Even though we rarely use our US Bank Radisson Rewards Business Visa card (Radisson Business), in our view it’s an easy call to keep the card for the 40,000 Radisson Rewards points that come with each annual renewal. The retention offer we received for a $60 statement credit to offset the card’s annual fee was icing on the cake.
Background of our US Bank Radisson Rewards Business Visa Card
I was approved for the Radisson Business card in June 2019, just as the card was being phased out by US Bank. We wrote extensively about the card, our application, and the “zombie link” we used to apply:
- Middle Age Miles: Approved for the US Bank Radisson Rewards Business Visa Using a Still-Working Link – Experiment Success! (June 10, 2019, with later updates through June 26, 2019)
The card came with a sign-up bonus of a total of 85,000 Radisson Rewards points after $2,500 in spend. We met the spend requirement and then spent virtually nothing on the card for the rest of our first cardholder year.
The card has an annual fee of $60, and our first renewal fee came due on our June 2020 statement.
Basics of the US Bank Radisson Rewards Business Visa Card
Key features of the Radisson Business card are:
- Bonus category: 10x Radisson points at Radisson hotels
- All other purchases: 5x Radisson points
- Radisson Rewards Gold elite status
- See Radisson Rewards elite benefits here
- Anniversary bonus of 40,000 Radisson Rewards points
- Ability to earn up to 3 free domestic nights in Radisson hotels
- Requires $10,000 in spend for a free night; awarded after the cardmember anniversary and next annual fee is paid
- Can earn up to 3 free night certificates per cardholder year
- See a map of Radisson hotel locations here
We give Radisson Rewards points a baseline value of 0.4 cents per point (cpp). This is close to Frequent Miler’s value of 0.38 cpp. That said, there’s a wide variation in the redemption value of Radisson Rewards points and many potential redemptions would come in at less than 0.4 cpp. For example, when Grant from Travel With Grant recently planned a trip to Ireland including reservations at several Radisson Blu hotels around the country, he received an average redemption value of 0.26 cpp, with a range of 0.22 cpp to 0.36 cpp. Unfortunately, Grant had to cancel his March trip because of the coronavirus, but he was kind enough to publish his hotel redemptions and analysis here.
Analyzing the “Keep or Cancel” Decision
If you’re ever going to stay in a Radisson hotel, it’s an easy decision to keep this card. At our baseline value of 0.4 cpp, the anniversary bonus of 40,000 Radisson Rewards points is worth about $160. So, for each renewal year, you’re paying a $60 annual fee to pick up about $160 in points, plus extend your Radisson Gold status. That seems like a keeper card to us, even if you never spend on the card.
Even if you assigned a much lower value to the points, such as 0.25 cpp (close to the values Grant was seeing on this Ireland trip), the 40,000 anniversary bonus points would still be worth $100, comfortably more than the $60 annual fee. Basically, if you pay the annual fee, you’re buying Radisson Rewards points for 0.15 cents per point (plus getting mid-tier Radisson Rewards Gold elite status).
In addition, we’d note that the 5x regular points-earning on regular spend isn’t terrible (worth about 2 cents per dollar / 2% points rebate). If you have a high-value redemption in mind (say, something returning above 0.5 to 0.6 cpp), it might even be worth it to spend on the card to generate extra points.
We haven’t stayed in a Radisson hotel in years. But we often travel to Europe (in non-restricted times), and we’ve often seen Radisson Blu hotels that look very nice and are well-located. So, even though we don’t have any specific redemption in mind, we suspect that we would have an organic use for Radisson Rewards points somewhere during our foreseeable travels.
All that said, as of the date of this article, there seems to be an issue where rooms are not available to be booked at standard points rates. The issue seems to have persisted for several weeks. We continued to experience this glitch today, just as Nick at Frequent Miler reported it about 2 weeks ago:
- Frequent Miler: Radisson standard awards not available (but e-certs work) (July 11, 2020)
Our Retention Call
Even though we planned to keep this card, we went ahead and made a retention call to US Bank. As usual, I told the agent that we recently received our statement where the annual fee posted, we’re trying to decide whether to keep the card or cancel it, and we were wondering if there was anything they could do to help make it worth it for us to pay the annual fee and keep the card.
The call couldn’t have been easier. The agent quickly offered to fully offset the annual fee by issuing a $60 statement credit. He said that the credit would appear automatically after our next statement closing date, but in reality the credit appeared within 3 days after our retention call. I immediately accepted.
Thus, with the retention offer, we’ve ended up with a free 40,000 Radisson Rewards points (these anniversary bonus points posted as of our next statement closing date), plus Radisson Rewards Gold elite status for another year (which was probably already extended due to coronavirus, although to be honest we didn’t pay attention to whether an extension was granted).
We’re delighted to keep the Radisson Business card in our wallet for another year, especially for free! Hopefully one of these days we’ll be able to travel again and can find a good redemption for the points.
I’ll even let you in on a secret – the room where I’d really like to use our Radisson Rewards points is this beautiful Junior Suite with Balcony at the lovely-looking Radisson Blu hotel in Split, Croatia (available as a Premium reward redemption)!
What do you think about the US Bank Radisson Rewards Business card and our “keep or cancel” analysis? Any other factors we should have considered, or any way you would weigh things differently? Please share with us and other Middle Age Miles readers in the Comments!
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