Apr102011

Competitive Advantages of Club Carlson Hotel Rewards

Carlson Hotels has a critical mass of hotels for geographic coverage in the USA and Europe with about 900 hotels in these two regions. Carlson Hotels offers American frequent guests an earn/burn competitive edge as a good loyalty program choice for earning points from US hotel stays and burning points for European trips.

Geographic coverage is an important consideration for the international traveler. The big chains like Hilton, Marriott, and InterContinental Hotels Group blanket the USA in midscale hotels with each of these programs having over 2,000 hotels across the states. International travel is where the geographic limitations of loyalty programs can leave you seeking another hotel chain when your primary program does not have a hotel in the city where you need to stay.

Club Carlson has arguably the best mix of hotels for points earning opportunities in the USA with Country Inn & Suites and points burning midscale Park Inn and upscale Radisson hotels across Europe. Carlson Hotels offers over 300 Radisson and Park Inn hotels across Europe.

Spain has the new Marriott AC brand with 80 hotels and provides the best options in that country. Accor Hotels blanket Europe, but provide little USA opportunity for earning points. Nordic Choice is an option for Scandinavia rivaling Club Carlson. Hyatt has few European properties with only around 30 hotels. Starwood has high-end European properties and the points cost for reward nights remind you that luxury has a price in Euros and points. Hilton and InterContinental Hotels Group provide European coverage, but fewer properties than Club Carlson and generally at reward cost higher than Club Carlson.

Carlson Hotels in Each Reward Category = 1,070 Hotels

  • Category 1 – 51 hotels  (5%)
  • Category 2 – 168 hotels (16%)
  • Category 3 – 370 hotels (35%)
  • Category 4 – 260 hotels (24%)
  • Category 5 – 162 hotels (15%)
  • Category 6 – 59 hotels (6%) 

The hotel reward category distribution for Club Carlson has a nice bell curve shape. This is not common for hotel loyalty programs. Most programs have few properties in low categories. Hyatt and Marriott are two other programs with good distribution of hotels in lower reward categories. 

Carlson Hotels has 1,070 hotels globally.

  • USA = 587 hotels (55%)
  • Canada = 36 hotels (3%)
  • Latin America = 41 hotels (4%)
  • Europe = 310 hotels (29%)
  • Middle East = 23 hotels (2%)
  • Africa = 16 hotels (1.5%)
  • Asia Pacific = 57 hotels (5%) 

Carlson Hotels has adequate coverage for the USA and good coverage in Europe. Other regions of the world are areas for growth and the company’s plan to grow by 400 hotels in the next four years should fill in many of these areas. 

Carlson Hotels brands: 

  • Country Inn & Suites = 491 hotels (46%)
  • Radisson Hotels = 417 hotels (39%)
  • Park Inn Hotels = 119 Hotels (11%)
  • Park Plaza Hotels = 41 hotels (4%)
  • Regent Hotels = 5 hotels

* This tally of brands comes out at 1,073 hotels and 3 hotels higher than above totals. This is a small tabulation discrepancy that I failed to reconcile. 

Country Inn & Suites and Park Inn provide midscale hotels across the USA and Europe. Country Inn & Suites may or may not be comparable in price and quality to Marriott Courtyard or Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton Inns. That depends on the location and your preferences. The points earned from your stays will be as valuable as the other programs with the hotel reward night opportunities in Club Carlson. Four Points and Hyatt Place are the midscale brands of Starwood and Hyatt, but there are more Country Inn & Suites in the USA than these two brands combined. The price point may or may not be comparable. 

Radisson Hotels in the USA tend to be viewed as less upscale than Crowne Plaza, Sheraton, Marriott and Hilton. There is much less disparity between these brands in Europe.

Club Carlson’s low cost hotels in USA and numerous hotels around Europe provide a competitive edge for the American traveler who wants to earn points at midscale lower-price point Country Inn and Radisson hotels and redeem for hotels in Europe. Carlson Hotels have coverage in other regions of the world, but Europe is where you will find Club Carlson’s real competitive value for the traveler choosing a loyalty program for earn/burn opportunities.

Related Posts:

Club Carlson Hotel Rewards Category Reassignment Analysis – Overview and Category-1 (April 7)

Club Carlson Category 2 Hotel Rewards Analysis (April 8 )

Club Carlson Category 3 Hotel Rewards Analysis (April 8 )

Club Carlson Category 4 Hotel Rewards Analysis (April 8 )

Club Carlson Category 5 Hotel Rewards Analysis (April 9)

Club Carlson Category 6 Hotel Rewards Analysis (April 9)

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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