Club Carlson Credit Card Free Award Night Benefit Going Away

I’m not a huge follower of the Club Carlson program but I’ve debated getting their credit card solely for the purpose of award stays.  You see, they have this nifty benefit where the last night of any award stay is free when you’re a cardholder.  That means even a 2-night award stay gets the last night free.  So, booking short award stays is very lucrative.  Well, was lucrative.

Frequent Miler has the scoop on the changes to the current bonus night benefit on the Club Carlson Rewards Credit Card.

Club Carlson

The new benefit is a free night for every $10,000 spent on the card.  Assuming it’s not limited to specific categories of properties, that’s still a nice benefit in a vacuum.  But, it’s much less lucrative than a free night on every award.  And, most people don’t have the means to generate $40K-$50K on a credit card to earn a handful of free nights every year.

There’s no doubt this kills any desire I have to get the card.

It may still be a good benefit for folks who have a high amount of spend and value hotel nights.  If we just consider everyday spend, this is what $10,000 in credit card spending would get you from two of my favorite chains versus the new Club Carlson offer:

Starwood Preferred Guest AMEX:  10,000 points, good for a free night at a Category 1-4 property.

Hyatt Gold Passport Visa:  10,000 points, good for a free night at a Category 1-2 property.

Club Carlson Rewards Visa Signature Card:  30,000 points plus one free night.  The 30,000 points will get you a free night at a Category 1-3 property.  But, if the free night isn’t limited by category, then there are definitely Club Carlson properties at the high-end of the spectrum that make this a worthwhile offering.

Bottom Line It For Me, Ed

By removing the benefit that earned one free night on every award stay, Club Carlson has made their credit card less appealing to “free agents”, people who don’t have a specific loyalty chain in mind when they stay.  It’s also less appealing for folks who already have a favorite chain, like me.  If you’re a Club Carlson fan, the card should stay in your wallet.  Whether you should spend $10,000 or more on it each year is another story, based on your individual travel goals (and whether the free night is category-limited).


The post Club Carlson Credit Card Free Award Night Benefit Going Away was published first on Pizza In Motion.

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13 Comments

  1. This is the worst news! I have the personal and business versions of this card solely for the 2nd night free benefits. Will have to reconsider keeping these cards once the annual fee comes due.

    1. Lee, if that’s the only reason you hold onto the cards, you’re likely going to want to get rid of at least one of them. How much spending do you put on the cards now?

      1. I assume the annual 40,000 points annual bonus is not going away, though, or they would have said so. That’s still not bad in exchange for the annual fee.

        1. Dave, it’s not bad in the context of earning other Club Carlson points. But, without the existing free night benefit, even 40K doesn’t really buy you a vacation. So, I think you need to be committed to some other method of earning a decent amount of Club Carlson points to keep the card.

  2. I doubt it if it’s ”every 10000 you spend”. The statement says”Starting 6/1/2015 Cardmembers can earn a Free Night at a Carlson Rezidor hotel by spending $10,000 annually and paying the annual fee” which does not mention what will happen if you spend multiple 10000.

    1. Good point, Brett. We’ll need to get more info on the restrictions of the night itself and how many you can earn.

      1. Just received an email from Carlson “This Free Night will replace the current Bonus Award Night benefit. Bonus Award Night stays may not be booked after June 1, 2015. You’ll receive the new Free award upon renewal of your card after an annual spend of $10,000. Updated program terms and conditions will apply and be available on June 1, 2015. ” 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.”

          1. “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. “

  3. We’ll be canceling our card when it comes up for renewal next year because of this change. Ah well… nice while it lasted.

    1. Michael, that’s a good way to summarize most of the deals in this game. They rarely last forever but there’s usually something else just around the corner.

  4. $10,000 in spend will get you 50k points (plus one free night), not 30k points. The card gives 5 points per dollar spent. That is actually a pretty good value. That would get you two nights in Paris or London.

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