Jul052017

Club Carlson loyalty still great 2017 value

Club Carlson has devalued its loyalty program in several ways over the past three years, yet I am still finding great points earning and redemption value on my 2017 hotel stays.

Among Club Carlson program devaluations were several on the redemption side with the introduction of a Category 7 hotel reward at 70,000 points per night in 2014. Then, one free reward night for Club Carlson Visa card members on any 2-night or longer reward stay was dropped in May 2015.

And this year the 2-for-1 and 4-for-2 Gold elite member discount rates for Europe, Africa and Middle East hotels were eliminated in January 2017.

Still, Club Carlson promotions, along with IHG Rewards Club promotions, have offered the highest rebate value for hotel spend in the past year.

Aug 1 – Oct 31, 2016 Double or Triple Points

Nov 1 – Dec 31, 2016 Double Points or Double Elite Nights credit

We stayed at Radisson Blu Bratislava, Slovakia on a 4-night 4-for-2 rate ($52 USD/night) at Christmas and earned double points for 9,932 Club Carlson points.

Jan 9 – Mar 31, 2017 Earn 5,000 to 100,000 points 

  • Stay 1 night, earn 5,000 bonus Gold Points
  • Stay 2 nights, earn 10,000 bonus Gold Points
  • Stay 4 nights, earn 20,000 bonus Gold Points
  • Stay 8 nights, earn 50,000 bonus Gold Points
  • Stay 20 or more nights, earn 100,000 bonus Gold Points

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

Club Carlson members had to pre-register for one of the specific targets. I chose 8 nights and completed these tasks using Club Carlson Gold elite 2-for-1 rates at Park Inn Prague (2 nights upgraded to junior suite with balcony patio, earned 2,057 points); Radisson Blu Wroclaw, Poland (2 nights Business Class room, earned 2,054 points) and Park Plaza Vondelpark Amsterdam (corner balcony room, earned 66,384 points including 50,000 bonus points for 8 nights. I paid $470 for these 8 hotel nights in January and February 2017 and earned 70,000 total Club Carlson points.

Last Club Carlson Promotion

Club Carlson triple points + Sun/Mon 5K bonus April 3-June 30, 2017

Last month June 2017 we stayed at the Radisson Blu Gdansk on a $114 room rate for a Polish holiday Thursday night. Rates skyrocketed for Friday night in Gdansk, Poland for the national holiday weekend. I paid Thursday night and booked a Friday reward night for 38,000 points. The hotel sold out a few weeks before our stay for that Friday night I booked with points in April. I was upgraded to a full one bedroom suite for the stay and earned 7,608 points.

Redemption at Category 1 and 2 and 4 hotels.

In April 2017, I stayed at the category 1 Park Inn Kaunas, Lithuania in a Business Class junior suite room for 13,500 points and two nights at the Radisson Blu Klaipeda, Lithuania for 30,000 points. That used up 43,500 of the 70,000 points earned in February. I redeemed 38,000 points in Gdansk in June.

Radisson Blu Gdansk $114 room night and Radisson Blu Krakow for $113 on a Sunday night earned 22,466 Club Carlson points.

81,500 points redeemed for 4 reward nights in Lithuania and Poland is about equal to the 80,000 points I earned from 12 nights of paid stays from December to February.

About $900 in total hotel spend provided 18 hotel nights at Club Carlson properties on my last four trips to Europe since December 2016 with a net gain of 30,000+ Club Carlson points.

Club Carlson July 2017

This month I plan to stay 6 paid nights on 4 hotel stays at Club Carlson hotels in Europe, spending about $620. These four stays will earn two free Fridays.

Club Carlson free Friday Night every two stays or 10K points July 1–Sep 30

Regardless of where I redeem two free nights, whether in London, Dublin or Stockholm in a $300+ per night room, Riga, Latvia or Porto, Portugal in an $80 room, the bottom line value given to me with Club Carlson in 2017 will be something like 26 hotel nights at a total cost around $1,500 or less than $50 per hotel night.

Places I’ve seen lately with Club Carlson

Radisson Blu Bratislava, Slovakia 4 nights Dec 2016

Rad Blu BTS view

Park Inn Prague, Czechia 2 nights Jan 2017

Park Inn room4

Radisson Blu Wroclaw, Poland 2 nights Jan 2017

Wroclaw statue

The photo theme is room views, but I never took a room window photo from Radisson Blu Wroclaw.

Park Plaza Vondelpark Amsterdam, Netherlands 4 nights Feb 2017

Park Plaza view 1

Park Inn Kaunas, Lithuania 1 night April 2017

Park Inn Kaunas room view

Radisson Blu Klaipeda, Lithuania 2 nights April 2017

Radisson Blu Klaipeda

Radisson Blu Gdansk 2 nights June 2017

Rad Blu Gdansk view

Radisson Blu Krakow 1 night June 2017

Rad Blu view

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 »

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  1. Club Carlson’s decreasing footprint is a big concern for me (they’ve lost their primary hotels in Philadelphia and San Francisco, and multiple hotels in Paris, over the last 1-2 years). They’re still very strong in London, which offers value for me, but I’m not sure whether the program will continue to offer good options moving forward. So I’m no longer actively participating in the program.

  2. Rick — Maybe a good value if you’re spending a lot of nights in eastern Europe, but the numbers for Chicago don’t work out so well. Since killing the 2 major benefits you mentioned, CC is WAY far off my radar. Hope they fix their rewards program.

  3. Club Carlson has good value in Eastern Europe. I find very little value in Club Carlson for western USA travel.

    In 2014 Club Carlson announced one of their first Quorvus projects was going to be San Francisco. Apparently that deal fell through since I have not heard a word about any Club Carlson flagship hotels in San Francisco.

    For my travels these past few years, Hyatt and SPG have had very limited usefulness. Tiny footprint in many places I have been or very high hotel rates compared to other chains.

  4. We stayed at the Radisson Blu Royal in downtown Dublin back in late Nov. 2015 on award nights. It was a great location, staff were terrific, we were upgraded to a business class room with separate large shower and tub – very nice – and they had a fantastic Super Breakfast Buffet which they included. In most Club Carlson hotels breakfast is not included even for Gold members. The front desk told me that they include it here. Don’t know if that has changed now, but this would be a good use of a free Friday if it works for you.

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