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Radisson Rewards Visa Signature® Card Review

At a Glance
radisson rewards visa signature card
3.9 / 5
Rating

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Radisson Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card

  • Sign-up Bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus points when you make a purchase within 3 months of opening your account; earn another 10,000 points when you spend at least $1,500 within 3 months
  • Rewards: Unlimited 29 points per $1 spent on paid Radisson stays, meals, and beverages (with Radisson RewardsSilver status and base point earnings for all Radisson members); 6 points per $1 spent on all other Radisson hotel purchases; and unlimited 3 points per $1 spent everywhere else
  • Loyalty Status: Automatic Radisson Rewards Silver status with card membership, or 10 nights toward Radisson Rewards Gold or Platinum status if already a Silver member; 25,000 bonus points with annual card renewal; up to 3 free nights with $30,000 in annual spending
  • Fees: Foreign transaction fee 2% to 3%; balance transfers 3% of transferred amount ($5 minimum); cash advance 4% of advanced amount ($5 minimum)
  • Annual Fee: $50
  • Credit Needed: Excellent

Advertiser Disclosure: This post includes references to offers from our partners. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. However, the opinions expressed here are ours alone and at no time has the editorial content been provided, reviewed, or approved by any issuer.

The Radisson Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card is a hotel rewards credit card with a $50 annual fee and a rewards program that favors frequent guests at Radisson hotels and resorts. The family has more than 1,000 properties in all, bearing recognizable names such as Radisson, Park Plaza, Park Inn, and Country Inn & Suites.

Cardholders earn 6 Radisson Rewards points for every $1 they spend at Radisson properties. In addition to paid room nights, qualifying spending includes rentals, incidentals, food, beverages, and more. All other purchases earn 3 points per $1 spent. On room nights, points earned with the Radisson Rewards Visa Signature come on top of the 20 base points per $1 that all Radisson members earn on paid hotel stays, regardless of whether or not they have a Radisson credit card.

New Radisson Rewards cardholders are automatically enrolled in the free-to-join Radisson loyalty program. They also receive automatic Radisson Rewards Silver status – whose benefits include discounts on on-site food and beverage purchases – for as long as they remain cardholders in good standing. Silver status holders also earn base points on paid stays, hotel food, and hotel beverages 15% faster than the regular rate, boosting base point earnings from 20 points per $1 to 23 points per $1. Note that the 15% point bonus doesn’t apply to points earned with the credit card, just base points to which all Radisson members are entitled.

Therefore, per $1 spent, all Radisson Rewards Visa Signature cardholders earn 29 points on paid stays, hotel food, and hotel beverages; 6 points on other hotel purchases; and 3 points on all other purchases. However, it’s important to remember that they’d earn 23  points per $1 spent on paid stays, hotel food, and hotel beverages, even if they didn’t have the Radisson Rewards Visa Signature.

Radisson Rewards Visa Signature also has a very nice sign-up bonus worth up to 6 free nights, plus annual bonuses for account loyalty and heavy spending.

Key Features

Sign-up Bonus

You receive 50,000 bonus points when you make a purchase within 3 months of opening your account. You get an additional 10,000 points when you spend at least $1,500 within the same 3-month period, for a total potential sign-up bonus of 60,000 points. You need 9,000 points to redeem for a free night at Radisson’s lowest-tier hotels, so this bonus is worth more than 6 free nights.

Earning Radisson Rewards Points

In addition to the 23 base Gold Points that all Radisson Rewards Silver members earn on paid stays, food, and beverages at Radisson properties, Radisson Rewards Visa Signature users earn unlimited 6 points per $1 spent at Radisson properties, including on room nights, food, beverages, rentals, incidentals, and more. They earn unlimited 3 points per $1 spent on everything else, including non-Radisson travel purchases.

Total earnings, including credit card and non-credit card points, are 29 points per $1 spent on paid stays, food, and beverages; 6 points per $1 spent on all other hotel purchases; and 3 points per $1 spent on everything else.

Redeeming Gold Points

The best way to redeem points is for free nights at Radisson hotels. Redemption minimums start at 9,000 points per night for Category 1 properties, which typically go for less than $100 per night. Point requirements are greater for more exclusive properties – for instance, you need 15,000 points for a free night at a Category 2 property, and 70,000 points for a free night at a luxurious Category 7 property, where your room is likely to cost more than $400 per night. Though points do not have a fixed value, they’re generally worth $0.01 or less when redeemed for Radisson stays.

Using the Points + Cash option, you can also combine your points with cash for discounted nights – as few as 5,000 points for Category 1 properties, or as many as 20,000 points for Category 7 properties. The cash requirement varies by property, demand, and other factors, and remains unknown until you specify your travel dates and room preferences. However, it is roughly equal to the value of your points (at about $0.01 per point) subtracted from the cash rate for the specified property. These point values and other terms are subject to change, so refer to Radisson’s rewards program terms for the latest information.

If you don’t want to redeem for hotel nights, you can transfer points to approximately 20 airline partners, including Southwest Airlines, usually at a rate of 10 Radisson points to 1 airline mile. Radisson also lets you redeem points (65,000) to cover the cost of TSA PreCheck, though doing so really cuts into the value of your points. Finally, you can redeem for gift cards offered by various merchant partners, usually at less than $0.01 per point.

Annual Loyalty Bonus

When you renew your account each year, you get 25,000 points in your account – good for nearly 3 free nights at the lowest-tier Radisson properties. You continue to earn this bonus every year in which you pay the card’s annual fee.

Annual Spending Bonus

When you spend at least $10,000 in the 12-month period ending on your account anniversary date, you receive an electronic certificate (“E-Cert”) good for 1 free night at any Radisson property, including Category 7 properties. You’re entitled to as many as 3 E-Certs per year with each additional $10,000 spend during the same 12-month period ($30,000 maximum spend).

Automatic Silver Elite Status

Upon account opening, Radisson Rewards Visa Signature cardholders automatically earn Radisson Rewards Silver status. This benefit remains in effect for as long as the cardholder’s account remains open and in good standing. Silver perks include:

  • 10% discounts on food and beverage purchases at Radisson properties
  • Complimentary room upgrades where available
  • Flexible check-in and check-out times
  • 15% bonuses on base points earned at room nights, meals, and beverages

Bonus Nights Toward Higher Elite Statuses

Cardholders who already have Radisson Rewards Silver status at account opening are entitled to receive 10 bonus nights toward Radisson’s higher elite statuses, Radisson Rewards Gold and Platinum. They do not automatically achieve Radisson Rewards Gold status, however.

Radisson Rewards Gold status, the next step up the ladder, normally requires 35 paid nights in a calendar year. Its benefits include:

  • 15% food and beverage discounts
  • 35% faster point earnings on base points earned on paid stays, food, and beverages (in other words, 27 base points per $1 spent on those items)
  • Complimentary room upgrades where available.

Bear in mind that these bonus nights do not apply to cardholders who were not Silver Elite members at sign-up.

Important Fees

This card has a $50 annual fee that is not waived in the first year. The foreign transaction fee is 2% for transactions denominated in U.S. dollars, and 3% for transactions denominated in foreign currency. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 3%, while cash advances cost the greater of $5 or 4%. Late payments cost up to $37, while returned payments cost up to $35.

Additional Travel Benefits

Radisson Rewards Visa Signature has some non-Radisson travel benefits backed by Visa. They include:

  • Emergency card replacement for travelers abroad
  • Complimentary rental car damage waiver
  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • $1 million travel accident coverage, a bare-bones form of travel insurance for catastrophic eventualities

Additional Visa Signature Benefits

This card has some additional non-travel perks backed by Visa. These include:

  • Exclusive entertainment and sporting event access
  • VIP treatment at exclusive culinary events
  • 24/7 concierge service

Credit Required

This card requires excellent credit. Any notable credit history problems are likely to disqualify cardholder applications.

Advantages

  1. Very Good Sign-up Bonus. Radisson Rewards Visa Signature’s 2-part sign-up bonus is worth up to 60,000 points, or more than 6 free nights at basic Radisson properties. Even better, it requires new cardholders to spend just $1,500 in 3 months, and that’s only for the final 10,000 points. You get a full 50,000 points as long as you make at least one purchase on your card within 3 months. If you travel often and use this card for the lion’s share of your spending, clearing that hurdle shouldn’t be a problem. Some competing cards’ sign-up bonuses are worth as little as 1 or 2 nights.
  2. Strong Annual Loyalty Bonus. You get 25,000 bonus points simply for renewing your account each year, enough for a complimentary weekend away at a lower-tier property.
  3. Achievable Bonus for Moderate Spenders. If you use Radisson Rewards Visa as your primary credit card and travel frequently, you’ll probably clear the $10,000 annual spending threshold with little trouble. Doing so entitles you to a bonus free night at any Radisson property, including luxurious high-tier properties. With a point value of up to 70,000 Gold Points, this perk is better than it looks.
  4. Good Point Earnings on Non-Radisson Purchases. This card earns 3 points per $1 spent on non-Radisson purchases. That’s better than the typical rate of 1 point per $1 spent set by many competing travel cards, but the relatively low redemption values of Radisson Rewards points mean it’s not as generous as it otherwise could be.
  5. Automatic Silver Status for Cardholders in Good Standing. For as long as your account remains open and in good standing, you enjoy coveted Radisson Rewards Silver status. That entitles you to 15% faster earnings on base points accrued through spending on paid stays, hotel food, and hotel beverages at Radisson properties (instead of 20 points per $1 spent, you receive 23 base points, plus 6 extra points for using your Radisson Rewards credit card), 10% discounts on food and beverage purchases at Radisson properties, and other useful perks. For frequent Radisson guests, Silver status can dramatically boost convenience, enjoyment, and financial return on hotel stays.

Disadvantages

  1. Has an Annual Fee. Radisson Rewards Visa Signature’s $50 annual fee is not waived during the first year. While this isn’t a hefty annual fee, it’s unlikely to be welcomed by occasional Radisson guests who don’t earn rewards or use benefits quickly enough to make up for it, nor frugal travelers in general.
  2. Points Aren’t Very Valuable for Non-hotel Redemptions. Radisson Rewards Points are generally worth less than $0.01 apiece when redeemed for non-hotel purchases, and sometimes much less, as is the case with TSA PreCheck. By contrast, competing programs such as Marriott Bonvoy have far better redemption values overall.
  3. Poor Value on Airline Transfers. In most cases, you need 10 Radisson Rewards points to earn 1 airline mile. This is a sub-par rate by the standards of other travel programs and credit cards. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve Cards both offer 1-to-1 transfer ratios with select airline partners, including major U.S. carriers.
  4. Has a Foreign Transaction Fee. This card charges 2% to 3% for foreign transactions. That’s not typical for a travel card, and can be a big issue for frequent overseas travelers who wish to maximize the value of the points they earn abroad. Fortunately, there are plenty of hotel credit cards without foreign transaction fees.
  5. Relatively Small Hotel Network. Radisson’s 1,000-strong hotel and resort network is actually small by the standards of some competing hotel families. For instance, Marriott has roughly 4 times Radisson’s property count. If you’re heading to a small or remote destination, you’re that much less likely to find a participating property there.

Final Word

An earning rate of 29 points per $1 spent on hotel rooms, food, and beverages sounds pretty great – and if you’re fiercely loyal to the Radisson brand, it probably is. However, before you rush out and apply for the Radisson Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card, remember that there’s usually more to the travel loyalty game than meets the eye.

When evaluating a hotel or airline loyalty program, always ask what you actually get for your points. Radisson Rewards points have pretty low values (on average) relative to points offered by more generous competitors such as Marriott Bonvoy. At identical rates of hotel spending, you’d therefore get more out of your Marriott Bonvoy membership (and any associated credit card, such as the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card) over the long haul.

Then again, the fact that this card earns 3 points per $1 spent on non-hotel purchases is an argument in its favor, as many other hotel credit cards earn just 1 point per $1 spent on such things. So, if you use your Radisson card for a variety of spending, it can be very useful indeed.

Verdict
radisson rewards visa signature card
3.9 / 5
Rating

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Radisson Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card

The Radisson Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card is a great choice for frequent Radisson hotel guests. Its easily attained sign-up bonus is enough to cover the cost of a full workweek’s stay at basic Radisson properties. The annual loyalty and spending bonuses, plus automatic Radisson Rewards Silver status, offer additional incentives to keep the card around.

Conversely, Radisson Rewards Visa Signature has limited appeal for people who stay at Radisson properties occasional or not at all, nor those looking for more versatile redemption options and fee-free foreign spending.

Radisson Rewards Visa Signature’s key benefits include a very good sign-up bonus, better-than-average point earnings on non-Radisson purchases, nice annual loyalty and spending bonuses, and automatic Radisson Rewards Silver status for new accountholders (or bonus nights toward Radisson Rewards Gold status for existing Silver members).

Drawbacks include the $50 annual fee, poor redemption values on most redemption options, poor airline point transfer values, a 2% to 3% foreign transaction fee, and a relatively small family of hotel and resort properties.

Overall, this card works really well for loyal, frequent Radisson guests, but is safely ignored by everyone else.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Brian Martucci
Brian Martucci writes about frugal living, entrepreneurship, and innovative ideas. When he’s not interviewing small business owners or investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, he’s probably out exploring a new trail or sampling a novel cuisine. Find him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

Comments Disclosure: The below responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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