Friday night I booked a 14-night trip around Europe in March. The center piece of my hotel discount savings are Club Carlson 2-for-1 and 4-for-2 Gold elite member weekend discount rates. I booked 6 of 14 nights at Park Plaza and Radisson Blu hotels for $310. Then, Saturday night I saw the new Club Carlson Earn Bigger Rewards promotion for earning 5,000 points with one night and up to 100,000 bonus points for staying 20 nights between January 9 and March 31, 2017.
- 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
Sometimes a promotion fits perfectly within my travel plans and often they do not. This Club Carlson offer is a windfall for me. I already planned six nights at deep discount rates and those qualify for 20,000 bonus points with the 4 nights promotion bonus points. All I need to do is shift one hotel stay reservation away from another chain I booked and stay at a Radisson Blu. For a 2-night stay in Warsaw, Poland I simply need to move my booking to the Radisson Blu across the street from the hotel I booked Friday night for my March trip. I will pay $80 more out-of-pocket and pick up an additional 30,000 Club Carlson points. That is a great buy in my hotel points accounting.
I will spend about $460 for 8 qualifying hotel nights. In addition to 50,000 bonus points, I will earn 8,000 base points + 2,800 elite points as a Club Carlson Gold elite member on $400 or so on hotel base spend before taxes.
While 60,800 points are not even a sufficient number of points to book one night in London at most Club Carlson properties, there are some great deals to be found in Eastern Europe with Club Carlson points.
I plan to travel through the Baltic countries of Latvia and Lithuania next July. I have my eye on visiting a couple of Club Carlson properties in Kaunas and Klaipeda, Lithuania.
Klaipeda, Lithuania is a seaside city on the Baltic and 25 miles from Palanga Airport PLQ with Air Baltic, LOT Polish, Norwegian, Ryanair, Ukraine and Wizz service.
Radisson Blu Klaipeda $108 or 15,000 Club Carlson points.
Four hotel nights in Klaipeda, Lithuania for 60,000 Club Carlson points saves $432. That is a fantastic rebate on $460 in spend for me to stay 8 nights during this promotion and pick up 60,000+ points for my hotel spend.
I don’t plan to stay 4 nights in Klaipeda. 130 miles east of Klaipeda is Kaunas, Lithuania is where there is an even better Club Carlson points stay value at Park Inn Kaunas, a category 1 property for 9,000 points. In Kaunas, I can splurge and upgrade to Business Class with a 50% larger room and breakfast for 13,500 points.
Room rate for the Business-Friendly room is $148 per night or 13,500 points. 3 nights for 40,500 points saves $444.
Club Carlson is not too useful a program for me in the USA. I even let my Club Carlson free USA night from the Visa card go unused last year.
In Europe, Club Carlson 2-for-1 and 4-for-2 rates are one of my most used hotel discount rates. These discounts for Europe, Africa and Middle East hotels are available to Club Carlson Gold and Concierge elite members. Club Carlson Visa card members receive complimentary Gold elite status.
The Club Carlson discount rates are so great that I planned two other trips to Europe in July and October this past week around the availability of 2-for-1 and 4-for-2 rates as I planned air travel between cities.
I was saddened when Club Carlson Visa card members lost the 2-for-1 booking option in 2015. I won’t blow my stash of Club Carlson points for 3 nights in London, where IHG still has reasonable room rates around $100 per night at some hotels. I won’t waste 70,000 Club Carlson points for a hotel night in Scandinavia, places where Choice Privileges are the best value hotel rewards at a fraction of the reward night cost.
But I sure wouldn’t mind spending two or three weeks in Club Carlson properties in Lithuania, Budapest, Poland and several other cities in Eastern Europe, places where 200,000 points can mean a couple of weeks of living in hotels for free.