May042015

Salvaging $8000 in hotel value from the wreck of the Club Carlson

I woke up and looked in my computer windows to learn Club Carlson points value hit a Minnesota iceberg today. The Club Carlson hotel loyalty program is sinking fast.

I‘ve had Danny Boyle imagery all day of an apocalyptic London 28 days later when there are no 2-for-1 reward stays and all Club Carlson hotels are 70,000 points per night. I decided we need the lifeboat safety zone for bookings made by May 31 and use our points to reach the London exclusion zone before Club Carlson sets up high points redemption barriers for all its London hotels.

Club Carlson changed my travel plans today. My two week trip to Scandinavia has now changed to a plan to be in London this summer to salvage $8000 in hotel value from the wreck of the Club Carlson. We will survive the sinking of this Carlson fun fest and splurge in the high life of London in July and live to spend another day, building up our Club Carlson points accounts again from zero.

It was bad enough to get hit with the news last month of a 50% devaluation for Club Carlson Visa card members as of June 1 on 2-night reward stays, when the automatic free night award benefit goes away. Then, today we are hit with the news of another 40% devaluation for 67 hotels in category 6 at 50,000 points changing to category 7 at 70,000 points on June 1.

Club Carlson Half-Million Points team

We are sitting on 500,000+ Club Carlson points. We will transfer Kelley’s points to my account, since I am the one with the credit card and Gold elite. I figure 500,000 Club Carlson points have $8,000 potential value today. On June 1, they will have about $3,000 in potential value at the hotels I was potentially planning to stay.

A loyalty traveler axiom I have not mentioned in a couple of years is,

Miles and Points have no real value until redeemed. Until then, miles and points only have potential value.

Loyalty Traveler

I have had hundreds of thousands of miles with very high potential value end up with no real value when programs folded or changed rules or partners, eliminating the high value redemptions, and sometimes, even any redemption at all as points became truly worthless.

Club Carlson points still have value, but for many Club Carlson members, even those who do not have the Club Carlson Visa card, the new reward changes are another big devaluation of 40% in points value when 67 hotels rise from 50,000 points to 70,000 points on June 1.

Salvaging $8,000 in Club Carlson value in London

It is not like I put much effort into picking up 500,000 Club Carlson points. I don’t think I ever paid for a Carlson hotel stay where I did not get more value than I paid. I have already received more value from award stays with the points I have redeemed than I paid for Carlson hotel stays over the past four years.

My assumption is I can get the best value from our remaining 500,000 Club Carlson points by redeeming them for 2-night reward stays with one night free as a Club Carlson Visa card member before the benefit goes away June 1. Reservations are allowed for dates through 2015 and into 2016.

Club Carlson points for London July 18-20

13 Radisson Blu and Park Plaza hotels in London are changing from 50,000 points to 70,000 points on June 1, 2015, along with Carlson Rezidor hotels in many other cities in Europe and around the world.

Points price shown is nightly price per reward night. Club Carlson Visa card members pay that same rate for two nights when making a reservation using one free night benefit.

London Club Carlson July-1

  • Radisson Blu Edwardian Hampshire $416.34
  • Park Plaza Westminster Bridge $315.74
  • Radisson Blu Edwardian Bloomsbury Street Hotel $385.39

London Club Carlson July 15 rates-2

  • The May Fair $487.54
  • Radisson Blu Edwardian Mercer Street Hotel $400.87
  • Radisson Blu Edwardian Berkshire Hotel $320.00

London Club Carlson July15 -3

  • Radisson Blu Edwardian Berkshire Hotel $320.00
  • Plaza on the River (all suites) $340.74
  • Park Plaza Victoria London $307.85

I have stayed at The May Fair, Radisson Blu Bloomsbury, Radisson Blu Mercer Street and Park Plaza Westminster Bridge.

Would I pay $400 per night in London for a room? No!

Could I get a comparable room for $150 per night? Possibly. But that means a lot of time to search room rates.  I can bang out five 2-night reward reservations in an hour.

My assumption is I can book 20 hotel nights in London and other places where hotels are rising from 50,000 to 70,000 points per night on June 1. By booking hotel stays before June 1, I can get Club Carlson London hotel nights at 25,000 points per night before they change to 70,000 points per night. I can book The May Fair for 35,000 points per night.

I will book 2-for-1 hotel stays in London for July and book hotel stays for another trip to Europe in late-2015 to clean out our 500,000 points Club Carlson balance this month.

500,000 points will buy 20 reward nights in London and Scandinavia if booked by May 31. Those 20 reward nights are a potential $8,000 value.

On June 1, those same 500,000 points will buy 7 reward nights at the same hotels when they are 70,000 points per reward night. Those 7 reward nights  have a potential $2,800 value. That $5,000 drop in value is why I am planning London stays today to spend Club Carlson points.

The changes to Club Carlson hotel rewards suck, but it sure was great hotel value while it lasted.

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. Radisson Aruba hotel is now 75000 points.. If you check dates for even May, it is at 75000.. Earlier it was 50000 points.

  2. Sounds like a fun summer trip!

    Hemang, 75k is the current “premium room” rate there. Dates that have standard room availability are still 50k….for a few more weeks.

  3. You were one of the people I thought of when I saw the news. I enjoyed your recent report in Scandinavia. Too bad such trips will be much harder to pull off next year…

  4. @Mommy Points – thinking of the tiny rooms in London, I am debating whether to book premium rooms for the business class upgrade. Most hotels I checked in London did not offer premium rooms. Westminster Bridge offers a family room suite 62,500 points or guaranteed front window view room of Parliament and Big Ben for 75,000 points.

    @Points WIth a Crew – actually Choice Privileges points are better for Scandinavia in my opinion. One of the reasons I quickly switched to London to burn Club Carlson points for this trip is there are far more hotels available in Sweden and Norway with Choice Privileges points. I still want to return to Scandinavia. Kelley is more excited about a trip to London. She was never quite sold on Norway.

    Dates are set now with flights for 6 nights in Copenhagen, 8 nights in London and 6 nights in Boston.

  5. Doing my last local paid stay this week for the 30k loyalty ‘consolation’ bonus, stacked with the triple point promo, will net me around 45k.
    Then I’ll burn most remaining points for 10 nights in London in Oct/November.
    I’ll replace the CC visa with another and life goes on.
    Pity, too good to last but I got great value and enjoyment from it.
    Thanks for the great Carlson tips and burning trip reports from Ric of course.
    ~S

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