Analysis of Club Carlson award category increases at 114 hotels on March 15, 2014

Club Carlson is raising the hotel award category at 114 hotels globally and lowering the hotel award category for 67 hotels, effective March 15, 2014. Around 9% of the portfolio of 1,300 hotels or so in Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, or about 1 in 11 hotels will require more points to buy an award night. About 5% of hotels will require fewer points after the changes.

You can view the Club Carlson site for a list of hotel award category changes. Carlson displays all the changes ordered geographically by region, country and state.

I changed the hotel list display and regrouped hotels in two tables with a list for hotels going up and another list for hotels going down.

Club Carlson 114 Hotels Going Up in Award Category on March 15, 2014

Club Carlson 2014 category up 114 hotels

Club Carlson 114 Hotels Going Up in Award Category on March 15, 2014

Club Carlson 2014 category 67 down 3-1514[2]


Observations on the changes

Club Carlson is following a trend taken by Hilton HHonors, Starwood Preferred Guest and Hyatt Gold Passport in the depletion of the lowest hotel award category.

Category 1 net loss of hotels

There are currently 44 hotels globally in Club Carlson category 1. 15 hotels move up to category 2 and six hotels move down with four of those hotels in India.

There are currently 10 hotels at Club Carlson category 1 In the USA. Five hotels will move up from category 1 to 2. One hotel, Country Inn Atlanta Airport South drops from category 2 to category 1. Net effect is category 1 hotels drop from 10 to 6 hotels in the USA and from 44 globally to 35 hotels at the 9,000 points award night level.

Germany takes a hit too at category 1 hotel award bargains with four of five hotels at the lowest category moving to category 2 on March 15.

Category 2

Category 2 hotel awards are still the sweet spot of low cost reward nights where 15,000 points per night is almost half the category 3 rate at 28,000 points per night.

There are 15 hotels going into category 2 (15K) from category 1 (9K) and 25 hotels dropping from category 3 (28K) to category 2 (15K) awards. The latter change is a reduction in award rate by almost half from 28,000 points to 15,000 points per night.

38 hotels are rising to category 3 (28K) award nights with nearly a doubling in award night cost and 31 of these hotels are in the USA, mostly in southeastern states.

40 hotels move into category 2 while 44 hotels leave for a net loss of four hotels in this low tier award category.

Category 1 by nine hotels and category 2 by four hotels become smaller on March 15, 2014.

Category 3

On March 15, 24 hotels rise to category 4 and 19 hotels drop from category 4 to 3. This is a net shift into category 4 of better performing hotels.

38 hotels rise into category 3 and 25 hotels drop from category 3 to 2. This is 13 more hotels moving up than dropping and another net shift to higher award category overall in Club Carlson.

One hotel, Radisson Petra Concepcion in Colombia drops two levels from category 5 (44K) to category 3 (28K).

Country Inn Ventura (38K) is dropping from category 4 to category 3 (28K) which might make it a possibility to replace the Sheraton Ventura Harbor that rises from category 2 to category 3 in the SPG changes for March 2014. Country Inn has less view than the Sheraton, but a great breakfast with cook-to-order chef the last time I stayed there.

Category 4

Hard to find trends in the 24 hotels rising from category 3 (28K) to category 4 (38K). Iowa has three hotels moving from category 3 to category 4. I am scheduled to travel to Iowa in April on a sponsored group tour. Perhaps I’ll see evidence for what is driving higher hotel award categories. Minnesota, Illinois and Wisconsin are moving up too showing something good for the Grain Belt states.

12 hotels drop from category 5 to category 4, but no particular trend. Notably the Radisson Hotel Rosa Khutor is dropping from category 5 to 4. Rosa Khutor might sound familiar as the site of the alpine ski races for Sochi, Russia Olympics. Radisson has the leading market share of rooms in Sochi with several hotels. The oversupply of rooms should make bargain deals easy to find over the next year there.

The other site I notice is two hotels in North Dakota dropping from 5 to 4. What the frack is up with that drop in the wild west boom state?

Category 5

13 hotels move up from category 5 to 6 and four move down from category 6 to 5. Moving up include San Francisco Radisson Fisherman’s Wharf and Radisson Blu Warwick Pennsylvania. Some other fine hotels in Edinburgh, Split, Bergen and St. Petersburg, Russia are moving up. Somehow going from 44,000 points to 50,000 points just does not seem to be much of a deal to me.

15 hotels move up from category 4 to 5 and 12 hotels move from category 5 to 4 and one hotel moves from category 5 to 3.

This is another category with a net trend moving up to higher categories.

Four hotels move down from category 6 to 5 and these include one hotel in Sochi and the Radisson Blu Mall of America that is celebrating its one year anniversary in March 2014. I stayed at Radisson Blu Mall of America courtesy of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group for three nights last week during their annual conference for Radisson Americas. I’ll post a review sometime this week.

Category 6 Hotel Awards at 50,000 points per night

There are 61 category 6 hotels currently. 4 hotels drop from category 6 to category 5.

Nine hotels move up from category 6 to category 7 at 70,000 points. Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group announced a new brand named Quorvus Collection at the hotel chain’s Americas conference in Bloomington, Minnesota last week. This will be a hotel brand at the luxury end  The idea is to have a luxury segment brand for Club Carlson without building new hotels.

So, while there are only 9 hotels in Club Carlson category 7 when the new award category launches next month, the addition of 20 Quorvus Collection hotels by 2020 along with new additions to category 7 from existing hotels, will likely mean 30 to 40 hotels in category 7 over the next five years.

Related post: Club Carlson Hotel Reward Category Analysis (Feb 28, 2011) – this is an interesting piece with my tables showing how hotel reward nights were higher in goldpoints plus prior to the launch of Club Carlson, yet the massive shift upward of hotels from category 1 and 2 for the launch of Club Carlson hotel loyalty program in March 2011.


Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.

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