Club Carlson Gold Welcome Amenity?

Don’t get me wrong, I feel like I’m coming out way ahead with Club Carlson, and that they’re really too generous. Just for having the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card, the second night of every award redemption is free, which is immensely valuable.

You also get Club Carlson Gold status for as long as you have the card, and during two of my three Radisson Blu stays this week I’ve been upgraded to a “Business Class” room. Wifi was free for all guests at each hotel, and was surprisingly high speed.

But one thing I’m kind of curious about is the in-room welcome gift that Gold members supposedly get.

Club-Carlson-Gold-Welcome-Gift

For my first stay at the Radisson Blu Oslo Airport I received a fruit plate and a bottle of filtered water. Now as much as I like fresh fruit as an amenity, I’m not a huge fan of cut fruit that has possibly been sitting in the room all day without a plastic cover or anything (I checked in late at night). But it was a nice gesture, and again, I don’t have high expectations of the amenity, but it was offered. Since Radisson Blu hotels don’t seem to have complimentary bottled water as a brand standard, I really appreciated the bottle of water.

Club-Carlson-Gold-Amenity

Interestingly, no welcome amenity was offered during my two stays in Iceland. As y’all know (and often call me out for), I’m not afraid to ask for what I’m “entitled” to. For example, at Starwood properties I do sometimes go to “battle” over upgrades.

Call me a prude, but I can’t quite bring myself to ask for a welcome gift. To “welcome” means to “to greet (someone) in a warm and friendly manner,” and I can’t really bring myself to say “excuse me, I haven’t received the gift intended to make me feel greeted in a warm and friendly manner — could you change that please?”

Anyway, not a big deal at all, but to those of you that are frequent Club Carlson guests, how often have you received a welcome amenity? When you don’t receive it do you not ask for it, or are you like me and can’t bring yourself to do it?

By the way, after three stays I’m generally impressed by the Radisson Blu brand, and love the value I’m getting out of my Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card. The key is to do research about the hotel you’re staying at before checking in. The quality of hotels seems to vary wildly, but as long as it’s a well rated property, I think you’ll be happy. The value I’m getting out of points at Radisson Blu properties with the second night free is truly astounding.

Radisson-Blu-1
Nice Radisson Blu Oslo Airport

Radisson-Blu-2
Not-so-nice Radisson Blu Saga Reykjavik

Comments

  1. The hotel experience as Club Carlson Gold really seems to be hit-or-miss. Sometimes you get the upgrade without asking, sometimes you don’t. Sometimes one Gold member gets it while another one checking in at the same hotel on the same day doesn’t.

    Fruit platter as a welcome gift seems to be the norm too. Once I’ve been told at check-in that the welcome gift would be a bottle of water that was going to be delivered to my room shortly but it never actually came. So far I haven’t seen a Carlson welcome gift actually worth asking for if it wasn’t there.

    But what really makes the status worthwhile in my opinion are the 2for1 and 4for2 weekend rates you can use as a Gold member. Great deal for weekend getaways.

  2. Skipped around Bangkok (2 nights, each), upgraded 3/3 (2/3, suites) and welcome gift 2/3 (fruit twice and a nicely wrapped hotel logo coffee cup). Cup was probably least expensive, most appreciated.

  3. Radisson Blu Lucerne: tiny box of chocolates and bottled water, room upgrade
    Radisson Blu Chicago: box of gummy bears
    Radisson Crystal City: upgraded to suite. Don’t remember gift. Maybe water?
    Radisson Irvine, CA: amazing multi tier dessert tray

  4. welcome gift = bottle of water hahahaha I laugh at the faces of ppl who tell me that. If you stay in a hotel that is rationing bottles of water you are in the wrong hotel….obviously a shit hole.

  5. I stayed at Radisson Blu Saga Reykjavik two years ago. No Welcome gift but was proactively upgraded to the suite and received free breakfast with it (Gold status)

    The rest are hit and miss but mostly no amenity but about 3 in 4 I will be upgraded to a nicer room, like a Spa suite in Sydney. (on 2 out of 2 stays there).

  6. It’s kinda hit and miss with Club Carlson.

    The manager at the Radisson Martinique stopped by our suite to personally deliver a box of chocolates.

    The receptionist at the Radisson Fisherman’s Wharf gave us a giant chocolate bar with a picture of the golden gate bridge on it.

    In Santiago de Chile they put us in the Presudential Suite (almost as big as my house).

    And in Madrid they did absolutely nothing and tried to make us feel bad for inquiring about complimentary breakfast on an award stay (which they generally do give us).

  7. I’m with Jay on this. I’d rather not receive a “welcome amenity” than to be told the gift is a bottle of water! Damn excited to be staying at the property – what’s included in with the free breakfast? Coffee in a paper cup — you may choose between one pack of sugar or pack of powered creamer and one stale mini-Danish?

  8. Both my wife and I carry our own personal Club Carlson Visa, so we are each Gold Elite. Sometimes we stay at Radisson properties, sometimes at Country Inns, sometimes at Park Inns. Regardless of the property, the welcome amenity applies at any location. Only three times ever have we received welcome gifts. One was at the Radisson Blu Minneapolis – a small box of chocolates and a handwritten card from the GM. Another was at the Country Inn & Suites in Rogers/Bentonville, Arkansas – an insulated backpack personalized with the Country Inns logo and filled with granola bars and chilled bottled water. The third time was at the Park Inn DFW South (now the Atrium Suites) – a couple of bottles of water and free breakfast buffet for the duration of our stay.

    I concur with Jay in that bottles of water that cost a maximum of 8 cents apiece (Nestle, Sam’s Club, etc.) are hardly a welcome gift that is memorable. I would like to see free breakfast being offered as a standard welcome amenity at properties that have restaurants. I would also like to see hotels being proactive with the room upgrades. Only once have we ever been proactively upgraded, and that was at the Radisson Blu Minneapolis. Other times, either my wife or I have to haggle with the front desk staff who seem woefully uneducated in the Club Carlson program.

  9. Just back from Scandinavia. Stayed at a few Radisson Blus.

    OSL Plaza upgrade to business class, amenity: fruit and water,free breakfast for all
    LYR Polar upgrade to business class, no amenity, free breakfast for all
    CPH Royal no upgrade, amenity: fruit and small bag of chocolate/nuts, no breakfast
    ARN Sky City upgrade to business class, amenity: fruit plate, free breakfast due to business class upgrade

    Two years ago, when they had their stay 1 night get a night promotion, I was already staying at Intercontinental San Juan,but did a 1 night mattress run at
    Radisson Ambassador Plaza San Juan. On way into old San Juan for dinner, had taxi driver drop me at Radisson. Was with old GF who was less than thrilled with “waste of time.” Anyway, was upgraded to suite and given two drink coupons at check in. Went to room to run the shower and mess up the sheets. Was getting ready to leave,when there was a knock on door. GM came by to introduce himself and in rolled a serving cart with welcome amenity of a bottle of wine, box of chocolates, some nuts and a bowl of fruit.

  10. My most memorable welcome gift was at a Country Inn and Suites in South Alabama (work trip). As I was checking in, the clerk said “wine or champagne?” I gave him what must have been a blank look, because I had no idea what he was talking about. After a pause I said “what?” And he clarified that the welcome gift for Gold members was a bottle of wine or of “champagne”. I was flabbergasted, but opted for the bottle of champagne (out of a sense of morbid curiosity about what a CI&S in South Alabama considered “champagne”) It was Korbel. @Lucky, I think your Duc de Paris would have been better.

  11. I have NEVER EVER gotten a welcome amenity (Radisson Blu Amsterdam, Paris, Biarritz, Nice). I think the French hotels must have unified policy (wonder if they’re run by the same management company) against giving anything out.

    I’ve never pushed on it (feel like a jerk) though I did contact corporate and got a weak apology (read: no points).

    On the room upgrade, however, I have pushed. The French hotels are VERY VERY reluctant to give any sort of room upgrade. It’s always a constant negotiation and fight. Usually it ends in me paying for a room upgrade that they claim is at some sort of discount to what a non-elite would pay. Really weak elite treatment all around.

    I do like the discount on F+B however.

  12. The thing is, giving a free room night is expensive. In Biarritz, they accidentally revealed what the hotel was getting reimbursed. 109 euros for a two-night stay at a sold out hotel that had rooms for 640 euros (2 nights).

    Giving a free welcome amenity and an upgrade, on the other hand, is cheap! And it could inspire just as much loyalty if done right.

    They should nail down the cheap wins before handing out the pricey things. (Not complaining, just saying.)

  13. Radisson Blu Berlin: water and two jars of local honey
    Radisson Blu ZRH: chocolate bar, plus anything non-alcoholic out of the minibar (including snacks) was complimentary
    Park Inn Berlin Alexanderplatz: Half-bottle of wine and some fruit

  14. Radisson Blu Salzburg-room upgrade and drink coupons for the bar
    Radisson Blu Vienna-champagne and fruit no room upgrade
    Art’ otel Amsterdam-no room upgrade, fresh popped popcorn and water brought to room and 2 drinks in the bar (they even let my husband get expensive bourbon)
    County Inn Suites SLC-nothing but a hard time

  15. Just had a pleasant stay at the Park Inn Pula Histria, yes in Croatia, and it was AMAZING (3 hour ferry to VCE). I was able to complete my first 6 for 3 night combo, which included an amazing breakfast spread every morning (for all). Checked in late the first night around 10pm didn’t get anything the next day, under my girlfriends account the 2nd two nights did get a glass bottle of croatian water and fruit platter (nothing pre cut). For some reason did not receive anything the 1st or 3rd sets of 2 nights which is absolutely fine considering the value. This place must rarely see Gold members ever. They apologized for not putting a huge 15% off F+B sticker on the first day, which we did use the rest of the trip, Croatia is beautiful and, with points, insanely affordable. Did get a ‘room upgrade (marina view, was nice)’ the first night and they did prefer/allow us there the whole 6 nights, the building was from 2013, very new property (sort of an annex). Also they had a buffet dinner that was optional for us but seemed to be included for some guests with wristbands, which all seemed to be on a ‘thompson’ trip from the UK.

    Sydney Blu and Rad NYC, both box of chocolates and upgrades, spa and ‘club room’ respectively.

    Cheers!

  16. Most of the time I get the welcome gift. Sometimes it’s in the room when I arrive and sometimes it’s delivered after I check in. If I don’t get it, I don’t bring it up to the hotel because it’s usually just a small thing. I do mention it when I fill out the feedback email.

  17. I am Club Carlson Concierge, and it really does vary. I usually get upgraded and welcome amenity in Scandinavia (remember, the tap water in Scandinavia is probably the best in the world, there’s no need for bottled water)

    It’s very hit and miss unfortunately, and even more so outside of Europe, I think. Or maybe it’s just me and that I’ve been lucky.

    I have stayed at some Rezidor properties in the US this year, and it has pretty much been a distaster all together (except from Radisson Martinique which was AWESOME – early check in, both rooms in my reservation upgraded, chocolate, free breakfast, vouchers for the bar++)

    Stayed at the Country Inn & Suites (not very suite-ish if you ask me lol) by the Newark airport twice in January. My first stay, I didn’t get upgraded nor did I receive any welcome amenity. My visit prior to this was a couple of years ago when I was Gold, and I received an upgrade to a king jacuzzi room, and a bag with some snacks and soda)
    After the stay in January, I got an email, asking me how my stay was.

    I answered very honestly, and said I was very disappointed with regards to the lack of elite recognition.
    The front desk manager replied to me and apologized, and told me she had forwarded my feedback to the appropriate people.

    Hmm. Okay.

    So I checked a week later, during an 8-hour layover (daytime) at Newark on my way home from Honolulu to Oslo.
    I was greeted by name upon checking in, and the man checking me in, handed me a big bag of snacks, water, chocolates and soda. There was also a hand written card from the GM welcoming me back.

    I must say they actually took the matter seriously, and improved massively. Kudos to them for that.

    My worst stay, however, was at the Radisson Largo DC. What a piece of crap.
    The associate checking me in, had never seen a Club Carlson Concierge card before.. I guess that should have been a warning sign…
    To summarize: NO elite recognition what so ever, housekeeping took all our towels (2 rooms) and didn’t provide us with new ones, pot smoke in the hallway (kids on a school trip) AND I had to beg for breakfast vouchers, even though I had the physical Concierge card with me. They didn’t recognize it. Lol.

    Sent an email to Club Carlson after checking out of there (will never, never return) – and they gave me 75 000 gold points for the inconvenience.

  18. I usually wait and be patient until they realize their mistake of not giving me a welcoming gift during my stay, but if they don’t realize and not giving me what I am entitled for, then I have to push it.
    For example, do you think if they don’t realize their mistake and we not getting what we entitled for, if we say like “excuse me, I didn’t get the welcome amenity gift that I am entitled to as a gold member, perhaps this is an oversight but I really hope you can fix this” in calm manner and tone, and if they try to get around with it or be lazy by giving an answer : “oh we don’t do that kind of thing here” or “sorry, no amenity gift here”….then we say “ok, what’s your name? mr/miss….(act like write down their name on paper or phone’s notepad app and call their name), so I think I have to take this up to higher management and HQ, and mention how the service that you gave me in this hotel and I will for sure also mention this on the public travel blog and review”….then they will afraid and try to compensate us, since it’s their mistake anyway.

  19. recently:

    radisson blu biarritz – small bag of macarons
    radisson blu berlin – two small jars of honey

    in all my stays though, i’ve never had my room upgraded with carlson rezidor as gold. not complaining, just an observation.

  20. Sadly I think you’re right, they ARE being too generous with the credit card. Yet again it’ll be another devaluation for everyone after only the US members have had the opportunity for great value earning/redeeming – not that I blame the customers of course, it’s just frustrating to see the same thing happen time and again!

  21. Totally agree but without the card it’s much harder to earn and when we burn it costs us double the amount! šŸ™

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