The Thief Oslo is ranked the number one hotel in Oslo, Norway on TripAdvisor. The Thief hotel has generated buzz since opening in January 2013.  The hotel location in Oslo is the upscale Aker Brygge waterfront district of high rise residences, trendy restaurants and the Astrup-Fearnley Museum of modern art.

How I stole 2 nights at The Thief Oslo with points is about using Choice Privileges points for the sixth and last Nordic Choice Hotels stay of my 13 nights spent in Norway in September 2014. Choice Privileges points allowed me to book one of Norway’s top luxury hotels for $80 per night.

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The opportunity to earn 7,500 miles with two Radisson hotel stays, earn 3,000 bonus points for booking these two stays using the Club Carlson mobile app and earn 60 points per dollar for hotel spend on the two stays is an intriguing analysis for stacking Club Carlson promotions on stays completed in the next two months.

Three Stacking Club Carlson Offers

1. Earn 3,000 points for up to 3 stays booked and completed by November 16, 2014 using the Club Carlson mobile app. This is the earliest promotion expiration date. Loyalty Traveler – 9,000 points for three Club Carlson mobile app bookings Sep 8 to Nov 16, 2014

2. Earn 7,500 bonus miles with American Airlines AAdvantage or Aeroplan after two Radisson Hotel brand stays by December 15, 2014. This is a brand specific promotion for the Radisson brand worldwide. Loyalty Traveler – Club Carlson 7,500 AAdvantage or Aeroplan miles Sep 15-Dec 15, 2014

3. Earn Triple Points at participating Club Carlson hotels in Americas for stays with check-in Sundays through Thursdays and check-out Mondays through Fridays by November 30, 2014. Earn triple points for Sundays to Thursdays. Loyalty Traveler – Club Carlson Triple Points BIZTIME3 rate for weekday nights to Nov 30

Promotions 1 and 2 can be earned with two stays at any Radisson Hotel worldwide. Promotion 3 is a special rate offer for triple points that may be combined with 1 and 2 at specific hotels in the Americas.

Analysis #1

Where I am coming from these days with my travel is focusing on trying to get by with around 10 paid nights every quarter of the year and try to earn 5 to 10 free nights every quarter of the year.

Offers from SPG and Hyatt that take 20 paid nights in a quarter are road warrior incentives to attract the big business spenders. I don’t have those kind of travel needs or budget.

This final quarter of 2014 has me looking closely at IHG Rewards Club where I can earn two free nights anywhere in the world with 3 paid nights with two of those 3 nights being a Holiday Inn Saturday night stay. That is my number one promotion completion goal for Q4-2014.

Club Carlson looks like another low budget, high value offer where two Radisson Hotel stays can earn 7,500 AAdvantage miles + 6,000 Club Carlson points + 60 points per dollar at specific Radisson Hotels.

Analysis #1 crunches the numbers to get an idea of what kind of hotel stay rebate I can get. I value my cash too much and this offer is not lucrative enough to book hotel stays I don’t need. My choice of hotel is truly based on picking a hotel where I might need to stay in the next two months.

Radisson Hotel Baton Rouge Louisiana

Sunday, October 5

  • BIZTIME3 Rate = $105 ($118.65 after tax).
  • AAA Hot Deal Rate = $84  ($94.92 after tax).
  • Both rates have same cancellation policy.

Assume I book using mobile app and I am registered for 7,500 bonus American Airlines miles after two Radisson stays.

BIZTIME3 Rate earns $105 x 60 points/$1 = 6,300 points.

AAA Hot Deal rate = 84 x 20 points/$1 = 1,680 points.

BIZTIME3 rate earns 4,620 extra points.

An extra $23.73 for 4,620 points is $5.14 per 1,000 points.

That is a decent deal for Club Carlson points, but I could take it or leave it. This analysis kind of indicates that there is no reason to go for a Radisson Hotel on the triple points list. The real value of this promotion is in the 7,500 miles for two Radisson stays and 3,000 bonus points for mobile app booking.

Radisson Baton Rouge

Two stays Sunday Oct 5 and Tuesday, Oct 7

BIZTIME3 = $105 per night ($238 after tax for two stays)

Club Carlson Earnings

  • 7,500 AAdvantage miles ($75 to $150 in value)
  • 6,000 Club Carlson mobile app booking points.
  • 12,600 points with triple points bonus.
  • 3,570 credit card (10 points/$1) and 35% Gold elite bonus points (7 points/$1) for Club Carlson Visa members paying with card.

Total for $238 in hotel spend = 18,600 Club Carlson points + 7,500 miles for any Club Carlson member or 22,170 Club Carlson points + 7,500 miles for member paying with Club Carlson Visa.

The rebate value for two hotel nights booked as two separate stays is about equivalent to the cost of the hotel nights. You can book a Club Carlson category 2 hotel reward night for 15,000 points or a category 3 hotel reward night for 28,000 points.

Analysis # 2

Radisson Hotel Ontario Airport Sunday, November 9

BIZTIME3 rate is $106 for this hotel night. An even better deal is to pay $113 and get upgraded to Concierge Room with breakfast buffet for two included in the rate.

Radisson Ontario 3x rate

BIZTIME3 triple points rate is $106 per night. For only $7 more you can upgrade to Concierge room for the night. The major advantage of that rate is breakfast buffet for 2 adults included.

Assume no Club Carlson elite status.

$113 night with triple points = 6,780 points.

Mobile app booking = 3,000 bonus points.

This hotel stay for $128.61 after tax earns 9,780 points ($50 to $70 value) and includes breakfast buffet for two.

As Club Carlson Gold with Club Carlson Visa credit card payment, this hotel stays earns an additional 17 points/$1 for 1,921 points.

Now assume you do this hotel stay twice and also get 7,500 AA miles.

Or choose a different LA area hotel like Radisson Whittier at $119 for Tuesday November 11.

This is $131 after tax.  For $260 in hotel spend you earn 13,920 points on $232 in hotel rate spend. You earn 7,500 American Airlines miles. You earn 6,000 mobile app booking points.

$260 earns 20,000 Club Carlson points + 7,500 AA miles. This is just one example of how three stackable promotions give a Club Carlson rebate equivalent to the cost of two hotel nights.

Analysis #3

In this example I will ignore the Radisson promotion for AA miles and focus on triple points and booking bonus only. Country Inns & Suites Ventura, California is a good road trip hotel when traveling between northern and southern California. The location is out of the LA freeway traffic nightmare for a good coastal place to stop for the night after a day at Disneyland and heading north or a good place to stop when heading south before hitting LA.

Country Inn Ventura

Over Veteran’s Day weekend, this hotel has $71 triple points rate.

  • 3,000 bonus points mobile booking.
  • 4,260 triple points
  • Gold elite paying with Club Carlson Visa $71 x 17 points/$1 = 1,207 points.

$78 hotel night earns 7,260 to 8,400 bonus points. That is a $40 to $57 rebate value on a $78 hotel room night.

Bottom line is there are some good value hotel stay opportunities with these Club Carlson stackable promotions. Two stays at Radisson Hotels booked through the mobile app earn 6,000 bonus points + 7,500 frequent flyer miles. Those are good value on their own. Find a triple points hotel and the rebate value can potentially be more than the cost to stay at the Radisson Hotels.

Business Time Triple Points is the third Club Carlson offer that can be stacked with two other offers. BIZTIME3 is a Club Carlson triple points rate for weekday nights stays at participating hotels in the Americas to November 30.

Club Carlson Triple Points BIZTIME3 rate for weekday nights to Nov 30 applies to stays with hotel check-in on Sunday through Thursday and check-out Monday through Friday. Not really clear from the terms how bonus points work if you stay through the weekend?

This offer earns 60 points per dollar for eligible stays.

Rate code BIZTIME3 is a higher rate than otherwise available. The hotel I checked was only $17 more per night than the lowest available rate. Other hotels might be $50 more per night. I give a value of $5 to $7 per 1,000 Club Carlson points. A $150 hotel rate earns 6,000 bonus points so these are worth $30 to $42 in my estimated value. I would not pay more than $30 to $42 extra per night in this case. If the hotel is available for $110 without triple points, then I might skip the BIZRATE3 offer.

Club Carlson BizTime 3

Terms & Conditions

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Take Off With More Miles is an offer for Club Carlson members to earn 7,500 bonus miles with American Airlines AAdvantage or Aeroplan after two stays at any Radisson Hotel between September 15 and December 15, 2014.

Club Carlson 7,500 AAdvantage or Aeroplan bonus miles are in addition to normal Club Carlson points earning. This is essentially a double dip offer for miles and points and does not require the Club Carlson member to change your account earning preference to miles.

Take off with More Miles when you stay twice with Radisson!

Club Carlson members who register for Take Off with More Miles offer by October 15 and complete two Eligible Stays at participating Radisson hotels by December 15, 2014, will earn 7,500 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles.

  • Register by October 15, 2014
  • Complete two Eligible Stays by December 15, 2014 (Please note the mobile app booking promotion for 3,000 Club Carlson bonus points ends November 16, 2014 if you want to combine these offers).
  • Present your Club Carlson member number at check-in for each stay
  • Terms and conditions apply

This is the second of three Club Carlson offers I am writing up today. Here are a couple of items to remember when looking at combining this offer with the bonus offer for 3,000 Club Carlson bonus points for three hotel stays booked using the Club Carlson mobile app.

Mobile app booking promotion for 3,000 Club Carlson bonus points ends November 16, 2014 if you want to combine the mobile app and bonus miles offers.

This bonus miles earning offer applies to any Radisson Hotel worldwide.

The other issue is this promotion applies to all points-earning rates. Points + Cash reservations earn Club Carlson points. You can book Points + Cash rates and the stay will earn this miles bonus, however, the mobile app booking for 3,000 Club Carlson bonus points excludes Points + Cash rates. If you want to stack the mobile app bonus and airline miles on the same hotel stay, you can’t book Points + Cash.

Club Carlson Take Off with More Miles

Loyalty Traveler Analysis

Assume two separate Radisson Hotel stays at $100 per night booked using the mobile app.

$200 for hotel earns 7,500 AAdvantage miles + 6,000 mobile app bonus points + 4,000 Club Carlson base points (20 points per $1 x $200).

For $200 the member earns 7,500 miles + 10,000 Club Carlson points. Elite member and credit card member bonuses are extra and can easily be another 4,000 bonus points for a Club Carlson Visa card member with Gold elite status earning an additional 10 points/$1 elite bonus points and credit card earning 10 points/$1 for Carlson Hotel stays.

7,500 AA miles are worth $75 to $150.

10,000 to 14,000 gold points are worth at least $50 to $100.

Two stays at Radisson Hotels can earn $125 to $250 rebate in the value of points and miles. Many of us can knock out two stays at Radisson of one night each for under $200. This is a good bonus miles offer on two Radisson Hotel stays. An even better offer when combined with mobile app booking. And a terrific offer if you can plan your stay at one of the Radisson Hotels offering triple points with the BIZTIME3 promotional rate for Sunday to Thursday check-in for stays completed by November 30, 2014.

And that takes me to the third Club Carlson promotion for triple points in the next post.

Club Carlson Radisson Hotels bonus miles registration page links:

7,500 miles American Airlines AAdvantage miles after 2 Radisson stays by Dec 15, 2014.

7,500 miles Aeroplan miles after 2 Radisson stays by Dec 15, 2014.

3,000 points per Club Carlson mobile app booking for any hotel worldwide, up to 9,000 bonus points after three bookings.

Loyalty Traveler – 9,000 points for three Club Carlson mobile app bookings Sep 8 to Nov 16, 2014

*****

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. Check out current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

Thanks to DealsWeLike I just booked a five day trip flying Frontier Airlines roundtrip San Francisco to Houston in December for $58 all-in, including $6 to book assigned seats.

Frontier Flashsale SFO-IAH round trip under $60 is a one day sale offer and the low $15 each way tickets are going fast. There were dates around Thanksgiving and the first two weeks of December.

Since I have never spent any time in Houston, I figured $58 for a round trip ticket is an offer too good to pass up for a five day exploratory tour of the region. December weather should be cool enough for me.

Frontier SFO-IAH fare 60

Carryon bag is an extra $20 to $30 each way. I chose to wait to pay for bags in case I cancel the trip I only lose $58. I’ll pay an extra $5 at time of check-in.

Frontier $58.49 SFO-IAH

*****

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. Check out current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

Club Carlson has several good value points and miles bonuses for travel into November. The most universal of three offers currently available to Club Carlson members is earn 3,000 points for a reservation booked using the Club Carlson mobile app for any Club Carlson hotel worldwide. This bonus can be earned three times allowing members to earn 9,000 points for three Club Carlson mobile app bookings Sep 8 to Nov 16, 2014.

Club Carlson hotel brands are Radisson, Radisson Blu, Country Inns & Suites, Park Inn, Park Plaza and Quorvus Collection. All hotels worldwide are participating in this offer.

Fine Print

  • Points + Cash reservations do not qualify for this bonus offer.
  • Check-in and checkout for an eligible booking must occur within the promotion period of September 8 to November 16, 2014.
  • Mobile app booking for any Club Carlson hotel worldwide is eligible for this offer.

Download the Club Carlson app in iTunes or the Android Market.

With the Club Carlson app, you can:

  • Redeem Gold Points for stays at Quorvus CollectionSM, Radisson Blu®, Radisson®, Park Plaza®, Park Inn® by Radisson, and Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM hotels
  • Find hotels near your current location or in any city
  • Book a stay, or view or cancel an upcoming stay
  • Explore the area with interactive maps
  • Access your Club Carlson card

3,000 Club Carlson bonus points are in addition to regular base points earned at 20 points per dollar.

Club Carlson mobile app 3k bonus Q3-2014

Loyalty Traveler Promotion Analysis

Assume a one-night $100 hotel stay as a Club Carlson member with no elite status.

This mobile app booking offer earns 2,000 Club Carlson base points ($100 x 20 points/$1) + 3,000 bonus points for mobile app booking for 5,000 Club Carlson points on a $100 hotel stay.

5,000 Club Carlson points can be considered a $25 to $35 points value for many hotel reward stays. That is a nice 30% rebate on a single $100 hotel night.

But wait, like those late-night infomercial offers, Club Carlson hotel stays in the Americas makes this offer even better.

This post will be followed by two other Loyalty Traveler posts on Club Carlson current promotions for 7,500 bonus miles with American Airlines or Aeroplan after two Radisson Hotel stays in the Americas and Triple Points Business Time promotion (60 points per dollar) for Sunday through Thursday night check-in at participating hotels in the Americas. These promotions have more restrictive conditions, yet both offers combine with the Club Carlson mobile app booking.

After sharing the two other Club Carlson promotions, I will select some hotel examples to show how all three Club Carlson offers can be combined to earn a triple dip of bonus points and airline miles on a couple of inexpensive hotel stays.

Club Carlson is on my best value watch list for at least a couple of my hotel stays over the next few months to earn bonus points and miles with two or three stays.

*****

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. Check out current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

This was a wasteful first day at BAcon, the BoardingArea Conference. One day in Las Vegas and I have more waste in my hotel room than I created in two weeks of traveling around Norway before coming to Las Vegas yesterday.

In my hotel room at Mandalay Bay, there is an empty plastic water bottle on the dresser, the styrofoam container that held my lunch from Panda Express, a paper cup with plastic lid and straw and plastic bag from Panda Express. Even though I had a cloth bag with me when I went to buy lunch today, I knew there was a high probability the juice from the Chinese food would spill out of the styrofoam package and soak my cloth bag. I did not want a messy cloth bag to wash. My Trader Joe’s recycled plastic bag would have been a better choice when I went to lunch, but I took that out of my backpack during the eight hours after getting home to Monterey from Oslo before coming to Las Vegas. I even wish I had brought tupperware to Las Vegas and had Panda Express put the food directly in my own container. That styrofoam will still be land or ocean fill long after I am dead. Another piece of long term waste for one meal of thousands of meals I have eaten in my life.

There are several small boxes from the BAcon conference swag. There is a table covered in packaging waste in my hotel room after 12 hours at the hotel.

wasteful

First day of BAcon waste in my hotel room.

In Norway this month, I was a good steward of the environment. I carried my hard plastic water bottle with me all day as I hiked miles around the countryside and cities. Tap water is fine in Norway. I was in and out of hotels, restaurants and bathrooms where I could refill my water bottle. I only drank water from my water bottle when outside all day. I purchased no fluids in Norway.

In Norway, I carried a hard plastic one piece cutlery with fork, knife and spoon I used for eating meals on the trip. I used Tupperware food containers for storing leftover food. I bought few things in Norway over two weeks, except for a few small food items. I took a cloth bag with me when I went to the store.

I carried and used the same bar of soap for two weeks in Norway that I opened at the Hyatt Regency SFO the night before I flew to Norway. That one bar of soap met my needs for 14 hotel nights, albeit in Norway there were refillable soap dispensers in all the hotels. Only the last hotel I stayed even had a bar of packaged soap for guests. I brought back that one bar of packaged soap from the last luxury hotel where I stayed in Norway. I’ll use that at home in Monterey.

Today I will be sure to carry my regular hard plastic water bottle with me all day. 275 million plastic water bottles are thrown out everyday in the USA. Only 6% of plastic water bottles in the USA are recycled.

Yesterday, I made a rare purchase at LAS airport Starbucks for a strawberry smoothie that I downed in 10 minutes.  I rarely make Starbucks purchases and this purchase was an impulse buy due to having a gift card in my wallet and a desire for something besides water. That was another plastic cup for the dumps of Las Vegas. Plastic straw too. And my purchase was unnecessary since I had water in my water bottle from the Monterey Airport filling station.

MRY water refill

Monterey Airport water bottle refill station at gate.

Tips for Environmentally Friendly Travel

1. Reusable water bottle.

2. Reusable coffee/hot beverage mug if you order hot beverages.

3. Reusable plastic cutlery rather than throwaway forks and spoons.

4. Cloth bag and/or hard plastic bag when you want a rectangular bottom.

5.. Tupperware or reusable container for food orders. Have your food order placed directly in your own clean container with sealable lid.  Styrofoam takes longer than your lifetime to degrade.

Environmental friendly

Pack right and waste lite

Travel does not need to be so wasteful if you plan to be environmentally friendly on the road.

*****

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. Check out current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

The Bergen line to Oslo across Norway is considered one of the great rail journeys of the world. I made the 7.5 hour trip on Monday, September 15 riding a bus from Bergen to Voss due to rail maintenance and then picked up the train in Voss for the remaining six hours and nearly 400 km of the journey to Oslo. The western portion of the trip is the more dramatic scenery as you travel from the narrow fjords of western Norway around Bergen to the glacial plateau of the Hardangervidda through a barren rock landscape of treeless high alpine country at 3,500 to over 5,600 feet in central southern Norway. The rail line peaks out at just over 4,000 feet on the Hardangervidda Plateau around Finse, Norway.

Part one of my Bergen Line Railway travel with photos.

Hardangervidda is a large mountain plateau with a rugged alpine landscape. Finse is a popular launching point for wilderness hikes into the region. In 1981 Hardangervidda was designated a national park, Norway’s largest at 1,321 square miles (3,422 sq. km). Norway’s largest wild reindeer herd lives in the Hardangervidda with a population estimated around 8,000 migrating animals between the east and west sides of the park region. I have read these reindeer are weary of humans and hard to spot on the Hardangervidda from the road and train. I did not see any reindeer. This is also reindeer hunting season in Norway.

near Hallingskeid-2

Near Hallingskeid, Norway on the Hardangervidda Plateau

Hallingskeid is 1,110 meters (3,642 feet) in elevation.

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The North America Strongman Master’s National Championships are being held in the Las Vegas Convention Center today. These are the kind of people who can carry the beer keg down the stairs and across the yard for you when you can’t roll the sucker.

I met an international strongman on my trip back from Norway two days ago. Passengers waiting to board the FRA-SFO flight gawked at his impressive size. He was huge at some inches over six feet and each thigh posting a tape measure size larger than the waistlines of most of the German women waiting to board the flight.

It took a long time to board the 747-400 aircraft. The flight was oversold and United offered $800 for passengers willing to fly the next day, and a Frankfurt Airport hotel room for the night included.

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The Bergen line to Oslo across Norway is considered one of the great rail journeys of the world. It is about a 7.5 hour journey for travel from Bergen to Oslo, 500 km by train, and for my journey to Voss by bus. The ticket is as low as 249 NOK (about $40 USD) if you book a minipris ticket early on NSB.no. The link here is to the English language version. The ticket price goes up by 50 NOK as tickets sell with assigned seating.

You need to book this train ticket early for a low price since it is probably the most popular route in Norway. My travel plans changed due to the ticket price doubling for the date I wanted to travel to Bergen and I ended up flying on Norwegian Airlines for $50 with one checked bag, less than the price of the train. While I am all-in for traveling around the world, NSB will remind you many times that train travel is more environmentally friendly than plane travel.

The unrestricted train ticket price goes up to 829 NOK (about $135 USD). The big advantage of an unrestricted ticket is the option to get off the train somewhere and explore some interior country of Norway as long as you travel on the same date. Comfort seating is an extra 90 NOK which gives seats with electrical outlets and access to a coffee machine for free coffee, cappuccino and latte, hot chocolate and tea.

I paid for comfort class and downed about six cappuccinos and lattes during the 6 hour train portion of my trip. The other advantage of comfort class is I moved away from my seat mate and spent almost all the train ride in a carriage with only one other person.  I could jump from one side of the car to the other to snap photos. The train conductor said I was okay sitting in my unassigned seat as long as nobody boarded the train to claim it. He said he did not think anyone would be taking the seat, but I would have to move if that happened. It seems like most people in Norway who deal with tourists speak flawless English, with better English grammar than many Americans.

Caveat to this post is I snapped almost all these photos through the train windows and there is some glare in some of the pictures. Still, many came out quite well and I have picked out a selection of pictures that best illustrate the changing topography from the mountainous fjords of western Norway to the glaciers of the high country and the forest and farms in the east.

This is part one of the Bergen to Oslo train trip from the fjords of Bergen to the high glacier country of Norway. Part two will show the train descent from the high country to the forests and farm country of eastern Norway on the approach to Oslo.

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