This is our review of the Scandic Friends loyalty programme.
If you are planning a trip to Scandinavia, you may be able to save some money on your hotel stays by joining Scandic Friends for free.
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.
This article is part of an on-going series on niche hotel programmes. Our review of Pestana Guest Club, published this week, is here.
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.
How do you join the Scandic Friends loyalty programme?
You can sign up to Scandic Friends here.
Since my stay, Scandic Friends has removed an attractive sign-up bonus of 20% off your first stay. This is a shame as it was a real incentive to join.
Scandic Friends members also used get discounted room rates at weekends and over public holidays, but this has now been replaced with variable ‘member pricing’ rather than a flat discount. This brings the programme in line with similar hotel schemes but is less interesting.
Here are two other tips:
- You get 500 bonus points in the Scandic Friends programme for signing up
- Members get a 10% hotel food and drink discount at weekends, including at in-hotel snack stores
New members used to receive an email shortly after joining offering 3,000 bonus points on their first stay during a certain period. If this is still available, don’t worry about delaying your booking to see if it arrives – in my experience, it still paid out even though I had already booked.
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 deducting 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 5,000 SEK / NOK / DKK, 150 PLN or €500 per stay.
There is a 200 – 300 point bonus if you make your booking online via the Scandic app or website.
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.
There is an online store where you can buy various products – see here.
Hotel redemptions are priced from 10,000 to 50,000 points per night.
There is no reward chart, just a list of hotels with the points required next to each. As the reward cost is fixed all year, you can get good value by redeeming at peak times.
I ended up with almost 25,000 points from my four night stay a couple of years ago, which I ended up giving to a friend given that we had no immediate plans to head back to Scandinavia.
Points can also be used during a stay as payment in the restaurant, bar and hotel shop. The current rates are:
- EUR 1 = 630 points
- SEK 1 = 60 points
- NOK 1 = 60 points
- DKK 1 = 84 points
- PLN 1 = 144 points
These are not great value compared to getting a free room but it will help you get rid of any spare points.
Points have a three year expiry, although this was suspending during the pandemic.
Are there airline partnerships too?
Yes, Scandic has three 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 when I stayed 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 One Rewards (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.
A new partnership with TUI lets you earn and spend your Scandic Friends points on TUI giftcards or packages.
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.
It is well worth signing up to Scandic Friends in advance of booking a stay in order to get access to their special member prices.
There is no guarantee that you will earn enough points for a free night from just one stay – although the 500 points 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 £260 after VAT.
The 10,000 points hotel redemptions are in the more obscure parts of Scandinavia though! If nothing else you could use them for a food and beverage discount on any future Scandic stay.
You can learn more about Scandic Friends on their website here.
Hotel offers update – October 2022:
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.
Want to buy hotel points? There are no special offers currently running for buying hotel points.