Club Carlson’s 30,000 point bonus may be easier to get than expected

As a reminder, Club Carlson is dumping the Bonus Award Nights feature of their credit cards as of June 1, 2015.  Shortly after I reported this change, Club Carlson sent emails to cardholders titled “Information regarding your Club Carlson Visa Benefits”.  To help ease the blow, they told many (but not all) cardholders about a one time 30,000 point bonus:

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.

The email also contained the following fine print (bolding is mine):

The 30,000 Bonus Points Offer (the “Offer”) is available only to Club CarlsonSM Visa® cardholders. The Offer is valid for 30,000 bonus Gold Points® on an Eligible Stay between April 1, 2015 and August 31, 2015 (“Promotion Period”). One Offer per Club Carlson Visa account holder. You must provide your Club Carlson number at the time of reservation or at check-in and pay for your stay with your Club CarlsonSM Visa®. Stays or nights paid for by redeeming points or by using Points + Cash are not eligible for the Offer.

Some who weren’t offered the 30,000 point bonus complained via Twitter.  And Club Carlson responded that all cardholders were eligible for the offer.  See this conversation, for example:

Club Carlson 30,000 point bonus

The terms for the 30,000 point offer clearly that state that you must have a paid stay and you must pay for that stay with your Club Carlson credit card.  As a result, many have thought about doing “mattress runs” where they book a cheap hotel night and check-in, just for the bonus points.  I wrote about how to maximize paid stays like these, here:

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

Club Carlson credit card not required?

It generally makes sense to pay for your Club Carlson stays with the Club Carlson credit card.  After all, the card earns 10 points per dollar at Club Carlson properties.  However, there may be times that it would make sense to use a different card.  For example, when staying at a property outside of the US, you might prefer to pay with a card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees.  Or, if you use the Prestige card’s 4th night free benefit (like I am doing soon – details here), its probably safer to pay with your Prestige card to ensure getting that 4th night free.  Or, if you book the stay for someone else, its probably better for them to pay with their own credit card.

A reader going by Pennadam found that 30K points were awarded even when paying with a different credit card…

Pennadam wrote::

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.

Paid stay not required?

Its not too surprising that Club Carlson isn’t enforcing the requirement to pay with your Club Carlson Visa card.  That type of thing happens often.  However, you would think that it would still be necessary to book a fully paid rate, right?  Maybe not.  DanV reports earning his 30,000 point bonus after an award stay in which he charged breakfast to his room.  He didn’t even pay with his Club Carlson card…

DanV wrote:

I just got my 30,000 bonus points with a non-paid stay from the Park Plaza Westminster London (great hotel). It was a free stay with points (2 free nights there, then 2 free nights across the street at the Park Plaza County Hall). I booked with the Club Carlson Visa, but my only charge was for breakfast and I paid that with a different card.

This is very interesting.  I don’t know if DanV would have earned the bonus without any charges to his room – it seems unlikely.  So, if you have an award stay planned you might want to charge something to your room during the stay to try to trigger the 30,000 point bonus.

Don’t count on it

It would be great to get the 30,000 point bonus without a paid stay and/or without paying with the Club Carlson Visa, but you shouldn’t count on it.  If points aren’t awarded, you would be very unlikely to get help from Club Carlson since you didn’t meet the terms of the offer.  The ideal situation would be one in which you have an award stay planned anyway.  You could then wait and see if you earn the bonus then, if not, plan a mattress run.

How long until bonuses post?

I’ve been asked by a few people how long it takes after a stay for the 30K bonus to post.  The reason is that they want to use the 30K bonus to book an award before the Bonus Award night feature is gone.  Based on a few comments from readers, it sounds like the 30K bonus posts right away, but I’m not really sure.  If you have earned the 30K bonus, please comment below to let us know how long it took to post.  Thanks!

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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  1. The points posted with the hotel stay points 3 days later.

    Room Points 6,615
    Promotion Points – Club Carlson Visa Cardholder 30,000 Point Offer 30,000
    Promotion Points – Triple Points Bonus 2015 13,229
    Promotion Points – Triple Points 2015 App Booking Bonus 1,000
    Room Points – Gold 35% Bonus 2,316

  2. for those booking via the app, that’s $1k points..but IIRC using TCB gives 5% CB, so depending on length of stay, using the app prob. won’t make sense…

  3. Do you have to register for this promotion? Or is it automatic if you have the CC. I don’t see an offer on my account.

  4. I stayed April 9. No 30,000 points yet. CC claims it takes 6-8 weeks after promotion ends. I said “friends of mine” already had the bonus post and the CC phone agent asked for their names to check their accounts. Grrr….

  5. I don’t have this card yet, but was planning to get one. So, the current bonus offer is 85K after $2.5K spend. So, if I get this card now, and book an eligible stay, then will I get additional 30K bonus points in adding to 85K?

    Also, is it even worth to get this card for an annual fee of $75?

    • I’m not sure if they’ll apply the offer to new cardholders. Probably, but I think you would have to check with Club Carlson about that.
      Is the card worth the annual fee? I think so — if you ever stay at Club Carlson properties. With the first annual fee you get 85K points and each year afterwards you get 40K points. It should be pretty easy to get far more than $75 value from those points.

  6. Interesting. I stayed at the $80 a night Country Inn and Suites in Mishiwaka, paid with my card and not only got 3x the points but my 30,000 points posted at the same time. So maybe 2 days after my stay, 3 days max. Not a bad haul for the $80.10 I paid but the hotel is very dated.

    Hotel Stay – Apr 11 2015 To Apr 12 2015 – Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Mishawaka, IN 41,367

    Room Points 1,602
    Promotion Points – Club Carlson Visa Cardholder 30,000 Point Offer 30,000
    Promotion Points – Club Carlson App Booking Bonus 5,000
    Promotion Points – Triple Points Bonus 2015 3,204
    Promotion Points – Triple Points 2015 App Booking Bonus 1,000
    Room Points – Gold 35% Bonus 561

  7. Stayed at Park Inn LHR, paid with my CSP, and did not get the bonus. Was not targeted for the promo though.

    Just another datapoint.

  8. Thanks for the data points! What If I get a pretty paid room but not check in. Do I get the points? That way I can just pre pay for the cheapest room anywhere in the US

  9. I’ve award stays count for “paid-stay” promotions before, so it seems CC can sometimes act contrary to their promotion requirements. Spent 50,000 points for a two-night stay in New York a year ago, which triggered earning 40,000 back for a multiple-night-stay promotion. 5,000 points/night was a pretty good deal.

  10. Stayed April 3rd on my card and the 30K points posted 3 days later on April 7th. Stayed April 4th on my wife’s card and the 30K points still have not posted as of today April 23rd.

  11. Thanks for the data points everyone! One additional question for those who are still waiting for the 30K bonus more than a week after your stay: did you receive the offer via email? I’m curious whether recipients of the email are more likely to get the bonus automatically (vs. having to fight for it later).

    • Both myself and my wife received email offer. Points posted 3 days later for me, but her’s still have not posted as of today April 28.

  12. As it happens, I am currently in a Club Carlson hotel on an award stay and was targeted for the 30,000 bonus point promo. Sounds like I’ll be doing a little experiment while I’m here. Let’s see… what’s the cheapest item I could possibly charge to the room? There’s a $4.50 can of Diet Coke available in the mini bar, but I suspect I can do better than that…

  13. Do you have to book the room directly through club carlson to get the 30k or can you use a third party site? Thanks

    • If you go through an online travel agency you probably won’t get any points. Best bet is to go through a cash back portal to Radisson to book your stay directly on the Radisson website.

  14. Stayed on the 15th, points (including the 30K bonus) posted today
    7500 point retention bonus posted the day after I spoke with them

  15. I took advantage of a 3 Day Sale-Save 25% promotion and booked one night using my CC Account and another night using my husband’s @ Club Carlson property.

  16. My husband has a stay at a Radisson coming up next week. He will not pay for it with his Carlson CC because he works for the Fed Govt and they are picky about how you pay for your travel on business trips. So we will see if he gets the bonus points.

    I stayed at a Country Inn & Suites in Orlando April 2-6 and my room points, Gold Bonus and 30K promotion points posted on April 9. I earned 37,863 for that 4 night stay PLUS 4,012 points for the CC spend. Not bad.

  17. they are giving you $75 refund and 25k bonus for removing the bonus award night benefit &
    Print out the card member benefit include it in your complaint that says” bonus award night exclusively for card members”

    “enjoy all these benefits after paying $75 annual fee.

    after you file the complaint, you will get a call from US bank to refund you the $75 fee and also 25K bonus points. If they offer you 7500 points, reject it and go back to reply at the complaint.

    • That is awesome. I tried mentioning over the phone that I just paid the annual fee and it says I’ll receive the following benefits for “paying the annual fee”, but they wouldn’t budge.

      This should get them moving! They’re not canceling Club Carlson accounts or cc’s for doing this though are they? I’ve got 3 award stays coming up and about to book 2 more. THAT would not be worth it for me haha.

    • Hey Dan,

      I called to see if I could get the $75 waived but that didn’t work. So I did the bbb and consumer finance complaint. I received a personal call a few days after that, and still, they were unable to waive it for me or give me 30k points. All I got was 7,500 points. I was told they made a ‘business decision’ to not waive my fee. Perhaps because the only time I used the card was when I first got the card, to get the sign up bonus…..

  18. Actually, my data point is interesting. I received 30k pointa for an award stay with no extra charge. Stay completed 4/9. Will have another data point next week

  19. I had a 3 night stay on the April 16th. I didn’t receive any points. Club Carlson rep said I would not receive the 30,000 points because I didn’t use my Club Carlson visa. Time to cancel my Club Carlson visa and shift my business somewhere else.

    • So you are blaming US Bank and CC because you did not follow the T&C’s? Some might get lucky and get points, but if they do not auto post then you are lilely screwed. Had you read, and followed, the T&C’s then you would have an additional 30k points

  20. don’t accept the 7500 points, they are refunding your $75 fee and giving your 25k points after CFPB and BBB complaint. they sold you this card for hard inquiry and $75 fee for many benefits and main was bonus award night benefit after paying $75 fee

  21. Stayed on the 19th, paid with the CC Visa had the email offer for the 30k points and still no points posted. Also paid my annual fee on 3/3 and the 40k points still not in my account, they said could be 6-8 weeks after fee paid for them to post, they have a week still I guess. Also was offered 7500 points for losing the last night free benefit. Time to file complaint and get the 25k.

  22. It takes about a week to post your points after stay:

    Apr 28 2015 Earn Hotel Stay – Apr 19 2015 To Apr 23 2015 – Radisson Hotel Cleveland Airport West – 33,000
    Room Points 8,800
    Promotion Points – Triple Points Bonus 2015 17,600
    Room Points – Concierge 75% Bonus 6,600

    Apr 24 2015 Earn Hotel Stay – Apr 14 2015 To Apr 17 2015 – Radisson Hotel Cleveland Airport West – 41,480
    Room Points 6,560
    Promotion Points – Club Carlson Visa Cardholder 30,000 Point Offer 30,000
    Room Points – Concierge 75% Bonus 4,920

  23. How are you printing card member agreement in order to file complaint? Only avenue I could find on U.S. Bank site was option to request a copy be mailed.

  24. I received my points but I needed to call in and the agent was able to give all points including app bonus. This was about 7 days after checkout.

  25. Anyone have an answer for David’s question? I signed up for this card mid-March and am not happy about this benefit loss. I don’t have the a screenshot of the original terms when I applied but I am quite sure they included the bonus night benefit. If you go to the Club Carlson website that language has been removed. Also, I just emailed US Bank to try to get some sort of compensation. Has anyone received the 25k/$75 without filing a formal complaint? Any info would be great!

  26. My husband’s points finally posted. He did not use the Club Carlson credit card so he did not get the bonus points. But he did get the Triple Point promo

    Radisson Hotel Salt Lake City Airport – HTCBVX90 28,408
    Room Points 8,480
    Promotion Points – Triple Points Bonus 2015 16,960
    Room Points – Gold 35% Bonus 2,968

  27. 2 Data Points:

    1. So I filed the CFPB complaint, and they sent me 7,500 points and did not waive the fee. They quoted the part in the T&C that says they can change the program or benefits at any time. I didn’t follow up. Have since followed a 2nd report.

    2. I had an award stay last week. Charged a water to the room and paid with Club Carlson card registered to 30k promo. Points posted for water about a week later, but no 30k. 🙁 I tried! One more award stay next week. Will try again! Those darn $3 waters!

  28. It appears that not all charges work to get the 30K bonus. I stayed at a Country Inn and Suites and used the Friends and Family rate and paid with my CC Visa. I didn’t get any points for it and it appears that I won’t get at least the 30K bonus as I had hoped. Should I call to try to get it?

    One follow up question if anyone is still looking at this thread:

    1.) I have a work stay coming up. If I use my CC Visa to pay for $5 of the bill and use my corporate card for the other part, will I get the 30K?

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