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
- Marriott Bonvoy, with a conversion rate of 2:3
- Radisson Rewards, with a conversion rate of 1:3
Despite the modest devaluation last week, when top properties increased from 70,000 to 75,000 points, I want to show you why Radisson Rewards is still the top choice in many cases.
Everyone forgets about Radisson ….
Radisson Rewards, the loyalty scheme for Radisson, Park Inn and Park Plaza, is often forgotten about. This is probably because the 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 and Scandinavia. Radisson also has a lot of ‘connected to terminal’ airport hotels in Europe, such as the Radisson Blu Hamburg Airport pictured above.
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 and it is in a fantastic location for the Westminster and South Bank tourist attractions. Don’t underestimate the impact, if you get the right room, of overlooking Big Ben. Park Plaza County Hall is literally opposite.
How do Radisson Rewards redemptions compare?
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, which I am defining as a modern 4 star property in a central location:
- Radisson Rewards requires 75,000 points for Park Plaza Westminster Bridge which is 25,000 American Express Membership Rewards points
- Hilton Honors requires up to 70,000 points for Hilton London Tower Bridge which is up to 35,000 Amex points
- Marriott Bonvoy requires, on a peak day, 60,000 Bonvoy points for the newly refurbished Marriott Kensington which is 40,000 Amex points
As you can see, Radisson Rewards doesn’t just win, it wins big. You need 28% fewer Membership Rewards points than Hilton Honors and 38% fewer than Marriott Bonvoy to book an equivalent hotel.
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, whether you look at hotel points, airline miles or gift vouchers.
You will be getting around 1p per Membership Rewards point in the Park Plaza example above.
I don’t value an Avios – or any airline currency – at more than 1p although you can often acheive better. Redeeming Membership Rewards points for gift cards tends to get you just 0.5p, although the best non-cash option is Avios and then on to Nectar, getting you 0.8p per Amex point.
This HfP article looks at the best value American Express Membership Rewards redemptions, and Radisson Rewards is up there, just below airline miles. It is definitely a redemption option to keep in mind.
How to earn Radisson Rewards points and status from UK credit cards (October 2021)
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 include:
- American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 90,000 Radisson Rewards points. This card is FREE for your first year and also comes with two free airport lounge passes. 30,000 points is a special offer which runs to 9th November 2021.
- The Platinum Card from American Express (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 180,000 Radisson Rewards points. 60,000 points is a special offer which runs to 2nd November 2021.
- American Express Rewards credit card (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 5,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 15,000 Radisson Rewards points. This card is FREE for life.
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.)