Maximizing Club Carlson’s Triple Points Promotion

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Through Club Carlson’s Triple Points promotion it’s possible to earn up to 110 points per dollar (or more)!  Here’s how…

Club Carlson has just announced their latest Triple Points promotion which is valid for stays from January 8th through March 15, 2013.  Here is how to maximize your point earnings:

1. Sign up for the promo

You won’t receive triple points automatically, you must signup first!  Do so here.  Club Carlson normally gives 20 points per dollar for stays.  With this promotion, you’ll earn 60 points per dollar instead!

2. Get a Club Carlson credit card

I’ve said before that these cards are awesome (see “Club Carlson rocks our world… Again“).  For earning points during stays, the best of the cards help in two ways: they give you Gold status (which means higher point earnings) and they give you 10 points per dollar at Club Carlson properties.

Both of the following cards are winners.  The personal card has a $75 annual fee and the business card has a $60 annual fee, but they otherwise are almost identical.  If you have a business, go for the business card unless you would miss the consumer protections that come automatically with the personal card.

3. Sign up for Club Carlson for Business

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% discount off standard rates.

Things get complicated, though, if you want to use a promo code.  Let’s say, for example, the AAA discount is better than the business discount.  In that case, you can use the AAA code and get business points by following this advice.  Unfortunately, if you do that, you won’t earn an online booking bonus (see “Club Carlson for business one more thing“).

So, do the math to see which works best for you.  Your options are:

  • Use business 5% discount:  With this approach you get the extra 10X business points, plus the online booking bonus.
  • Use a better promo code (AAA, for example):  With this approach you need to pick either the extra 10X points or the online booking bonus.  For short, cheap stays, the online booking bonus is preferable.  For expensive stays (over $200), getting an extra 10X would be preferable.

4. Book your stays through an online portal

I use CashBackHolics to find the best shopping portal.  If you are planning a stay at a Radisson, for example, go to CashBackHolics, type in Radisson and find the best cash back options.  Currently, CashBackHolics reports that BeFrugal, TopCashBack, and Upromise all offer 5% back.

5. Add up the points and savings

Let’s assume you find a Radisson for $105 per night and you follow all of the above steps…

  • Use Club Carlson for Business 5% savings, so the rate becomes $99.75
  • Go through shopping portal for 5% back = $4.99 savings
  • Thanks to your Gold status, you get an online booking bonus of 2000 points
  • Thanks to the Triple points promotion, you earn 60 x 100 = 6000 points
  • Thanks to your Gold status you earn an extra 10 points per dollar, 10 x 100 = 1000 points
  • Thanks to your business account you earn an extra 10 points per dollar, 10 x 100 = 1000 points
  • Thanks to paying with your Club Carlson credit card you earn an extra 10 points per dollar, 10 x 100 = 1000 points

In total, you would save about 10% and earn 11,000 points.  That’s 110 points per dollar!  Free nights at some properties start at only 9000 points, so with one paid night you would earn enough points for a free night at some properties.  Even better, the Club Carlson credit card gives you a bonus award night with each award stay. (Note: The Bonus Award night feature was discontinued on June 1, 2015.) So, you can use 9000 points for two nights at certain properties!

Is this mattress run worthy?

A mattress run is where you book a hotel room just to earn points, elite status, or other perks.  110 points per dollar is fantastic, so some might wonder whether it is worth checking into Club Carlson hotels just for the points.

First, let’s look at the above example. Suppose hotel taxes came to 10%.  In that case, you would pay $109.73 and get $4.99 back from a cash back portal for a net cost of $104.74.  For that price, you would get 11,000 points.  In other words, you would be paying $104.74/11000 = .95 cents per point.  That’s not bad, but since Club Carlson sells their points for .7 cents each, this would not be a worthy mattress run.

How about a much cheaper stay?  Suppose you can find a property that costs just $50 per night after discounts, or $55 after tax.  In that case you would earn 6500 points and $2.75 cash back.  Cost per point would be $52.25/6500 = .8 cents per point.  Again, this is a great return, but it is more expensive than simply buying points from Club Carlson.

So, unless you can find another promotion that stacks on top of this one, the answer is still “no”, the deal is not mattress run worthy.  But it’s close!

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