Much has been written about the return of Radisson’s Big Night Giveaway, Stay One Night Get One Night promotion and its sister promotions at Country Inns & Suites and Park Inn properties that go live late tonight. Find below a concise summary with the details of each offer, tips on the easiest and most affordable ways to qualify, and examples of the truly amazing value proposition that this promotion offers. I’ve also provided details of how I qualified and earned my 50,000 points during the same promotion last fall.
- Radisson’s hotel rewards program is Club Carlson and members earn gold points for their stays at Radisson, Radisson Blu, Country Inns & Suites, Park Inn, and Park Plaza hotels.
- There will be three promotions, two of which go live at 12:01 am central time on May 15, 2012 and one going live at 12:01 am central time on May 22nd.
- Radisson’s Big Night Giveaway – The first 100,000 members who register at 12:01 AM CDT on May 15th will earn 50,000 bonus points after staying at least one night at any worldwide Radisson or Radisson Blu hotel from May 15 – July 15, 2012. * After the first 100,000 spots are taken members will be provided the opportunity to earn 15,000 points instead.
- Country Inns & Suites Stay 1 Get 1 So Go! promotion – The first 35,000 members who register at 12:01 AM CDT on May 15th will earn 44,000 bonus points after staying at least one night at any worldwide Country Inns & Suites property from May 15 – July 15, 2012. * After the first 35,000 spots are taken members will be provided the opportunity to earn 15,000 points instead.
- Park Inn 1 + 1, Stay One Get 1 promotion – The first 20,000 members who register at 12:01 AM CET on May 22nd will earn 44,000 bonus points after staying at least one night at any worldwide Park Inn property from May 22 – July 22, 2012. * After the first 20,000 spots are taken members will be provided the opportunity to earn 15,000 points instead.
- Park Plaza Ultimate Night Giveaway (ADDED June 28th) – The first 20,000 members to register will earn 50,000 Gold Points after completing a one night stay at any Park Plaza hotel now through August 28th. After the first 20,000 spots are taken members will be provided the opportunity to earn 15,000 points instead.
- Members can register for all four promotions for a total of 188,000 Club Carlson points. That’s almost four nights at Radisson’s top tier properties and up to 20 free nights at their lower tier hotels. More on redemption options later.
- Unlike the fall 2011 promotion, this is a GLOBAL promotion and open to members worldwide!
- I’m not a member of Club Carlson, how do I join and are there any current bonuses? Join using the following link and you’ll earn 4,500 points just for signing up for the program. *A few have reported the link no longer working and expiring, although the T&Cs note that it’s valid through May 31st. I’ve sent an email to customer care and am waiting to hear back. Will update everyone when I do* Update May 12th – Received a response that they are investigating the discrepancy between the dates in the terms and the expiration notice being provided. In the meantime you can use the link provided above but change the promotion code at the bottom of the screen to NSB2K12, which awards 2,000 bonus points after your first stay. HT to Scottrick. UPDATE 5/14 – I’ve heard back from the Radisson Gold Points desk and was informed that they will honor the e-rewards 4500 sign-up bonus as long as there is evidence of signing up with the offer (ie a screen-shot showing the offer @ http://www.clubcarlson.com/privatePage.do?privateCode=EREWARDS including the terms and conditions on the left side displaying the valid through May 31st date. I can provide a copy of this response to any of the readers who want to go for the 4500 sign up bonus. However, if you want to forgo the hassle of emailing customer care and guarantee you receive some sign-up bonus points, I’d recommend using the NSB2K12 link above for 2,000 bonus miles. This is probably a safer bet considering the terms and conditions on the e-rewards offer clearly state “the name on the e-Rewards program account and Club Carlson account must be the same”.
- Why do I want free Radisson nights, their hotels in the US are not up to par with Starwood, Marriott, Hyatt, etc? I had the same negative perception until I started traveling internationally for work a few years ago. Radisson hotels in Europe, Africa, and Asia are known as Radisson Blu (formerly Radisson SAS) and are some of the nicest and most modern properties that I’ve stayed at. They also offer free internet and breakfast. Additionally, Radisson has two very nice resort properties in the Caribbean, one in Aruba and one in the Bahamas. Radisson Blu also has a great property in St. Martin. Finally, Radisson is working to transform several of their domestic properties into Radisson Blu hotels and opening new Radisson Blu properties in the US. The Radisson Blu Aqua hotel opened in Chicago last fall.
- Do I need to stay up all night to register? During the same promotion last year, registration spots were available for weeks after the official registration period opened. However, it was a US only promotion and there wasn’t as much buzz and awareness as there is this time. I’d recommend staying up and registering at 12:01am CDT.
- I don’t plan on traveling during the promotion period, how can I participate? During the promotion last fall I made a $99 reservation at a Radisson hotel just down the street from my apartment. I walked into the hotel, checked in, and walked back out. In the past I had never had to do any “mattress runs” in order to re-qualify for elite status, so this was my first time making a hotel booking with no intention of actually sleeping in the room. It was weird and I felt even more guilty when as a Club Carlson Gold member I was upgraded to a suite. I proceeded upstairs, grabbed some fruit and water from the welcome platter that was left, ruffled the towels a bit, and then headed back home. The 30 minute and $99 +tax trip netted me 54,970 Club Carlson points. UPDATE 5/14 – There has been speculation that guests may have to physically check out in order to qualify for the bonus. In the day of automated check-outs and front desk bill drops I can’t see this materializing and it would be hard to enforce but we will have the full T&Cs tonight when the first two offers go live and I will update the blog accordingly with any updates. Update 5/30 – Several readers have had success checking in and not physically checking out. I have had the same.
- Earn 10% back on all of your bookings bringing the cost down even further using topcashback.com. TopCashBack.com allows you to shop with several merchants and earn cash back. You are still booking your reservation via the radisson site (topcashback sends you directly to it) so you earn both the online booking bonus and you are eligible for the big night giveaway points. Essentially, all you need to do is register at topcashback.com, search for radisson in the top right hand corner of the site, you’ll be directed to radisson.com, and then go ahead and book your reservation as you normally would. Feel free to use my referral link for TopCashBack or sign up and start your own referral link conga line in the comment section.
- Why would you spend $99 + tax to earn 54,970 points? Here is where this promotion gets exciting. I spent $99 in the NYC area, but I had lots of friends who were able to take advantage of this promotion throughout the country at rates as low as $52 a night! $52 for 50,000 points is well worth it. With Country Inns & Suites and Park Inns now part of the promotion this year, there will be several choices at lower price points. I’ve found several of these properties in the $50-$75 range. I still don’t get it, why spend money to get the 50,000 points? Here are some visual examples:
London during the Olympics – $646 a night or 50,000 points…well worth $99
Paris during busy July – $579.40 a night or 50,000 points…well worth $99
Aruba Resort, Casino, & Spa – $679-$742 a night during Christmas Week or 50,000 points…well worth $99
Radisson Blu in Stockholm during July – $369.88 a night or 44,000 points…well worth $99
Radisson New York $599 pre-paid for Summer 2012 or 50,000 points…well worth $99
Radisson Blu Cape Town, South Africa – $359.97 during December 2012 or 50,000 points…well worth $99
- I don’t plan on traveling outside the US or to expensive cities like New York, is the promotion still worth it for me? Yes, let’s say you are planning a family vacation to Orlando. If you stay at the Radisson Hotel Orlando, the rate is $74.25 a night, or 9,000 points per night. Let’s say you only participate in the Radisson Promotion and earn 50,000 points, that’s almost 5 nights at the hotel for free valued at $371.25. The value is even higher when I looked at the hotel during during school holidays when the rate goes over $100 and the gold points required remain at 9,000.
- I already have some Radisson/Country Inns & Suites/Park Inn stays booked, will they count towards the promotion? Yes, as per Radisson’s Facebook page, stays previously booked will count as long as they are during the promotion period and you register for the applicable promotions as per the terms above. Check out this post for some post-registration surprises, including Radisson reversing their original decision.
- Are there cities where I can triple dip and easily participate in all three promotions? Yes, though in the US they are few and far between as Park Inn has very few US locations. The ability to triple dip in Europe is much easier, with several cities having all three properties in a somewhat close proximity. In the US, Dallas is one of the easiest and cheapest options. During a random day in June you can stay at the Radisson for $83.20, Country Inn & Suites for $75.65, and Park Inn for $66.75. The triple dip is also easy to accomplish in Fresno, CA. Western PA and Eastern OH residents can make the triple dip with a little bit of a drive, staying at the Park Inn in Sharon, PA, the Country Inn & Suites in Youngstown West, and the Radisson in Akron. All three properties are under $100 as well.
- Anything else to be aware of? Keep an eye on the T.G.I. Friday’s “Give Me More Stripes” program page. They are a Carlson brand and sometimes run promotions where you can earn 1,000 Club Carlson points for signing up for the program. Wait to sign up until after a promotion is announced as it is for new members only. They ran this promotion twice last year.
- Do corporate rates apply? The official, T&Cs won’t be released until the program goes live, however during the prior promotion, corporate rates that normally earned points also qualified you for the promotion. I’ll update this bullet once the full T&Cs are released.
- Can I use the points for airline miles? Yes, but the value proposition is pretty poor. I would not spend $99 for 8000 miles.
- What are my next steps? Well, the promotion is only valuable if you have a plan for where you want to use these points. Do you want to use the points to stay at a hotel that would otherwise be too expensive or to book multiple nights in one of the lower category properties? I plan to use my points in Europe this summer. Keep in mind that points do not have an expiration date as long as your account remains active by earning or redeeming within a 24 month period. Take a look at Radisson’s locations worldwide, decide where you want to go and when, determine the rates if you paid, and then see how much it will cost you to fulfill the promotion. If you have upcoming trips, switching to a nearby Radisson property may make sense. If you don’t, evaluate the properties in your area to see how much you would need to spend in order to qualify. For example, there are few nights in New York City that are under $200 a night. However, there are properties that are about an hours drive into NJ that will qualify and are under $100 on select dates. Additionally, think of places you may be passing by. For those on the East Coast, there is a Radisson next to Six Flags Great Adventure that is $99.20 a night during a large bulk of the promotion period. Remember too that each family member can sign up for an account and register for the promotion. UPDATE 5/14 – Earn 10% back on all of your bookings bringing the cost down even further using topcashback.com. TopCashBack.com allows you to shop with several merchants and earn cash back. You are still booking your reservation via the radisson site (topcashback sends you directly to it) so you earn both the online booking bonus and you are eligible for the big night giveaway points. Essentially, all you need to do is register at topcashback.com, search for radisson in the top right hand corner of the site, you’ll be directed to radisson.com, and then go ahead and book your reservation as you normally would. Feel free to use my referral link for TopCashBack or sign up and start your own referral link conga line in the comment section.