New Club Carlson upgrade options offer less than expected choices

This post looks at the new upgrade reward options at 22 hotels worldwide in Club Carlson to examine the newly added room upgrade program feature as of March 15, 2014. The prevalent change is the addition of Premium Rewards at 50% more points based on the Standard Reward level for each hotel reward category. Currently, the upgrade reward offers are far less than I had hoped, although there is opportunity within the system for Club Carlson to easily add more room category types for points.

Club Carlson had significant hotel loyalty program changes on March 15, 2014 including reduced earning for Silver and Gold elites, elimination of online booking bonus points, and the introduction of a new high hotel reward category 7 at 70,000 points per night. Category 7 is a 40% increase over the cost for category 6 hotel reward nights at 50,000 points.

Read Club Carlson February 19, 2014 statement on program changes in the link.

There were also hotel program enhancements announced including:

  • reward stays count for elite status
  • upgrade reward opportunities using points.

Here is Club Carlson’s upgrade wording from the February 19, 2014 changes announcement.

Club Carlson members will now have a choice of room types when redeeming Gold Points for Award Nights. In addition to standard rooms, members can redeem additional points to stay in premium rooms at participating hotels. Members will be able to see additional room descriptions and amenities during the redemption process. Room types, availability and amenities will vary by hotel.

Summary of Findings

The main change is a new rewards table on the Club Carlson site showing Premium Room Rewards at 50% more than Standard Room Rewards.

Club Carlson reward table

Premium Room rewards require 50% more points.

Premium room rewards are not actually new. I have seen them regularly at certain hotels, although, they have now expanded globally as a regular feature at participating hotels.

The main difference with Premium Room Business Class is breakfast is included. Sometimes the room is larger or has more amenities, but that does not always seem to be the case. Sometimes the reward comes with 1,000 bonus points. Sometimes it includes lounge access. Some Premium Room rewards state movies are free and high-speed internet.

Family Rooms are a new feature I see on Club Carlson at 25% rate more than the Standard Reward price and less than Premium Room Rewards.

Family Room rates appear to be pegged to the cost of Standard Rewards. In my check of hotels, all the family room options I found were at category 6 hotels.

3-17-14-Club Carlson upgrade table

Club Carlson upgrade rewards at 22 hotels – Loyalty Traveler (March 17, 2014)

Observations from this table:

16 hotels offer Premium Room Rewards at 50% more points.

3 hotels offered only Premium Room Rewards with no Standard Reward availability. One of these hotels is the Radisson Blu Metropolitan Eiffel in Paris with Premium Room reward nights at 105,000 points and no Standard Rewards. The Premium Room reward states a Deluxe Room at 237 sq. ft. (22 sq. m.). The lowest category room at the hotel is a Classic Room at 215 sq. ft. (20 sq. m.). This is one of the new Category 7 hotels and effectively the rate has climbed from 50,000 per night to 105,000 per night for what is essentially the same type room unless you happen to get one of the Deluxe rooms with a balcony (no guarantee).

4 hotels offered Family Room Rewards at a price lower than Premium Room Rewards. All four hotels offering Family rooms are category 6 hotels at 62,000 points per night. Mommy Points just posted an article about Club Carlson Family Rooms as I write this and her searches turned up two more data points with a category 5 Family room at 55,000 point and a category 7 Family Room at 87,500 points. This data indicates the rate for a family room is 25% more than a Premium Room Reward night.

Category 5

  • Standard 44,000
  • Family 55,000 (25% more)
  • Premium 66,000 (50% more)

Category 6

  • Standard 50,000
  • Family 62,000 (24% more)
  • Premium 75,000 (50% more)

Category 7

  • Standard 70,000
  • Family 87,500 (25% more)
  • Premium 105,000 (50% more)

Park Plaza County Hall London is a hotel where the family room option with a kitchenette is a huge room size difference compared to the standard room and the premium room at 62,000 points with 10 sq. m. more room space. Premium room advantage is breakfast and view of London Eye Ferris wheel.

The Family Room upgrade is commonly found in Norway and Sweden hotels.

Many hotels offer Business Class as the Premium Upgrade room reward at 50% more points than a Standard Reward.

Here are the listed benefits for Radisson Business Class rates in the Americas and Asia-Pacific:

You will benefit from the following offerings at all Radisson hotels when you book Business Class:

  • Upgraded room & amenities
  • 1,000 bonus Gold Points® per night
  • Turndown service
  • Weekly newspaper delivered to your room

Additional benefits at Radisson hotels in the Americas:

  • Breakfast for one, each morning
  • One complimentary drink voucher, per evening
  • In room clock radio with MP3

Additional benefits at Radisson hotels in Asia Pacific:

  • One breakfast per person, each morning
  • Regional welcome amenity
  • Free pressing of two garments

Book Business Class for your next stay with Radisson.

Business Class Europe, Middle East, Africa hotels

Business travellers at Radisson Blu Hotels & Resorts find the services and amenities they need with Business Class. For the extra convenience of our business guests, all Radisson Blu Hotels offer Free high-speed Internet access. And since most of our hotels have wireless Internet access, this means that you can log on to the Internet from anywhere in the hotel, free of charge.
An addition to the Business Class amenities is a Nespresso® coffee machine in your room with an assortment of flavours that invites you to a unique coffee experience.
Business Class amenities:

  • Nespresso machine with a selection of coffees
  • Free high-speed Internet access
  • Daily newspaper
  • Lifestyle magazines
  • Pay-TV movies
  • Breakfast with room service option
  • And much more…

Some of our hotels have Royal Club Rooms that offer the same services as Business Class but with the addition of a separate check-in/check-out, drink upon arrival, welcome gift and breakfast in the Royal Club Lounge.


Based on my limited analysis the Club Carlson room upgrade options currently available have these features:

Business Class is the most prevalent Premium Room Upgrade Reward. You can expect breakfast for at least yourself and sometimes more guests, a better view, higher floor, and some added amenities on your reward stay. These cost 50% more points than Standard Rewards.

Family Rooms provide a sofa-bed for two children. Generally these do not offer breakfast, unless that is a standard feature on all rates (common in Scandinavia). These cost 25% more points than Standard Rewards. This is a good option to check as a way to get a larger room if space is more important than breakfast benefit and coffee maker of Premium Room.

Premium Room Rewards Only is a feature that might signal signs of trouble at hotels with a standard room category containing a small number of rooms. The listing of rooms at Radisson Blu Paris Metorpolitan as Classic (Standard reward) and Deluxe (Premium reward)with only a small room size difference makes most rewards 50% more. I had trouble locating standard reward availability at this hotel which makes me think there are probably far fewer Classic rooms than Deluxe rooms.

The ability to book a variety of room categories with the new Club Carlson upgrade rewards does not appear to be the case based on the searches of hotels included for this analysis. There is the possibility that more room upgrade types will roll out in the future with these changes, however, the set amounts of 25% for Family rooms and 50% for Premium Rooms does not indicate there will be a variety of room types available for upgrade rewards.

At least now you can count your reward nights for elite qualification in Club Carlson.

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 in 2008.

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  1. As a data point, I redeemed (as per your chart) at Hamburg Airport last Autumn and was given a business class room due to Gold status. This may actually be a way of upselling something you may have got anyway.

  2. Ditto to the poster above… I’ve been given Business Class rooms as an upgrade as a Gold several times in Europe – not a guarantee by any means, but nice when you get it… a free movie is a surprisingly big plus after a week being overseas!

  3. Yep, I received upgrade to a business room at Metropolitan and Le Dokhan as a gold, and while business room at Metropolitan was really worth it (bigger room and gorgeous bathroom), I would avoid the upgrade at Le Dokhan even for free. The difference is that they took the toilet out of the bathroom and put it in a small closet; really funny and uncomfortable. You will be pissed if you had to pay for this “upgrade”.

    All these motions might mean they’re going to start denying Golds an upgrade and yes, I’m smelling they might be taking CC in the Hilton “premium rooms” direction.

  4. That is the funniest Radisson toilet story since my parents sent me a photograph of the former Radisson Covina room they stayed where the toilet seat did not fit properly over the toilet bowl. Splashback was a real issue. I published a photo of that on my blog a couple of years ago.

    Hilton HHonors was a great program when I was Diamond for several years a decade ago. Many of the perks I enjoyed diminished after the Blackstone buyout.

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