Choice Hotels buys the North American arm of Radisson Hotels
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Choice Hotels made the surprising announcement on Monday that it was acquiring the US, Canadian, Latin American and Caribbean assets of Radisson Hotel Group for a bargain $675 million.
The deal brings into Choice Hotels:
- 10 Radisson Blu hotels
- 130 Radisson hotels
- 9 Radisson Individuals
- 1 Park Plaza hotel
- 4 Radisson RED hotels
- 453 Country Inn & Suites by Radisson
- 17 Park Inn by Radisson hotels
Here’s the background to the deal. Radisson Hotels has been under the de facto ownership of the Chinese Government for some years. The United States Government was unhappy about guest data (passport numbers, credit card numbers etc) being misused, which forced the loyalty programme to separate.
There are now two Radisson Rewards loyalty schemes – one for North America, where all guest data is ring-fenced from the parent company, and one for the rest of the world including the UK.
It isn’t clear if the US Government is also behind this divestment or if the intricacies of splitting the loyalty programme have taken a lot of value away from the US assets.
It is important to note that Radisson hotels in North America are, effectively, dumps. This is why the stand-alone Radisson brand – as opposed to Radisson RED or Radisson Blu – is rarely used in Europe. The Country Inn & Suites brand is also rarely seen here.
That said, it seems that Choice Hotels intends to keep the Radisson brands, which are actually more upmarket than most of their existing properties.
What isn’t clear is if Radisson Rewards Americas will remain as a stand-alone loyalty programme, or if it will be folded into Choice Privileges.
The full press release is here.
PS. There is something odd about this deal. Choice is paying $675 million for the franchise rights to 68,000 hotels rooms, so $10,000 per room. Assume $150 REVPAR x 5% franchise fee x 365 days and you get $2,700 of revenue per year per room. Choice has paid under 4 times revenue for a business where, once integrated, virtually 100% of revenue should be profit. This is not normal.
How to earn Radisson Rewards points and status from UK credit cards (March 2023)
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:
- American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 20,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 60,000 Radisson Rewards points. This card is FREE for your first year and also comes with four free airport lounge passes.
- The Platinum Card from American Express (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 90,000 Radisson Rewards points
- American Express Rewards credit card (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 10,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 30,000 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 Premium 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.)