Club Carlson Becomes Radisson Rewards: Adds New Credit Card Benefit

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Rewind a few years and one of the most popular hotel loyalty programs among miles and points diehards was a ‘little’ program called Club Carlson. I say ‘little’ because they are actually bigger than some other programs, but many of their strongest and more aspirational properties were actually outside the United States. They ran some stellar promotions, they had some nice top-tier properties you could stay at for 50,000 points, and their co-branded credit card offered the last night free on all award stays. This essentially created a super lucrative BOGO situation on two-night award stays in places like Norway, London, Aruba, New York City, and beyond.

Then, like all things too good to be true, most of that ended, some of their popular vacation resorts left the brand, and you stopped hearing very much about Club Carlson. In fact, those newer to the hobby may barely even know the name Club Carlson since it does not correspond with any of their hotel brands of Radisson, Radisson Blu, Park Plaza, Park Inn by Raddison, and Country Inn & Suites.

Radisson Blu Resort in Trysil, Norway

Club Carlson Becomes Radisson Rewards

As of today, throw the old Club Carlson name out of the window, because they are rebranding, introducing new elite tiers, a new co-branded credit card perk, and henceforth known as Radisson Rewards. Don’t get scared, this is all actually neutral to good news and the award structure shown below is not changing. 

Radisson Rewards will be the loyalty program for over 1,100 hotels and will retain Club Carlson’s four elite status tiers, albeit with new names and lower stay thresholds.

Club Carlson (Old) Radisson Rewards (New)
Club Carlson Red Radisson Rewards Club

Earn 20 points/$1

Club Carlson Silver

15 Nights / 10 Stays

Was 23 points/$1

Radisson Rewards Silver

9 Nights / 6 Stays

Earn 22 points/$1

Club Carlson Gold

35 Nights / 20 Stays

Was 27 points/$1

Radisson Rewards Gold

30 Nights / 20 Stays

Earn 25 points/$1

Club Carlson Concierge

75 nights / 30 Stays

Was 35 points/$1

Radisson Rewards Platinum

60 Nights / 30 Stays

Earn 35 points/$1

Along with a new name, there is a new website for all of your Radisson Rewards activity at RadissonRewards.com, as well as a Radisson Rewards mobile app (available for Apple and Google devices). These new lower elite status thresholds will be retroactively applied to 2017 stays, so they will upgrade status levels based on the new requirements for those guests who would have qualified for a higher level with their 2017 activity.

It is worth noting that the mid-tier levels, including the Gold status you get with the co-branded credit card, will earn fewer points per dollar. This is down even further from just a few years ago when Gold members earned 30 points per dollar spent at Radisson Hotels.

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Radisson Blu Edinburgh Royal Mile

Earn Up to Three Annual Free Night Awards with Radisson Rewards Visa

While I think the new name is a smart move, I was most excited to learn that U.S. Radisson Rewards Visa cardholders will keep the current annual bonus points, but there will be a new way to earn up to three award nights upon each renewal based on your annual spend.

On the Club Carlson Premier Visa Signature that has a $75 annual fee you currently receive 40,000 bonus points at your renewal and can earn one award night with $10,000 in net annual spending on the card. This award night is valid for a year from issuance at Radisson Hotel Group Hotels located in the United States including Radisson Blu, Radisson, Radisson RED, Park Inn by Radisson and Country Inn & Suites by Radisson.

Going forward, you will keep all of those perks, but be able to earn up to three award nights for every $10,000 in net spending, up to a $30,000 annual maximum for three nights. It makes baffles me when co-branded credit cards don’t provide reasons to continue spending on the card each year, so this is a smart perk that will help some folks earn additional award nights each year. The only downside is that most of my favorite Radisson properties are actually not in the United States, but yet the card specific award nights are limited for redemption at the US properties such as the Radisson Blu in Chicago.

Use your free nights at the Radisson Blu Chicago

I have had some great stays at Radisson properties around the globe in places like MadridEdinburgh, Dublin, and Norway, but have not been nearly as engaged with the program in the past few years, so I am glad to see them rebranding and re-energizing a bit. Let’s hope that good things are to come from Radisson Rewards.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the changes and whether they are enough to keep you spending on your Radisson Rewards Visa throughout the year!

Learn more about available credit cards and their bonuses.

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

The responses 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.

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Comments

  1. Radisson pretty much sucks. Just checked into the Waterfront Capetown, and the hotel seemed nice until I saw the same old prison-issue bathroom.

    • Eek. They do have some genuinely nice properties, but I would agree that most of the properties are not aspirational in nature for sure. I like them in select cities in Europe, a handful of properties in places like NYC, and then especially in Northern Europe.

    • I loved the RadBlu Cape Town. Was upgraded to a Biz class room with a suite layout and great ocean view. There was nothing prison like about the bathroom. Nice bar & restaurant too!

  2. Summer, I was going to jump on the free nights for $10,000 spend until I saw that you said it’s U.S. only–NO THANKS! I’ve been saving my points from annual renewal of their credit cards to return to Iceland again someday as that’s one of the few destinations where the prices they charge for their hotels justify using points. Many places around the world they want 30 or 40 thousand points a night for a hotel room that they are only charge $120 or $130 a night for in cash. And they never opened the locations in the Maldives that they teased us about for many years.

    • Yeah, if it was not US restricted I would be much more interested myself. I mean, I do get value from it in NYC so haven’t written it off, but Northern Europe is where it’s at.

  3. No interest if they don’t include Europe. It was a good program at one time, now I will have to use up my points somewhere.

  4. They have to change 2 things to make this card appealing:

    1. Get rid of those stupid Foreign Transaction Fees. This is unacceptable to any travel card, and especially to a hotel brand which has properties all over the globe. In this time and age we already have numerous no annual fee cards that also do not have FTF.

    2. Include properties from all over the world in the free night after $10000 spend a year.

  5. Will the current club carlson business cardholders be grandfathered in to the new “up to 3 night cert” benefit?

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