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For those of you that aren’t familiar with the term “mattress running,” it’s when you stay at a hotel exclusively for the purpose of earning points and/or stay credits. It’s the hotel equivalent of “mileage running,” which is flying for the sole purpose of accumulating airline miles.
Back in the day mattress running was a thing that actually made sense. For example, Hyatt used to offer “Faster Free Nights,” whereby you’d earn one free night at any hotel in the world after two paid stays. So you’d make two stays at your local sub-$100 per night Hyatt, and then redeem your free night at a property like the Park Hyatt Sydney, which retails for $800+ per night. It was a crazy good deal, though not surprisingly we haven’t seen that promotion in a couple of years.
Anyway, Club Carlson’s current promotion is the most I’ve been tempted to mattress run since the good old Faster Free Night days (admittedly free nights at Club Carlson properties aren’t nearly as aspirational as free nights at Park Hyatt properties, but…). Travis is using the promotion to get more value out of hotel stays he’d make anyway, while I’m tempted to use the promotion just to earn points…
Especially non-aspirational Radisson Blu Saga Hotel Reykjavik
Club Carlson’s current promotion
Through March 29, 2015, Club Carlson is running a promotion entitled “Extend Your Stay, Earn 30K.”
Basically, you earn:
- 15,000 bonus Gold Points for two night stays
- 30,000 bonus Gold points for stays of at least three nights
- 10,000 bonus points after your first eligible stay if you registered before the promotion started
So your first three night stay earns you 40,000 Gold Points, assuming you registered before the start of the promo.
Club Carlson’s Mega Points promotion
Club Carlson is offering a Mega Points promotion, whereby you earn 10,000 bonus points per night at select properties. You do have to book rates using the promotion code MEGAPTS and only some properties are participating. The rates are marginally higher than the otherwise best available rates, typically by about $20 per night. But it’s well worth marginally acquiring Gold Points for 0.2 cents each, in my opinion.
Club Carlson’s already lucrative earnings structure
Club Carlson is already extremely generous in terms of the number of points they award for hotel stays:
- You earn 20x points per dollar spent
- You earn a 35% bonus (an additional 3x points per dollar spent) if you’re a Club Carlson Gold member, which you receive just for having the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card
- You earn an additional 10x points per dollar spent on Club Carlson stays with the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card
That means when paying with Club Carlson’s co-branded credit card and staying as a Gold member, you’re earning 37x points per dollar spent.
Adding it all up
Without even putting much effort into searching for the cheapest hotels, I see that the Radisson Hotel Seattle Airport has a ~$116 per night rate using the Mega Points package (and I’m sure there are even cheaper rates out there):
A three night stay costs $393 including tax:
For that stay you’d earn:
- 30,000 points through the “Extend Your Stay, Earn 30K” promo
- 10,000 points for your first booking if you registered for the promotion early
- 30,000 points for the “Mega Points” promotion
- ~14,000 points for being a Gold member and paying with the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card
So altogether that’s ~84,000 points for under $400, not to mention a three night hotel stay.
Putting the value of ~84,000 Gold Points into perspective
I’ve written in the past about the value of Club Carlson points, so I won’t delve too deep into that. Let me simply say that I recently stayed at the Radisson Blu Royal Copenhagen, which goes for 50,000 points per night. Since I have the Club Carlson Visa Card, the second night of my award redemption was free.
View from the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel Copenhagen
So 50,000 points got me two free nights here, which would have otherwise retailed for $250+ per night. So I’d already be $100 ahead after having redeemed only 50,000 of those ~84,000 points.
Is this massively profitable, like Hyatt’s “Faster Free Nights” back in the day? No, probably not. But if you have the Club Carlson Visa Card, you can essentially double the value of your award redemptions, and end up coming out ahead in almost all instances if stacking these promotions, in my opinion. If nothing else, it’s a great way to get a huge discount on a stay you’d make anyway.
So, who else is tempted by this Club Carlson promotion?