Maximize Club Carlson Gold Points For Hotel Stays

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I’ve written in the past about the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card, which is one of the most lucrative hotel credit cards out there.

Some of the benefits of the card include the following:

  • The card comes with a sign-up bonus of 50,000 points after the first purchase, and an additional 35,000 points after spending $2,500 on the card within 90 days
  • You get 40,000 points on your account anniversary each year, which more than justifies the $75 annual fee
  • You get Club Carlson Gold status for as long you have the card, which most notably offers free internet and room upgrades, along with some other perks
  • You earn five points per dollar spent on everyday purchases and ten points per dollar spent at Club Carlson properties
  • The second night of every award redemption is free, basically meaning you get “buy one get one free” award redemptions, assuming you stay in two night increments

Easily earn 37 points per dollar for Club Carlson stays

One thing that I find especially interesting is just how lucrative Club Carlson is in terms of the points they credit you for hotel stays:

So all things considered, if you have their co-branded credit card you’re literally earning 37 Club Carlson Gold Points per dollar spent, not factoring in any other promotions.

And it’s worth noting that this is after they substantially devalued some of the Club Carlson program perks:

  • The points bonus for Gold members was reduced from 50% to 35%
  • Members no longer receive an online booking bonus for every reservation online, aside from during promotional periods

37 points per dollar spent at Club Carlson properties — so what?

So just how generous is 37 points per dollar spent at Club Carlson properties? Let me put it into perspective.

A vast majority of Club Carlson’s nicest properties are in Category 6, which retail for 50,000 points per night (there are only nine hotels in their new Category 7).

Club-Carlson-1

In other words, if you’re paying for a Club Carlson stay, you’d earn 50,000 points after spending ~$1,350 at Club Carlson hotels. That doesn’t include any sort of promotions or anything, so chances are you can do better than that.

In turn, you can redeem those 50,000 points for a free night at a Category 6 property, and then if you have the Club Carlson Visa the second night of your award stay would be free.

A 100% return (on retail price) for your paid Club Carlson stays

Putting this into practice, lets take the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London. Rates over the summer are 50,000 points or 399GBP per night.

Club-Carlson-2

So booking two nights would cost you 798GBP (~$1,340).

Club-Carlson-3

Meanwhile otherwise you could redeem 50,000 points for two nights at this hotel.

Club-Carlson-4

So with those 50,000 Gold Points you earned for spending ~$1,350 at Club Carlson properties anywhere you’d get two nights at a hotel that would potentially retail for the same amount. When you look at the retail value of those nights, you’re literally getting a 100% return on your Club Carlson stays.

Bottom line on earning Club Carlson points for hotel stays

Not only is the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card one of the most lucrative hotel credit cards out there, but Club Carlson is also a really rewarding program in terms of their return on everyday hotel spend. There’s not another chain that can come anywhere close in terms of the return you get for hotel stays, in my opinion.

Now that I live in hotels full time, it’s tough to beat spending a total of $1,350 at their properties over time and earning two free nights at one of their top hotels in London or Paris. If it’s during a promotional period, all the better!

Lastly, just to clarify, of course I don’t value a free night at the above property at the retail cost. That being said, Club Carlson Gold Points can easily be worth a minimum of 0.8 cents each (by my valuation) if properly utilizing the second night free option.

So without any sort of a promotion, at 37 points per dollar you’re looking at a return of ~30% on your Club Carlson stays by my valuation.

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Comments

  1. Hi Lucky,

    I stayed at this same hotel a few weeks ago using the benefit exactly as you describe, I booked a premium room at 75000 points which gave us two nights with the card. Nice location, we had a perfect view of big ben but be aware some standard rooms can be very dark looking at a wall, gold status get better view.

  2. It is a shame that they recently devalued their Gold perks but on the upside they did decrease the award rates on many of their properties. While they don’t offer a very consistent upgrade scheme or free breakfast for that matter, I’d still say that the EMEA 2-for-1 weekend rate is the best Gold perk, hence why they’re my primary hotel program.

  3. Shhhh….let’s keep this our little secret….if too many people find out, it’ll surely go away even faster than you can say “no more stopovers on American awards”. (I just completed stays at the Mayfair London and Art’Otel Amsterdam, both booked pre-devaluation….both very nice. Art’Otel even includes breakfast with award stays.)

  4. I finally got approved for this beautiful, beautiful card and can’t wait to trot it out in Europe. Oh Club Carlson…I fear ye shall devalue, but until then I love you so much

  5. I got this card late last year and was able to book 3 nights at the London Mayfair on the 100k points that were there after meeting the spending requirements. I was scheming to work on 2 nights there + 2 nights elsewhere, but my wife didn’t want to change around more than we already were. So I did 2 nights on points + 1 “free”.

    The cash prices on this stay was way more impressive than in your example. Which is why, if I remember correctly, this hotel was moved to a Cat 7. When we booked it was still 50k a night.

    Leaving next Friday … the Mayfair is our second London hotel. But I’m really looking forward to it! I hope I can afford to actually experience their restaurant at least once!!

  6. Is it possible to make 2 separate reservations for 2 days each and only use 100k?

    50K for the first 2 nights and 50k for the last two? Or you have to change the hotel?

  7. @ Sam — You have to change hotels. Or if you’re traveling with someone else and you each have the card, you can book two nights in one person’s name and then two more nights in another person’s name.

  8. My wife and I each have this card, and we book weeklong stays at Carlson properties by using the second night free option. I book two nights and get the second night free. She books the next two nights and gets the second night free. We keep flip-flopping like that until all of the weeklong vacation nights are booked. The benefit of doing that is that we only use half the points needed for the whole week. It’s an absolute bargain.

  9. @Dave – Do you typically have to switch rooms, or does the front desk try to accomodate you if you explain you have back-to-back reservations?

    I have my wife slated to get one of these cards once we get back from our next trip. Seems like this system would work well for us, too.

  10. @Nick Knight – The front desk has always been understanding and cooperative. We have never had to switch rooms. It’s fantastic!

  11. But your example is really flawed since the cc has forex fees, so nobody using it for foreign stays. Hence 37x should be 27x realistically, or about 20% return realistically on good redemptions.

  12. @m – How do you know nobody’s using it for foreign stays? Just because you’re not using it for foreign stays doesn’t mean other people aren’t. Some people may not care about forex fees, or they may value the points they’d get more than the cost of the fee.

  13. @Brian L.: Thanks for that. I’m one of them. I gladly pay some token forex fee for thousands more points! I have stayed at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge and the Radisson Blu Bloomsbury (across from the British Museum) free and will return to the Park Plaza Westminster for four nights free (two and two) again in June. Extra miles with the (double digit) forex from paid stays at the Radisson Blu Vanderbilt helped make that possible!

  14. @William H – I had planned on leaving my Club Carlson card home for my next trip, but you started me thinking. I’ve been using manufactured spend to try and boost my points for my “next” trip, and I pay a fee for this in some cases. But why not just spend, particularly while at a CC property, even if overseas?

    Then I did the math. 3% FTF if the charge is in a non-dollar currency. That’s $15 per 500, and way more than buying VRs and gift cards (and so far, I still have one local obscure source for VRs, for as long as that will last). VRs are $7.90 per thousand, Amazon payments are $0 (with limits). Spending in the US – $0.

    Personally, I do not want to pay $15 per 500 spend. I’ll have to reread the details of the original post to see if I’m missing the multipliers somehow. To, me, tho, the FTFs involved here are more than “token”. They certainly need to be considered in any calculations.

  15. Ok. Can someone confirm that I’ve got this right? By just having this card in my name and spending $100 at the hotel restaurant, I would get 2700 points. Without using the card and instead paying with my Chase Sapphire card … right?

    If I would instead use my CC card, I would get 10x points or an additional 1000 points. But this would cost me $3 in FTFs.

    To me, the extra 1000 points is too costly vs the 200 UR points for “free”. I’m back to leaving my CC card here at home and spending slowly over time. I can get 5000 points with potential fees of $7.90, if not “for free”.

  16. @Nick Where might that obscure source be? If you tell us you have to kill us? Then just give us a hint and rough us up a bit……….

  17. For what it’s worth, I booked 4 nights at the Radisson Blu 1919 in Reykjavik back in November and when the foreign transaction fee hit my credit card I called customer service and asked for the fee to be removed. I explained that it is kind of silly to be charged an extra fee when I’m using your credit card at your own hotel. They agreed and waived the fee. Whether if it’s because I do put a good amount of spend on this card or they did me a one-time courtesy I’m not sure. Hope this helps someone else in the same position.

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