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Has Radisson dropped ‘family redemptions’? What are the alternatives with kids?

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If you have young children, hotel reward redemptions can be a bit messy.  Most programmes only make standard rooms available for redemption and, especially in big cities, these are small with a maximum occupancy of two people.

What are the best hotel redemptions for families?

There are a few ways around this, but none are ideal:

Hilton Honors lets you redeem for ‘premium rooms’.  The rate is VERY poor, however, because Hilton pays the hotel real money for your room.  Expect around 0.2p per Hilton Honors points at best compared to my expected 0.33p+.

Some Marriott Bonvoy hotels let you pay extra at the time of booking to upgrade a redemption.  This is a fantastic feature (we have used it a few times at JW Marriott Venice to get a Junior Suite on points, which sleeps four easily).  Unfortunately not many Bonvoy hotels choose to take part.

World of Hyatt is the only major hotel programme to have an award chart for suite redemptions, and to let you book them online.  This is an easy way of getting the space you need for children.  Unfortunately Hyatt points are not easy to earn if you are UK-based unless you buy them when a decent bonus is available.  Another sweet spot is booking via the Hyatt Prive scheme which guarantees an upgrade at time of booking. This allows you to save by booking one category lower than the room you actually need.

At any hotel, you can book two connecting rooms.  I promise you, however, that getting hotels to honour requests for connecting rooms is a complete nightmare.  I have stayed at super-luxe hotels where I have personally contacted the Director of Rooms in advance and had a guarantee in writing that my connecting rooms would be available – only to find out, on arrival, they were not.  In addition, two connecting rooms will often be a bad deal compared with paying cash for one superior / deluxe room or junior suite.

IHG Rewards has nothing to offer familes.  Your only option is to book two standard rooms and see if you can get connecting ones.  One sweet spot is using the 241 weekend voucher from the Ambassador programme to book a suite, which can bring down the cost to a reasonable level. Adding reward nights behind this will, off peak, usually mean you can keep the suite.

Accor Live Limitless is a revenue-based programme so you can book any room you want, with the cash price divided by 2 Eurocents to get to the number of points needed.

Hotels.com Rewards has some value for families.  For every 10 nights you book, you get a free night for the average value of those 10 nights.  Importantly, you can book a more expensive room – perhaps a deluxe room or junior suite, to get space for children – and pay the extra in cash.

Radisson Rewards Family Rooms

Radisson Rewards did it best – but no longer?

Radisson Rewards – the Radisson, Park Plaza and Park Inn programme – had ‘Family Room Redemptions’.  These were an interesting option if you have kids, especially as Radisson Rewards is an American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner at an attractive 1:3 rate.

The idea was that Radisson Rewards had three levels of reward:

  • Standard
  • Premium
  • Family

The first two are self explanatory.  The ‘family’ option was a room which was large enough to take at least one child, which could be anything from a large standard room to a suite depending on the hotel.

Radisson Rewards appears to have discontinued Family Room Redemptions, however.

Look at the Radisson reward chart

This is the page on the Radisson Rewards website which shows their pricing by category.  You will see pricing for Standard and Premium rooms, but Family Room pricing has gone.

I looked at two London hotels which were well known for offering family redemptions – Park Plaza Westminster Bridge and Park Plaza London Riverbank, below.

Neither were showing them.

Park Plaza London Riverbank

I DID still find what is probably the best value family room redemption, at the Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront in Cape Town (see photo below).

Radisson Blu Waterfront offers a two-bedroom sea-view suite as a ‘family room’ redemption.  It is 110 square metres and, in normal times, sells for over £700 per night.  For points – look under ‘Redemptions – Family Room’ – it is just 87,500 Radisson Rewards points per night.

This room is still bookable.  Whether this is an error or not, and will soon disappear, I don’t know.

Radisson Cape Town

Conclusion

If Radisson Rewards really has pulled the plug on Family Room Redemptions, it will have wrecked one of the few unique features about the programme.

Many hotel loyalty schemes are in ignorance about their members.  A large proportion of heavy business travellers have children, and whilst they may stay in standard rooms during the week they want – indeed NEED – more flexibility when redeeming.

At the very least, let members book two standard rooms in the same transaction with a box to tick if they would prefer connecting rooms.  IHG Rewards Club doesn’t even let you book multiple reward rooms at the same time, so the hotel may not even realise until you arrive that you have booked more than one.

A bit of thought may be enough to swing some business towards your chain from competitors who don’t understand what a family is.

PS.  If you’re travelling on British Airways with your family, I recommend you have a look at this HfP article which explains how British Airways Household Accounts work, including how to earn Avios for children.


How to earn Radisson Rewards points and status from UK credit cards

How to earn Radisson Rewards points and status from UK credit cards (June 2022)

Radisson Rewards does not have a dedicated UK credit card. However, you can earn Radisson Rewards points by converting Membership Rewards points earned from selected UK American Express cards.

These cards earn Membership Rewards points:

SPECIAL OFFER: The sign-up bonus on Amex Gold is increased from 20,000 Membership Rewards points to 30,000 Membership Rewards points until 19th July 2022. This card is free for the first year.

Membership Rewards points convert at 1:3 into Radisson Rewards points which is a very attractive rate.  The cards above all earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on your card, which converts to 3 Radisson Rewards points.

Even better, holders of The Platinum Card receive free Radisson Rewards Gold status for as long as they hold the card.  It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Marriott Bonvoy Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (33)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Alex W says:

    “IHG Rewards Club has nothing to offer familes.”
    I hope this is an exaggeration because as a family of 4 we are sitting on over 600k points and 2 free night certificates!
    I was looking at Holiday Inn Resorts as they have standard rooms which take 4 people. There is an all inclusive one in Jamaica which is 50k points per night. Cash rates currently low at £122, so not great ‘pence per point’ but no worse than getting 2 rooms somewhere.else.

    • Anna says:

      Many HI properties offer family rooms for points. Also many IHG properties will either put a rollaway bed in a standard room or upgrade you a room which will accommodate children – The George was going to do this for us before we had to cancel our stay last month. I have booked 3 nights at the IC Dubai Marina at Easter, one night on the Ambassador renewal bonus certificate and 2 with the BOGOF certificate. We have been upgraded to a 1 bed suite for all 3 nights.
      Ambassador or other upgrades awarded to status members can often get you from a standard room to a family-sized one so it’s always worth contacting the hotel and asking when you’re considering a points booking.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Do you tend to contact the property or get Nor1 offers?

        • Pid says:

          I normally contact the hotels in advance to explain I will be travelling with two small children and they normally confirm an upgrade to a larger room. I think I have only used nor1 once and that was for a club upgrade.

    • Chrisasaurus says:

      Most IHG properties will offer only basic rooms and none guarantee connecting rooms. I have, and I recall Rob has also posted previously about challenges even at ICs where even an email exchange promising connecting rooms is trumped by a different person being on shift that morning and operating first come first served.

      There are some exceptions for sure but as a data point I have 1.7mi points and am still earning them faster than I can find a worthwhile use for them because nowhere we’ve been has had a suitable redemption.

      Add in that HH and MR both extend breakfast (and usually lounge) benefits on award stays, whereas IHG make a point to penalise you for actually daring to use the points you’ve accrued.

      IHG was my first elite status but now I’m spire only through the card, I’m titanium at MR through actual stays because their reward program works far better for me despite smaller footprint over here.

      • Anna says:

        Hotels tend to have a very limited number of interconnecting rooms. Adjoining rooms are much more likely to be allocated and if your kids are a bit older you probably wouldn’t be leaving the door open anyway. Adjoining or opposite rooms just require going though 2 doors instead of one!

      • Harry T says:

        Marriott Bonvoy is far superior in terms of benefits, hotel quality and footprint. I probably won’t even bother to renew my Ambassador status as few IC hotels that are readily accessible have decent hard product, and I don’t personally stay at HI/HIX often.

    • memesweeper says:

      In contrast to Rob and others I’ve frequently booked multiple reward rooms with IHG, then emailed the hotel and asked for the bookings to be linked and provide adjoining/connecting. It has never gone wrong for us (family of five, so there’s never a suite big enough). This is in the UK and abroad.

  • NigelthePensioner says:

    I thought that most hotel reward schemes only allowed “lower end” (for want of a better term) room redemptions and that redemptions for suites, Club Lounge access rooms and such were not included in the programme, BUT that such rooms may be available on status upgrade (according to chain) “if available” at check in. This is why I dont bother with hotel points for “free” rooms but just use status perks courtesy of AmEx which seems to work if you get in touch with the hotel prior to your stay. This way I pay for room type D and get an upgrade to room type E, thereby “saving money” equal to the daily room charge difference between the rooms and get the room type that I want at a lower rate. It is unlikely that you will get a room upgrade on a redemption and indeed the view from your room with a redemption may be such that you crave NOT to be given a late checkout! Happy New Covid (20) to all!!

    • Anna says:

      But see above, Nigel, I have often got upgrades on redemptions!

    • John says:

      I frequently get upgraded on redemptions and occasionally I find higher end rooms for points at a good rate.

    • Pid says:

      I have also received upgrades on redemptions but agree that sometimes it is better to pay for the room you want if you want to guarantee receiving it.

  • Rob says:

    Trying to get a Radisson Status match by emailing statusmatch (at) radissonhotels.com and getting no reply whatsoever.

    Anyone know if they are still offering matches?

    HNY you lot.

  • Sam Wardill says:

    British (and American) culture is just not very family friendly. In Australia it is so much better. Qantas allows you to take your family into the lounge. Virgin Australia allows you to pool status credits in a household account (as well as matching Qantas lounge access).

    • Anna says:

      I can’t agree with that re America. Their standard hotel rooms often have 2 double beds and there is generally much more expectation that families will be accommodated. It’s common for American families of 4 or more to use one hotel room for an entire holiday! I think lounge access is less of an issue, tbh. (I presume you mean if you have Qantas flyer status).

      • Chrisasaurus says:

        In a broader sense I’d say there’s a general view that almost anything is accommodated- they’re not short on cultural flaws over there but customer is king pretty consistently

        • Doug M says:

          Agree about USA generally, but in places where space is expensive like Manhattan or many other central city areas the two beds thing is much less true.

        • Doug M says:

          My own experience and that of many I speak to is that USA customer service is as varied as anywhere else. Customer is King is a throwback to a different era and USA customer service is often now very poor.

          • tony says:

            A few years back we (2 adults & 3 kids) stayed at the Radisson in mid-town NY. I think it has been rebadged now. Anyway, booked two rooms, requested connecting rooms, called the day before etc etc. Anyway, arrived, both rooms had connecting doors – just not to one another.

            Conversely we have never had a problem in SE Asia getting connecting rooms, although admittedly that has always been at higher end properties.

    • Harry T says:

      But I don’t want families in lounges… I want to sip my flat white in peace 😂

  • Britbronco says:

    I contacted a Radisson property directly about this, as I could see the family room type was available for cash but not points.
    They replied to say they had now opened up points bookings for that room type and then I was able to make a family booking.

  • Wally1976 says:

    In this country, when traveling with the kids we tend to stick with Premier Inn or Travelodge but sometimes Holiday Inn Express who often offer a room with double bed and double sofa bed for redemption. Only problem is our kids refuse to share a bed (which is why PI and TL generally better for us).

    We don’t generally use redemptions for ‘main’ holidays but I’ve been looking at Florida – planning for 2022. All hotels there will do a room with two queen beds and I’ve found some with Hilton and Marriott that offer a mini suite or studio with 2 doubles and a sofa bed for reasonable amounts of points. However I think we’re going to use the Marriott villas redemptions for the majority of our time there.

  • C says:

    What have people found is generally the best way of handling redemptions with an infant (specifically Marriott and IHG)? Book a standard room for 2 adults then contact the hotel to make sure they will accept an infant in a travel cot? Thanks!

    • Anna says:

      Yes – it’s always better to take your own travel cot for as long as the infant fits in it as you know it’s clean and you won’t be charged an arm and a leg for it! Once you have to start asking for a rollaway bed you will find yourself charged between £0 and £50 or more for the priviledge.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        I’ll never understand the high nightly charge. £50 to arrange it perhaps but what reason is there to charge £50 for subsequent nights!

        Even the mention of it would put me off staying unless it was unavoidable.

        • Anna says:

          I know! With older children it’s often worth booking them their own room once you factor in things like points awarded on cash stays and free breakfasts. Plus the added bonus of privacy and happy kids who feel like they’re being a bit spoiled.

    • Princess says:

      Yes, until my boys were 3y I usually booked the room for 2 adults and then send an email asking about 2 toddlers sharing it with us and possibility to have 2 cots. In most cases we didn’t have issues and hotel could also provide 2 cots. On long trips we usually had our super-light weight travel cot with us anyway as sometimes even in posh hotel the cots are not always in great condition. Rarely in some hotel they would have charged us £20-30 per child if we were using their cot, but nothing if using ours.
      Now they need a proper bed so I usually check for rooms that accomodate at least 3 people (possibly with a sofa bed that is usually double) and then send an email asking if 2 kids (almost 5y) can share the sofa bed. I would say I got a positive answer 50% of times

      • C says:

        Thanks for the advice! Baby no. 1 due in a few months and thinking ahead to when we can travel again. Good to know most hotels are open to you doing that with redemptions as otherwise we’ll be sat on a load of points we can’t use for a while! Definitely going to get a lightweight travel cot and hopefully (vaccine permitting) get in at least one long haul trip early 2022 while I’m on maternity leave!

      • Pid says:

        I have had the same experience. Just book a normal room and then email hotel asking for two cots. They have normally agreed and also offered a larger room. On the few occasions they say it would breach maximum occupancy i just cancel and book elsewhere.

  • The Savage Squirrel says:

    Really hope this is not the end. Family redemptions were the main driver of my Amex points heading to Radisson due to exactly what Rob describes re small base rooms and uncertain connecting rooms elsewhere.. Without that they really do lose my business forever.

    • Harry T says:

      I hope it isn’t the end, as it sounds like you’ve derived a lot of value from this feature of their scheme! At worst, hopefully hotels have just been given more discretion over whether to offer this option.

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