How to Redeem Radisson Rewards Points for Maximum Value

Radisson Rewards is the loyalty program of the Radisson family of hotels, with 1,200-plus properties around the world that include the Radisson, Radisson Red, Radisson Blu, Country Inn & Suites, Park Plaza, Park Inn and Art’Otel brands.

Radisson points can be redeemed for hotel nights, hotel nights paid partly with cash, airline miles, gift cards and prepaid cards. But some redemptions get you more value than others. Here’s how to get the maximum value out of your Radisson Rewards points to make your next vacation even better.

Redeem points for hotel stays

When redeeming points for an award night, you have three options: standard redemptions, premium redemptions and points-and-cash redemptions.

Hotels in the Radisson Rewards program are divided into seven categories, with luxurious properties in high-demand locations at the higher end of the scale. For standard redemptions, rooms range between 9,000 points at a Category 1 property and 70,000 points for a night in Category 7.

When you’re ready to book, compare the points rate to the cash rate to see what value you’re getting. If you find a hotel that costs 70,000 points a night but the cash rate is $700 per night, you’re getting more value from your points than you would if you booked a 70,000-point room with a cash rate of $300 per night.

Premium rewards cost 50% more points but, depending on your needs, can deliver even greater value. For example, if you’re traveling with family, you could snag a large suite for 50% more points instead of paying for two rooms. For families traveling together with small children or even just a guys or girls weekend, one large room could mean savings and more comfort for everyone.

Combine points and cash to book hotel stays

If you don’t have enough points to cover the full cost of a room (or even if you do), you can use points to offset part of the cash room rate. The value you get for a points-and-cash redemption varies by hotel and time of year. With a little work, you can find some excellent sweet spots where your points get you even more value.

How to find “sweet spot” cash-and-points redemptions

For points-and-cash redemptions, Category 1 through 3 hotels all require the same number of points: 5,000. Category 4 and 5 hotels also require the same number of points: 10,000.

This means that a Category 3 hotel that would cost 28,000 points as a standard redemption instead costs 5,000 plus cash. A Category 1 hotel that would be 9,000 points as a standard redemption costs 5,000 plus cash. So 5,000 points go much further for a Category 3 room than they would for a Category 1 room.

A Category 5 hotel that costs 44,000 points as a standard room redemption can be booked for 10,000 points plus cash. Compare that to a Category 4 hotel that would cost 38,000 points or 10,000 points plus cash. In this case, your 10,000 points get you more value at a Category 5 than they would at a Category 4.  So the best value for the points-plus-cash redemptions is at Category 5 hotels, where the points-plus-cash rate saves you 34,000 points per night.

And there’s another benefit to points-and-cash redemptions: You earn Radisson Rewards points on the cash portion of your stay, which is like getting some of your points rebated. The number of points you earn is based on your membership level:

  • General member: 20 points per dollar.

  • Silver elite: 22 points per dollar.

  • Gold elite: 25 points per dollar.

  • Platinum elite: 35 points per dollar.

Members with the Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature® Card get an additional 10 points per dollar when they use the card to pay for qualifying hotel stays. So a Platinum member using the card earns 45 Radisson Rewards points for every dollar spent on the stay.

Sweet spot example 1: Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Kalispell, Montana

At Country Inn and Suites in Kalispell, Montana, just outside of Glacier National Park, a room with a king bed cost $217 in August.

Booked at the points-and-cash rate, that same room was 10,000 points plus $130.

A general member booking that room at Country Inn & Suites near Kalispell for points and cash would earn 2,600 points on that $130. A general member with the credit card would earn 3,900 points. A Platinum member with the credit card would earn 5,850 points.

Subtract those points earnings from the 10,000 points paid at the points-and-cash rate and the net points cost for the general member is just 7,360 points, and for the Platinum member the net points cost is just 4,060 points. Plus you’re saving over $80 off the $217 cash rate.

Sweet spot example 2: Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Orlando, Florida

The Country Inn and Suites in Orlando is minutes away from Universal Studios. For our dates, the hotel cost $62 a night or the Category 3 points-and-cash rate of 5,000 points plus $37.79.

General members, who earn 20 points per dollar on stays, would earn back 756 points. A Platinum member using the credit card, earning 45 points per dollar, would get 1,700 points back on that $37.79. So it’s like paying just 3,300 points plus $37.79.

Redeem points for airline miles

Radisson Rewards has partnerships with more than three dozen airlines, including United, Southwest, Delta, Emirates, Turkish Airways, Etihad, Cathay Pacific and Asiana. Radisson Rewards members can exchange 50,000 Radisson points for 5,000 miles in most airline programs. That’s a 10:1 ratio, so it’s not the greatest. But it can be beneficial to have the option of topping off an airline mileage balance when you’re close to having enough miles for a flight.

Plus, Radisson’s airline partners include some geographically specific carriers like AirAstana (Kazakhstan), Oman Air, Pegasus Airlines (Turkey), Philippine Airlines, and Saudia Arabian Airlines. If you fly one of these airlines regularly, your Radisson points give you an opportunity to trade points for miles that may not be offered by other loyalty programs.

Members of SAS airline’s EuroBonus loyalty program can convert Radisson points to the program at a 7:1 ratio, making this Scandinavian airline’s program a sort of sweet spot for points transfers.

For all points-to-miles conversions, it can take four to six weeks for the points to post, so be prepared to wait.

The bottom line

For travelers who stay frequently or even occasionally at Radisson family properties, the Radisson Rewards program can offer good value, but you have to know how to maximize your points. Points-and-cash redemptions at Category 3 and Category 5 hotels offer some of the best uses of Radisson Rewards points. And members with a Radisson credit card can get even more value out of the program.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:

Source: nerdwallet.com

5 Iberia Avios Sweet Spots

Based in Madrid, Iberia Airlines is a member of the Oneworld Alliance and also has individual airline partnerships. This means that Iberia Plus loyalty program members can use their points, called Avios, not only to book Iberia flights. They can also book flights on Oneworld Alliance member airlines and partner airlines, too.

Iberia award flights can be booked one-way, but to redeem Iberia Avios for a flight on many partner airlines, you must book a round-trip flight. Iberia and its partners use distance-based charts to determine how many Avios you need to book a flight. We suggest using Great Circle Mapper to calculate the distance of the flight you want to take, then look up the number of miles required on the respective award chart.

When you book with Iberia Avios, some flights will get you more value per point than others. Here are some routes that qualify as Avios sweet spots with exceptional value.

U.S. to Europe on Iberia

If you travel off-peak, you can fly in comfort in Iberia business class from the U.S. to Madrid for 34,000 Avios one-way. This is an especially good deal for travelers from Chicago because even though Chicago is more than 4,000 miles from Madrid, it’s priced like cities less than 4,000 miles from Madrid (including Boston and New York).

One-way Iberia business class flights out of Miami and Los Angeles cost 42,500 miles off-peak.

U.S. to Europe on American Airlines

Travelers who would like to fly American Airlines across the pond can use Iberia Avios to book these flights. With 100,000 to 150,000 Iberia Avios, you can book a round-trip American business class flight to Europe.

American flights must be booked as a round-trip with the number of Avios needed determined by the distance of your flight. Booking these flights with American miles, which is one of your next best options, requires 115,000 miles round-trip.

U.S. to South America on American Airlines

Shorter flights to South America from the U.S. can offer great deals when booked with Iberia Avios. That’s because Iberia’s distance-based pricing offers better deals on these short flights than American Airlines’ region-to-region pricing system. For example, with 46,000 Iberia Avios you can book a round-trip business class flight on American Airlines from Miami to Quito, Bogota or Medellín.

In economy class, you’ll pay just 23,000 Iberia Avios round-trip for one of these flights. The same flights would cost 35,000 American AAdvantage miles in economy during off-peak dates and business class would require 60,000 AAdvantage miles.

U.S. to the Caribbean on American Airlines

With around 11,000 Avios, you can book a short round-trip economy flight from Miami to some spots in the Caribbean on American Airlines — another good deal courtesy of Iberia’s distance-based rewards. Compare the same flight booked with American AAdvantage miles on American’s region-to-region chart and you would be spending at least 25,000 AAdvantage miles for this U.S.-to-Caribbean flight.

The longer the distance of your flight to the Caribbean, the less competitive using Avios becomes. But keep it under, say, 600 miles and the amount you save using Avios is significant.

U.S. to Morocco on Royal Air Maroc

Royal Air Maroc is a Oneworld Alliance member based in Morocco that flies to Casablanca from Boston, Miami, New York–JFK and Washington–Dulles. For a little over 46,000 Avios, you can book a one-way business class Royal Air Maroc flight from the U.S. to Morocco. To book, call Iberia Plus at 800-772-4642. For comparison, a flight to Morocco would cost you 57,500 American AAdvantage miles each way in business class.

The bottom line

To find the best Avios sweet spots, take advantage of the program’s distance-based award prices. If you’re traveling relatively short distances between regions like the U.S. and Europe or the Caribbean, you may find great value for your points.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:

Source: nerdwallet.com

A Guide to Southwest Flights to the Caribbean

If your travel plans include booking a Caribbean getaway on a budget, your choice of airline matters. Southwest flights to the Caribbean are worth a look if you’re interested in securing low fares, avoiding change fees and saving on baggage fees.

Southwest Airlines flies to a number of Caribbean destinations, including some very popular tourist spots. If you’re enrolled in the Rapid Rewards program, you can redeem your points to book flights and/or earn bonus points when you book your trip with a Southwest co-branded credit card.

Curious about how Southwest flights to the Caribbean work? Here’s a closer look at what you can expect.

Destinations

The Caribbean islands feature a diverse mix of scenery and things to do, and Southwest makes it easy to explore all they have to offer.

When you fly Southwest to the Caribbean, you can book flights to:

  • Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

  • Havana, Cuba.

  • Montego Bay, Jamaica.

  • Nassau, The Bahamas.

  • Oranjestad, Aruba.

  • Providenciales, Turks and Caicos.

  • Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

  • San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Fly direct

It’s helpful to know which airports Southwest flights to the Caribbean will take you through. If you want to fly direct to the islands, you’ll need to depart from one of these airports:

  • Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI).

  • Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW).

  • Denver International Airport (DEN).

  • Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL).

  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL).

  • Nashville International Airport (BNA).

  • Orlando International Airport (MCO).

  • St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL).

  • Tampa International Airport (TPA).

  • William P. Hobby Airport (HOU).

Say you wanted to fly to Aruba in May, but you live in Seattle. You couldn’t fly directly out of Seattle, but you could book a flight to Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI), then make a connecting flight from there. Doing so may mean factoring a layover into your travel plans, but that may be necessary if you’re not able to fly direct from your local airport.

Availability

When booking Southwest flights to the Caribbean, you’ll need to factor in flight operating schedules to make sure your chosen dates can be accommodated by checking the low-fare calendar for flight availability.

Southwest doesn’t always operate flights to individual Caribbean destinations daily — in fact, the availability for departure and return flights may differ significantly across locales and desired travel dates.

By dates

For example, say you wanted to schedule a winter getaway and fly round-trip from Atlanta (ATL) to Punta Cana (PUJ). A look at Southwest’s low fare calendar shows no available departure flights until mid-March. However, if you were to book the same trip from Atlanta to Punta Cana for May, you’d see that you could only fly out on a Saturday, but you could book your return flight for any day of the month.

By destination

Your departure destination and arrival location may also influence flight availability. For example, say you’re departing from Baltimore (BWI) and traveling to Aruba (AUA) in the month of May. A look at the low-fare calendar shows there are more flights to choose from compared to the Atlanta to Punta Cana options in May.

Booking Southwest flights to the Caribbean

Southwest fares to the Caribbean can vary based on where you’re departing from, where you’re traveling to and your travel dates. You can use points or cash to book Southwest flights.

Dynamic pricing

If we go back to the example of the Atlanta to Punta Cana flight mentioned earlier, you’ll see that it’s much cheaper to book flights in early May versus late May. Fast-forward to July and you’ll see fares peaking even higher.

That’s assuming you’re paying cash, but remember — you can also use points to book if you’re a Rapid Rewards member. The amount of points you’ll need again depends on your travel dates and destination.

For the Punta Cana trip, you’d need 7,800 points to book a departure flight at the beginning of May, but if you book around the first of July, you’d need 14,742 points instead.

Fees

Keep in mind that even when you book with points, the prices don’t include applicable taxes and fees. On the bright side, Southwest has a reputation for being fee-friendly. There are no change fees and your first and second checked bags fly free. But you’re still responsible for federal excise tax of 7.5%, a $4.10 federal segment fee, a $5.60 security fee per one-way trip and airport-assessed passenger facility charges.

Earn points faster with a credit card

If you’re interested in saving money on Southwest flights to the Caribbean, the right travel rewards card can help. Southwest offers several co-branded credit cards to help you rack up points toward free flights on purchases.

Card options include:

  • Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card: Earn up to 80,000 points. Earn 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Earn an additional 30,000 points after you spend $10,000 on purchases in the first 9 months.

  • Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card: Earn up to 80,000 points. Earn 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Earn an additional 30,000 points after you spend $10,000 on purchases in the first 9 months.

  • Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card: Earn up to 80,000 points. Earn 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Earn an additional 30,000 points after you spend $10,000 on purchases in the first 9 months.

Aside from earning points on Southwest purchases, each of these cards allows you to earn points on everything else you spend. When comparing cards, first decide whether a personal or business card is more appropriate. Then consider the annual fees and card benefits to help you choose the right one.

The bottom line

Southwest is a top-rated economy airline in the U.S. and the option to fly to the Caribbean may be appealing if you’re interested in low-cost flights or don’t mind foregoing business- or first-class amenities. You can visit eight Caribbean destinations when flying Southwest, and flights can be booked with cash or Rapid Rewards points. Joining the Rapid Rewards program and opening a Southwest Airlines credit card can help you earn points toward free Caribbean flights faster.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:

Source: nerdwallet.com