How I Got a Free Club Carlson Night

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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.

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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.

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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.

Disclaimer: The comments below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Comments

  1. Summer, I sent a secure message about this on Sept.16th and got the same automated reply that your refer to. I haven’t got anything in the mail yet but I got a voicemail on my cellphone from a Carly at US Bank wanting me to return her call. I did and left her a voicemail. So now we’re playing a game of phone tag and I’m not sure what she wants. Can you tell me how long after you sent the message that you got the certificate in the mail?

  2. I got it from sending an email to CC. Then they replied with a number I had to call. I was transferred to a “specialist” who looked at my account to “determine if I was eligible” for the free night. Turned out that she said yes. Said I would get an email with instructions on how to redeem the free night. Didn’t get it yet, though. She said the e-certificate would come within 8 weeks.

    I guess it’s OK. I have the business version so I’m at $60/year. This pretty much converts to approximately $3.00 per year to keep the card (if anyone is wise enough to follow my logic). So I’m not complaining. Still, it is probably one of my least favorite due to the changes. For the time being, I will hold on to it.

  3. I was in the same boat. Started seeing reports about people getting free nights but everyone who got one had one thing in common, they complained about the change. I never complained and I was pretty annoyed that this happened so I sent a message too. Like others have said it went to “Office of the president” or something. After a week or two I got a call and after some phone tag I talked to a rep that said I would be getting one for both my personal and business cards. It would take 6-8 weeks. I was told that this wasn’t only for people who complained about the change but all card members but was happening in stages (I think that was a bit of BS but whatever). Two free nights to be used next year with my 80k from the annual fee, not bad for $135. Looks like I’m keeping these cards one more year. After that, probably not.

  4. Spoke to a “Specialist” 5 weeks ago and was told I was eligible. I should have the e-cert coming my way soon. It’s the old “the squeaky wheel gets the oil”.
    This was old news ——

  5. I did the same thing. My wife, who got the card in April was sent the free night. I wasn’t, and had been a cardholder since 2012. I sent an online message asking why she got one and I didn’t. It was referred to the office of the president, and about 2 weeks later I got a letter in the mail (no packet) saying I would receive the email in 6-8 weeks. No email yet, but I’m still in the window.

    I have both the personal and business, and my wife has the personal. We’re keeping for now, as the points offset the annual fee even without the second night free. That may change in the future.

  6. A “Heather” has been playing phone tag with me for a week, and a letter that sounds identical to yours came for me on Friday … very thick! I’ll keep the card for this coming years and decide how it fits in our plans.

    Interestingly, I sent a shorter, less-complaining SM for my wife’s account and got a much simpler letter saying a certificate is on the way.

  7. Thanks for the reminder, MP! We were travelling for about a month and I never got around to writing. We have a trip to Germany & Scandinavia booked for next fall using 18 Club Carlson nights but I have a couple of holes that could be filled with free night certs! 🙂

  8. Another data point… I did complain (via e-mail) regarding all of the changes earlier this year and was not included in the first batch of free nights. I did not bother complaining again and actually just proceeded to close my card last month. So I was actually surprised to receive a letter from Club Carlson last week telling me that I would be receiving a e-cert for a free night… and that has been deposited into my account as of this morning.

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