How to maximize Club Carlson point earnings: 30,000 points plus 92 points per dollar

Club Carlson is currently offering a couple of overlapping promotions which make it lucrative to book Club Carlson stays despite the fact that they have announced a huge devaluation to their credit card benefits.  For those just catching up, you can find all of the background info here:

If you’re thinking of capitalizing on these promotions, read this post to maximize your point earnings

ClubCarlson_StackPromos

Base Earnings 20X

By default, Club Carlson offers a very generous 20 points per dollar spent at their hotels.

Gold Status +7X

Club Carlson elite members earn bonus points for each stay: Silver members earn 15% more (3 extra points per dollar); Gold members earn 35% more (7 extra points per dollar); and top tier Concierge members earn 75% more (15 extra points per dollar).  Since two of the Club Carlson credit cards give Gold status automatically, I’ll assume that most readers have Gold status.

Credit Card +10X

The top two Club Carlson credit cards (Premier Rewards Visa Signature and Business Rewards Visa) offer 10 points per dollar when used at Club Carlson properties.

Club Carlson for Business +10X

Club Carlson has a program for businesses to earn even more. You can find details about the program (including how to sign up) here. If you qualify for this program, you can earn an additional 10 points per dollar for each stay (8X automatically + 2X for booking online). Even better, businesses are given a 5% to 15% discount off standard rates.  It’s important, though, to always compare the business discount rates to the best rates you may qualify for with other discounts such as AAA, Government Rate, or Senior Citizen Rate.

Discounts are as follows:

  • Russia, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates: 15%
  • Asia Pacific, most of Europe and Africa: 10%
  • North, South and Central America: 5%

If you do not have a business, but would like to save 5% to 15%, feel free to put my business code (111924) in the Corporate ID box when searching for rooms at ClubCarlson.com (Click “More Search Options”, then enter the code in the box labeled “Corporate Account ID”).  That way, you’ll hopefully save a bit of money (and I’ll earn an extra 10 points per dollar for your stay – thanks!).

ClubCarlson_moresearchoptions

Booking Bonus +5X (sort of)

Club Carlson often has promotional offers of bonus points for booking online or, more often, for booking through their mobile app.  Usually, these are fixed point offers.  For example, the current offer is for 1000 bonus points for booking through their mobile app.  If you have an inexpensive stay, that bonus can translate to a large number of points per dollar. For example, with a $50 stay, 1000 bonus points equals an extra 20 points per dollar!  For more expensive stays, the bonus becomes less significant.  Another option is to find the best online portal rate and book that way.  Portal rates for Club Carlson hotels typically run around 5%.  For example, here are some of the current portal bonus rates available (as found on CashBackMonitor.com):

Radisson Hotels:

ClubCarlson_CBM_RadissonHotels

 

Radisson Blu:

ClubCarlson_CBM_RadissonBlu

A good way to decide whether to earn portal rewards or a booking bonus is to estimate the value of the booking bonus and compare to the estimated value of the portal rewards.  For example, with a $100 stay at a Radisson Blue, you could currently earn $6 cash back from TopCashBack.  Alternatively, you could currently get 1000 bonus points by registering for the current promo and booking through the mobile app.  The current Fair Trading Price for Club Carlson points is .28 cents per point, so 1000 bonus points are worth roughly $2.80.  In this example, cash back is the better bet.

52X before counting special deals

The options listed above for maximizing points per dollar from Club Carlson stays are available all of the time.  If we conservatively count portal rewards as 5X (even though cash back is worth much more than Club Carlson points), then we can always earn 52 points per dollar for Club Carlson stays.

Triple Points Promotion + 40X

The current Triple Points Promotion (through June 28th) offers an extra 40 points per dollar for each eligible stay (points + cash stays are ineligible).  Make sure to sign up first!  Details here.  By combining with the above listed techniques, were are now up to 92 points per dollar!

+30,000 Bonus Points for current card holders

Last week, Club Carlson devalued their credit card program by announcing the end of Bonus Award Nights (get the last night of a multi-night award stay for free).  Full coverage of this change can be found here.  And, tips for getting the most out of your Club Carlson cards before its too late, can be found here.  To slightly compensate for the change, Club Carlson is now offering 30,000 points to cardholders for their next eligible stay until August 31, 2015.  Here is the relevant part of the announcement:

And, to thank you for your continued loyalty, you can earn 30,000 bonus Gold Points® on your next Eligible Stay at a Carlson Rezidor hotel worldwide when you pay with your Club CarlsonSM Visa®. Offer ends August 31, 2015.

Unlike all of the other options presented here for increasing points, this 30K deal is for one stay only.  Still, 30,000 points is a huge bonus!

Even more points

Club Carlson runs bonus point promotions all of the time.  Some promos are specific to certain hotels or regions.  Some require booking certain room types.  For a rundown of current promotions like these, checkout the Frequent Flyer Bonuses Club Carlson page.

Also checkout Club Carlson’s ongoing Mega Points promo in which they offer an extra 10,000 points per night at select properties when using promo code MEGAPTS.  Room prices may be a bit more expensive than with other discount codes, but it could be well worth it for the extra 10,000 points.

How good is this?

Suppose you stay one night in a $100 per night hotel. If you combine all of the opportunities shown above (not counting any additional promos described under “Even more points”), you will earn the following rewards:

  • 2,000 base points
  • 700 Gold elite bonus points
  • 1,000 credit card points
  • 1,000 business points
  • $5 portal bonus
  • 4,000 bonus points from triple point promo
  • 30,000 bonus points from the “we’re sorry we massively devalued your credit card” promo.

Total: 38,700 points plus $5.  If you value points conservatively at .28 cents each (See: Fair Trading Prices), that’s a rebate worth $113.36.  And, of course, if you get those points before the end of May, you can get much more value from them by booking Bonus Award Nights before its too late.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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Comments

  1. I have both the Club Carlson personal card and the Club Carlson business card. The email I got about the end of the Bonus Award nights for the personal card offered the 30K for one night, but the business card did not mention it at all. Any idea why?

    • I checked with Club Carlson about this via Twitter, and they confirmed that the 30K bonus is for BOTH personal and business account.

  2. MegaPoints seems to drastically change the room rate, searched a few of the properties and seems to be around a 50% increase in cost ($71 to $109 for example)

    • FM, As Nate said, there is a quite a difference in the rates with the Mega Points rate.

      For example, take the Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel Scranton, Pennsylvania (just some random location I picked). Beautiful property by the way at least from the outside.

      The lowest rate is $116.10 per night. However the Mega Points rate is $149. In your opinion, is the extra $32.90 for the additional 10,000 points worth it?

    • @Nate – Denver southeast Radisson by any chance? Those are the prices I’m getting for a weekend night too.

      I don’t think this is worth a mattress run though, as $80 will get me 37,000 points or there abouts. That’s only $7,400 in spending on the CC which is pretty easy to do for better than free too.

      • But think…you don’t have to buy and liquidate 15 VGC’s. It’s a simple drive out to Parker/225, check in and go home (or watch TV from the bed for an hour or so).

        I’m saving my AMEX GC rotation spend for other cards, like Barclay. This is a mattress run for me, simply because I have other goals to focus on with the 14 day AMEX limit.

        • 14 day Amex limit? You know they’ve increased personal GCs to 100k now also?

          I don’t know if the $80 is worth the 37k points for us since we can’t seem to find flights in J to Europe for August. We were going to do BOS-DUB, but all the Aer Lingus flights disappeared almost overnight so that’s out.

  3. Very useful reference to the business program, thanks.

    As pinball machines became more commonplace, players scored thousand of points instead of hundreds of points. But ultimately you’re playing the same game for the same amount of time. Club Carlson is starting to feel like one of the newer, flashier pinball machines. Look! 1000 points over here! Now you only need to score 40,000 more points to get a hotel room in NYC…

    • Yes. From Club Carlson’s T&C:

      “Eligible Rate” means a rate identified in Carlson’s reservation system as eligible for Gold Points. Eligible Rate does not include, without limitation, the following: employee rates; friends and family rates; airline crew rates; travel agency employee rates; certain promotional and package rates; rates paid using a free night voucher and other complimentary or barter rooms; rates booked through an online travel company, whether such rates are direct, auction or bid rates; rates booked and billed through a master account, including group accounts and tour operator accounts; and certain other rates booked through third parties.

  4. Wanted to help you out and use your code, but for my next 4 night stay, it was same price for 1 night, and $10/night more the other 3…

  5. Or we could simply complete already booked award stays and drop this program after the unannounced removal of the last night bonus. Sure you are trying to make the best out of the situation and that’s honorable I guess but to me I’m done with the program after my upcoming stays in London and Amsterdam. To me there’s no value in domestic stays and the removal of the last night bonus on points WAS THE DRAW to the program. Was it abused to the point it needed to be removed to stay profitable? Who knows and really who cares – they offer it and I used it within the spirit of the offer. I simply won’t spend $100 to get 37,800 points that won’t cover a free night in Europe at the properties I enjoy visiting. Ear, burn and move on after my stays and a couple of tries at free points for keeping the card for another year.

  6. I was reviewing the bonus night rules on the Club Carlson site and ran across the following:

    “Your Account must be open and reservation must be in the Club Carlson member’s name and use the member number associated with your Account to be eligible for the Bonus Award Night.”

    Might be important NOT to close Club Carlson Visa accounts until AFTER the Bonus Nights are redeemed or else risk losing the benefit for any stays booked in advance…

  7. Don’t forget that there’s a book via mobile app bonus available as well. Very useful if there isn’t a portal bonus available.

  8. I’ve already booked a two night stay in July with the second night free because I used award nights. A couple questions, do I need to keep my credit card open for this to still work when I show up at the hotel? If I book another night for earning the extra 30k do I need to keep my credit card open? Isn’t it if you get the points it goes to your club Carlson account (not credit card account) and doesn’t really have much to do with the credit card after that?

  9. Here is the answer to keeping points without keeping your credit card open. “To clarify, any and all points earned will remain in your account should
    you wish to cancel your Club Carlson Visa Card.”

  10. Two questions if I may 🙂

    1) Does anyone know how long it takes, once the CC points are earned on the Visa, to transfer to the CC account itself in order to start booking hotels online? ( According to CC Visa, I’ve earned the points, but they are not yet showing up in my CC account)

    2) SInce I just got the card and just used it for a lot to spend, in hopes of using the 2nd night bonus, that was dashed with the recent announcement. I called to see if I could get a refund of the $75 annual fee – just paid last week (!) and US Bank pushed me off to Club Carlson and when I spoke to CC, they pushed me back to US Bank – very disappointing.

  11. Hi,

    Good Info. Like to know If I book stay with either AAA rate or Corporate Rate or any promo code then will I earn all the Point scenarios as mentioned above(excluding business 10x)?

    Thanks,
    Sharat

    • I don’t believe there is any sort of verification process. Here is what my signup email said a couple of years ago. Note that it doesn’t suggest having to show a company ID anywhere:

      Use your company ID number when you make reservations for your employees, contractors, vendors and associates to stay on business at Radisson®, Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM, Park Inn® and Park Plaza® hotels. Your Company ID provides access to a 5% discount off our standard nightly rates and enables your company to earn Gold Points on qualifying stays.

  12. Some Data points for you FM.

    Seems unlike what the promo says, you don’t have to use your Club Carlson Visa to get the 30K bonus.

    Booked a 3 night stay at Radisson Blu Chennai City Centre for my parents. Excellent service, by the way; people went above their call of duty to accommodate my ill father. I redeemed points for 2 nights and paid for the third night; it was US$133.38. They wouldn’t accept the card I had used to make the reservation(CSP), without faxing some additional paperwork. So, I asked my mom to use the Marriott Visa she had.

    For the paid night, this is how it posted:
    Room Points: 2,067
    Promotion Points – Club Carlson Visa Cardholder 30,000 Point Offer: 30,000
    Promotion Points – Triple Points Bonus 2015: 4,133
    Room Points – Gold 35% Bonus: 724

    I had a paid stay at Country Inn, Waldorf, MD this weekend and used the Club Carlson Visa to pay. I was thinking to get the 30K bonus for this stay. But it didn’t. For a $93.40 stay, I got 934 points.

    My question is, I booked all these using their Mobile App. Why didn’t they post the 5000 bonus for doing so? What was the last date for that mobile app offer?

    • Great info. Thanks for posting. I removed your duplicate comment. I think that the 5K mobile booking bonus ended at the end of March or somewhere around there. Also, I’m not surprised that you only got one 30K bonus: each cardholder is only eligible for one.

      • FM, after posting, I realized, the bonus was 1000 points for Mobile App booking. I think I may have booked using a cashback portal.

        I was aware that the 30,000 bonus was given only once. Only I didn’t expect it to be offered for a non-Club Carlson Visa transaction.

        Also, do you know why I was given given about 45 points per $ {(2067+4133)/$133.38}, instead of 60 points for the Radisson Blu stay as mentioned in the terms? Is it 15 per $ or 20 per $ ? Thank you.

  13. Just completed a friends+family stay recently and was not awarded any points (as expected). The 30k bonus wasn’t automatically triggered as well. The representative could’t help with forcing the 30k promotion to apply. I guess I have until August 31st book another stay.

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