to Save the Children from just 2,000 points. This option is temporarily suspended but as it remains on the website it will hopefully come back. There is no excuse for not signing up and generating a small charity donation, if nothing else.
You can learn more about Scandic Friends on their website here.