Radisson Rewards was due to make some changes to its loyalty programme, which came through with an email announcement on October 8, 2022. At the time, the mailer said something to the effect,
Get ready for the new Radisson Rewards! Our new program is created to give you greater flexibility, more relevant advantages, and more exclusive rewards. Why? Because we want you to fully enjoy your benefits as a Radisson Rewards member!
It did not warn us that the changes would be made so quickly and without any further notice… And here they are.
Radisson Rewards rolls out massive changes to their programme.
Radisson now has two rewards programmes, one for the whole world and one for the Americas. Points are freely transferable between the two, but massive changes are now rolled out to the standard (ex-Americas) programme.
As a headline, three changes have happened:
- Four membership tiers have been consolidated into three
- Dynamic redemptions have been introduced
- Perks and membership bonuses have been realigned for the tiers
Let’s go over the details of these changes
Membership Tiers have been realigned from four to three.
The new Radisson Rewards membership tiers are as follows:
- Radisson Rewards Club (entry level, earns 8 points per US Dollar)
- Radisson Rewards Premium (mid-tier, earns 27 points per US Dollar). You need to stay five nights or three stays per annum for this tier to trigger.
- Radisson Rewards VIP (top-tier, earns 36 points per US Dollar). For this tier to trigger, you must stay 39 nights or 20 stays per annum.
It beats me, though, that the programme uses the peg of the US Dollar to indicate earnings, while there is no correlation to the US dollar (as the programme covers properties outside of the US of A). In the earlier programme, base members earned 20 points per US dollar spent, so that was a pretty brutal cut!)
Perks and membership bonuses have been realigned for the tiers.
Here is the list of benefits that the new programme offers. We analyse these after the table, scroll below.
- Room Upgrades: The headline benefit is that for the Premium Tier, you get an upgrade to the next room category, while for the VIP category, you get upgraded to the best category of rooms available.
- Complimentary Breakfast: With the new programme, the VIP tier members now get breakfast for two. Earlier, this was limited to Platinum members, who had to do 60 nights a year to get access to complimentary breakfast.
Those who receive their Radisson Rewards elite membership from American Express Platinum will now be granted the Premium tier (earlier, it was the Gold tier).
Dynamic Redemptions introduced
The new version of Radisson Rewards is also dynamic for redemptions, a la Taj Inner Circle, where the redemption pricing is directly related to the cash cost of the stay. You can now redeem points towards the cost of a hotel stay and adjust it against the cash price of the stay. The value comes to something like INR 0.15/USD 0.002 per point. You need a minimum of ten points in your rewards to account to initiate a redemption.
A key difference with other loyalty programme implementations is that the programmes absorb the tax component on redemptions. However, in this case, it will be charged to the member.
To see how bad things have changed for members, this hotel in Delhi used to be a category one hotel, which means a stay here would cost 15000 points. Now, it needs about 45900 points (ex-taxes).
Here is the earlier award chart.
The worst part about the change is that it was made without advance notice. The switch was flicked one fine day. And the value of your points has significantly decreased overnight (by half or more, depending on where you were saving up for).
No changes to Radisson Rewards Americas
Radisson Rewards was split into two in 2021, and a separate programme was carved out for the Americas. At this point, there is still the ability to move points around to that programme. The programme offers the ability to convert Radisson Rewards points to SAS EuroBonus and some other airline programmes.
Unfortunately, there is no getting away from Radisson, as the chain has over 80 hotels in India, and these are spread out in places where other chains have not made their home yet.
The Radisson Rewards’ new implementation has essentially switched from an award-chart-based programme to a dynamic-redemption programme, which throws any customer value that could be seen out of the window. To double down on their approach, they have reduced the number of tiers from 4 to 3 and broadly sprayed all the benefits amongst the three. The entry-level folks are being short-changed compared to the others on earnings, but everyone will pay more for redemptions now.
What do you think of these changes to Radisson Rewards and the zero notice period?
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Also, there’s no mention in the new programme of roll-over nights –
(I guess no problem in case of the 2nd tier qualification, though.)
The USD-denominated earnings is probably because the USD is way more relevant to the MEA part of EMEA Radissons and where the growth is for EMEA Radissons. Euro, GBP, CHF, JPY-denominated points earning wouldn’t make as much sense as the USD peg for points earning.