Mar062017

Club Carlson 70,000 points earned, $470 hotel spent on 8 nights

I stayed 8 nights at Club Carlson hotels, earning 50,000 bonus points with the current Club Carlson Earn Bigger Rewards global promotion Jan 9 – March 31, 2017 on two trips with 19 hotel nights needed in Europe over the past six weeks. I earned another 20,000 base, elite and bonus points from $470 in hotel spend for 3 stays with 8 nights in Amsterdam, Prague and Wroclaw, Poland.

Loyalty Traveler – Club Carlson 5,000 to 100,000 bonus points for 1 to 20 nights Jan 9-Mar 31 works for my travel plans (Jan 9, 2017).

While there are many choices for hotels when traveling and some great independent and boutique hotels for local areas, I still find great value in chain hotels when I can combine low rates with lucrative promotion bonuses.

Club Carlson elite member 2-for-1 and 4-for-2 rates were hotel discount offers I booked regularly these past few years for big savings in Europe. This rate was discontinued, as of January 30, 2017. I did not know the Earn Bigger Rewards promotion would be my final swan song for Club Carlson half price rooms. Six of eight nights I stayed in Europe to earn 50,000 bonus points were Club Carlson 2-for-1 weekend rate discounts.

 

8 nights for $470 earned 70,495 Club Carlson points

I earned 70,495 Club Carlson points for 8 paid nights. I have redeemed 40,500 points for a reward booking next month when I return to Europe in April. The published paid rate for the same room type is $420. That is a great rebate on my $470 in hotel spend.

$470 for 8 hotel nights in Amsterdam (4 nights), Prague (2) and Wroclaw (2) was a great hotel deal at an average nightly rate = $58.75 per night. Even better is my $470 in hotel spend will buy 12 to 14 hotel nights, if I redeem the 70,000 points as planned at category 1 and 2 hotels in Europe next month.

In addition to flying to Europe in January for $180 round trip (WOW $69 and Norwegian $111) and $300 round trip (United Airlines/ Norwegian) in February, I will be flying to Iceland and Copenhagen in April on WOW Air for $70 one-way and spending most of the points I earned from the Club Carlson Earn Bigger Rewards promotion to keep my hotel costs low on that trip too.

Club Carlson Earn Bigger Rewards Stay Activity

Club Carlson 70K 2017 points

Park Inn Prague, Czech Republic

2-for-1 Gold Elite Rate 2 nights

  • 2,185 CZK = $87.13 USD
  • 1,523 base points
  • Gold elite 35% bonus points
  • $87.13 USD earned 2,057 Club Carlson points.

Loyalty Traveler – Park Inn Prague Hotel Review (Feb 2, 2017)

Prague Old Twon Square

Radisson Blu Wroclaw, Poland

2-for-1 Gold Elite Rate 2 nights

  • 330 PLN = $81.32 USD
  • 1,521 base points
  • 533 Gold elite 35% bonus points
  • $81.32 earned 2,054 Club Carlson points.

Loyalty Traveler – Radisson Blu Wroclaw hotel review (Feb 6, 2017).

Wroclaw Holy Cross

Park Plaza Amsterdam Vondelpark

2 nights on Advance Purchase 30% discount rate

  • 174.46 EUR = $184.93 USD 
  • 3,563 base points
  • 1,248 Gold elite 35% bonus
    points
  • 3,563 Double Points promotion
  • $184.93 earned 8,374 Club Carlson points.

Park Plaza Amsterdam Vondelpark

2-for-1 Gold Elite Rate 2 nights

  • 109.95 EUR = $116.55 USD 
  • 5,831 base points
  • 2,041 Gold elite 35% bonus points
  • 138 Food and Beverage points
  • 50,000 Earn Bigger Rewards promotion
  • $116.55 earned 58,010 Club Carlson points.

Loyalty Traveler – Park Plaza Amsterdam Vondelpark 66 stairs to room 36 (Feb 26, 2017).

rijksmuseum

Conclusion

Many of my hotel stays have shifted from upper upscale brands in hotel chains like Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott and Starwood to lower scale chain brands like Club Carlson, Choice, Best Western, IHG and Wyndham brand hotels. I find good promotions and low rates offer the best value in my travels around Europe.

I have stayed or redeemed points in 7 different hotel chains to either maximize promotion bonuses or take advantage of low paid rates and low reward rates on my two trips to Europe in 2017.

I booked hotels like Starwood’s Sofia, Bulgaria Hotel Balkan Luxury Collection for 2,000 points + $35, but canceled to stay at Ramada Sofia for $24, where I also received free breakfast.

I booked Westin Warsaw, Poland for 2,000 points + $35, then canceled when I changed my plans to skip Warsaw and fly to Gdansk, Poland. I paid $40 to stay at Best Western Bonum Gdansk and was upgraded to a suite with large balcony. I also earned a $10 Best Western travel card fromt he hotel stay.

In my previous post I showed how $317 in hotel spend for 3 nights in London and Krakow earned 44,000 points on the same two Europe trips.

Loyalty Traveler – IHG Accelerate 2017 Achieved 44,323 points on 2 stays for $317 (March 5, 2017).

Club Carlson has offered several great bonuses over the past six years. The ability to earn tens of thousands in promotion bonus points based on nights stayed using 2-for-1 and 4-for-2 elite member discount rates made this feature of the program a great value for me, even after Club Carlson eliminated the free night on reward stays for Club Carlson Visa members in May 2015.

There is uncertainty in many hotel loyalty programs with major changes happening in 2017. Most of these changes reduce the value of membership.

Today I will publish an analysis of Hilton Honors Points & Money reward changes that went into effect this week. I have a Points & Money reward stay I booked two weeks ago for 16,000 points + $66. Hilton Honors Points & Money reward price for that same room is now 16,000 points + $196. 

I’ll keep using hotel loyalty programs as long as the numbers work in my favor when I compare rates. When I stop finding great value in hotel chain loyalty programs, there is always Airbnb to fall back on.

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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Comments

  1. Glad to see reviews on other hotel chains other than the usual Hilton, Hyatt, Starwood brands. When you’re in the U.S., do you stay at any of the Club Carlson, Choice, Best Western, IHG and Wyndham brand hotels considering the stigma of some hotels like Best Western, Super 8, Comfort Inn, etc? It’s surprising how those brands differ in quality compared to their U.S. counterparts.

  2. I do not stay in Club Carlson or Choice Hotels too frequently in USA. Much higher standards for hotels I stay at with Club Carlson, Wyndham, Best Western and Choice Hotels in Europe.

    Best Western and IHG more often in the USA than other low market brands. I tend to book many of my stays using Best Rate Guarantee claims. In years past, more than half my hotel bookings were BRG claims.

    I picked up several Best Western $100 gift cards for BRG claims. My favorite is a best rate guarantee claim for a discount room earning a nice promotion bonus.

  3. @Kalboz – I included reviews of the three hotels I stayed 8 nights. They were all upgrades. Two rooms in Amsterdam and Prague had balconies with chairs.

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