Club Carlson hotel loyalty basics


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 comparing base points earning rate at 20 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. Marriott Rewards members need at least $4,500 in hotel spend to earn 45,000 points for a top tier category 9 hotel reward night. Hyatt Gold Passport earners need $6,000 in hotel spend to earn 30,000 base points for a category 7 hotel.

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.

6. Club Carlson Visa card members receive one free award night when booking an award stay of two or more nights. This means members can get a 2-night award stay paying for only one night’s points.

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.

Comparing Top Elite Bonus Points

Club Carlson Concierge is a high bar to reach at 75 nights, but 30 stays is comparable to HHonors Diamond at 30 stays.

Two years ago, 75% elite bonus was the highest bonus among hotel loyalty programs for top elite members. And 3,000 bonus points for online bookings adds up quickly for free nights with Club Carlson. In the past two years SPG added 100% elite points bonus for SPG Platinum 75 night members and Le Club Accorhotels offers 100% elite bonus points for its Platinum members. 

Club Carlson Reward Nights

Club Carlson has six hotel reward categories.

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.

Club Carlson Visa card members receive one free night per award stay of 2 or more nights. This essentially is a Buy One, Get One Free benefit for 2-night award stays.

Distribution of Club Carlson 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 hotel award distribution-1-8-14

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:

Park Plaza Points-Cash rate

The cash portion is 60% of the BAR rate shown for these Club Carlson category 6 hotels in London for Park Plaza Sherlock Holmes.

  • Points + Cash Award Rate = 15,000 points + 107.40 GBP.
  • Standard Award Rate = 50,000 points.
  • Best flexible Rate = $179 GBP
  • Advance Purchase Rate = 125.30 GBP.
  • 107.40 GBP = 40% of 179 GBP Best Flexible Rate.

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.


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.



Related Loyalty Traveler posts:

Club Carlson Hotel Brands Profile (Jan 8, 2014)

Club Carlson 38,000 Bonus Points for 3 Nights Jan 6-April 13, 2014 (Jan 6, 2014)

What is Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group? (Feb 22, 2012)

Club Carlson Gold Elite members 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. I used this rate for my Radisson Blu Berlin hotel stay in March 2013.

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 »


  1. I sent a tweet to Club Carlson asking if points plus cash stays count toward the promo, but they do not. “@clubcarlson: Hi, Grant! Stays or nights paid for using Points + Cash are not eligible for this promotion.”

  2. @Grant – True for the current promotion of 38,000 points after 3 nights that Points + Cash award stays do not count as eligible nights for the promotion bonus. That is in the promotion T&C.

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