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Club Carlson shot out of the dark and became a relatively popular hotel award program a couple of years ago thanks in part to some great initial promotions that left lots of people with fat Club Carlson accounts. Next came the co-branded Club Carlson credit card about a year ago. That card not only awarded a pretty big sign-up bonus to further fatten up accounts, but it had the unique perk of getting the last award night free.
This meant that if you had a two night award stay that you only owed points for one night. This is an insanely valuable benefit! Their hotels aren’t always fanciest in the United States, but they have some pretty decent properties overseas that were a very good value for 50,000 points per night…or actually 50,000 points for two nights if you had the co-branded card. They also had a decent selection of mid-range hotels within the United States that were perfect for families.
In other words, people had lots of points and those points could be stretched pretty far. It seemed inevitable for Club Carlson to have a devaluation, and it has now happened with the introduction of a new Category 7 where hotels will go for 70,000 points per night. Other hotels have gone up or down in category as they do each year, and I will look at those changes in a subsequent post. Previously the top end Category 6 hotels topped out at 50,000 points per night, so this is a a 40% increase for those going from a 6 to a 7, which is a pretty big jump.
Category 7 Hotels 70,000 points per night:
As of March 15, 2014, the hotels listed below will move to a new Hotel Category, resulting in an increase or decrease in the number of points required to redeem an award night. The new categories apply to bookings made on or after May 1, 2014.
Radisson Royal Hotel, Dubai
Radisson Blu Le Dokhan’s Hotel, Paris Trocadero
Radisson Blu 1835 Hotel & Thalasso, Cannes
Radisson Blu Le Metropolitan Hotel, Paris Eiffel
Radisson Blu Hotel Champs Elysees, Paris
The May Fair (London)
Plaza on the River, London
Radisson Royal Hotel, Moscow
I’ll be making some speculative advance reservations today at properties that are increasing both to Category 7, and going up between the existing categories. You can book WAY out into the future with Club Carlson.
We got some great value out of the May Fair in London and have an upcoming stay booked at the Champs Elysees property in Paris that is also going up to Category 7.
Award Stays Count Toward Status:
I’m not sure this matters for most of us as we are likely happy with the Gold status we get with the Club Carlson credit card, but award stays do now count toward status for those that earn status the old fashioned way.
A Few Other Program Updates:
I think the biggest change for 90% of us is the introduction of a Category 7, but there were a few other program changes that were outlined in the email I received which I will repost below.
As a valued Club Carlson member, we would also like to tell you about some upcoming changes to the program, including many exciting new benefits. The following changes will go into effect March 15, 2014.
Ways to Redeem Points
- You can now use Gold Points® to book premium rooms, including suites and more
- An enhanced variety of retail merchant cards will be available, now starting at 7,000 points
- Our hotel categories will be updated and will include a new tier for our most luxurious hotels
Achieve Elite Status Faster
- Members will be able to achieve Elite status faster – Eligible Stays and Award Nights will now both count toward Elite status
Ways to Earn Points
- You can now earn Gold Points on food and beverages purchased during Award Nights
- Our bonus for booking online will be offered on a promotional basis, so stay tuned for more member exclusive promotions
- The point bonus for Gold Elite status will change to 35% on Eligible Stays (previously 50%)
Thank you for your continued membership. For more information, click here. You can also review our updated Terms and Conditions on clubcarlson.com starting March 15, 2014.
Overall Assessment of Changes:
A Category 7 was inevitable with Club Carlson, and I am sad that it has happened, but I’m not surprised at most of the hotels that are in the category. A 40% increase for those properties stings, but since you can book so far out in advance, you shouldn’t have trouble securing some nights at the current rates. Also remember to use the co-branded card to get the last award night free. More on these updates to come. What do you think?