How To Easily Search Radisson Award Nights by Category

Many times to find an award night for hotel points or certificates you have to find the location then drill into the reservations and then find out the number of points required or the category level for free night certificates, etc.

Radisson makes this much easier than some hotel chains:

First, click on “Benefits & Rewards” along the top banner.  It might be helpful to be logged in as well. 

radisson beni

 

Then Click on “Redeem” on right middle of the page.

 

radisson redeem

Then click on “Award Night Stays” 

radisson award nights

Then it will open up a page that shows award category levels and how many points are needed for a standard or premium room. Basic award chart. But what makes this award chart extra nice is that if you click the hidden link at the top of each column it will open up the list of hotels by category worldwide. 

Radisson free nights

So, for example, click on “Category 1” and will give you a page that shows the hotels by region for that point and Cat level as shown here:

Radisson award by cat by region

There you go. Sure for points veterans, this is simple stuff and 101 level but as somewhat of a Radisson fan I really like this feature for booking hotel awards on my upcoming travels. I’m a very visual reference learner and enjoy this feature a lot as it’s so simple. 

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IHG 2nd Quarter Accelerate Promo Now Live but….

holiday-inn-express-art

In case you’re not familiar IHG Hotels has for many years run a quarterly bonus point earning promo called Accelerate. It has been decent for many years however it is targeted and seems to track how often you stay at IHG. So in other words, if you don’t stay at IHG hotels (Holiday Inn’s, etc.) often then you tend to get really good offers. Like “Stay 1 Night and earn 4,000 bonus points” or whatever. If you stay at a lot of IHG hotels the offers tend to get harder to achieve but also may offer greater rewards. For example “Stay 26 nights this quarter and get 20,000 bonus points” or whatever.

IHG says:

Complete your customized offers now and get your points. With offers designed for the way you like to travel, Accelerate helps you experience more of life. Earn bonus points, get rewards, and make every stay count more.

How does it work?

1. Book and stay at any IHG® hotel around the world from now until August 31.
2. Earn bonus points to use for great rewards and moments that matter.

So we get to:

Have: Customized offers, great (See above)

Offers that are designed for “the way you like to travel”, Apparently not the way others like to travel for me to travel the way I do or something.

“Experience more of life”. Apparently by staying at IHG hotels “life” is more of an “Experience”

And we get to “make every stay count more”.

All sounds great unless you get a crappy offer like my wife did this year.

Here is her offer:

FireShot Capture 048 - IHG® Rewards Club - Earn the extra rewards you deserve - Register Now_ - www.ihg.com

OK let’s say you aren’t familiar with this promo and think this is a great offer. That would be good if you didn’t know that my wife usually has an Accelerate promo worth like 50,000 points but can be hard to reach. She stays about 100 nights a year in hotels so targeting 24 nights’ish in a quarter to get some bonus works for her and IHG. This promo is so low AND requires her to stay for leisure to obtain it. Since she is a business traveler she doesn’t usually stay over on Saturday night. She doesn’t usually book for points & cash and uses a business credit card. Kind of disappointed.

Before you accuse me of kicking the gift horse that IHG Accelerate usually provides I will point out the offer I got below. Why is mine better? Because IHG had done the same to me in early 2018 and I moved all my stays over to Marriott in early 2018 to try and reset the clock with IHG. Good plan right? Sure except I found out that I REALLY like Marriott. In the marketing world, I would consider that a failure. So by IHG having targeted promo’s that punish loyal customers (11,600 versus 60,100) it can backfire I think.

FireShot Capture 049 - IHG® Rewards Club - Earn the extra rewards you deserve - Register Now_ - www.ihg.com

I won’t bring up the registration process issues on this latest promo. Mine worked fine and my wife’s didn’t load until after May 1st. Not sure why. I assume IT issues and not that they more closely reviewed her’s for extra crappy-ness.

Anyway. I urge you to register if you even think you’ll stay at an IHG hotel soon.

How does it work?

1. Sign up for Accelerate.
2. Book and stay at any of your favorite IHG® hotels from May 1, 2019, and August 31, 2019.
3. Earn bonus points to use for great rewards.

You can sign up for the latest promotion by June 18, 2019, and each offer must be completed between 5/1/18 and May 1, 2019, and August 31, 2019.

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My state of mind on hotels today

So I was reading the Travel with Grant blog today and he states how he is in a funk over hotel programs. I agree and attempted to give my 5 cents. Why because it’s free. Not I’m not a troll on Boardingarea. Well maybe I’m sort of a big fan that is opinionated.

So I share some thoughts on most hotel programs below. Keep in mind that I travel 100 to 125 nights a year on business plus vacations and cruises so yes my dogs hate me. My wife travels 75 to 100 nights as well. She is a real IHG Spire loyalist as am I and am a Spire Ambassador (sounds impressive) but I also branch out with Hilton and Marriott a lot. We both hold Silver status with Marriott and I have Diamond with Hilton as well as Gold with Radisson.

Radisson used to be better but 40k a year is worth keeping the card for an odd night or so plus Gold status. I love Radisson Blu hotels and have stayed at a lot of them all over the world.

Hyatt, I love love them but…not enough properties. So I don’t want to waste my stays there.

Marriott, I want to love them, they have properties everywhere, but it’s too hard to earn top tier status. But…once you do you can earn United Silver. But…the free night certs are limited and expire too quickly. I’ve got about a dozen stays in with them this year so far but as a Silver i wonder why I’m not at other chains where my status is higher.

SPG, you should have already moved your points over to Virgin to Alaska when you had the chance. They also have too many places where the hotel selection it too eclectic and it’s not my thing. Points super valuable but a bit hard to rack up quickly in my world.

IHG, I love IHG. They have properties everywhere, well they are weak in Hawaii (come on IHG). As an IHG credit card holder you get a real free night cert that you can use for a year. In addition they have good promos. I also like buying up in points or cash to Intercontinental status for the free night rebates or status share and free weekend BOGO cert although it’s not always the best deal. The IHG card also gives you Platinum status which is a nicer level than some others.

Choice Hotels. They have been going down hill for years. The Cambria properties offer some hope and I really like them but they don’t have Cambria hotels in most areas. In general they are a fancy Wyndham motel or an Ex-IHG,Marriott,Hilton property. The card is OK I guess but I’m not a fan in general.

Wyndham…..They have lied to me many times on promotions and have for years. They have a few good properties but unless you work on a transient labor crew and are forced to “do time” in Super 8’s  or HOJO’s then they are not a good place to be, trust me.

Best Western. They are like an honest Wyndham with slightly better rooms or maybe equal with Choice. The future is bright for them as they seem to be putting in a real effort to improve the hotels but unless you do business travel in a region where they are all over it’s not my first, second or third choice and I’m Diamond with them (don’t ask).

Hilton. You’ll notice they are lumped at the bottom. If it wasn’t for nicer hotels they would be even with Choice or Best Western. They have devalued SO much I’m not sure where the bottom is. I want to love Hilton but they don’t love me back. The Hampton’s are a weak HIX and they devalue faster than I can earn points and I’m a Hilton Diamond. Sure they offer free breakfast and free wifi but isn’t that like free HBO and air conditioned rooms? They also did away with the double dip in another devaluation. 2017 may have seen some of my last stays with Hilton as I watch my Hilton points currency burning in front me faster than I use it. It’s like the Wiemar Republic of the hotel points world. Maybe I’ll start referring to their points as HHonormarks or RReichmarks.

So bottom line is use the cards from the random hotel chains for the perks and odd location awards but Marriott or IHG should be your future until they follow Hilton to the Neverland Ranch. The dynamics change for certain types of travelers I know and I don’t think everyone will agree with me. Just my personal opinion based on my experience and how I’ve been treated by these programs over the years. Plus I’m biased. Now IHG go build some Hawaii properties so I can go there on vacation already 🙂

My advices is to put most of your day to day spend on a good card like Chase Sapphire Reserve and forget doing much spending on hotel cards unless you need the hit to earn a promo, etc. Churn these cards to get points unless your a business traveler and if you are pick the best one that works for you everywhere you go or want awards.

Notice I have no affiliate links in my post so I’m trying to be as honest as I can about my feelings on these properties but keep in mind that I’m a bit biased to IHG in general. 20171218_1448131057734389.jpg

Should I buy the AA Platinum Upgrade offer or just do the UA Economy Plus Subscription?

So in 2017 I was Gold with American Airlines. I reached that again by mid year but managed to miss Platinum by a hair at the end of the year. I just didn’t see the profit in doing a mileage run. So far in 2018 I have some AA flights booked and some long haul award trips on AA but some of my business trips have been moved over to United for various reasons in this first Quarter.

So here comes the offers. I can buy up to Platinum on AA for $795

FireShot Capture 4 - Secure your eli_ - https___elite.americanairlines.com_eliterenewal_purchase.cfm

But after thinking about it I don’t think it’s worth that much to me. Sure I might see a few additional domestic upgrades but the main value is the MCE seats. And if I’m stuck flying United more than normal in 2018 I might be better off to just get an Economy Plus subscription for $499.

FireShot Capture 5 - Economy plus choose options I United A_ - https___www.united.com_ual_en_us_su

I’m not sure it’s worth it for either one. I actually wish AA would have given me a bit cheaper of an option to move up to Platinum since I was so close but at least I’m still Gold with a bunch of 500 mile stickers for now. I don’t think it’s worth it to do a status match with United either but we’ll see.

Iceland Air Coming to Kansas City MCI

I guess due to the recent subzero weather we’ve had in Kansas City lately, the Icelanders have been fooled into starting service from MCI to Iceland. And…I love it.

FireShot Capture 1 - Cheap flights to Europe & Iceland I Icelandair_ - http___www.icelandair.us_

https://www.kshb.com/news/local-news/new-airline-service-announcement-expected-tuesdayat-kci

Apparently per TV 4 in KC:

Officials with the Kansas City International Airport and Mayor Sly James announced Icelandair is coming to KCI this year.

Icelandair will bring seasonal transatlantic air service to Europe with new nonstop flights between Kansas City and Iceland. Beginning May 26, 2018, Kansas City-region travelers can fly nonstop from KCI to Icelandair’s hub at Keflavik International Airport near the Iceland capital, Reykjavik.

According to the Kansas City Aviation Department, Icelandair’s Kansas City service will offer three nonstop flights per week to Iceland with connections to and from more than 25 destinations in Scandinavia, the UK, and Continental Europe. ”

This is good news for Kansas City. The city plans to work through political issues and build a new single terminal airport that will likely be too small and made of too much glass in the near future. As my home airport I love that I can now fly to Europe directly without flying to a hub first. Great news !

Update***

It seems this service will start seasonally from May to September in 2018 with hopes to expand. The outbound flights will be M-W-Sat with Return inbound flights on T-F-Sun. The flight is just under 7 hours and will offer fares that include the ability to stop over in Iceland for up to 7 days without additional fees.

http://www.icelandair.us/news/story/icelandair-is-going-to-kansas-city/

 

American Airlines Playing Games With Award Availability on Non-Stop Flights?

This isn’t an exact science but my theory says that AA plays games with award space to keep it’s loyal customers from booking the best non-stop routes with miles. So say you want to book an award flight from the USA to Europe. We’ll pick DFW to Madrid for an example. So I’m searching 11 months out for my example:

DFW-MAD

I’m thrilled because I found an actual non-BA flight with awards space for 2 passengers!

dfwmad

Now this is not bad but I don’t actually live in DFW so I’m willing to stage from my non-hub to other hubs like say Chicago ORD. Since I’d rather not have an extra leg I just want the ORD-MAD flight. It’s available as part of this booking, right?

Think again here is the ORD-MAD non-BA selections for this same date:

ORDMAD

Gosh that’s weird. Why isn’t that same non-stop Iberia flight available? Oh well it looks like I can just stage to JFK and pick one of the TWO Iberia flights for that date. Not as close for me and I’ll likely need to trek from LGA to JFK but it should work OK. At least I can save that extra leg from ORD, right?

jfkmad

Well think again. I’d have to fly to Boston I guess. Boston is not an easy connection for me but hey at least that one is available. Maybe I managed to corner AA enough into Boston? To me this is silly. It’s either a poor system that doesn’t work well OR….done intentionally to keep you from booking the best flights on awards for some odd reason.

bosmad

Delta Wants Elites to “USE” Miles Up

In a weak effort to try and hold onto elites… Delta is encouraging them to use up their Sky Pesos on upgrades. Actually the idea isn’t that bad on the surface. I actually find it weird that airlines don’t offer elites first pick up paying for upgrades. In my experience it seems random.

They don’t want you to “save them forever” although that’s what you need to do with Delta Sky Pesos to earn any decent reward travel. It’s a fun game to see if you can save them faster than Delta can devalue them. They have devalued award ticket redemption’s so much that all they have left are moves like this to try and hold onto elites that are hub captive in places like MSP or SLC.  It might work for some that don’t care about the value of said miles or have so many they’ll never use them all and don’t care about award redemption’s.

Sad

#skypesos

See the USA Today article link below for more about this story if you can stand reading USA Today for a couple minutes. It might even be non-Fakenews which can be hard to find in that free news flyer we often find on hotel hallway floors 🙂

https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/flights/todayinthesky/2017/07/13/delta-tinkers-frequent-flier-miles-currency-more-seats/475642001/