Radisson Rewards announced March 1, 2019 changes to hotel reward category for 140 hotels worldwide (hotel list). At 83 hotels moving up to a higher points cost and 57 moving down to a lower points cost, the net effect on the surface does not look bad. About 60% up and 40% down overall. But I find these changes kill most of the remaining deals for hotels in Europe where I had potential plans for some stays in places like Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, and Poland.
By the Numbers:
140 hotels changing, about 10% of 1,400+ hotels worldwide in Radisson Hotels Group.
- 83 hotels move up in category, 59.3% of 140 hotels.
- 57 hotels move down in category, 40.7% of 140 hotels.
- Europe, Middle East, Africa (EMEA) 62 hotels change category. 27 down, 35 up.
- Asia Pacific 10 hotels change category. 2 down, 8 up.
- Canada 4 hotels change category. All 4 down.
- Americas 12 hotels change category. 6 down, 6 up.
- USA 52 hotels change category. 18 down, 34 up.
Generally speaking, the value I found in Radisson Rewards has systematically been destroyed over the past 24 months. The initial devaluation three years ago, when the program was Club Carlson, was loss of one free night on reward stays for Club Carlson Visa card members. Then in January 2017, Club Carlson Gold elite member 2-for-1 and 4-for-2 weekend rates EMEA region were eliminated. Then, last winter there was a significant rise of European hotels out of the lowest categories reducing the number of hotels available as Category 1 and Category 2 reward nights for 9,000 and 15,000 points. And many of these same hotels that went up to category 2 and category 3 last year are now rising again to Category 3 for 28,000 points and category 4 hotels for 38,000 points.
As an example, winter 2018 I booked Business Class rooms at two hotels in Lithuania at a 50% premium in points cost per night for stays in June 2018. Park Inn Kaunas for 3 nights cost 40,500 points and Radisson Blu Klaipeda for 3 nights cost 67,500 points for a larger room and hotel breakfast. My six nights cost was 108,000 points.
As of March 1, Park Inn Kaunas will cost 126,000 points for 3 nights in a Business Class room. A rise from 40,500 points to 126,000 points obliterates any thoughts of this hotel being a good value use of Radisson Rewards points for me in the future.
Radisson Blu Klaipeda was a category 2 hotel in January 2018 and will be a category 4 hotel in March 2019. A June 2019 stay for 3 nights in a Business Class room will be 57,000 points per night. I paid 22,500 points per night for my June 2018 stay.
My June 2018 trip cost 108,000 points for six nights at these two Lithuania hotels and next month these reward stays in the same room types will cost 297,000 points for 6 nights in Business Class rooms with breakfast.
If I value Radisson Rewards points at $4 per 1,000 points, then I redeemed $432 worth of points last year when I redeemed 108,000 points for 6 nights in Lithuania in June 2018. At 297,000 points these reward nights increase to $1,188 in estimated points value for 297,000 Radisson Rewards points for 6 nights in 2019. I had a great hotel reward stays deal in Lithuania for $432 in points, but if spending $1,188 in points for 6 nights, there are many other luxurious lodging options in Lithuania for less than $200 per night.
The new owners of Radisson Rewards are killing the program for members like me. The places where hotel reward rates are dropping are not the places I had my eye on.
USA 52 Hotels: 34 Up, 18 Down on March 1, 2019
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