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For years my favorite rewards credit card benefit was from the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card as it awarded the “last award night free” on points reservations. This means if you paid points for one night you could get the second night free – it essentially doubled the value of your points if you could manage to do two nights stays. However, on June 1st that benefit not only ended, but around the same time the Club Carlson award chart took a pretty hefty beating where many properties jumped up in points cost significantly. This card went from being one of my favorites to one I barely hung onto.
I kept it primarily because the card awards 40,000 points at each renewal, which is enough to offset the $75 annual fee for me…at least for now. However, about a month ago I saw that other Club Carlson Visa card members were being sent a free award night in the mail as a “token of their appreciation”. We (and by we I mean my husband) even went “trash diving” through our trash to see if we had accidentally tossed that letter, but only came out of the trash stinkier and with a shiny new wasp sting on his head. For me, that was the final straw. I’m not a complainer by nature and understand that programs change based on their needs and it is my job to evaluate my behavior and connection with those programs on an ongoing basis, but enough was enough. I didn’t complain when the changes were put into place, but I didn’t want to be left out of the “token of appreciation” free night giveaway.
Since I knew others had success getting included in this giveaway, I sent a secure message from my US Bank online account expressing my displeasure over the June 1st change and asked if I could be included in the free award night that I know some cardholders had recently received. I received notice back via email that my request had been sent to the “Office of the President” and that I would hear back in a few weeks. Truthfully I didn’t need or expect my displeasure to be passed along, I was just kinda hoping the customer service rep who got my secure message would have the authority to either grant the award night or at least hand out some bonus points as compensation for my “disappointment”.
I more or less forgot about the whole thing until this weekend when a rather fat packet arrived from US Bank in the mail. In the packet was a copy of the new cardmember agreement and a letter explaining the changes and new benefits. Towards the end of the letter was the good news. I could either close my account and have my annual fee refunded, or I could keep my account open and receive an e-Certificate from Club Carlson valid for a one-night stay at one of their properties worldwide. One free night doesn’t really offset getting a free night every time I had a points redemption, but it is enough to keep me happy for now and certainly was worth the effort of sending a secure message online.
I do not advocate complaining about every little service blip or program change, but when pretty major things happen it can be worth the time and effort to express your displeasure. In this case it scored us a free room we will most likely use in New York, Chicago, or Europe at one of the nicer Club Carlson properties such as the May Fair in London shown below.
Thanks to US Bank and Club Carlson for the night that we will put to good use!
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.