Club Carlson Is Now “Radisson Rewards”….And The Name Isn’t The Only Change

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The Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group (which was always a mouthful) has been rebranded as the “Radisson Hotel Group” with immediate effect and alongside the group’s name change come changes to the group’s loyalty program too.

“Radisson “Rewards” is now the new name for what once was the Club Carlson program and the name isn’t the only thing the program is changing.

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Unsurprisingly the changes are being referred to as “enhancements” by the Radisson PR machine (a word that surely strikes fear into any seasoned miles & points collector) and there’s a lot of fluff in the announcement too:

The newly rebranded Radisson Hotel GroupTM introduces a refreshed loyalty program, Radisson RewardsTM, replacing Club CarlsonSM. Radisson Rewards will align with the hotel group’s new corporate identity and will make it easier for members to associate their benefits with all brands and initiatives. The updated program comes with some exciting enhancements including making status more accessible for members. All current members account numbers and point balances remain the same.

According to Eric De Neef, Executive Vice President and Global Chief Commercial Officer, Radisson Hotel Group:

Embedding the Radisson name into the heart of our program, will help us instantly boost the global brand awareness of our loyalty program. Radisson is a name that’s instantly recognizable, respected and stands for award-winning, innovative hospitality

Our refreshed program will serve as a powerful driver of our commercial and brand awareness strategy, and build a stronger relationship with our members. The Radisson affiliation across the entire global brand portfolio and all markets, will ensure that our members worldwide can easily associate their rewards with the hotels where they earned their valuable points

Personally speaking I never had an issue with associating my Club Carlson points with Radisson and all the other brands that formed Carlson Rezidor….but then I’ve never really seen the point of paying an advertising company hundreds of millions to reinvent the wheel either.

Anyway….what’s changing outside of the name and the logo?

Radisson Rewards New Status Tiers

If you change the program name you have to change the names of the status tiers too – here’s how the new tiers will look and which old tiers they map to:

a table of names with black text

Nothing revolutionary here!

Radisson Rewards Earning Status

The number of nights needed to earn status is going down so we actually have some good news coming out of all of this.

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For Radisson loyalists outside of the US the reduced number of nights required for the three status tiers will certainly be welcome but, for US-based Radisson fans, only the reduced requirement for Platinum status will really matter.

If you’re based in the US and you visit Radisson properties often enough to care about status you should already have the Club Carlson Visa card (soon to be the Radisson Rewards Visa card) which comes with Gold Status as a perk.

In truth, I suspect that most Club Carson Concierge members (now Radisson Rewards Platinum members) earn their top-tier status through stays and not though nights which means that these changes really aren’t all that significant.

Radisson Rewards has confirmed that the status requirements will be applied retroactively based on nights & stays made in 2017 so there’s a chance that some members will see their status improve when the changes are put through.

Radisson Rewards Elite Earnings

Rather sneakily Radisson Rewards has left out the news surrounding elite earnings from its press release choosing instead to simply insert a link to “an overview of all program changes”….and there’s a reason for this.

Mid-tier elites will earn less per dollar spent at Radisson properties than in the past:

a screenshot of a graphIt’s also slightly sneaky to display the former and new earn rates in the way Radisson Rewards has as it makes it harder for people to see exactly what the difference are…so here are the changes broken down:

  • Radisson Rewards Club members will earn 20 points/dollar (no change)
  • Radisson Rewards Silver members will earn 22 points/dollar (1 point/dollar less than before)
  • Radisson Rewards Gold members will earn 25 points/dollar (2 points/dollar less than before)
  • Radisson Rewards Platinum members will earn 35 points/dollar (no change)

Not startling changes but it’s still a devaluation.

If you have Gold status courtesy of a credit card, the reduced requirements to earn status make absolutely no positive difference to you while these changes mean that you’re suddenly earning 7.5% on all your stays.

What makes things a little worse it that it looks like these changes are coming into effect straight away.

Other Radisson Rewards Changes

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  • Platinum members will “experience an elevated level of service with an exclusive, Platinum only member services line
  • All members will receive two bottles of water per room per stay at participating locations in the Americas
  • Radisson Rewards credit card members in the US will be able to earn bonus award nights (see below)

Credit Card Changes Are Coming

a close-up of a credit card

The Club Carlson credit cards are being rebranded as Radisson Rewards credit cards and will offer cardholders the opportunity to earn up to 3 free award nights “upon renewal”.

No further news was given about the credit card in the press release but based on what I can glean from the US Bank website (which hasn’t been fully updated yet) this appears to be the situation:

  • Radisson Rewards credit cards will continue offer bonus points for renewing the card from year to year.
  • In addition to the bonus points awarded when renewing the credit card, cardholders will earn a certificate for a free hotel night for every $10,000 spent on the credit card up to a maximum of 3 certificates.
  • Certificates are issues upon the credit card anniversary
  • Certificates expire 12 months after they have been issued
  • Certificates are only valid for bookings made in the name of the account holder
  • Certificates are valid at US properties only

I can’t stress enough that this is information I’m piecing together and isn’t something that Radisson Rewards (or US Bank has announced) so I’ll be updating this as more official information is forthcoming.

Bottom Line

Lower elite requirements are nice but, for reasons I outlined earlier, I don’t think there will be too many readers who’ll benefit from this change.

Lower elite earnings are a notable negative and will hit quite a few Radisson Rewards members – the fact that these lower earning rates are being introduced without any notice is very bad PR.

When I first read about the bonus nights the Radisson credit cards will offer I was sure that these would be issued at the expense of the bonus points that are being awarded now. The fact that this doesn’t appear to be the case is a positive.

If I’m right and the free night certificates are only valid at US properties it will be a big blow to the value the certificates offer. It’s a well-known fact that most Radisson properties in the US are not particularly good so that really reduces the incentive to spend $10,000 – $30,000 on credit cards that aren’t all that rewarding in the first place.

Are you a Club Carlson Radisson Rewards fan? What do you think of the changes?


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