The Four Things to Know About Club Carlson Card Changes

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This morning I posted about big changes coming to the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card and the “last award night free” benefit effective June 1st, but as with any unexpected change there were some unanswered questions.  Now most of those questions have answers, and there is also a little bit of good news to share.  Here are the four things you need to know about the coming changes to my favorite co-branded rewards card perk.

1.  The changes kick in on June 1, 2015.  There was some early talk of a date in May, but the official email that has gone out states June 1st, just as I was told over the phone this morning.  This means you need to book your bonus award night stays by May 31, 2015.

2.  The 40,000 anniversary renewal points are not going away.  You will still get those each year when you pay the annual fee.  You’ll receive the new Free Night Award upon renewal of your card after an annual spend of $10,000 in addition to the 40,000 points that are awarded annually without a spending requirement.  Note that the official email says that the annual free night award will be valid at U.S. properties.

3.  You can still book future awards with the “bonus award night” until June 1st at which time you can no longer book those awards.  Future reservations with the bonus award night will be honored as long as they are booked by May 31st.

4.  Many current cardholders are being offered a one-time 30,000 bonus Gold Points bonus on their next eligible stay at a Club Carlson hotel between April 1 – August 31, 2015, if paid with the Club Carlson Visa. 

I guess the only other thing you really need to know is where to use your Club Carlson points before June 1st rolls around and you can no longer get the last award night free thanks to the co-branded credit card.  My family has stayed at Club Carlson hotels using the “last award night free” perk on the ski slopes in Norway, on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, in May Fair in London, on the beach in Aruba, in NYC, and across from the Prado in Madrid.  In other words, Club Carlson points have served my family very well at those locations and beyond, so there are plenty of options out there to get some good use out of your points.

Mommy Points Club Carlson Hotel Reviews:

Radisson Aruba Resort

The May Fair (London)

Radisson Blu Champs Elysees – Paris

The Radisson Dublin Royal Blu

Radisson Blu Trysil Resort

Radisson Blu Airport Hotel – Gardermoen Airport

Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel – Oslo

Beach at the Radisson Aruba

Beach at the Radisson Aruba

I will be putting together a post with some suggestions on where to use your points, but in the meantime you can check out those reviews mentioned above, read this post on places to use Club Carlson points in the United States, or this one where to use Club Carlson points at international beach locations in the Caribbean and beyond.

If you want to get the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card now, I would recommend hitting the minimum spending requirement as soon as possible so you can use as many of the 85,000 total sign-up bonus points as possible before June 1st.  As a reminder, the card awards 50,000 Gold Points after your first purchase, plus 35,000 points once you spend $2,500 on your card within the first 90 days.

Where are you burning your Club Carlson points?

 

 

Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for sifting through all the flurry (and some fury) from this morning and giving us a recap of “just the facts, ma’am!”

  2. So far we have received two emails out of four accounts (my business and personal and my wife’s higher tier card and lower tier card). My personal one had the 30,000 point bonus, her higher tier one did not, so it appears that the bonus is not universal, it is only on certain accounts. The biggest difference between the two, I think, is that my account has had a paid stay, while hers has only had points stays.

    • A further update, have now received all 4 emails and only one offered the 30,000 point bonus, the one that had a paid stay.

      • Are these offers coming from USBank or from Carlson itself? Wondering whom to call to try asking for the promo to apply to me too. But losing the free night, plus last year having our go-to “visiting the in-laws” Country Inn nearly doubling in points price, and I guess this card is not long for my wallet.

  3. I’m hoping to burn it in Dublin but reservation is not open for 2016 at all, which is strange. Hope they open it up by 6/1.

  4. Good point on #2. I missed that when I read my email. The free night is only valid at U.S. properties. Makes the new deal even worse than I thought.

  5. You forgot to list the part of the “good” because it’s all a waste. 3% foreign transaction fee extra to get that 30000 points, etc. I just filed a complaint with the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau for bait & switch.

    • Not a bad idea. I paid my annual fee two months ago and feel like my benefits should run through at least this account year. If they don’t refund the fees, I’ll be filing a complaint as well.

      • Already received a reply from customer service saying no refund of annual fee. Filed a complaint for amount 1 of 3.. waiting on replies for each additional account before filling separate complaints.

      • The fair thing would be to rebate a prorated part of the annual fee – that portion of the rolling 12 month period after June 1 – to existing cardholders. They did give me 7,500 points after I called and spoke to a supervisor, which goes partway toward offsetting the fee.

  6. Club Carlson’s poorly managed elimination of the 2nd night free bonus today with less than 2 months notice (Condolences to those suckers still applying for the Club Carlson Visa credit card today who are not informed thanks to Boarding Area) has soured my interest in earning/redeeming CC Gold points. For the last five years I have recommended the Club Carlson Visa to many friends and strangers based on the 2nd night free bonus benefit. Pulling this rug out from under loyal customers guarantees that I will cancel my CC Visa, use my remaining gold points ASAP and tell everyone – including the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau – to avoid Club Carlson and all its hotels at all costs. Most Club Carlson hotels are “mutton dressed as lamb” so why would they want to destroy the loyalty relationship with their most loyal customers?

  7. If I make future bookings that have a bonus award night, will I get to keep the bonus nights if I cancel the credit card before the stay? The T&Cs on the application page only mention that you have to be a cardholder when the award booking is made to get the bonus night, so I think that once the award is booked with a bonus night, then it would not be changed if the credit card is cancelled, but I would like to be sure.

  8. I never trusted the Carlson program since it was clearly not sustainable. I did not waste my time in applying for their credit card.

  9. Santastico, you did waste your time! Even though I & my wife have 500,000
    points, in the last two years we have stayed in villas in Phuket with private pools & outdoor showers & great suites in Istanbul. We were always treated well. I will just try to use my points quickly.

    • Santastico – I also knew the program was not sustainable, but it was well worth hopping on for the ride while it lasted. I got fabulous value out of it for the last two years (literally dozens of “second night free” bookings at highly rated, well located hotels in London, Amsterdam, New York City, Rome, Madrid, and many other locations that saved me thousands of dollars). The only concern I had was whether Club Carlson would give notice when they ended the benefit; thankfully they took the “high road” and did provide acceptable notice.

      I will continue putting my un-bonused spend on my Club Carlson Visa moving forward, because, let’s face it – who else offers an award night in a comparable London hotel for $10,000 in credit card spend? Club Carlson still offers the best value for many of us who stay in European cities.

  10. I am Gold by credit card and stays and was Concierge last year. I have stayed 14 nights so far this year. I have received no emails, no 30K offer, and did not get the 5K app offer. I have in excess of a million points (after burning a fair amount). Because of the changes and overall treatment something will have to materially change (for the good) for them to see another paid stay from me. It is strictly burn mode from now on. I have made some reservations to lock in the last night free and will be making more before June 1st than I will possibly actually use.

  11. What constitutes an “eligible stay”? I checked a few hotels during April and found no mention of any bonus 30000 points, or will it be potluck; stay and maybe you’ll be rewarded( or maybe not).

  12. What happened to Wolfgang Neumann as CEO, the new management page doesn’t list him and instead has the CEO role split — very odd to not even issue a press release for this.

  13. I am expecting $75 fee credit very soon after CFPB complaint.
    THEY don’t live up to your terms! I am supposed to get 2nd night free with the card per agreement after paying the $75 fee. when you file the complaint which is super easy,You just include their own agreement and your own 2 sentences.

    THE LANGUAGE, the agreement we signed up for CLEARLY SAYS GET THAT 2nd free night AFTER PAYING THE $75 FEE. They have to live up to their terms & conditions here!

    I can guarantee you if you file CFPB which is very easy to do on their website, and include this language , you will get the $75 refunded back and would also teach them a lesson on not to cheat us like this.
    The only reason i have this card for 2 yrs is becos of the 2nd free night to use at their very rare radison blu properties.
    all others like country inn and park inn are same or equal to cheap motels. low quality!
    Their gold status is total worthless!
    Reply

  14. Only question now is where to dump my 850K points. Southwest? Suggestions?

    Also where is the best place to raise hell at US Bank? They control this program financially by buying all these now-almost-worthless points. What a dumb move by previously unknown Radisson and USBank !

  15. So book now for stay with bonus night. Stay date is after June 1. What is impact, if any, of cancelling US Bank card. Put another way, you need to have card active in good standing when? On booking date or check-in date?

  16. Also note when filing your CFPB complaint that their landing page states: “Enjoy all of these benefits for $XX Annual Fee† ” and the Bonus nights are listed as a benefit for paying the annual fee, hence, Bonus nights are a benefit of the annual fee you are paying and if they are being removed you should have a right to a refund or they continue to offer them through the term of your annual membership.

  17. PS – Why not write a post showing how people can file a complaint with the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, how they should PDF the page that shows the benefits of the card and tell the CFPB they want a refund of their annual fee due to changes to the benefits associated.
    These are the pages that show the benefits you receive for the annual fee you pay:
    http://www.clubcarlsonvisa.com/credit/visaPremierCard.do
    http://www.clubcarlsonvisa.com/credit/visaPlatinumCard.do
    http://www.clubcarlsonvisa.com/credit/visaSignatureCard.do
    http://www.clubcarlsonvisa.com/credit/visaBusinessCard.do

  18. A good way to gain maximum benefit from the last-night-free benefit has been found in Reykjavik, Iceland. That city has two Radisson Blu hotels, and you have been able to bounce from one to the other, and back, every 2 days. It’s too bad that this summer is the last hurrah for this way of maximizing your Carlson points.

  19. I’m fairly new to the points way of traveling and must say, I’ve enjoyed it quite a bit! BUT, I don’t consider myself a ‘loyal’ or ‘good’ customer since I am utilizing points and getting a bit of travel for free. So, hoping not to p*ss anyone off, but why are so many crying and moaning and groaning and filing complaints? Most of us are not even paying for the accommodations. I definitely wish they had not changed this….but don’t they have the right to do this? I could only assume the fine print relays such information?
    Again, I really LOVED this perk with Club Carlson. But as I’ve seen, this points and redemption thing is constantly changing. I’ll just use my points and maybe (maybe not) be done with it. I’ll still get 40,000 annually…at least for now.
    Gonna go duck….hoping not to get too much backlash.

  20. Since the annual renewal bonus of 40,000 points is worth more than the annual fee when used for a reward night, why is everyone planning to cancel the card? I only cancel cards when the received value is less than the annual fee.

  21. US Bank did nit change its T and Cs, Club Carlson did. Here’s what Club Carlson participants agreed to:

    Program Modifications or Termination: We reserve the right at any time, in our sole discretion, with or without notice and without any further liability or obligation, even though changes may affect the value of Gold Points already accumulated, to (i) add, modify, delete, change, suspend or terminate (“Change”) Club Carlson, in whole or in part; including without limitation any of the rules, procedures, conditions, benefits, awards, award levels, Participating Properties, Partner affiliations and opportunities, earning terms, redemption rules, or award availability (ii) Change these Program Terms, in whole or in part; (iii) Change any Club Carlson offers; (iv) Change the ability to redeem Gold Points in whole or in part; (v) Change the procedures for redeeming Gold Points, including the number of Gold Points required for redemption; (vi) Change the ability to accrue Gold Points, including but not limited to imposing time limits and changes in Gold Point values, in whole or in part; or (vii) assign in whole or in part Club Carlson to any related or unrelated entity. Upon assignment, the performance of the obligations herein will thereafter be the sole and direct responsibility of that entity. In the event of the termination of Club Carlson, all Gold Points not redeemed by the termination date of Club Carlson will be forfeited without compensation or any further obligation or liability, and no redemption of Gold Points will be honored thereafter. In accumulating Gold Points and otherwise participating in the Program, you may not rely upon the continued availability of Club Carlson, or any earning, redemption, or other offers made in connection with Club Carlson. All offers are available while supplies last, subject to any applicable cancellation policies, and are subject to change and/or revocation without notice. Program account information is our proprietary information and may be accessed by members only for the purpose of obtaining information regarding their account. We reserve the right to audit or investigate Program accounts and information at any time without notice to ensure compliance with Program Terms. During the course of an audit or investigation, information may be shared with parties assisting in such audit or investigation.

    Reread that sentence that begins “In accumulating Gold Points…..”.

    • What this means to me is that there’s no recourse with Club Carlson, but US Bank did and still does advertise and promote that last night free benefit, exclusive to cardholders, with no notice to potential applicants that the benefit ends June 1. They surely have known this change was coming for some time now, and have taken no action to change their promotional materials directed at renewing and new cardholders.

      I don’t think the Club Carlson T and Cs for its members have any bearing on the bank’s responsibilities to fulfill its own commitments stated in writing. They surely have their own contract with Club Carlson with its own legal terms, and either US Bank knew CC was planning to end that benefit and continued to promote it nevertheless; or they didn’t know and their legal team was truly incompetent developing their contract with CC without such requirements.

  22. I’m not the “file a complaint” type, so I won’t be writing that sort of post for this, however if you feel you wouldn’t have paid an annual fee to keep the card if you knew this change was coming you should absolutely let US Bank know that and see what can be done.

    Personally I just like to use the perks that are out there for as long as they are out there and then move on when the game changes to a point that it doesn’t meet my needs. I’ll be getting some good value out of my Club Carlson points making bookings until May 31st and after that we’ll see….

  23. While preparing complaints to regulatory authorities, take a coffee break and read the actual governibg rules cardholders agrred to when applying to US Bank:

    “Club Carlson participation, including the earning and redeeming of Gold Points and all other membership benefits and features are subject to the Club Carlson Terms and Conditions and privacy policy available at clubcarlson.com/termsandconditions. Specific benefits and services offered at individual hotels may vary, may not be available at all hotels and are subject to change. Free award nights (with no blackout dates) are for standard rooms only, are subject to availability, and the number of Gold Points required vary based on the applicable hotel category for hotel requested.”

    So US Bank obligations are subject to Carlson rules, which state that terms can be changed at anytime.

    Looks like a pretty steep hill to me.

  24. Yes, I’m sad that this great benefit is gone… But if you look closely, the credit card is still worth holding: the 40,000 points at renewal are still worth more than the annual fee, even after devaluation. The 2 for 1 weekend nights with Gold Status in Europe are a great money saver and Gold Status has landed me an upgrade on the majority of my stays, even award ones!

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