Club Carlson launched March 31, 2011 as the redesigned hotel loyalty program for Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. The loyalty program includes over 1,100 hotels globally in the hotel brands of Radisson Blu, Radisson, Park Plaza, Park Inn and Country Inns & Suites. Hotel Missoni, a luxury brand with only two properties currently open in Edinburgh and Kuwait is not yet participating in Club Carlson.
Six competitive advantages of Club Carlson
1. Members receive complimentary internet at all hotel brands in North America and all Radisson hotels worldwide.
2. Club Carlson offers the fastest earning standard free nights of any hotel loyalty program when compared to rate of base points earned per dollar in hotel spend. Top category 6 hotels at 50,000 points require $2,500 in hotel spend to earn 50,000 base points. Bonus points and elite status and online booking bonuses reduce this spend level. HHonors Points & Points earners need $3,333 to earn 50,000 points for a top tier category 7 reward. Marriott Rewards members need at least $4,000 in hotel spend to earn 40,000 points for a top tier category 8 hotel reward night.
3. Club Carlson members receive 1,000 points online booking bonus. Silver and Gold elite members earn 2,000 bonus points and Concierge members earn 3,000 bonus points. Online booking bonuses are not given in other hotel loyalty programs.
4. Points + Cash Reward Stays earn points on the cash portion paid and also qualify for stays and nights elite credit. Other programs do not earn points for the cash component. HHonors and SPG also count reward stays for elite credit.
5. Club Carlson Elite members receive elite rollover nights as a standard benefit. All nights above the threshold needed for elite tier qualification at the end of the calendar year roll over to the next calendar year. Unfortunately, elite stays do not rollover.
Club Carlson Silver elite normally requires 10 stays or 15 nights in a calendar year and Gold elite takes 20 stays or 35 nights.
A Silver elite member with 25 nights and 12 stays at the end of 2011 receives 10 elite rollover nights for 2012 elite qualifying credit. This member needs only 5 nights in 2012 to requalify for Silver elite through 2013. The member needs only 30 nights in 2012 to qualify for Gold elite.
Marriott Rewards is the only other program with elite rollover nights, however, this offer is still a promotional offer with no guarantee that it will be extended for hotel stays in 2012.
6. Club Carlson has one of the best hotel points to frequent flyer miles exchange rates. Club Carlson has the lowest standard transfer level at 2,000 points = 250 airline miles. This is equivalent to $100 in hotel spend. Wyndham Rewards at $800 in hotel spend is the next lowest transfer rate and most programs are set at about $1,000 in hotel spend to earn the points for a minimum transfer to miles.
100,000 goldpoints = 18,000 miles. This is one of the highest exchange rates for miles available and beats SPG.
Club Carlson Gold vs. SPG Gold elite
$6,667 in hotel spend = 200,000 Club Carlson goldpoints = 36,000 miles.
$6,667 in hotel spend = 20,000 Starpoints = 25,000 miles.
Club Carlson Elite Tiers
- Red (entry level)
- Silver (25% elite bonus points) = 10 stays or 15 nights in a calendar year.
- Gold (50% elite bonus points) = 20 stays or 35 nights
- Concierge (75% elite bonus points) = 30 stays or 75 nights.
- link to Club Carlson benefits table.
Club Carlson Concierge is a high bar to reach at 75 nights, but 30 stays is comparable to HHonors at 28 stays and the availability of Points + Cash reward credits makes this level more easily reachable.
75% elite bonus is the highest bonus among hotel loyalty programs and 3,000 bonus points for online bookings adds up quickly to free nights.
Club Carlson Reward Nights
Club Carlson has six hotel reward categories.
- Category 1 = 9,000 points.
- Category 2 = 15,000 points.
- Category 3 = 28,000 points.
- Category 4 = 38,000 points.
- Category 5 = 44,000 points.
- Category 6 = 50,000 points.
Club Carlson eliminated the 10% discount for additional reward nights after the first night that was a feature of the former goldpoints plus program. There are no discounts for extended night reward stays in Club Carlson.
Distribution of Hotels in Reward Categories
More than 50% of hotels in bottom half of reward tiers is a good distribution compared to other hotel programs.
Club Carlson set a precedent when it restructured hotel rewards and reduced the cost of reward nights from the former goldpoints plus loyalty program. The changes resulted in a big shift of USA hotels from category 1 and 2 in the old structure to category 3 and 4 in Club Carlson.
The high end hotels became a little easier to reach, but many of the low end hotels jumped to higher reward cost. The change with Club Carlson earning 20 points/$1 at Country Inns and Park Inns globally helped everything balance out fairly well for Club Carlson members.
Club Carlson Points + Cash Rewards
Club Carlson Points + Cash functions differently than other programs like Priority Club, HHonors and SPG where there is a set cash component. Club Carlson has a set points component and the cash portion is variable depending on hotel rate and stay dates.
The cash portion is typically 60% of the best available rate. For example a $100 per night Best Available Rate will typically be Points + $60. A 100 EUR room rate will likely be Points + 60 EUR.
Here is a sample Points + Cash rate:
The cash portion is 60% of the BAR rate shown for these Club Carlson category 6 hotels in Paris.
290 EUR = US$386.13 per night for Radisson Blu Champs Elysees, Paris.
$386.13 / 50,000 points = $7.72 per 1,000 points redemption value using a standard reward.
Points + Cash saves 116 EUR (US$154.41) for 15,000 points.
$154.41 / 15,000 points = $10.29 per 1,000 points redemption value.
Points + Cash offers a better redemption value for this hotel stay than using a standard reward redemption. Plus you earn points for the paid portion and the stay counts for elite credit.
Points + Cash will not always be a great deal when there are low advanced purchase rates, group rates like AAA and senior, and special offer rates giving good discounts on Best Available Rates.
The redemption value for a Points + Cash is barely $2.00 per 1,000 points at Country Inns Denver Airport compared to the nonrefundable, no changes advance purchase offer for this stay.
Purchase goldpoints from Club Carlson
Members can buy Club Carlson goldpoints for $7 per 1,000 points with a calendar year limit of 40,000 points either purchased or received as a gift.
In part 2 of Club Carlson Overview I will look at redeeming points for Carlson Wagonlit Vacations and Club Med vacations available to US members.
Related Loyalty Traveler posts:
What is Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group? (Feb 22, 2012)
****Club Carlson – January 10 – March 16, 2012 Triple Points for all hotels worldwide is 60 points/$1. Club Carlson already has the fastest earning program for free nights and triple points gets you there so much faster. The highest category hotel reward night requires about $800 in hotel spend. Most hotel loyalty programs will require $2,000 to $4,000+ for a free night at their top hotels – even with promotion bonuses. LT post January 11.
Club Carlson Gold Elite member exclusive 2-for-1 hotel weekend rates and 4-for-2 discount rates for Europe, Middle East and Africa. LT post January 27, 2012. These rates earn points.
New Business Program – Club Carlson for Business offers small to medium businesses a special program for hotel rate discounts and a Club Carlson business account for earning additional points from employee hotel stays. Employees also maintain their own personal accounts and earn points normally as a Club Carlson member.