Late last year, Radisson Rewards – the loyalty programme for the non-Americas hotels under the Radisson, Park Inn and Park Plaza brands – shocked the industry with a huge overnight devaluation of its points.
It was brutal. We used to put a value of 0.33p on Radisson Rewards points, but in reality you could do a lot better in peak cities on peak dates.
Overnight, with no warning, the programme moved to revenue based redemptions – see our article here. You now got a fixed 0.2p discount off a cash room for every point you redeemed.
You’d lost arguably 50% of the value of your Radisson Rewards points overnight.
Radisson Rewards had a history of ‘no notice’ changes to its rewards programme, but nothing as extreme as this. Unsurprisingly, anyone with a fairly sized (and so fairly valuable) pot of Radisson Rewards points was furious.
There is now a way to potentially salvage some value
First, a bit of background.
Radisson Hotels outside of North America is now, effectively, owned by the Chinese Government. It was forced to sell the North American arm under pressure from the US Government, which was concerned about the use of passport and credit card data supplied by guests.
The two companies, Radisson Hotels and Radisson Hotels Americas, each have separate loyalty programmes. The points are interchangeable as long as you have an account with each programme.
Choice Hotels has its own loyalty programme, Choice Privileges. As of this week, you can transfer points from Radisson Rewards Americas to Choice Privileges at a 2:1 ratio.
So ….. this means you can now:
- transfer points from Radisson Rewards (the non-US programme) to Radisson Rewards Americas at 1:1, and then
- transfer points from Radisson Rewards Americas to Choice Privileges at 2:1
Is there any value in turning your Radisson Rewards points into Choice Privileges points?
In some scenarios, yes.
Choice Privileges is virtually unknown in the UK. We have only done one article on it out of the 14,000+ on the site.
This is because it comprises of, primarily, low- to mid-market US-centric brands. These include Econo Lodge, Rodeway Inn, Woodspring Suites, Choice, Clarion, Cambria, Sleep Inn and Mainstay Suites.
The only reason you might come across it is due to Ascend Hotel Collection, a handful of higher end independent hotels. There are no longer any UK Ascend hotels, unfortunately.
And then there is Nordic Choice ….
You’ve probably never heard of Nordic Choice either.
However, Nordic Choice has over 200 hotels in Scandinavia, Finland and the Baltics and over 16,500 employees. It is privately owned and operates as a franchise of Choice International.
This means that you will see a bunch of Clarion, Quality and Comfort branded hotels across Scandinavia. More interesting, however, are the luxury boutique hotels it runs.
According to a Wikipedia list, it includes many of the top hotels in the region:
- Sweden: Hotel At Six, Hobo, Nordic Light Hotel, Hotel C Stockholm, Aronsborg Konferenshotellet, Selma Spa+, Copperhill Mountain Lodge, Strömstad Spa, Stenungsbaden Yacht Club, Avalon Hotel, Vox Hotel, Ice Hotel Jukkasjärvi and Frösö Park
- Norway: The Thief, Hotel Christiania Teater, Farris Bad, Hotel Oleana, Hotel No13, Hotel Brosundet, Norefjell Ski & Spa, Son Spa, Funken Lodge and Amerikalinjen
- Denmark: Hotel Skt. Petri and Villa Copenhagen
- Finland: Hotel Kämp, Hotel St. George, Klaus K Hotel, Hotel Haven, Hotel Fabian, Hotel Lilla Roberts, GLO Hotel Kluuvi, GLO Hotel Art, GLO Hotel Airport, GLO Hotel Sello and Hotel F6
There are some exceptionally high quality hotels on this list. The photo below is Hotel Kämp in Helsinki, which used to be part of Marriott’s The Luxury Collection.
Booking Nordic Choice hotels with Choice Privileges points
Here are the key things you need to know about using Choice Privileges points to book hotels in Scandinavia:
- Whilst you cannot earn Choice Privileges points at Nordic Choice hotels (it has its own programme), you can redeem them
- you cannot book more than 100 days before your stay (an odd rule – no other hotel loyalty scheme has such a restriction)
- you can often buy Choice Privileges points very cheaply
- Nordic Choice hotels have a fixed year-round redemption cost irrespective of the cash rate that night
The combination of #3 and #4 above means that there are some exceptional deals to be had. The reason these deals continue to exist is that, let’s be honest, there are very few regular guests at your average US Rodeway Inn who are interested in redeeming their points at 5-star Scandinavian boutique hotels.
Last year I stayed at ‘The Thief’ in Oslo
It is unlikely that you will ever earn any Choice Privileges points from a hotel stay if you are UK based. You can buy them, however.
Last year, in a special annual promotion, I picked up 42,000 points for $220 (£184).
This allowed me to book two nights at ‘The Thief’, a modern boutique hotel that is generally regarded as the best hotel in Oslo, for 40,000 Choice Privileges points in total.
The cash cost for my dates was NOK 3,690 per night (£320).
This means that I got £640-worth of hotel rooms for £184.
This is probably the highest percentage discount (71%) that I have ever got by buying points, although 60%-65% discounts are common if you are on the ball. This article looks at how I saved 62% at Hilton’s Waldorf Astoria Dubai The Palm by buying points, for example.
Let’s do the maths based on Radisson Rewards points
Last year I paid 20,000 Choice Privileges points per night to get a £320 per night room at The Thief in Oslo.
You could get 20,000 Choice Privileges points by transferring 40,000 Radisson Rewards points into 40,000 Radisson Rewards Americas points. You can transfer these onwards into 20,000 Choice Privileges points.
You’d be getting (£320 / 40,000 Radisson Rewards points) 0.8p per Radisson Rewards point, which is 4x what they are worth if you redeem them for a cash discount on a Radisson hotel.
Don’t collect Radisson points? This may still work for you
There may be something here if you have NO Radisson Rewards points
American Express Membership Rewards points convert to Radisson Rewards points at 1:3.
If you wanted a room at The Thief worth £320, you could do this:
- transfer 13,333 American Express Membership Rewards points to Radisson Rewards, ending up with 40,000 Radisson Rewards points
- transfer 40,000 Radisson Rewards points into 40,000 Radisson Rewards Americas points
- transfer 40,000 Radisson Rewards Americas points into 20,000 Choice Privileges points which is enough for one night at The Thief
Using 13,333 Amex points for a £320 per night hotel room is very good going. You obviously shouldn’t do this until you have checked reward availability via Choice Privileges, remembering that rooms are only booking from 100 days before arrival.
If you are sitting on a pile of supposedly worthless Radisson Rewards points, there may be some light on the horizon.
Choice Privileges isn’t perfect, of course. For a start, apart from the Ascend Collection, the points are only really worth using for the Nordic Choice properties in Scandinavia.
There are worse places for a weekend break, of course, and you would finally be able to get value from your Radisson pile.
I tested the transfer process out and it works fine. However, the links are hidden away.
I am assuming you already have a Radisson Rewards (non-US) account.
- To open a Radisson Rewards Americas account, click here. The details must match your Radisson Rewards (non-US) account or you won’t be able to do transfers.
- To transfer points from your Radisson Rewards (non-US) account to your new Radisson Rewards Americas account, click here.
- To open a Choice Privileges account, click here.
- To transfer points from your Radisson Rewards Americas account to your new Choice Privileges account, click here.
This process is fully reversible. You can move your points back from Choice Privileges to Radisson Rewards Americas, and then back from Radisson Rewards Americas to Radisson Rewards (non-US) if you wish. That said, it is expected that Radisson Rewards Americas will be fully folded into Choice Privileges in the next year or so at which point I would expect transfers to and from Radisson Rewards (non-US) to end.
How to earn Radisson Rewards points and status from UK credit cards (February 2024)
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 40,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 120,000 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.)