When 138000 points is not enough

I’m excited about the Club Carlson “Big Night” promotions that will be available for registration May 15th.  The basic idea is that after registering you will get 50,000 bonus points for staying one night at a Radisson, 44,000 points for staying at a Park Inn, and another 44,000 points for staying at a Country Inn & Suites.  The total points you can earn is a ridiculously high 138,000!  For details, please see this post by Loyalty Traveler

If you’re like me, you’re thinking “yeah Club Carlson, that’s nice, but how can I get even more?”  So, here is Frequent Miler’s step by step guide to maximizing the Club Carlson “Big Night” promotions:

Step 1: Sign-up for a Club Carlson account

If you don’t already have a Club Carlson account, New Girl in the Air shows how you can get 4,500 free points just by signing up: 4,500 Free Club Carlson Points (500 Airline Miles) for New Members.  Make sure to sign up everyone in the family! 

NOTE: The 4500 point offer appears to be dead.  I’ll update here if anything changes.

Step 2: Status Match to Gold Status

Club Carlson will readily bump up your elite status to Gold if you can prove that you have high level status in another program.  I used my Priority Club Platinum status to get the match, but most other programs should work just as well.  If you don’t have high level status in any program, then you might want to take advantage of the current Hyatt promotion:

  • Through May 11th, use any Visa Signature card to sign up for temporary Hyatt Platinum status for free: https://www.visasignature.hyatt.com/ 
    Note that it might take a few days for the Platinum status to show up on your account.

Once you’ve signed up for free Hyatt Platinum status (or have status with another program), make a screen capture of your account to prove your status and send the picture in an email to: goldpointsplus@carlson.com.  Ask for a status match.  Ideally you’ll be bumped up to Gold status. 

Club Carlson Gold status will give you extra points and some perks when staying at their hotels:

Gold status benefits:
50% Point Bonus
Late Check-out (based on availability)
Early Check-in (based on availability)
Best Available Room in the category booked
72- hour availability guarantee
Special points plus cash offers
Priority full-service Member Services telephone number

Additional benefits in Europe, the Middle East and Africa:
10% off weekend rates
Double occupancy for a single rate
Weekend Extend (2 for 1 and 4 for 2 Nights)

Step 3: Enroll in Club Carlson for Business

By registering your own business (if you have one) with Club Carlson, you can earn an extra 10 points per dollar for every reservation booked online and linked to your business account.  Here’s the sign-up link: https://www.clubcarlson.com/profiles/secure/business/joinRouter.do

Step 4: Book via TopCashBack

When booking hotel nights, get 5% cash back by starting at TopCashBack and clicking through to Radisson. If booking Country Inn & Suites or Park Inn, go to Radisson.com and then click the “All Carlson Rezidor hotels” radio button:



UPDATE: TopCashBack will now give 10% cash back!  See “Breaking News: TopCashBack to double Radisson rebate” for more details. 

Step 5: Qualify for the promotion

Stay at least one night in each hotel (Radisson, Park Inn, and Country Inn & Suites) between May 15 and July 15 to qualify.  Radisson ran a similar promotion this past winter and many people found ways to check into hotels without actually staying (I plead the fifth).  This time, Club Carlson plans to police things better.  They, quite reasonably, want people to actually stay in their hotels and get to know (and hopefully love) the brand.  I like the timing of this promotion since it should line up well with many people’s summer vacations.  Take advantage of these promos to take some time off and enjoy the summer!  In my opinion, the value of the points earned in this promo should easily make up for the cost of a night at almost any Club Carlson property.

Add it up

  • Club Carlson Signup bonus: 4,500 points
  • Stay one night in each: Radisson, Park Inn, and Country Inn & Suites.  Assume $100 per night average.  Earn 5% cash back from TopCashBack.  Total cost: $285
  • Promotion points earned: 50K (Radisson) + 44K (Park Inn) + 44K (Country Inn & Suites) = 138,000 points
  • Book online bonus (2000 points per booking for Silver and Gold members): 3 X 2000 = 6,000 points
  • Points earned per dollar (Gold members with business accounts): 40.  $300 X 40 points per dollar = 12,000 points
  • Total cost: $285
  • Total points earned: 160,500
  • Extra credit:

Value of 160,500 points

The value of these points totally depends on how you use them.  I think the highest value is probably at the lowest and highest ends of their properties.  Category 1 property awards cost only 9000 points per night.  Top end category 6 hotels cost 50,000 points per night.

With 160,500 points you can:

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  1. With Big Night promo Carlson has a strict policy that reservations must be made through them, either online or by phone, and not through any third party. Are you totally positive that navigating to their site from TopCashBack would disqualify you?

    • Eugene: Yes, I’m sure that you’ll still get credit after going through TopCashBack. The issue is when you use Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) like Expedia or Travelocity. They take a big cut of the hotel’s profit so most hotels do not give points for stays booked through them. Sites like TopCashBack are different. They do get a referral fee for sending traffic to the hotel’s website, but it’s a much smaller cut than an OTA gets.

  2. Great post FM. Thanks!
    Unfortunately, I’m in Atlanta, and we only have Country Inn & Suites.

    If I can somehow convince my wife to let me take our rental car for an hour or two while we’re in Dallas. . for a wedding. . . I can hit the other two brands.

    That’s one downside for club carlson properties for me :(

    worst case, for $73, I could get around 53,000 points.

  3. Club Carlson would only match my Hyatt Platinum with Silver Status. YRMV. Very, very easy process anyhow.

  4. I think you have to wait until 5/15 to reserve the room, or at least I saw that somewhere.

    Sign up for Carlson for Business now, since it may take 10 days to get the status:

    “Thank you for submitting your request for membership in Club Carlson for Business. Your company information will be reviewed for eligibility and you will be contacted within 10 business days with additional information.”

  5. sorry off topic but its about hitting minimum spend reqs.

    both I and my wife have several cards that has spend reqs. we are half way through it did, amazon and gift cards too. what is the cheapest way to send money online using a card? any thing lower than 3% fee? paypal is still 3 % fee. we dont have car or mortgage to pay.

  6. @toomanybooks
    Good points. From the T&C
    “Promotion is not valid on existing reservations and is subject to availability.”

  7. I just noticed there’s not park inn’s near me, and there’s only 10 in the US apparently? anyway, maybe some of them will allow us to book online and check-in over the phone to get the promotion. we’ll have to look for anecdotes 😛

  8. Park Inn’s website indicates the only CA Park Inn is in Fresno-not enough points in the world would motivate me to go to Fresno in the summer.

  9. When using reference code ERWD2012 to sign-up for a new account I am getting a message that says, “Promotional Code is inactive”

    Seems to be dead?

  10. @Bacc
    There is no minimum payout at TopCashBack. Once any amount becomes payable in your account, you can request it that day and it should reach you within a few days.
    It can take a while to reach payable status though, based on the time it takes for stores to pass on the cashback.
    I hope that helps.

  11. Wife and I will be staying two nights in New Orleans in June. Can we both sign up for the promo and then each book one of those single nights?
    I’m sure we would have to check out and then check in again the second day but the double points would be worth it.

  12. topcashback site is out and doesn’t work?
    i was trying to buy some gift cards there on plasticjungle and wanted to earn cash backs thru topcashback but the site is not working. it says
    Server Error in ‘/’ Application.
    Runtime Error
    Description: An application error occurred on the server. The current custom error settings for this application prevent the details of the application error from being viewed remotely (for security reasons). It could, however, be viewed by browsers running on the local server machine.

    Details: To enable the details of this specific error message to be viewable on remote machines, please create a tag within a “web.config” configuration file located in the root directory of the current web application. This tag should then have its “mode” attribute set to “Off”.

  13. i almost bought a lucky brand giftcard for 25% off at plasticjungle.com until i checked their facebook page and saw a post where a man says his $274 paid target gift card had only $1.74 balance and knew at target store.

    anyone experienced similar horror and scam stories?

  14. @Jerry: Yes. You conceivably might have to change rooms, but probably not. That’s what my wife, my M-I-L, and I will be doing on 3 consecutive nights. Too bad my son is a minor!

    @Frequent Flyer Collector: The preliminary rules someone found specifically state that the accountholder who is collecting the points must check-in and check-out. Of course, you might be able to find a clerk who would overlook this, but maybe not.

  15. Great post! Any idea when the 4500 pts will post? I registered for that last Friday and I still see zero points in my club carlson account.

  16. I signed up for Hyatt Platinum and send the email to Carson with a screenshot asking for a status match. It has been a few days and no response…

  17. The participating hotels near me are all a bit sketchy. I want points for august europe travel I have coming up so I’m really hoping someone can find a way around actually staying at these hotels.

    (1) Would it be possible to check into / out of multiple hotel types on the same night and still get points?
    (2) If you have a participating hotel nearby could you check-in at night then just swing by again in the AM to check out?

    I wouldn’t go to these kinds of extremes, but the people posted pics of roaches on tripadvisor are kind of a big turn off.

    • Anon: checking into multiple hotels in one night would be risky. checking in at night and then showing up to check out in the morning should be safe. Just make sure to at least go into your room for a minute in the unlikely chance that they monitor that.

  18. How does one know if a business rate (5% off, booked with the small business ID) is eligible for the 50K?

    • Michael A: As long as your booking qualifies for point earnings, it should qualify for the 50K promotion. When a booking option doesn’t qualify, they state that explicitly (or so I’ve been told). I expect business rates do qualify.

  19. Got 2x rooms for $65 inc. tax using the 25% off code that ends tonight. Looks like Dulles Country Inn is a solid option for folks in the DC area.

  20. I just received a confirmation of a business account with Club Carlson. I see the 5% off business rate is quite higher than the best available rate (EX: best $66 Biz $85) . Is there a way to book at best rate then call in to add business account number?

  21. Just enrolled for the business account and received confirmation few hrs later. Does anyone know if you need to apply for the promo with your business Club Carlson # or should I just apply using my personal CC# and then book a reservation for myself through the business acct? Is there any ways to merge my personal acct with the business acct?

    Thx – PS

    • PointSnob: You do not need your business ID to sign up for the promo. You don’t get a second account, you just get a business ID code to use with your bookings. I’ll post more info about that tomorrow.

      KK: No, I don’t think they’ll retroactively recognize your higher status. It can’t hurt to call and ask, though (once you have silver or gold status)

  22. I emailed them late last week asking for a status match to my Hilton Gold, but no response yet. I’m planning to knock out the Country Inn stay tomorrow night (made the reservation with the discounted rates last week) – do you think they’ll retroactively recognize my stay at the higher level, i.e., with the bonus points for online booking and dollars spent?

  23. More info.
    For 15% off you can get an Advanced purchase rate. But with this rate you can’t get a refund if you don’t use your reservation, you can’t choose bed type or room type (smoking or non-smoking). There is a limit as to how many advanced purchases each hotel will provide and for each hotel you need to book this advanced ticket in advance. Its either 14-30 days in advance.

    The business account number is called “PCR Number” which you will earn in addition to your normal 20 points per dollar spent.

  24. I signed up for 2 club carlson accounts (one for me one for wife).
    We both have PC Plat, Hyatt Plat, HHonors Gold. I have some other statuses.

    Club Carlson only gave us both silver status. Won’t give us gold status. Bummer.

  25. the 4500 points bonus expired by the time I got there, but I picked up the 1500 (I think) bonus code.
    Has anyones points posted for signing up for an account?

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