When Radisson Rewards released their 150,000 bonus points offer with 15 stays from January 15 to March 31, my thoughts turned to Riga, Latvia. Last week I was checking Riga for hotel rates and was surprised to see all seven Radisson Hotels Group properties in Riga priced well below $100 per night. In fact, two of the hotels located south of the Daugava River offered room rates in the 30 to 45 EUR range or about $35 to $50 per night.
I put together a theoretical travel plan for 15 nights in the Baltics with 8 nights in Riga and 7 nights in Tallinn at Radisson and Park Inn properties to estimate the approximate cost for 15 one-night stays to earn 150,000 bonus points. These are the kinds of travel plan projections I create on a regular basis for my own travel when determining how valuable a rebate I can anticipate from paid hotel stays during a good promotion.
15 nights in Riga and Tallinn are not a trip I anticipate to make. I already have a trip to London completely ticketed with hotels reserved in February. I have also been working on travel plans for March with Zurich as my destination. I’d love to spend two weeks in Riga and Tallinn this winter, but I don’t see that developing into a real trip.
I visited Riga for three days in April 2017. During my stay in Riga I walked by four of the Radisson properties and actually toured Park Inn Residences Barona. I had reservations at Radisson properties in Riga and Tallinn for both summer 2017 and June 2018, but ended up cancelling those plans in favor of travel to Czech Republic and Slovakia in 2017 and Sopot, Poland in 2018. Since the architecture and pubs are the primary attractions for me of these Baltic cities, I would not mind visiting these places in winter. The old town areas of these two cities can be overwhelmed with cruise ship tourists in summer. Room rates for several of these Radisson and Park Inn hotels tend to be 3x to 4x more expensive in summer than this winter.
Radisson Rewards winter promotion January 15-March 31, 2020
• Complete two (2) Stays, earn 5,000 Bonus Points when the second Eligible Stay is completed.
• Complete three (3) Stays, earn 10,000 additional Bonus Points (totaling 15,000 Bonus Points) when the third Eligible Stay is completed.
• Complete five (5) Stays, earn 15,000 additional Bonus Points (totaling 30,000 Bonus Points) when the fifth Eligible Stay has been completed.
• Complete (10) Stays, earn 45,000 additional Bonus Points (totaling 75,000 Bonus Points) when the tenth Eligible Stay has been completed.
• Complete (15) Stays, earn 75,000 additional Bonus Points (totaling 150,000 Bonus Points) when the fifteenth Eligible Stay has been completed.
The most I have ever hotel hopped for deals as a solo traveler is 7 consecutive nights I spent in Chicago in 2014 when I pledged two months in advance of a major conference to stay 7 nights for less than $700 when average room rates were in the $200 per night range.
In 2003, I took Kelley to Australia for 11 hotel nights in 5 different Starwood properties where we changed rooms 10 times. One night was in my name as an SPG Platinum member, then the next night was in Kelley’s name. All my rooms were upgrades, including a couple of suites, and then we downgraded for Kelley’s night as a Gold elite member. Only Four Points Darling Harbour in Sydney let us stay both reservations in the suite. We picked up 50,000 bonus Starpoints each on that trip for stays in five different Starwood brands.
150,000 Radisson Rewards points can reasonably be estimated at about $600 in potential hotel reward night value. Not quite the deal that motivated our trip to Australia in 2003 to earn about $3,000 in Starpoints. Still, the opportunity is there to combine leisure travel to wonderful places like Latvia and Estonia while earning a rebate in points that will likely be worth a rebate at least 75% of the cost of staying 15 hotel nights in Riga and Tallinn.
Riga, Latvia 8 Stays in 8 nights for $350 to $460
Originally I had thought two weeks would make a nice trip to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Turns out Lithuania hotel rates for Radisson properties are significantly higher than Latvia and Estonia. I have traveled by bus three times in 2017 and 2018 from Vilnius, Lithuania to Kaunas to Klaipeda, staying at Radisson properties in each city. I also rode the bus in 2017 from Lithuania to Riga, Latvia. Bus travel is inexpensive between Riga and Tallinn, as low as 5 EUR one way, and takes about 4.5 hours.
Riga, Latvia has seven Radisson properties and Tallinn, Estonia has four hotels. Five of the 7 hotels in Riga are on the Old Town side of the Daugava River and the two hotels farthest apart are Radisson Old Town and Park Inn Barona, about 20 minutes walk or quick tram ride. Two other hotels, Park Inn Valdemara and Radisson Blu Daugava, are on the south side of the river. These two hotels have the lowest rates. I am not familiar with their locations since I only walked extensively around Riga on the north side of the river during my three days there in 2017. Radisson Blu Elizabete is the flagship hotel for Radisson in Riga. Park Inn Residences Barona is the hotel I consider to be a gem since each room is apartment style.
Loyalty Traveler – Park Inn Residence Riga Barona has kitchens (May 1, 2017).
The orange highlighted boxes are simply sample rates and a visual aid to show that this Radisson Rewards 150,000 bonus points quest requires stays, not nights. Simply changing hotels each day provides one stay per night. The close proximity of hotels to each other in Riga makes this a reasonable option without wasting lots of time in transit each day. Switching between Radisson Blu Daugava and Park Inn Valdemara would be the cheapest option, however, my preference would be to stay at Radisson Old Town and Park Inn Residence Barona to balance city location with price.
Selecting the 8 cheapest hotel nights in Riga totals about $350 USD, while alternating between Radisson Old Town and Park Inn Residence Barona totals about $460 for 8 stays in 8 nights.
Tallinn, Estonia 7 stays in 7 nights
I have never been to Tallinn. Several tourists have told me Tallinn was their favorite capital city of the Baltic nations among Riga, Vilnius and Tallinn during my three trips to Lithuania over the past five years.
There are four Radisson properties in Tallinn with three in fairly close walking proximity of about ten minutes from each other and Park Inn Meriton about 20 to 25 minutes walk.
Seven stays in seven nights at Radisson properties in Tallinn will range from about 420 to 460 EUR/$465 to $510.
15 one-night stays in Riga and Tallinn can be booked for around $825 to $975, depending on which combination of the lower priced hotels are selected.
Assume $900 total spend for 15 stays = $60 per night average.
With about $800 in base spend, a base Radisson Rewards member can anticipate 16,000 points earned on hotel spend + 150,000 bonus points with 15 stays. A Radisson Rewards Visa card member with Gold elite status and bonus points can expect another 2,700 to 9,000 points, depending on card type.
166,000 to 180,000 points for $900 in spend can potentially be used for multiple reward nights at hotels.
Park Inn Central Tallinn July 14, 2020
- 110 EUR/$122.47 USD flexible rate
- or 28,000 points standard reward
- or 5,000 points + 69.60 EUR/$77.49 USD.
28,000 points for a $122.47 room night = $4.37 per 1,000 points redemption value.
A Points + Cash stay using 5,000 points drops room rate by $45 per night for a $9.00 per 1,000 points redemption value.
(In calculating redemption value, I ignore points you could have earned from paid rates for simplicity. At some time you need to redeem points for them to have any value.)
You can potentially save $4.37 with 1,000 points on a standard reward rate or up to $9.00 per 1,000 Radisson Rewards points on a Points + Cash reward rate. 166,000 to 180,000 points earned on $900 in hotel spend while visiting Riga and Tallinn for two weeks this winter can reduce your future hotel spend by as much as $725 to $1,600 on future hotel stays using Radisson Rewards points for hotel rate discounts and free room nights.
This kind of scenario can probably be replicated in several other cities around the world, particularly Asia. These are the kinds of travel deals I seek out when trying to maximize return on my hotel spend through hotel loyalty program promotions.