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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:
- All members earn 20 points per dollar spent at Club Carlson properties
- Club Carlson Gold members receive a 35% points bonus, which is an additional seven points per dollar spent (if you have the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card you automatically receive Gold status)
- If you pay with the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card you earn an additional 10 points per dollar spent
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).
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.
So booking two nights would cost you 798GBP (~$1,340).
Meanwhile otherwise you could redeem 50,000 points for two nights at this hotel.
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.