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Middle Age Miles

Keep or Cancel – US Bank Radisson Rewards Business Visa – and Did We Get a Retention Offer?

keep or cancel us bank radisson rewards business visa retention call offer
US Bank Radisson Rewards Business Visa

Executive Summary

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:

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:

  • Points-earning:
    • 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:

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).

Wrap-Up

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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8 thoughts on “Keep or Cancel – US Bank Radisson Rewards Business Visa – and Did We Get a Retention Offer?

  1. Peeved

    My husband has had this card for a number of years. AF hit on the current statement. We just called with the same request, and got nothing. Escalated to a supervisor, still nothing, but an offer to cut the interest rate. Uh, no thanks.

    So maybe the algorithm figured he’ll in the end pay the fee again. Which he will! We’ve had many wonderful Radisson stays in Europe and Africa, that date back to when you could book one award night and get the next night free. As aggravating as it is to get shot down, we get enough value from the fee to keep it.

    Maybe, as you were a new cardholder, they didn’t want to lose you. Who knows. So irritating, though. Oh well, in this game, we win some, we lose some! Most important, let’s all stay healthy so we can travel again soon!

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hi “Peeved” – Thanks for the comment and DP. And rats on not getting the fee waiver. I totally agree – win some, lose some. Oddly, it’s often the times that I least expect a retention offer that I get a good one, and there are many times when I think an offer is warranted but I get bubkus.

      And yes, for sure – let’s all stay healthy and hopefully be able to travel again soon!!! ~Craig

  2. HS

    Agreed. If and when folks can get out of the U.S. again to travel, Radissons can be nice places to stay. Thinking of a really nice one in Santiago, Chile, and a perfectly useful one in Lyon, France.

    Ah, for those days! Let’s all hang in there….

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hey HS – Thanks for the comment and the good Radisson tips. We don’t have Santiago on our short-term list of places to go, but if Europe opens up again there’s always a chance we could find ourselves in Lyon. If we don’t make it to that nice-looking place in Split that I referenced in the article, it’s good to know about more options! ~Craig

  3. NK3

    Did you receive your 40K Radisson Reward points yet? The reason I ask–check the T&C on the business card (I can’t find them publicly anymore). But for the personal version, the terms are pretty explicit about the 40K:

    “Annual Renewal Bonus: This bonus is earned each year when the annual fee is billed to your account, and when you renew your account by making at least the minimum amount due by the payment due date on the statement on which the annual fee is billed. The bonus is not earned if the annual fee is waived.”

    On Flyertalk, there were a lot of data points a couple years ago of people still getting the 40K points when they received an annual fee waiver. However, more recently there were people who did not receive them when the AF was waived in full.

    Btw, another upside to this card–US Bank waives balances of $1 (except for the month the annual fee is billed). So if you set up a $1 Amazon reload, it will be forgiven, and you still get 5 Radisson points (which keeps your points active, if the 40K does not come through).

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hi NK3 – Yes, I received the 40k Radisson Rewards points. They posted when my next statement closed.

      Back when I got my approval letter last year, it expressly confirmed the 40k annual points bonus.

      Interesting that there are contrary DPs on FlyerTalk. I would not be happy about that situation.

      Nice micro-tip on the balance forgiveness! Maybe I’ll try it out. It’s definitely good to know for those who need to keep points active.

      Thanks for the comment, as always. ~Craig

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