Radisson’s loyalty program changes take effect today: Here’s what you need to know about the new Radisson Hotels Americas
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.
Earlier this year, we reported on the (major) upcoming Radisson Rewards changes. This included Radisson splitting its existing Radisson Rewards loyalty program into Radisson Rewards Americas and Radisson Rewards.
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As of today, June 17, all members of the Radisson Rewards loyalty program have automatically been transitioned into the new Radisson Rewards Americas program. As a result, your current tier status, member number and points balance can be found under Radisson Rewards Americas, meaning you are no longer a member of the general Radisson Rewards program.
It sounds confusing — and while it is — this guide will break down all the changes you need to be wary of and what this means for you as a Radisson elite status member.
Your membership will automatically transition to one of the new loyalty programs
Today’s the day. As of June 17, 2021, the Radisson Rewards loyalty program has officially split into two separate programs: Radisson Rewards Americas and Radisson Rewards.
For those residing in North, Central and South America, their Radisson Rewards accounts (membership tier and points balances) have automatically been converted into Radisson Rewards Americas accounts. Again, this program is now separate from the broader Radisson Rewards program representing Radisson hotels in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia Pacific.
While it seems obvious enough, moving forward, all stays in the Americas (the U.S., Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean) will earn and redeem points in the new Radisson Rewards Americas Program. This means you’ll book any future stays in the Americas on RadissonHotelsAmericas.com.
You cannot change the program you’ve been automatically assigned to, so you’ll need to manually sign up for the general Radisson Rewards program for all hotel stays out of the Americas. You can now sign up and book hotel stays outside of the Americas by visiting RadissonHotels.com.
The reason behind these changes is likely to remain in compliance with changing U.S. regulations. Radisson was acquired by HNA Group and later sold to Jin Jiang International — a company controlled by the Chinese government. The U.S. no longer allows the Chinese government to access certain types of information for U.S. customers. In turn, splitting the loyalty program in two may align Radisson with these new regulations.
You can status match between programs
Again, Radisson Rewards Americas members will keep their existing Radisson elite status. But now, they can also set up a standard Radisson Rewards account for stays outside the Americas region and call Radisson Member Services for a status match for any of the three Radisson elite status tiers. Unfortunately, there is not a way to do this match online.
In other words, if a Radisson Rewards Americas member has Gold elite status via the cobranded Radisson credit card or otherwise, their Radisson Rewards account will also be eligible for Gold status. They’ll just need to call for a status match.
Related: Guide to Radisson Rewards
Future elite nights will only be earned in one program
Going forward, elite nights earned in Radisson Rewards Americas or the international Radisson Rewards program will not count toward status in the other program. So if you have a Radisson stay in Paris, you’ll only earn elite nights in the international Radisson Rewards program.
Unless this changes, it will make it more difficult to earn Radisson Rewards status under the new programs. I think this is especially detrimental for frequent travelers who spend nights at Radisson properties in the Americas and elsewhere in the world, as they’ll need to ensure that one of their two accounts has enough nights to requalify for status. However, having the credit card will continue to be an easy way to retain Gold status in each program, though you may have to call each year to do the match.
Points transfer 1:1 between the two programs
You can only redeem points in either Radisson loyalty program for nights in its respective jurisdiction.
This means you can’t redeem points in your Radisson Rewards Americas account for a stay in Dubai. Thankfully, Radisson has introduced a “Global Points Transfer” tool that will allow members to transfer points between Radisson Rewards Americas and Radisson Rewards at a 1:1 ratio at no cost.
This is a nice workaround for these split programs, but it may confuse the vast majority of members. At the end of the day, it’s an extra step that Radisson members will need to take before they can redeem their hard-earned points for an award night outside of their locale.
New award chart
Radisson Rewards Americas has a new award chart, and there are clear winners and losers with this coming change.
The simpler award chart will offer just five different award categories, down from the current seven tiers. In addition, standard room award nights will start at 15,000 points per night — up from the previous 9,000 points per night — and will go as high as 75,000 points per night, up from the current 70,000 point ceiling. Radisson has told TPG that roughly 30% of properties will decrease in price because of this change.
|Hotel category||Points needed for RewardSaver room||Points needed for standard room||Points needed for premium room||Points needed for Points + Cash feature|
That said, this is a double-edged sword since standard nights that used to cost 9,000 points per night at the entry-level tier will now cost 15,000 points per night. This is a substantial jump for lower-end properties like Country Inn & Suites, where the cash rate is already low. So in some cases, you’re now better off paying cash for these nights instead of spending more points.
New RewardSaver program will let you save points on some nights
Some good news amidst all the change is that there will be a new RewardSaver program. These awards will offer a 30% discount on awards at specific properties around the Americas. This will be available for standard, premium, and points + cash redemption rates.
In other words, Radisson says this is just the good side of dynamic pricing and award rates can only get lower on certain dates but won’t go higher than the award chart.
Radisson has told TPG that every hotel in the Americas will have these discounted awards available at some point but that some may have more scarce availability than others. Additionally, these member-only redemption rates can happen anytime and anywhere and aren’t dependent on pre-determined peak or off-peak dates, meaning you could potentially score a great deal with these new RewardSaver rates.
Based on a random search of Radisson hotels in North Carolina, it looks like the website isn’t clear if something is a RewardSaver rate until you click on the actual hotel. For example, I clicked on the Country Inn & Suites in Dunn, N.C. because it’s offering rates as low as 10,000 points for the randomly selected dates.
Once you click “See Rooms,” you can clearly see that this is a RewardSaver rate. It’s odd that, at the time of writing, Radisson wouldn’t make this clearer during the search process, making this yet another tedious change of these new updates.
RewardSaver is exclusive to Radisson Rewards Americas at launch, and Radisson anticipates that the broader Radisson Rewards program will see RewardSaver sometime in 2022.
All in all, these changes are a mixed bag. Radisson splitting its program in two is confusing among Radisson Rewards members and will require extra work for global travelers. While I understand that Radisson needs to comply with U.S. regulations on China to continue operating a loyalty program within the U.S., it seems like a very complicated route to take — especially for elite members.
For those traveling abroad frequently, splitting elite status qualifications between Radisson Rewards Americas and Radisson Rewards is a massive disappointment. It will now be harder for these members to achieve their elite status tier as they must earn enough rewards nights in one of the two programs to requalify. On the other hand, the new award chart will benefit some and hurt others.
Those who frequently redeem for mid-and top-tier hotels may see some of their favorite properties go down in price under the new award chart. Those who redeem for budget properties may end up with higher redemption rates. There will be a few winners in the middle. In light of devaluations and a trend toward dynamic pricing across the industry, we’re glad to see Radisson is retaining an award chart and not introducing an even-pricier peak demand pricing tier.
The one change that’s positive for everyone, however, is RewardSaver nights. These awards essentially introduce the best part of dynamic pricing — lower-cost hotel rooms — without the negatives. However, in my initial search of hotel nights, it’s not clear which hotels offer RewardSaver nights until you click on the actual property — which can be a nuisance for many. Stay tuned to TPG as we’ll offer a full analysis on RewardSaver awards and if these are popular destinations that are actually useful for members.
Additional reporting by Andrew Kunesh.
Feature photo by booking.com.
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