Sad Day for Club Carlson Visa Card Holders…
I own the Club Carlson Visa card and I have to admit, it is one of my favorite credit cards. The card comes with some great benefits – Club Carlson Gold Status for as long as you hold the card, a 40,000 point anniversary bonus, and one of the best perks of all, a free reward night when booking an award night (one per stay).
I have used this benefit at the Radisson Blu Berlin, as well as the Park Plaza, Berlin. I have also used this when I have attended the Austin Mega Do for stays at the Radisson Blu Austin. And having this benefit on the card made for an incredible week in Ireland at Radisson Blu properties in Galway, Sligo, and Dublin. As you can see, with a room for two nights costing a little over 450 euro ($493)so being able to use points for double nights was a great deal.
I just received an email informing me of the changes coming to the Club Carlson Visa. Basically, trying to make it sound like a good thing, card owners will now be able to earn a free night every year with $10,000 of card spend. But wait, there’s more.
Beginning June 1st Club Carlson is taking away the Bonus Award Night benefit!
I think this is terrible news!
Admittedly, the benefit is far more lucrative for award stays in Europe, perhaps, but it also was quite attractive for family stays in the United States. The benefit is ‘going away’ as of May 28th (no Bonus Award nights can be booked after May 28, 2015 according to Frequent Miler) so I am grateful that I have some stays for Oktoberfest already booked in Munich in September. I have been wanting to pop back over to Ireland in the fall, so I guess I need to go ahead and firm up those plans. Thankfully, I have enough points that I can book some of the stays speculatively until I determine travel dates.
Should you get this card? Well, if you have been thinking about it anyway, I would apply for it as soon as possible! The card conditions and benefits read as follows:
- 10 points per $1 spent in eligible net purchases at participating Carlson Rezidor hotels
- 5 points per $1 spent in eligible net purchases everywhere else
- Up to 85,000 Bonus Gold Points – receive 50,000 Gold Points after your first purchase plus 35,000 points once you spend $2,500 on your card within the first 90 days1
- 40,000 renewal bonus points each year when you renew your card
You would just have time to get this card, make the first purchase and receive your 50K points in order to have enough points to book at least two nights using the Bonus Award night. Most of the higher end properties list for only 44,000 points per night (although some are as high as 60K). If you were to meet the $2500 spend and pay that by the end of the first billing cycle, you would then have a little over 87500 points – which would possibly allow you to book another two nights at a different property. Should you decide to cancel, the points would be returned to your account (as long as you meet the cancellation policy).
The fee on this card is only $75 a year and if you were to keep it you would earn the 40,000 point anniversary bonus. With a little spend on the card that would translate to about one free night a year for the cost of the card fee. I think $75 is pretty good value for 40,000 points/free night(s). If you can get two of these cards, for example you and a spouse, then you would have a combined total of 100,000 points. Each of you could then book a back to back reservation for a total of four nights at one property.
The new card benefits after June 1st will be as follows:
As a valued Club CarlsonSM member and Club Carlson Visa® cardholder, we would like to tell you about an upcoming change to your Visa benefits. Beginning June 1, 2015, you can earn a Free Night, good at any Carlson Rezidor hotel in the U.S. This Free Night will replace the current Bonus Award Night benefit. Bonus Award Night stays may not be booked after June 1, 2015. You’ll receive the new Free Night award upon renewal of your card after an annual spend of $10,000. Updated program terms and conditions will apply and be available on June 1, 2015. As a Club CarlsonSM Visa® cardholder you will continue to enjoy the following benefits:
- 10 points per $1 spent in eligible Net Purchases at Carlson Rezidor hotels worldwide – that’s in addition to the 20 points per dollar you earn as a Club Carlson member
- 5 points per $1 spent in eligible Net Purchases everywhere else
- 40,000 renewal bonus points each year when you renew your card by paying the annual fee
Gold Elite Status – which now includes a dining discount at participating hotel restaurants!
*NOTE – the “Free Night” after $10K spend is only bookable in the US.
But wait! There’s even more!
As a consolation, Carlson is thanking you for
not dumping continuing to be a cardholder by offering you a one time bonus of 30,000 bonus Gold Points on your next stay when using your Club Carlson Visa to pay for the stay. The terms and conditions of this offer are as follows:
Bonus Points Offer Terms and Conditions The 30,000 Bonus Points Offer (the “Offer”) is available only to Club CarlsonSM Visa® cardholders. The Offer is valid for 30,000 bonus Gold Points® on an Eligible Stay between April 1, 2015 and August 31, 2015 (“Promotion Period”). One Offer per Club Carlson Visa account holder. You must provide your Club Carlson number at the time of reservation or at check-in and pay for your stay with your Club CarlsonSM Visa®. Stays or nights paid for by redeeming points or by using Points + Cash are not eligible for the Offer.
To sum it up – I am really sorry to see the Bonus Night Award disappear. It was a brilliant perk of Club Carlson and made it’s lackluster properties slightly more appealing. I am probably going to keep the card but can’t see myself booking as many Radisson/Carlson stays in the future. Even attempting the spend to earn a free night (which I would probably only use in Austin) is not very compelling as it can only be used in the United States and Puerto Rico. The majority of interesting properties are located in Europe while US properties are just not all that special.
I remember taking a Club Carlson survey a couple of months ago and I remember having the opportunity to comment on this benefit. I remember praising it as one of the program’s best benefits. Who knows? Maybe other people who took the survey felt otherwise.
Should you be interested the web link for the Card can be found here. I have no relationship with US Bank nor the Club Carlson Visa Card. If you choose to apply, I receive no consideration or commission from either.