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Tomorrow (Sunday) is the last day to lock in Club Carlson awards as we know them using the current categorization and the last award night free benefit that has come with the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card. Effective June 1st they are not only taking away the “Last Award Night Free” benefit that has come with the co-branded card, but they are also “blowing up their award chart” by increasing the number of points required for many properties. A two-night stay that might cost you 50,000 points if you book before June 1st can easily potentially cost you nearly 3x that amount at 140,000 points after June 1st.
Hopefully you have already burned through much of your stash of Club Carlson points, but if you haven’t, here are some last minute tips to get as much value out of your points as possible.
- Make reservations by May 31st for future dates as far out as you can – often that is through 2016, but at some properties award availability is loaded even further than that – up to 2018 in some cases.
- You and a partner or traveling companion can alternate two night bookings to maximize the last award night free perk, or you can simply make a cash or cash and points booking between two award nights. For example, you book Monday – Wednesday using points for Monday night and the last award night free for Tuesday night. Your partner (who has to have their own Club Carlson card for this to work) makes a reservation Wednesday – Friday using points for Wednesday night and the last award night free for Thursday night. Another option is to simply change Club Carlson hotels every two nights if you wish.
- Elite members (which you are if you have the credit card) can transfer Club Carlson points to another person’s account for free. All other members (non-elite) may transfer points to another Club Carlson member residing in the same household provided that both individuals have been a program member for at least one year and the addresses for either account involved in the transfer have not been up updated within thirty days before the request. This could be helpful in combing points to maximize the number of award nights you can book before June 1st. You need to call 1-888-288-8889 to make the request to combine, and in my experience the process has been completed within a few minutes.
- Don’t expect to be able to modify your reservations after May 31st and keep the last night free or the old award chart rates. You may get lucky, but I would assume that if you need to make modifications to the dates or properties then you will no longer have access to the last night free or lower points rates.
- Call to complain about the benefits going away. Many have had success getting 2,500 – 7,500 bonus points by calling US Bank to complain about the changes. If you no longer care about Club Carlson points, some have also had their annual fees refunded. You can even make the complaint online via the email option from your US Bank online account if that is more your style.
- Find some Club Carlson properties that look good for your family. Club Carlson has many lower and mid tier property, but they have some pretty decent spots, too. I think some of the better value for Club Carlson points comes from Chicago, New York, Iceland, London, Paris, Sydney, Aruba, Amsterdam, and a few other spots. Here are some posts to help:
I do not recommend waiting until 10PM tomorrow night to get started on this process as there can always be glitches and slowdowns. Get busy now, if you haven’t already, and burn as many Club Carlson points as you can!
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.