Jan062015

Club Carlson Istanbul $200 buys 4 nights and 35,000 bonus points

My finger was on the mouse, poised to press purchase and fly San Francisco to Istanbul in March for $492. I pulled back on my trigger finger. And scurried off to bed. I already had purchased two KLM tickets to Dublin via Amsterdam in the hour before at $449 each. Loyalty Traveler – Delta/KLM $410 SFO-Dublin, $482 SFO-Istanbul Feb-April 2015.

I checked Club Carlson Istanbul hotel rates while quickly planning a potential trip last night. The SFO-IST airfare deal was available until about 8:00am Pacific. Fares to IST have been increasing this morning. Istanbul did not make my travel cut for early 2015.

So why am I writing about Club Carlson Istanbul rather than Club Carlson Dublin for bonus points deals?

My check of Dublin shows it is not one of the better places to ‘Extend Your Stay’ for 30,000 bonus points on 3-night or longer stays, or 15,000 bonus points for 2-night stays. Loyalty Traveler – Club Carlson Jan 12 to March 29, 2015 stays earn 15K for 2 nights, 30K for 3 nights (Jan 5, 2015).

Park Plaza has good discount rates in some cities in Europe. Some cities are plain cheap. Club Carlson Gold elite 2-for-1 and 4-for-2 rates offer even bigger discounts. More on those in this post.

Park Plaza Hotels in Europe currently have January Sale available for discount bookings.

There are some good deals with these discount rates. The first night’s rate is prepaid and nonrefundable.

Loyalty Traveler – Park Plaza Europe January Sale, book by Jan 7 for stays to April 12, 2015.

 

Club Carlson Istanbul for 60,000 bonus points

Istanbul, Turkey seemed like an added adventure opportunity to visit a place I have never been. Intrepid travelers can jump in and fly off to Istanbul and stay wherever. I weighed the $492 ticket price for Istanbul to paying $150 more to fly to another place, like Warsaw, Poland or Lisbon, Portugal. These are other places I have never been, but could visit cheaply staying at low cost Club Carlson properties I found in my searches

The main idea isn’t flying to Europe specifically to stay at Club Carlson hotels. The loyalty idea is that a low-priced ticket to Europe like $492 to Istanbul can be combined with low priced hotels in Club Carlson brands for 2-night and 3-night stays during their Extend Your Stay promotion. Plan the stays well and the Club Carlson bonus points earned are worth more than the cost to stay at Club Carlson hotels to earn the bonus points.

Club Carlson bonus points are only one objective to maximize the rebate value of money spent on lodging while in Istanbul. The goal of the trip is very simple. The goal is a week in Istanbul sightseeing and touring on the cheap (or anywhere worldwide your travels take you).

Rad Blu IST-1

Radisson Blu Istanbul Pera shows a water view in the photo. Looks nice, but 180 EUR per night is a luxury price hotel expense I won’t pay on a solo trip.

I checked dates in February and found much lower hotel rates than the week in March I had planned for the flight. Keep in mind I was debating whether to buy a $500 airline ticket for a cheap trip to Europe, but my choice of week and month for the flight dates meant a difference in hotel rates of 50 to 85 EUR per night in Istanbul for the top tier Radisson Blu hotels. Getting a great airfare deal does not help if I pay $100 more per night for a hotel in March compared to the price in February.

Rad Blu IST-2

  • Radisson Blu Istanbul Pera 94.50 EUR = $113.87 per night.
  • Radisson Blu Istanbul Sisli 78.00 EUR = $93.99 per night.
  • Radisson Blu Bosphorus Istanbul 208.75 EUR = $251.54 per night.

Club Carlson 2-for-1 and 4-for-2 rates

Another strategy for Club Carlson Visa members and others with Club Carlson Gold elite status is Club Carlson Europe, Middle East and Africa 2-for-1 and 4-for-2 rates. 2-for-1 rates are good for arrival Thursday to Saturday and 4-for-2 rates for arrivals Wednesday and Thursday nights.

http://www.clubcarlson.com/4for2

http://www.clubcarlson.com/2for1

Nothing in the ‘Extend Your Stay’ terms and conditions seems to prohibit a Club Carlson 4-for-2 rate from earning 30,000 bonus points as a three or more nights stay. These elite member discount rates earn Club Carlson points.

***** Update Jan 7: In the comments section a reader states the 4-for-2 rates appear to post as 2 nights in Club Carlson account summary. The 4-for-2 rate may only qualify for 15,000 bonus points as a 2-night stay. We will know for sure how 4-for-2 rates are counted once Club Carlson member reports come out from members who stay on the 4-for-2 rate. *****

This search for a discount 4-for-2 rate did not offer rooms at the three top listed Radisson Blu Istanbul hotels for Thursday, February 12 to Monday, February 16.

Two other Club Carlson hotels in Istanbul offered the 4-for-2 rate.

Rad Blu IST-3 4-for-2

Radisson Blu Istanbul Tuzla at $47.29 per night for a hotel rated 4.5 of 5 circles on TripAdvisor.com.

$189 for four nights in Radisson Blu Istanbul Tuzla is the kind of hotel travel deal where the value of points earned from the stay exceeds the cost of the 4-night stay in an upper upscale hotel.

Assume eligible spend is about 85% of $189 (I did not look up tax rate) for $160 in points earning spend as a Club Carlson Visa card member with Gold elite status.

  • $160 x 20 points/$1 = 3,200 points.
  • Gold elite 35% bonus = 1,120 points.
  • Club Carlson Extend Your Stay 3-night bonus = 30,000 points. [Perhaps only 15,000 points if rate counts as 2 nights]
  • 34,320 points for $189 four night stay (even more if pay with Club Carlson Visa). [or perhaps only 19,320 points]

Many U.S. travelers are going to Istanbul over the next few months with the Delta/KLM/Air France deal this past 24 hours. I am not one of them.

Club Carlson offers some good hotel values for your Istanbul trips.

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.

More articles by Ric Garrido »

Comments

  1. Good shout, and Istanbul is a truly fantastic destination. I’ve been there several times and loved it on each occasion. A great place to aimlessly wander, as well as to see the classic sights.

    The fairly major downside to the Radisson Blu Tuzla is that it’s absolutely in the back of beyond, a little way further out than Sabiha Gokcen airport, which is itself miles from anywhere remotely central, indeed quite literally on a different continent.

    While I have no issues staying a little outside of the old city (Besiktas is great), you’d be making marathon journeys each day from Tuzla if you stayed here. We’re talking about an hour each way by taxi to get to the old city (Sultanahmet).

  2. @Tom euflyer – that is the kind of insight that kept me from buying the SFO Istanbul fare. Eventually I would have figured out Tuzla was far from a central location. I would have had many other options to spend points for one of the fine hotels in Istanbul in another hotel chain or pay more for a centrally located Radisson Blu.

    This points to the gamble we take when a mistake fare or super airfare deal comes around and you know it will be gone in a matter of hours. I wasted thousands of dollars over the past 15 years buying great deals that ended up being cost prohibitive due to work changes, life changes, too high of cost for hotels ($65 Iceland flight negated by $200 per night hotels) or other transportation expenses (you want how much to fly to New York that week?), and even climate change. Yeah, I skipped my $270 ticket to Venice in 2003 when people dropped into canals from heat stroke. Well, maybe they didn’t die in the canals, but they sure were dying in the hospitals that August from the record breaking temperatures.

    Istanbul airfare drops to low levels periodically. Eventually I will likely get there.

  3. The 4-for-2 is definitely YMMV. I think it will count as two nights, hence only 15000 points bonus. These stays count as 2 paid and 2 free night on the statment and I doubt it will count as 4 for the promotion.

  4. I’m in for Dublin in early March. I’ve booked the 2-for-1 Radisson Blue downtown for 66K pts total, with breakfast. I’m okay with that rate.

    I haven’t the foggiest clue if I’ll like Dublin. I’m travelling alone and I’m not a drink beer by myself in a pub sort of guy. Maybe I’;; get bored and pop over to London on Ryan Air. I like what you did with your recent trip…the thought of those museums and the ability to linger as long as I want is nearly irresitable!

  5. i went to istanbul last month. all of these hotels are too far (and cost too long to commute given the scarcity of trams/metro in those areas) for me to tour the sultannamet area. and you see, the closer (radisson blu pera) the more expensive. i stayed at $20 range family run hotels in the old town. you may also consider more affordable chain hotels in the old town such as the holiday inn and hie in the old town at 60euros, and with the same abundance of points bonus next quarter.

  6. @bluecat – Dublin has free museums too. My problem is the rainy day I planned to hang out in museums was a Monday. Tip: Dublin museums are closed on Monday.

    @luckywinner – you may be right about 4-for-2 rates counting only as two nights. All my use of these free weekend nights were during double and triple points promotions and I received the bonus points. The current Extend Your Stay promotion is based on nights and a 4-for-2 may count only as a 2-night stay for 15,000 bonus points.

    We will know in the next couple weeks after some Club Carlson members report their results.

Comments are closed.