Goldpoints Plus is offering unlimited double points with all Carlson Hotel stays through December 15, 2009. Goldpoints Plus regular earning rate is 20 points per $1 for Radisson, Regent, and Park Plaza brands; 15 points per $1 for Park Inn and Country Inns & Suites. Double points boosts these earning rates to 40 points per US$1 or 30 points per US$1. The high points earning ratio is negated by the high points redemption cost for free hotel nights.
Radisson Hotels is Carlson Hotels’ flagship brand with over 400 hotels globally. Radisson Hotels are comprised of Radisson, Radisson Blu (Europe, Middle East, and Africa), and Radisson Edwardian Hotels in the UK. Regent Hotels are the luxury brand of the Carlson portfolio with just a handful of hotels in destinations like Turks and Caicos, Maldives, Singapore, Bordeaux, Zagreb, Taipei, and Beijing. Country Inn & Suites is a midscale hotel brand with about 480 hotels primarily located in the US. Park Plaza and Park Inn round out the Carlson Hotel portfolio.
Carlson Hotels is a slightly larger hotel chain than Starwood Hotels by number of properties with just over 1,000 hotels globally. Although Starwood Hotels has almost twice as many rooms globally.
The large amount of points required for a free room night reduces the value of Goldpoints Plus points and is Loyalty Traveler’s primary complaint about the program. The option for Points & Cash awards, periodic promotions like 50% off award nights, and brand-specific room rate discounts all combine to make Goldpoints Plus a competitive hotel loyalty program if you spend your points and cash wisely and take advantage of special offers.
Earning Goldpoints Plus
Hey Goldpoints Plus. You need to redesign this webpage to enhance consumer useability. See my comments below.
I have not spent much time on the Goldpoints Plus website this past year. My first critique of the website is the difficulty in locating information about the points earning rate per dollar for hotel stays. There is a tab for “Earn” but the webpage it links to turns out to be hit or miss with information about how a member earns points from hotel stays.
The page highlights several ways a member can earn points. Unfortunately, the link for earning points from hotel stays is just one of a list of rotating options. Chances are that some consumers will have the page load without the link showing how points are earned from hotel stays. This happened to me several times as shown below.
You have to be lucky enough to have the Earn Points with Every Stay option be one of the choices loaded on the page to link to hotel stay earning rules. Several page loads did not show this link choice and I had almost given up before I noticed the link in an earlier screenshot I had saved. Refreshing the page several times eventually brought the “Earn points with every stay” link back.
Earn points with every stay link (if you are fortunate enough to have it appear when the page loads), shows most hotel stays earn 20 points per $1, except Country Inns & Suites and Park Inn earn 15 points per $1.
Sizing Up Points Redemption with Goldpoints Plus
There are three Radisson Hotels locally in my area of San Francisco Bay coastal California. Radisson San Jose Airport, Radisson San Francisco airport and the Radisson Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco. These three locations allow a comparison of the redemption rate of the Radisson Hotel compared to the redemption rate at a hotel with another major hotel chain at these same locations.
Comparing hotels across chains is challenging. Different hotel design, location, and amenities make it difficult to compare redemption rates, but it is a valid comparison for the frequent guest looking to assign comparative value of points with different hotel loyalty programs.
San Francisco Radisson Fisherman’s Wharf vs. Starwood’s Sheraton Fisherman’s Wharf
Radisson Fisherman’s Wharf is a Goldpoints Plus Category 5 redemption property at 60,000 points per night. The double points promotion allows a member to earn 40 points per US$1 at Radisson Hotels.You would need $1,500 in spending to earn 60,000 points for a free night. Without the double points promotion you would need $3,000 in hotel spending.
Assume as a Goldpoint Plus member you have 10 stays at $150 per night during double points. The member will earn 60,000 points + 5,000 points for online booking. 65,000 points earned for $1,500 in hotel spend.
Sheraton Fisherman’s Wharf is across the street from the Radisson. With Starwood Preferred Guest you need 10,000 points for a Category 4 hotel free night. At 2 Starpoints per $1 that would require $5,000 in hotel spend.
Assume an SPG member has 10 stays at $150 per night over the next couple of months during the 1,000 points per stay bonus. This SPG member earns $1,500 x 2 starpoints = 3,000 points from hotel spend. SPG bonuses add another 10,000 points. 13,000 points earned for $1,500 in hotel spend with Starwood.
$1,500 in hotel spend with Radisson earns sufficient points for one free night at Radisson Fisherman’s Wharf. The same spend and stays with Starwood hotels also earns one free night at the Sheraton Fisherman’s Wharf.
Goldpoints Plus and Starwood Preferred Guest tie for value with these two hotels in San Francisco.
Goldpoints Points & Cash vs. SPG Cash & Points
Tuesday, October 20
10,000 points + $107.40. The lowest paid rate is $143.65.
Sheraton Fisherman’s Wharf
No Cash & Points available for October 20. Paid room rate is $179
GoldPoints wins. 10,000 points saves $36.25 + tax on room rate, but I believe it is better to save points in this situation since $143 would earn 5,720 points for this stay during the double points promotion.
These are roughly equivalent values for two hotels in different hotel loyalty programs in the same location.
In my opinion though, the Sheraton is a nicer property.
San Francisco Airport: Radisson SFO vs. Hilton’s Homewood Suites SFO
Radisson SFO actually shares a parking lot with Homewood Suites in a bayside business park a few miles north of the San Francisco Airport in Brisbane.
Radisson SFO is a Category 3 redemption requiring 30,000 points per night. Assume the same $1,500 in hotel spend for 10 stays and the 65,000 points earned is sufficient for 2 free nights at Radisson SFO.
Homewood Suites SFO
HHonors Category 3 Hotel = 25,000 points for free night.
Hilton Points& Points preference earns 15 points per US$1 for non-elite members. Assume $1,500 in spend for 10 stays = 22,500 points earned.
Hilton currently has a promotion to earn 10,000 points after 5 stays. The frequent guest would earn 32,500 points after 10 stays with $1,500 in hotel spend.
The Goldpoints Plus member earns two free nights with equivalent spending while the Hilton member only earns one free night.
Radisson SFO Points & Cash rate for Tuesday, October 20
Rate is 5,000 points + $95.40. The lowest available paid rate for this night is $135.15. In this case 5,000 points is worth a $40 cash savings. The value of Goldpoints is double at the airport hotel compared to Radisson Fisherman’s Wharf Points & Cash example since 5,000 points for the SFO property is only 50% of the 10,000 points needed at Radisson Fisherman’s Wharf using Points & Cash to save $40.
Note to Carlson Hotels’ Goldpoints Plus and InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club on your Points & Cash bad and good points:
I had a boss once who repeatedly would say, “Don’t just tell me the problem. Give me a solution.” I have been on a Priority Club rant this week about the widespread promotion of Points & Cash option over the web without any substantial information on how this option works.
Looking over the Goldpoints Plus website I have to commend the designers for laying out an easy-to-follow page for points redemption choices. Under the Goldpoints homepage is a Redeem tab with a direct link to the Points & Cash option containing descriptive information.
This is a page IHG Priority Club could try to emulate in promoting their new Points & Cash hotel option.
The Priority Club and SPG models for Points & Cash are more consumer friendly with a defined Cash portion for this hotel payment option. Goldpoints Plus has the Points & Cash disadvantage of the member having to look up each hotel and a specific date to determine how much cash is required for a Points & Cash stay.