Radisson to Choice conversion: Low end = slight deval, high end = better value

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Radisson Rewards Americas properties were originally due to be rolled in to the Choice Privileges program on July 18, 2023, but that was delayed by a week and that finally happened on July 25.

Before this change, you could transfer Choice Privileges points to Radisson Rewards Americas on a 1:2 basis (or vice versa on a 2:1 basis). As a result, when the changeover happened the expectation was that those Radisson properties would cost half the amount when bookable directly with Choice points.

I was curious though as to whether or not Choice would use this changeover as an opportunity for a stealth devaluation for the properties joining the program. To check whether this would happen, a couple of weeks ago I recorded the award price of about 40 properties that were part of Radisson Rewards Americas. These were located all around the Americas; about 3/4 were in the US, with the remaining 1/4 being in Canada, the Caribbean and South America. I figured that would give a good enough idea as to whether there had been any kind of devaluation and hopefully provide enough properties to spot any kind of pattern.

I checked all their pricing yesterday to see what had happened post-conversion. There was indeed an easily identifiable pattern with how the award pricing converted over. There’s been a slight devaluation on the low end, but there’s now better value at the higher end. Overall, I’d say that this is an improvement for most people, especially thanks to a quirk in how Choice prices different types of rooms which opens up some new sweet spots.

Choice Privileges Rewards Radisson Rewards Americas

How Radisson Rewards Americas Properties Converted To Choice Privileges

Old Pricing

In 2021, Radisson changed their rewards program and reduced the number of award pricing tiers from seven to five. Those five points tiers were as follows:

  • 15,000
  • 30,000
  • 45,000
  • 60,000
  • 75,000

Within those tiers there were additional factors like whether or not a property was temporarily priced at a RewardSaver level, how many points were needed for a premium room, etc. Here’s what the full chart looked like:

a screenshot of a graph

Expected Pricing

Seeing as Choice was valuing 2 Radisson points as being worth 1 Choice point, the expectation was that when moved over, the pricing for Radisson Rewards Americas properties would cost half the amount. That would mean the following:

  • 15,000 Radisson points = 7,500 Choice points
  • 30,000 Radisson points = 15,000 Choice points
  • 45,000 Radisson points = 22,500 Choice points
  • 60,000 Radisson points = 30,000 Choice points
  • 75,000 Radisson points = 37,500 Choice points

This had the potential to be problematic though. From what I’m aware, Choice doesn’t have a published award chart, but from anecdotal evidence based on searches I’d done in the past, Choice uses the following pricing tiers:

  • 8,000
  • 12,000
  • 16,000
  • 20,000
  • 25,000
  • 30,000
  • 35,000
  • Possibly higher levels overseas (I’m not familiar with that side of it)

n.b. I might be missing one or two tiers here, but hopefully you get the gist. As you can see, only one tier of the old Radisson program – 60,000 points – would be able to convert over on a like-for-like basis. The other tiers would require Choice to either create a whole new bunch of tiers (unlikely) or convert them over to one of the existing tiers which would cause some kind of revaluation for better or worse (more likely).

New Pricing

Based on the data points I’d collected, it looks like Choice took a (nearly) uniform approach to the conversion. Here’s how the different tiers actually converted:

  • 15,000 Radisson points = 8,000 Choice points (versus expected 7,500 Choice points)
  • 30,000 Radisson points = 16,000 Choice points (versus expected 15,000 Choice points)
  • 45,000 Radisson points = 20,000 Choice points (versus expected 22,500 Choice points)
  • 60,000 Radisson points = 30,000 Choice points (versus expected 30,000 Choice points)
  • 75,000 Radisson points = 35,000 Choice points (versus expected 37,500 Choice points)

As you can see, at the lower end there’s been a slight devaluation. Properties that should, in theory, have cost 7,500 or 15,000 points now cost 8,000 and 16,000 points respectively, so 500 and 1,000 points more per night respectively. While that’s not ideal, it’s only a 6.25% reduction in value for both those tiers and so shouldn’t hurt too much if those are the award levels you tend to redeem at. If you have a Citi Premier or Prestige card and convert ThankYou points to Choice on a 1:2 basis, you’d only need to transfer an additional 250 or 500 ThankYou points per night which isn’t bad in the grand scheme of things.

At the fourth highest tier, the conversion went as expected – 60,000 point properties are now 30,000 points per night. The other two tiers make up for that slight devaluation though. Properties that we would’ve expected to cost 22,500 and 37,500 points per night only cost 20,000 and 35,000 points per night respectively. That’s great because Choice could just as easily have decided to allocate them to the 25,000 and a new 40,000 point tier if they’d wanted. In both cases, you’re 2,500 points per night better off which, in my opinion, more than offsets the extra 500 and 1,000 points per night you have to redeem at the lower end.

There might be a few outliers though. For example, the Radisson Blu Hotel Plaza El Bosque Santiago was 45,000 points in the old Radisson Rewards Americas program and so based on the 2:1 conversion would be expected to cost 22,500 points. All of the other 45,000 point properties I checked got reduced to 20,000, but this particular hotel ended up being priced at 25,000 points.

There can be changes the other way. For example, the Radisson Blu Vancouver Airport Hotel & Marina, Canada used to be 60,000 points and so I expected this to cost 30,000 points. It’s now pricing out at 25,000 points per night, so that’s an improvement. Seeing as both of these outliers are Radisson Blu properties, it makes me wonder if Choice went over each of the properties in that brand to decided if they needed to reevaluate their cost. And in case you’re wondering, the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel in Chicago was 75,000 points in the past and is now 35,000 points.

What To Watch Out For

Something that’s worth being aware of is that Choice tends to use what is, in effect, peak and off-peak pricing throughout the year. During certain months the award pricing at any given property is xx,xxx points per night, while at other times of the year it’s yy,yyy points per night, with that pricing sometimes then being different depending on what day of the week you’re staying in that period. Those points requirements can be found on each property’s page on the website by scrolling far down the page.

For example, here’s what one Quality Inn is pricing at through the end of November:

Choice peak & off-peak pricing

As you can see, from September 16 award nights at that property get cheaper, but they’re also cheaper when staying Sunday to Thursday rather than staying on Friday and Saturday nights.

Based on what I’ve seen so far, it doesn’t look like Choice has implemented this kind of tiered pricing for Radisson properties….yet. I didn’t check the pages for each Radisson property, but the ones I did check have uniform pricing every day of the week through November 30. I imagine that won’t last long term though, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a similar kind of setup as shown above being implemented in 2024 for Radisson properties. That could mean a devaluation, but it could also mean that higher priced properties charge less in the off-season, so it remains to be seen as to whether or not we should’ve been pessimistic about that.

New Sweet Spots

The award pricing changes will probably be a net positive for many people, but there’s been an even better change with Radisson joining Choice. We’ve highlighted in the past how it’s often possible to book suites and upgraded rooms with Choice at the standard award pricing, even when the cash room rate is much higher.

The ability to do that is continuing with Choice properties too. We’ll have a separate post soon highlighting more sweet spots, but one that I noticed yesterday was Treasure Island in Las Vegas which was/is a Radisson hotel. They have rooms ranging from $245 with taxes and fees for a King Bed room up to rooms costing $381 with taxes and fees for a 1 King Bed suite with a two person whirlpool.

Treasure Island room types

You could redeem 20,000 Choice Privileges points for a room with one King bed…

Treasure Island 1 king bed points

…but why do that when you could redeem the same number of points for a suite with a whirlpool?

Treasure Island 1 king bed suite whirlpool points

Again, with Citi ThankYou points being transferable to Choice on a 1:2 basis, that means you’d only need to transfer 10,000 points per night for a suite in Las Vegas which isn’t too shabby.

What could make this an even better deal is if the resort fees are waived on award stays. I don’t think Choice has an official policy of waiving resort fees for award stays, but when making a reservation for a points stay it doesn’t specifically list any additional fees.

In the screenshots below, the image on the left displays the paid pricing for a 2 queen bed deluxe room and the image on the right is the award pricing for that same room. As you can see, there aren’t any taxes and fees specifically listed for the award stay. However, there is that caveat listed of “Additional taxes and charges may apply”, so I’d count yourself as lucky if you don’t get charged a resort fee rather than counting on not being charged for that.

Treasure Island - paid pricing vs award pricing

Along similar lines to the suite in Vegas mentioned above, many room types that were once regarded as Premium Rooms in the Radisson Rewards Americas program are now priced at the standard award level with Choice. That often includes one bedroom suites, suites with a kitchenette or full kitchen, etc. That presents even better value and more than makes up for that minor devaluation with the two lowest category tiers. Again, we’ll have more about additional sweet spots in a separate post soon.

Choice Booking Restrictions

One of the biggest frustrations with the Choice Privileges program is that you can only book award stays 100 days in advance. That’s particularly annoying if you’re planning 6-12 months out for an area that’s in high demand because you could get to the 100 day mark only to find out there’s no award availability for the property you want to stay at, or that Choice jacks up the price due to it being peak dates.

For example, next year we’re visiting Alaska, Montana and Wyoming (among other places). I’d rather get accommodation booked sooner rather than later and there are Choice properties that I’d potentially be interested in booking. However, I won’t be able to do that until spring/summer 2024, at which point everything else might’ve been booked up in the event the Choice options don’t work out. I could book Vacasa properties and cancel more than 30 days out if necessary, but I’d rather not lock up too many Wyndham points. Alternatively, I could book Airbnb stays that are cancellable, but there are a couple of downsides to that approach. One is that I prefer to pay with discounted Airbnb gift cards for the latter; if I cancel, I’ll be left with a bunch of Airbnb credit which I’m not sure I’d be able to use anytime soon because our road trip ends at the end of 2024. Also, I think Airbnb can penalize you if you make too many cancellations and I’d rather that not happen.

I’m hoping that they get a lot of negative feedback from Radisson Rewards Americas loyalists about this 100 day restriction and that they’ll make some kind of change in the future, but I’m not overly optimistic.

Hard To Find Some Properties

Another quirk I discovered is that Choice can make it extremely hard to find properties in some cities, particularly overseas.

For example, one of the hotels I’d made a note of award pricing for was the Radisson Blu Plaza El Bosque Santiago, Chile. When typing ‘Santiago’ into the search bar, it brought up 30 different cities with Santiago in their name, but none of which were the Santiago in Chile. I eventually found it by searching for ‘Chile’ which brought up ‘Santiago de Chile’, but this wasn’t an isolated example – other cities were hard to find via the search bar.

Bottom Line

Choice Privileges has been very fair with how former Radisson Rewards Americas properties cost for award nights. There’s been a slight devaluation for the lower categories, but the same or cheaper awards for higher categories. When taking into account the ability to book suites with the standard number of points at many of these hotels, this has definitely been a net positive.

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18 Comments
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Tim

Yes, BUT In recent years I had found the actual Radisson award rates we’re often on sale for 10,000 or more points less than the standard award price. So this does definitely represent a devaluation.

Kate

My Radisson points have not transferred to Choice yet. Do I need to investigate?

Grant

I would love to see Choice get rid of their stupid 100 day award booking window, not sure why they implemented that restriction in the first place.

Stephen, are there any noticeable perks for being a Choice elite member on award stays?

GUWonder

I presume they went with the 100 day limit to try to satisfy property owners that point room bookings wouldn’t displace too much regular paid room availability for event-related bookings and with flexible cash rate bookings that come in before the 100 day window. Keep in mind that it wasn’t too long ago that their award booking window was considerably shorter than 100 days for most Choice program members.

Y.k.

Only paid stays.

Y.k.

I think that perk of being able to book a suite for the same number of points as a simple room will be eliminated soon enough upon a later review of the properties. This is what happened to a Choice hotel in Martha’s Vineyard. The first year it joined Choice, we were able to book a 2 bedroom suite with full kitchen, 1 bedroom and just a room for the same number of points. Next year – no such luck – only simple rooms were available for point redemption and for suites the cash rates were astronomical – $600-$900 a night. You would think you were in Maldives and not Massachusetts!

Jeb

My guess is that it’s up to each hotel’s management to decide which rooms are available on points. Choice seems to require that standard rooms are available, but my guess is that they also default (when initially building out the hotel in the booking system) to every room being available for points redemption. The management at bigger/more expensive hotels probably knows and cares about restricting the premium rooms (and the premium rooms are likely more worthwhile) but smaller/more budget hotels either don’t have the staff or don’t care if a suite gets booked on points every now and again. After all, most people aren’t aspirationally booking the Econo Lodge in Ortonville, MN, so they’ll still have it most nights for cash sales even if it is available on points as well.

Larry K

It used to be 60 days or 90 with status. They extended to 100 about 5 years ago. To me it is the biggest “devaluation” of the takeover. Radisson used to be 360 days at one point.

Last edited 10 months ago by Larry K
Christian

Is there a list available of which Radisson properties cost 75k before? I only remember NYC, Chicago and Aruba but I know there were more on the list.

Jesse

Pretty much all Radisson Blu’s, and not much else.

GUWonder

This turned out better than I expected. I just hope it stays that way and doesn’t end up with the Radisson program infection of massive devaluations being suddenly sprung.

There are some higher Choice point pricing categories for Choice brand properties in some parts of the world than those noted above and are commonly encountered. When I’ve caught them with new pricing categories that set new record highs, it’s been when a foreign Choice franchise brought on a new property and thereafter made available for US Choice point redemptions.

Bill P

Good to hear! With over 600k Radisson points in 2P mode, it’s a relief to know that our now 300k+ Choice points will have somewhat the same buying power for future stays!

whocares

Stayed at two Country Inn & Suites in California with Radisson points in the past few months…checked their price after the conversion…matched up with your findings. Fair adjustment – keeping in line with how Choice prices properties.

Good of you to do this detective work and monitoring.

stvr

My apologies for your having to stay in two Country Inn and Suites properties in California. (If they’re anything like the FAT or SNA ones.)

whocares

hahahahah. Ontario and Bakersfield.

Bakersfield was an all-suite – but faced a wall or another close built building more/less (No view)..it was sold out that day, so no exterior window rooms and I arrived very late. It worked for my purpose…was more modern looking, but if I was in the area again, I would opt for the Sleep Inn. [Staying in the Choice universe]

The Ontario was nice enough, quiet, next to Ontario Mills – not the breakfast, which was garbage. Room furnishings were quality.

Newer remodeled/built CIS are pretty nice. The one by Qualcomm HQ was very nice….but my room faced some rooftop cell antennas in the distance…wasn’t happy about that – don’t think I could change, or was too lazy. It was a suite though – nicely furnished and layed out.

All 3 a lot better then an Austin,Texas area CIS I stayed at…got the points refunded on that one.

What did you not like about the FAT/SNA ones?