Seems like every major hotel loyalty program has discount points for sale this month. Radisson Rewards has a sale for 75% bonus points through Sunday April 22, 2018. This reduces the price from the regular $7 per 1,000 points to $4. Bonus points apply to any purchase amount from 1,000 points to the annual purchase limit of 40,000 points. Members can buy a maximum 70,000 points for $280 in this sale.
Where Radisson Rewards points have good value
Purchasing points has become one of my primary strategies for finding hotel rate discounts. While there are several 70,000 points per night Radisson upper upscale hotels where $280 will be a good discount on the lowest paid rate, that kind of value is of little interest for my travel. My objective each year is to keep my hotel nightly rate average under $100. In recent years I have been able to keep my nightly rate under $75, while still staying several nights each year in luxury hotels and upper upscale hotels in places like London, Amsterdam, Paris, Copenhagen and the French Riviera. Points purchases are a significant part of my discount hotel rate strategy.
When I saw the option to buy 70,000 points for $280, I studied hotels listed in the low Radisson Reward hotel categories for potential destinations.
Radisson Rewards category 1 = 9,000 points per night = $36 hotel nights.
Radisson Rewards raised the reward category of several category 1 hotels in Europe over the past two years and there are few countries worldwide with any remaining category 1 hotels.
India – 22 hotels.
Turkey – 5 hotels.
Russia – 4 hotels.
Colombia – 2 hotels.
Weimar, Germany; Cairo, Egypt; Puerto Varas, Chile; and Cincinnati Airport, Erlanger, Kentucky.
Radisson Rewards Category 2 = 15,000 points per night = $60 hotel nights.
There are several hotels I find interesting at the category 2 reward rate.
USA – 75 hotels. Given that average daily rates for USA hotels are over $125 in April 2018, there is high probability that $60 hotel nights will be a significant discount at many of these category 2 hotels.
Looking over the list of USA category 2 hotels, one that caught my eye is Country Inn & Suites, Savannah Gateway, Georgia over Memorial holiday weekend.
$60 hotel nights is a significant rate discount for Savannah over Memorial weekend, even if you need to drive 15 miles and pay daily parking for your car in downtown Savannah.
When buying points I often have my focus on one or two specific hotels I plan to visit for cheap reward stays. For my travels, the hotel that catches my eye is Radisson Blu Resort Swinoujscie, Poland on the Baltic coast at the border of Germany.
This hotel is a high demand beach resort in July and August with rates topping $200 per night.
Unfortunately, I see this hotel has the entire summer season 2018 blacked out for reward nights. I am surprised to see that.
Radisson Rewards category 3 = 28,000 points = $112 night.
Category 3 opens up many more possibilities. Radisson Blu Ljubljana, Slovenia catches my eye on this list. There are also hotels like Park Inn Prague, where I stayed over New Year’s Eve last year when rates were over $250 per night.
Turns out that rates at Rad Blu Ljubljana are regularly over $200 per night for a several dates I checked between July and October and the reward rate for all those dates is 42,000 points for a Premium Reward night at 50% more points. While $168 is a discount rate for one night, that is not the kind of deal I expected. Looks like this hotel might rise to a higher category in the next year since it appears to already be a de facto category 4 hotel in current reward pricing.
These examples show why you need to look deeper and test actual reward bookings.
There are some good deals to be had, but check reward night availability before buying points.
Oh well, looks like Club Carlson points are not as valuable in Europe as I thought they might be for places I want to visit. Summer 2018 may be my last hurrah with Radisson Rewards as I redeemed most of my points before several good value hotels went up in reward price last month.
Since Radisson Rewards points will likely go on sale again before the end of 2018 and I am not currently in need of points, I will not be a buyer with this sale.