Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature Card (now with a dash of aspiration)

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The Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature Card just got interesting.  It has long been a solid choice for those who can make good use of the card’s free night certificates, but now Radisson has thrown in a dash of aspiration.  Whether or not you would ever use your points for the new Radisson Blu Maldives, the possibility is positively alluring.

Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature Card Basics

Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature Card

FM Mini Review: This is a good choice for its welcome bonus, 40K per year bonus, Gold status, 5X everywhere rewards, and ability to earn up to 3 free nights per year.


Annual Fee: $75

Card Type: Visa Signature

Base
Brand

Earning rate: ⚬ 10X at CC hotels ⚬ 5X elsewhere.

Big spend bonus: Free night at any US property after each $10K annual spend up to $30K.

Noteworthy perks: ⚬ Automatic Gold status ⚬ 40K bonus per year.

See also: Club Carlson rocks our world... Again

Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature Card: Earning Rate (5X Everywhere)

Radisson’s $75 per year credit card offers 10 points per dollar at Radisson hotels and 5 points per dollar everywhere else.  5X everywhere sounds incredible, but keep in mind that our Reasonable Redemption Value (RRV) for Radisson points at the time of this writing is 0.38 cents per point.  That means that 5X points is roughly worth 1.9 cents per dollar.  That’s solid, but if not for the card’s free night certificates (detailed below), most people would do better putting spend on a 2% back card like the Citi Double Cash.

Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature Card: 3% Foreign Transaction Fee

This card incurs a 3% foreign transaction fee for purchases processed outside of the United States.  For that reason, it is a very poor choice for international spend.

Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature Card Perks

The Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature Card has a single perk that, alone, makes it worth keeping year after year: 40K bonus points each year when you renew.  At our Reasonable Redemption Value (RRV) of 0.38 cents per point, that’s like getting $152 worth of points each year in exchange for the card’s annual fee.

Another nice perk is that the card grants you Radisson Rewards Gold status.  Gold status offers:

  • 25 points per dollar earnings at Radisson hotels (vs. 20 points per dollar for non-elites)
  • 15% food & beverage discount (vs 5%)
  • Free room upgrades when available
  • Early check-in and check-out when available
  • In-room welcome gift
  • 72 hour room availability guarantee

Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature Card: Free Night Certificates

Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago

Earn up to three free night certificates each year.  With each $10K of spend per cardmember year, up to $30K spend, you’ll earn a certificate that can be used at any Radisson hotel within the United States.  Certificates are good for 12 months after issue.

If you spend the certificates at a top tier (70K points per night) hotel like the Radisson Blu Chicago, then you can think of the Visa card as earning an additional 7 points per dollar on spend up to $10K, $20K, or $30K per year.  But that’s only true if you use the certificates before they expire and only use them for 70K per night hotels.  And, unfortunately, there are currently only two 70K per night properties in the USA: Radisson Blu Aqua Chicago and Radisson Blu Mall of America.

After surveying all of the upscale Radisson brands (Blu, Red, art’otel, Park Plaza, and Radisson Collection), I found that we have only a few Radisson Blu and Radisson Red hotels in the United States, as follows:

Radisson Blu

  • Anaheim (opening October 2020): 50K points per night
  • Chicago: 70K points per night
  • Mall of America: 70K points per night

Radisson Red

  • Miami Airport (expected Feb 2021): 44K points per night
  • Minneapolis Downtown: 44K points per night
  • Portland Downtown: 50K points per night

Expensive, but not premium brands

The following Radisson hotels in the US charge 50K or more points per night despite not being part of a premium brand:

  • Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Ocean City, MD: 50K points per night
  • Radisson Hotel New York Wall Street: 70K points per night
  • Radisson Hotel New York Times Square: 70K points per night
  • Radisson Hotel New York Midtown-Fifth Avenue: 70K points per night

As you can see above, there are very few upscale Radisson hotels in the United States for spending the free night certificates.  Unless you regularly visit Minneapolis, New York, and/or Chicago, it’s probably best to assume that you’ll use your free night certificates at hotels that would otherwise go for 40K to 50K points per night.  That’s still a very good deal for your $10K, $20K, or $30K spend since it is like getting an additional 4 to 5 points per dollar over the base 5 points per dollar that the card offers.

Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature Card: Welcome Bonus

The welcome bonus for this card has long been 85,000 points, but recently Radisson has been offering 120,000 points after $3K spend (the current offer is shown above in case you read this later when the offer has changed).  That’s a compelling offer, especially considering that you only need $4,000 spend to earn a total of 140,000 points (120K from the welcome bonus plus 20K from $4K spend).  And 140,000 points is enough for two nights at any top-tier Radisson hotel worldwide.

Important: If you do not qualify for this card, you may be instead approved for the lesser Radisson Rewards™ Platinum Visa® Card along with a smaller 60K welcome bonus.

Aspirational Stays

The thing that Radisson has long been missing is a true world-class aspirational destination.  That has apparently changed with the opening of the Radisson Blu Maldives.  For 70,000 points per night, you can get an overwater villa with a private pool.  Breakfast is included.  More details can be found here.

It’s worth noting that you can earn additional nights with each $14K of spend on the Radisson card (since it offers 5X everywhere).  I can’t think of any other card that could result in an overwater villa in the Maldives for that little non-category-bonus spend.

Of course there are other aspirational resorts around the world, but there’s something about the Maldives and overwater villas that excites the imagination above the others.  I haven’t researched any of these, but some others that appear aspirational include (but are not limited to) properties in the Dominican Republic, Corsica, Fiji, Gran Canaria, and Mauritius:

Radisson Blu Punta Cana Dominican Republic. All inclusive. (Opening Soon)

Bottom Line

The Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature Card has long been a good rewards card.  It offers a solid welcome bonus, ongoing perks that make the card well worth the annual fee, 5X everywhere rewards, and the ability to earn up to three free night certificates per year with spend.

Now, with the opening of the Radisson Blu Maldives, I think that the card is just a bit more interesting.  Previously it was missing the wow factor.  What exciting destination could you use those points for?  Now, there’s a great answer: you can get an overwater villa with a private pool in the Maldives.  Is the resort any good?  I have no idea.  So, for now, it’s more of a compelling idea than a real value.  If it turns out to be a world class resort, then it will be really exciting.  If not, that’s OK.  The Radisson card will go back to being a solid but unaspirational choice.

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