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Radisson Rewards™ Premier Visa Signature® Card Review

At a Glance
radisson rewards premier visa signature card
4.1 / 5
Rating

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Radisson Rewards™ Premier 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 35,000 points when you spend at least $2,500 within 3 months
  • Rewards: Unlimited 37 points per $1 spent at Radisson hotels on stays, meals, and beverages (with Radisson Rewards Gold status and base point earnings for all Radisson Rewards members); 10 points per $1 spent on all other Radisson hotel purchases; and unlimited 5 points per $1 spent everywhere else
  • Loyalty Status: Automatic Radisson Rewards Gold status with card membership, or 15 nights toward Radisson Rewards Platinum status if already a Radisson Rewards Gold member; 40,000 bonus points with annual account renewal; 1 free night with $10,000 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: $75
  • Credit Needed: Excellent

Advertiser Disclosure: This post includes references to offers from our partners. We 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™ Premier Visa Signature® Card is a hotel rewards credit card with a $75 annual fee and a fairly generous rewards program that favors frequent Radisson hotel and resort guests. There are more than 1,000 hotel and resort properties in the Radisson family. Popular brands include Radisson, Radisson Blu, Radisson Red, Park Plaza, Park Inn, and Country Inn & Suites.

Cardholders earn 10 Radisson Rewards points for every $1 they spend at Radisson properties, including on room nights, food, beverages, rentals, incidentals, and other on-site expenses. All other purchases earn 5 points per $1 spent. On room nights, points earned with the credit card come on top of the 20 base points per $1 spent that all Radisson Rewards members earn on paid hotel stays, including those who don’t have Radisson Rewards credit cards.

New cardholders are automatically enrolled in the Radisson Rewards loyalty program, which is free to join and maintain. Cardmembership comes with automatic Radisson Rewards Gold status, whose benefits include discounts on on-site food and beverage purchases and complimentary room upgrades where available. Radisson Rewards Gold holders also earn base points on paid stays, hotel food, and hotel beverages 35% faster than the regular rate, boosting base point earnings from 20 points per $1 to 27 points per $1.

Therefore, per $1 spent, all Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature cardholders earn 37 points on paid stays, food, and beverages (27 points to which they’re entitled as Radisson Rewards Gold members plus 10 points to which they’re entitled because they have the credit card), 10 points on other hotel purchases, and 5 points on all other purchases. However, remember that they’d earn 27 points per $1 spent on paid stays even if they didn’t have the Radisson Rewards Visa Signature, and that the 35% bonus applies only to these base points, not points earned with the credit card.

It should be noted that this card is very similar to the Radisson Rewards Business Visa Credit Card, a popular small business credit card for frequent travelers. If you need financing for your small business, that product is definitely worth a closer look.

Key Features

Sign-up Bonus

You get 50,000 bonus points simply for opening your account and making your first purchase within 3 months. You earn an additional 35,000 points when you spend at least $2,500 within the same 3-month period, for a total potential sign-up bonus of 85,000 points. You need at least 9,000 points to earn a free night at the lowest-tier Radisson hotels, so this bonus is potentially worth more than 9 free nights.

Earning Radisson Rewards Points

In addition to the 27 base Points that all Radisson Rewards Gold members earn on paid stays, food, and beverages at Radisson properties, this card earns unlimited 10 Points per $1 spent on virtually everything at Radisson properties. That includes room nights, meals, drinks, incidental purchases, rentals, and more. All other purchases earn unlimited 5 points per $1 spent.

Total earnings per $1 spent, including credit card and non-credit card points, are 37 points on paid stays, food, and beverages; 10 points per $1 spent on all other hotel purchases; and 5 points per $1 spent on everything else.

Redeeming Gold Points

The best way to redeem your accumulated points is for free nights at Radisson hotels, starting at 9,000 points per night for Category 1 properties, which typically cost less than $100 per night. Redemption requirements are greater for higher-tier properties – for instance, Category 2 properties require 15,000 points, while Category 7 properties (the highest tier, where rooms often go for more than $400 per night) require 70,000 points. Points do not have fixed value, but are generally worth $0.01 or less when redeemed for Radisson stays.

Points can also be combined with cash at redemption, starting at 5,000 points for Category 1 properties and ranging up to 20,000 points for Category 7 properties. The cash component varies by property, demand, and other factors, and is only revealed when you make your reservation. However, you can expect it to be more or less equivalent to the value of your redeemed points (at a rough value of $0.01 per point) minus the going room rate for your preferred property.

Points can also be transferred to approximately 20 participating airline partners, including Southwest Airlines, usually at a ratio of 10 points to 1 airline mile – a sub-optimal value. You can also redeem 65,000 points to cover the cost of TSA PreCheck, though that option severely undervalues your points. Finally, you can redeem for gift cards offered by various merchant partners, typically at a value of less than $0.01 per point.

Annual Loyalty Bonus

When you renew your account on or about your cardmember anniversary date, you get 40,000 points in your account – good for more than 4 free nights at the lowest-tier Radisson properties. This bonus repeats every year in which you pay the card’s annual fee.

Annual Spending Bonus

When you spend at least $10,000 over the course of the 12-month period that ends with your account anniversary, you get an electronic certificate (“E-Cert”) good for 1 free night at any Radisson property, including higher-tier properties. You can earn up to 3 E-Certs, each for another $10,000 in spending during the same month period, up to a maximum of $30,000 spent. E-Certs expire 12 months from their issue date and aren’t valid for existing reservations.

Automatic Radisson Rewards Gold Status

Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature cardholders automatically earn and keep Radisson Rewards Gold status for as long as they remain cardholders in good standing. Radisson Rewards Gold benefits include:

  • 15% discounts on food and beverage purchases at Radisson properties
  • Complimentary room upgrades where available
  • 35% bonuses on base Gold Points earned on Radisson hotel stays, meals, and beverages

Per $1 spent on Radisson stays, food, and beverages, the 35% bonus boosts cardholders’ total Gold point earnings (base points plus the 10 points to which they’re entitled with the card) to 37 points.

Bonus Nights Toward Radisson Rewards Platinum Status

If you were already a Radisson Rewards Gold member when you applied for your credit card account, you get 15 bonus nights toward Radisson Rewards Platinum status, which normally requires 60 paid stay nights within a calendar year.

Radisson Rewards Platinum status’s benefits include:

  • 20% discounts on food and beverage purchases at Radisson properties
  • 75% faster point earnings on Radisson stays, food, and beverages (boosting base points on these items from 20 points per $1 spent to 35 points per $1 spent, and total point earnings from 37 points to 45 points)
  • Complimentary continental breakfast
  • Guaranteed room availability up to 48 hours from the start of your stay

These bonus nights do not automatically confer Concierge Elite status, nor do they apply to cardholders who were not already Radisson Rewards Gold members at sign-up.

Important Fees

This card has a $75 annual fee that is not waived in the first year. The foreign transaction fee is 2% for U.S. dollar-denominated transactions and 3% for foreign-denominated transactions. Cash advances cost the greater of $5 or 4%, and balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 3%. Late payments cost up to $37, while return payments cost up to $35.

Additional Travel Benefits

Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature’s non-Radisson travel benefits include:

  • Complimentary rental car insurance (loss and damage) when you pay the full cost of the rental with your card
  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • Emergency card replacement for travelers abroad
  • $1 million travel accident coverage, a bare-bones form of travel insurance

Additional Visa Signature Benefits

This card’s non-travel perks, all backed by Visa, include:

  • 24/7 concierge service
  • Exclusive deals and seating at entertainment and sporting events
  • VIP packages and pre-sales at coveted entertainment and sporting events
  • Special access to exclusive culinary events

Credit Required

This card requires excellent credit. Any significant issues in your credit history are likely to disqualify your application.

Advantages

  1. Excellent Sign-up Bonus. Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature’s 2-part sign-up bonus is worth up to 85,000 points and requires new cardholders to spend just $2,500 in 3 months to fully unlock. That’s definitely doable for frequent travelers who use this card as their primary spending vehicle. All told, the sign-up bonus is worth up to 9 free nights (with a few thousand points left over) at basic Radisson properties. That’s way better than many competing cards, whose bonuses can be worth as little as 1 or 2 nights.
  2. Good Point Earnings on Non-Radisson Purchases. This card earns 5 points per $1 spent on non-Radisson purchases. Given the relatively low redemption values of Radisson Points, this isn’t an eye-popping earning rate, but it’s still better than the standard rate of 1 point per $1 spent offered by most competing hotel, airline, and general travel cards.
  3. Great Annual Loyalty Bonus. This card’s 40,000-point annual loyalty bonus is worth up to 4 free nights (with points left over) at Category 1 Radisson properties. Few (if any) hotel cards can match that level of generosity on a consistent basis, at least with annual fees at $100 or less.
  4. Attainable Spending Bonus for Moderate Spenders. If you use this as your primary credit card and travel frequently, you’ll likely have no problem spending $10,000 in a year. When you do, you’ll earn an additional free night at any Radisson property. Since it’s worth up to 70,000 Gold Points when redeemed at Category 7 properties, this is a very valuable benefit indeed.
  5. Automatic Radisson Rewards Gold Status for Cardholders in Good Standing. As long as your account remains open and in good standing, you earn and keep Radisson Rewards Gold status, whose benefits include 35% faster base point earnings on paid stays at Radisson properties, 15% discounts on food and beverage purchases at Radisson properties, and complimentary room upgrades where available. If you’re a frequent Radisson guest looking to get the most out of your travel habits, Radisson Rewards Gold status is very valuable.

Disadvantages

  1. Has an Annual Fee. Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature charges a $75 annual fee that’s not waived during the first year. This is a problem for frugal travelers and occasional Radisson guests who can’t squeeze value out of this card quickly enough to make up for the recurring charge.
  2. Points Aren’t Very Valuable for Non-hotel Redemptions. Gold Points are almost always worth $0.01 or less apiece when redeemed for non-hotel purchases. They’re sometimes worth much less, as is the case with TSA PreCheck. Many competing programs have far better redemption values overall.
  3. Poor Airline Transfer Deals. Radisson’s airline point-to-mile transfer options are sub-par too. You generally need 10 Radisson Rewards points to earn 1 airline mile. By contrast, some popular cards, such as Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card, offer 1-to-1 transfer ratios with select airline partners.
  4. Has a Foreign Transaction Fee. This card’s 2% to 3% foreign transaction fee is unusual for a travel card. If you frequently travel overseas, it’s likely to cut into your out-of-country point earnings, and you’d surely be better served by one of the many alternatives without foreign transaction fees.
  5. Relatively Few Hotel Choices. The Radisson group has more than 1,000 hotels and resorts in its portfolio. That sounds like a lot, but it pales in comparison to larger families. For example, Marriott has more than 6,000 properties in its arsenal. With a relatively thin selection of Radisson properties to choose from, you’re more likely to find yourself without a good option to earn or redeem points in your chosen destination, particularly if it’s somewhere out of the way.

Final Word

Earning 37 points per $1 spent on hotel food, beverages, and rooms sounds like a pretty good deal. For frequent Radisson guests, it certainly is. However, if you’re not very well-versed in the complex vagaries of travel loyalty programs, it’s worth putting that number in perspective.

At issue here is what you actually get for your points. Radisson points are worth far less, on average, than points offered by competing programs such as Marriott Bonvoy, whose points are routinely worth more than $0.02 at redemption and can be transferred to partner programs at a coveted 1-to-1 ratio.

On the other hand, this card earns 5 points per $1 spent on non-hotel purchases, which is unusually generous for a hotel rewards card. If you spend a lot outside the Radisson universe, that could make a big difference in your calculations.

Verdict
radisson rewards premier visa signature card
4.1 / 5
Rating

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Radisson Rewards™ Premier Visa Signature® Card

The Radisson Rewards™ Premier Visa Signature® Card is a fantastic card for moderate to heavy spenders who frequent Radisson hotel and resort properties. Its large, easy-to-attain sign-up bonus is worth several years of annual fees, and the annual loyalty and spending bonuses continue to offset the annual levy for cardholders who stay Radisson properties often enough to use them. Radisson Rewards Gold status is great for travelers looking for additional convenience and payback as well.

All that said, this card is not suitable for infrequent Radisson guests, nor those who seek fee-free spending while abroad or travel rewards programs with a wider range of redemption options. Basically, it’s awesome for Radisson loyalists, but so-so as a general travel card.

This card’s top benefits include an excellent sign-up bonus, good point earnings on non-Radisson purchases, great annual loyalty and spending bonuses, and automatic Radisson Rewards Gold status at sign-up (or bonus nights toward Radisson Rewards Platinum status for existing Radisson Rewards Gold members).

Drawbacks include the $75 annual fee, poor value on airline transfers, poor redemption values in general, the 2% to 3% foreign transaction fee, and the relatively small hotel network.

Overall, this is a fantastic card for Radisson diehards, but probably not worthwhile for 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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