Club Carlson Card Last Award Night Free Perk Ending Soon

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Today is a bit of a sad day for hotel point junkies like me.  The Club Carlson Visa has announced that they are replacing the coolest rewards credit card perk out there with a mediocre one.

Currently the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card gives you the last award night free.  That means that if you redeem points for one night you can get the second award night for no additional points.  It basically makes two night award stays “buy one, get one free”.  It was insanely generous and I have used it many times myself.  In fact, the card is still being marked that way right now for new customers.  The only real limit was you can “only” use it 50 times per year, but apparently it was still too generous…

Club Carlson Visa

Turns out this very lucrative benefit is coming to an end effective June 1st and is being replaced with an annual award night you are awarded after spending $10,000 annually on the card and paying the annual fee.  Note that others have been told May 28th is the last day, so I’m not sure what is causing the slight difference in dates.  That is an okay perk, but not nearly as good as getting the last award night free on all of your award reservations!

I haven’t seen any official notice of this change on my account yet, but I called Club Carlson Visa customer service at 1-800-236-4012 after reading The Frequent Miler’s post this morning and I was told the above information and that it applied to all accounts.

I was also told that as long as you make a reservation before June 1st (or May 28th?) using the last award night free perk that it will be honored.  As you may or may not know, you can book some Club Carlson hotels very far out into the future.  I don’t know if there is an end date they haven’t mentioned when the last award night free reservations will not be honored, but for now the word I received was future reservations will be honored.  You can bet every last Club Carlson point I have will be used for locking in future reservations before June 1st rolls around!

If you have been on the fence about getting Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card and want to do it before the last award night free perk goes away, that should work since the benefit is still being advertized today, though obviously that could change at any time.

 

Comments

  1. Sad indeed. It would be interesting to put together a chart of the high spend requirements versus perks offered.
    Like:
    Club Carlson – $10,000 = 1 free night
    US Air Barlcay = $20,000 = 5,000 EQM’s

    etc.

  2. This is very disappointing! I had planned to use my stays during my summer visit to the Midwest. We usually stay at the Radisson Blu for a few nights in Chicago then stay near family in Indiana. I already paid the annual fee once but it is coming due in August and I will cancel the card then.

    I won’t have my dates to travel until after June so I can’t take advantage of the free night before then.

    Had I known this was coming I would have used my points in March when I went to Florida!

    I guess I will use what I can for a free night stay here and there and then convert the balance to airline miles..

  3. Obviously this was a phenomenal benefit–perhaps the people who designed the program didn’t really understand what they were doing. However, this is effectively one of the biggest devaluations to a program that I have ever seen. The rewards chart effectively cut in half the value of your points for a two night redemption (stated another way, a 2 night reward has doubled). It is 33% higher for a 3 night redemption, 25% higher for a 4 night redemption (but lets be honest; it is doubling for a 4 night redemption), etc. It would have made much more sense to have either kept the bonus night for a three night or longer stay (slightly more palatable) or simultaneously revamped their award chart to lower redemption values at properties–don’t forget, it wasn’t that long ago when they added a 70K tier. I have heard nothing in regards to whether they will bring down some of the point values of their properties, which I think is a must if they don’t want people to abandon the program only a couple of years after it made a huge splash to attract attention.

    Furthermore, they are replacing the bonus night with a “Free Night”? I’m assuming (b/c I have no confirmation) that the “free night” is a certificate for any property, and not points or limited to a certain category (which I would not be surprised if it was either of those). B/c, a “free night” of let’s say 40,000 CC points, is not something I’m going to be excited about at a Radisson or a Country Inn & Suites without the bonus night. Does the 40,000 CC points on anniversary bonus go away too or is that staying–i.e. 40K points for anniversary and a “free night” if you spend $10K in a year?

    in reality, I don’t see a reason to keep a Club Carlson visa after this, unless there is a massive revamp of their redemption chart. I’m not putting $10K a year on a Club Carlson Visa. I’m not sure why anyone would stay domestically on points at a decent Club Carlson without the Bonus award.

    For example-:
    -Radisson Martinique-NY is 50K points. 4 Blocks away is the Hyatt Place Midtown South for 20K points.

    -Radisson Aqua Blu in Chicago is 50K points. A block and a half away is the Hyatt Regency for 21K or there is the Hyatt Magnificent Mile for 20K.

    -Radisson Fisherman’s Wharf is 50K. Less than half a mile is the Hyatt Fisherman’s Wharf for 15K points or there is a Regency or a Grand less than 2 miles away for 21-27K points.

    (Maybe there is still some value at lower end properties)

    Granted, I get that you can earn points much faster on the Club Carlson Visa making some of these properties closer to even. However, that is only if you want to commit to spending all of your extra spend on Club Carlson–it is not a transfer partner of any program (but you would be dumb to transfer there anyway)–rather than focusing on minimum spends, spending on cards that transfer–CSP and Amex Everyday–or spending on Barclays Arrival. If I had the time to go to Europe this year, I might not be as irritated, because I could at least get a lot of value out of my points. However, given work and family commitments, I knew that Europe this year was not on the table. I was planning to use CC points (I have a lot, as I’m sure a lot of readers here do) next year. Now, they might be more worthless than Wyndham (which have gotten better, but if you do a lot of comparisons with what Wyndham offers vs Hyatt/SPG/IHG, not much of a point to redeeming 15K at Wyndham in a lot of those places either).

    • You earn Club Carlson at a $1 = 5 points and you earn Hyatt at $1=1 point for most purchases on the respective credit cards. In every example you gave Club Carlson still comes out a head.

      • Except that you ignore the various bonus spend paths available via the Chase UR family. No one MS the Hyatt card itself.

        • Good Point. So what do you say you average in UR per dollar spent when all is done? That would be a more fair way to look at it.

    • I think 5 points is worth > 2.5 cents/point, so it’s definitely better than Barclays or generic 1x spend on Chase cards, and marginally inferior to 1.5x from the Everyday Preferred. If you plan on staying at Radisson or affiliated hotels anyways, it’s still not a bad card to have since point accrual is still more efficient.

  4. I was planning on jumping on this card in the summer. I have three choices now:

    1) Get the card now so I can use some of the free nights
    2) Get the card this summer as I planned
    3) Don’t get the card.

    This change isn’t big enough at this point to make me jump on he card early. I only have 50,000 points currently banked with Club Carlson and now plans on the horizon to use them. Without using the card heavy I would likely only benefit from 1 additional night and right now I am trying to max out the $20k spend on the US Airways MasterCard before June for the 50% bonus.

  5. I’m glad to hear I can still book award nights with BOGO benefit. Earlier reports were unclear. I have 6 nights booked in June in London (2 on my business card, then 2 on my personal card, then 2 on my business card). Having both a business and personal account makes this BOGO benefit even more valuable because you can book more than two consecutive nights at the same location. Now I see no reason to have two accounts/cards. Anyone else out there with both personal and business? What are your thoughts/plans?

    I’m so glad DH and I were both recently approved for the IHG card! It may take the place of Club Carlson.

    • If I had both cards, I would do the exact same thing as you. But, I can’t stop thinking your example is the exact reason the benefit is going away.

      • I am more inclined to think the benefit is going away due to folks who did a ton of MS on their cards. That resulted in a huge liability to Carlson for all of those upcoming BOGO nights. I did absolutely no MS on my two cards. I earned my points through paid stays and everyday spending. I used both cards as they were intended to be used, and as the program was set up by Carlson with the ability to get two accounts (one business, one personal).

  6. Like all other cards, the value calculation will vary from person to person. Even with the Last Award Night Free going away, the number of stays earned by the card between signup, spend, elite bonus, and annual bonus makes it worthwhile *for me* based on my typical usage. Will I spend $10k a year on it? Probably not. But it’s still worthwhile in my personal estimation. YMMV, of course.

  7. Such a shame. I wish they would have reduced the number of times you could use it per year or modified it to stay two nights, get one free. It will be interesting to see what the free night entails.

  8. The better question is whether we need to keep the card open between when we make our reservations with the last night free benefit and the actual stay. Anyone happen to know?

  9. So 1 night free instead of the 40K annual points they now give. The 40 points is what they’re replacing. They’re just abolishing the 2nd night free. Time to raise he’ll with Carlson and US Bank. US Bank is really being ripped off.

    • The 40k pts on card renewal is still there. They are replacing the Bonus Night Free on Award stays with the one free night.

      This is the email I got:

      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!
      And, to thank you for your continued loyalty, you can earn 30,000 bonus Gold Points® on your next Eligible Stay at a Carlson Rezidor hotel worldwide when you pay with your Club CarlsonSM Visa®. Offer ends August 31, 2015. Terms and conditions apply.*

  10. I have had a problem finding quick weekend trips to use my CC points somewhere around the Southeast. Any recommendations, please? I had a disappointing experience in Orlando at the Country Inn & Suites and would really like to find another place to dump the rest of our points. We have had such great experiences with IHG, Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt. We have over 160,000 points between us. Thanks for any suggestions.

  11. They are offering card holders a bonus 30,000 points to help soften the blow…

    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.

  12. A disappointing change, but I will be keeping the card. The 40,000k points on renewal just about covers a free night somewhere in most places we go in Europe so we should be able to get good value out of those 40k. I won’t be endeavouring to spend $10k for the extra night. It does make me glad that we chose to redeem nights on our trip to Norway last Christmas. It has also motivated me to burn my existing points for 2-4-1 redemptions on an upcoming trip to Europe rather than put my hand into my pocket.

  13. All I have to say is that they BETTER friggin honor the 2nd night free for my existing reservations I have in Australia in December else I’m gonna be livid.

    Also, this makes it not worth renewing for the $75 annual fee. Club Carlson points aren’t the most used in my repertoire, so I’m not going to need an annual 40k that I’ll no longer have an inkling to use. Hyatt for me.

  14. We need a media opp of FT’ers cutting up their Club Carlson (and Delta Skymiles) credit cards. Publicity is the only thing that gets results. I plan on sending US Bank my cut-up card.

  15. Wow, this has been an up-and-down day for me. I only started Club Carlson this year, as says in the UK and Norway were convenient at their properties. I just discovered how quickly points add up… I have 125k, and by this time next month, should be at 360k! We take long weekends quite often, and I thought 28k/night for a hotel near us was a good deal… then just today I learned of the incredible “last night free” benefit, and was about to jump on the credit card! Then in showing my wife the details, I happen across this post. I guess my dream died quickly… wow.

  16. Sooo incredibly bummed. We JUST got this card in the mail today and I was planning to use the last night free offer to plan a trip to Europe next year. Now I can see that trip pretty much going up in smoke unless I can think of a different strategy using multiple cards somehow. 🙁

  17. Amazing… just today I get an email from Club Carlson trying to get me to sign up for their card… and they are showcasing the Bonus Award Night perk with no mention of it going away in just a few weeks. It’s so dishonest…

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