How I Burned All of My Club Carlson Points & Why I’ll Keep My Credit Cards

How I Burned All of My Club Carlson Points

It is always unfortunate to wake up to bad news… especially on a Friday. I first saw the news that the Club Carlson Credit Cards would be dumping the Bonus Award Night from Frequent Miler.

This was one of the greatest credit card benefits that existed, in my opinion. Basically, the deal was that your last night on a points stay of 2+ nights was free… so either buy one get one, buy two get one, buy three get one…. et cetera. It was maximized at buy one get one… so two nights for the price of one. And I never could even bring myself to redeem Club Carlson points in increments other than two nights! …which was sometimes inconvenient.

I wanted to burn as many of my points as possible. And it worked out really nicely for an upcoming trip to Ireland with two of my friends!

There are quite a few Club Carlson properties in Ireland, and in cities you would most likely want to visit. As it turns out… I have booked 10 of our 12 nights at Club Carlson properties…

Two nights at each of…

  • Radisson Blu Royal Hotel Dublin – 44,000 Points
  • Park Inn by Radisson Belfast – 28,000 Points
  • Radisson Blu Hotel and Spa Sligo – 28,000 Points
  • Radisson Blu Hotel and Spa Galway – 44,000 Points
  • Radisson Blu Hotel and Spa Cork – 28,000 Points

For a total of 172,000 Club Carlson points.

Now, in some ways this isn’t quite ideal because we are traveling as a group of 3… two twin beds for three people is going to be a little tight, but we’re all okay with it. Plus, we’ll be so tired from being out and about, we’ll fall asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillow anyway!

Why I’ll Still Keep [Both of] My Club Carlson Credit Cards

There’s no argument, this is a huge blow to the program… but we all knew it was coming, and it is still a great program. The annual fee on the personal card is $75 and on the business card is $60. For each card, you are given 40,000 points upon renewal. The new benefit is that after $10,000 of manufactured spend, you are given one free night. Since the card earns 5 points per dollar spent, $10K in spend will net 50,000 points. Club Carlson hotels can be redeemed for between 9,000 and 70,000 points per night, so my keeping my cards open I will be able to earn 40,000 points upon renewal, 50,000 points for $10K of spend, and 1 free night for $10K of spend.

After looking at my redemption habits with Club Carlson, I can reasonably assume that I will get 3 nights after paying the annual fee and doing the $10K of spend for a free night. That works out to 3 nights for $75 annual fee + a maximum of $100 manufactured spending costs for the personal card, and 3 nights for $65 annual fee + $100 spending costs for the business card. Six nights for $335 or less is a pretty good deal in my book, since I have pretty strict redemption requirements and will only redeem when it makes financial sense to (keep in mind, my personal alternative is usually a hostel) or when I am traveling with friends.

8 Comments

  1. The free night after $10k is only on US properties…so in other words mostly worthless. They f**cked us again, even while attempting to soften the blow of the morning’s carnage.

    1. Yeah, this kills it for me. I’ve a strong desire for some newly crowned 70k/night international destinations and I rarely if ever require booking in the US (and if pushed to, would just use Hilton which is actually omnipresent here unlike internationally). From my vantage point then, it’s 2 nights/($175+ MfrSpend Hassle or Opporunity Cost).

  2. I agree that the cards are still worth keeping, and worth spending $10,000 per year. I no longer think it is worth manufacturing spend beyond the $10,000 though.

    I’ve seen some reports that the free night will only be for bookings in the USA. I hope that isn’t the case because Club Carlson properties in the US are mediocre (with a very few exceptions).

  3. I agree with you. I’m definitely planning to keep my cards, especially as long as Redbird remains a viable MS option.

  4. Once again, Carlson pulls the rug out from under its members. This is a repeat act. GoldPoints massively devalued, now this one, again without notice. People, you just can’t trust these guys…. I won’t be putting $10k on their card. Or $1 more. Or continuing my late habit of occasional Radisson stays. Nope. Minor devaluations are one thing; repeated thrashings are another.

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