Club Carlson

Club Carlson’s 2017 Hotel Category Changes

Radisson-Blu

It’s pretty normal for the major global hotel chains to adjust hotel categories annually. We’re not talking about them actually adjusting the number of points required for a stay at a particular category of hotel, but rather adjusting which hotels are in which categories.

So far this year we’ve seen Marriott, Starwood, and IHG announce category changes. Now it’s Club Carlson’s turn.

Club Carlson has announced some category changes which kick in for bookings as of March 1, 2017. First of all, it’s extremely disappointing how little notice Club Carlson is giving of these changes. The changes kick in as of tomorrow, which I wouldn’t consider to be sufficient notice.

Continue Reading »

Club Carlson’s Latest Stealth Devaluation

CC_logo_200x200

Club Carlson used to be one of my favorite hotel loyalty programs. On the earning side, they used to run some killer promotions that were totally mattress runnable. The best of those awarded 50,000 Carlson points for one a night stay at a Radisson hotel, basically enough points for a night anywhere in the world.

On the burning side, you could get a free award night on every redemption, so long as you had the Club Carlson credit card. This amounted to BOGO award nights and effectively doubled the value of your points.

Those days are long gone, however. And Club Carlson recently devalued their loyalty program even further by taking away a somewhat obscure but valuable benefit for Carlson Gold and Concierge members.

Continue Reading »

Review: Radisson Blu Oslo Airport

RadissonBluOsloAirport0040

Given our early departure the following morning, we decided to spend the last night of our trip at a hotel at the Oslo Airport.

Having stayed at the Park Inn by Radisson Oslo Airport on the first night of our trip, we decided to try the Radisson Blu Oslo Airport this time. In my experience, both of these hotels are comparable in price with the Radisson Blu maybe just a few dollars more.

We rode the NSB train from Oslo Central Station to the airport and then walked over to the hotel. The Radisson Blu is the closest hotel to the airport, but you still need to exit the terminal to get there. It’s an easy walk that takes only a few minutes.

Continue Reading »

Review: Park Inn By Radisson Oslo Airport

ParkInnOsloAirport0040

Given our relatively late arrival into Oslo, we decided to stay at the airport the first night. I’m sure we could have headed into the city, but with three tired kiddos this seemed like a good option. And the Oslo airport has two very convenient hotels — you can walk to both the Park Inn by Radisson Oslo Airport and the Radisson Blu Oslo Airport.

We chose the Park Inn for this night because it was a bit cheaper. In reality, you can’t go wrong with either one.

Getting to the Park Inn is really easy since you just exit the terminal on the arrivals level and turn left. There are plenty of signs confirming that you are going the right way and you never even have to cross a street. If it’s winter, you might want to walk to the end of the arrivals level before exiting.

Continue Reading »

Review: Radisson Bandar Seri Begawan Brunei

radisson-brunei-bandar-seri-begawan-11

I was arriving from Kuala Lumpur at around 2:30PM, and departing to Dubai the next night at around 9PM, so I had one night there. After doing some research, it seemed I had two practical options — I could book the Radisson, which had a great location in the center of town and was reasonably priced, or I could book The Empire Hotel, which is the nicest resort in the country, though is a bit outside of town.

Since I was in Brunei to sightsee, I booked the Radisson, which was a very reasonable 75USD per night (Brunei has a local currency, which is equivalent in value to the Singapore Dollar). The hotel was just a 15 minute drive the airport, and has a pretty bland exterior.

The lobby was a bit more stylish, and was large and had lots of natural light.

Continue Reading »

Which Hotel Programs Let You Earn Points & Elite Nights For Multiple Rooms?

park-hyatt-vienna-suite-12

Different hotel loyalty programs have different policies as to how many points, elite qualifying stays, and elite qualifying nights you can earn if booking multiple rooms. In other words, if you often travel with family and book two rooms, can you receive elite credits and points for each of the rooms?

The rules vary by program, so in this post I figured I’d look at the policies of the major hotel loyalty programs, as they impact earning points and elite qualifying credit for multiple rooms (in the title of each section I’ve added a link to the terms & conditions):

Club Carlson lets you earn points for up to three rooms booked on the same reservation. However, you don’t earn elite qualifying nights for multiple rooms.

Continue Reading »

Club Carlson’s New Promo Offers Up To 100,000 Bonus Points

radisson-blu-chicago

Club Carlson has just announced their first major promo of 2017, called Earn Bigger Rewards. The promotion is valid for stays between January 9 and March 31, 2017.

Club Carlson generally has pretty generous promotions for hotel stays, though this time around you’re having to make some difficult decisions before your first stay. Specifically, you can register to earn one of the following bonuses:

Continue Reading »

All The Ways To Earn Hotel Elite Status With Credit Cards

Grand-Hyatt-Hong-Kong-Grand-Suite - 38

One of the trends we’re increasingly seeing is the ability to earn hotel elite status through credit cards. Rather than having to put in up to 75 nights per year worth of stays in order to earn top tier status, many hotel groups are now letting you earn status for spending certain amounts on credit cards

In this post I wanted to look at all the ways to earn elite status with credit cards for several of the major hotel chains, including Club Carlson, Fairmont, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and Starwood. I’ll break down the option by loyalty program and then status level:

Continue Reading »

Earn 5,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles For Your Next Club Carlson Stay

radisson-blu-chicago

A few days ago Club Carlson announced their latest global promotion, offering double points or double elite night credits through the end of the year.

Club Carlson members ordinarily earn 20 points per dollar spent, so through this promotion they can earn 40 points per dollar spent. If you have Gold status you earn a 35% bonus on base points, meaning many of us are earning 47 points per dollar spent, which is quite good.

There’s another promotion being offered by Club Carlson that could make your next stay especially rewarding. Through their “Take Off With More Miles” promotion, Club Carlson is offering 5,000 bonus Aeroplan miles for your next stay at an eligible property in the United States or Canada between November 1 and December 31, 2016.

Continue Reading »

Earn Double Points Or Double Elite Nights With Club Carlson

Radisson-Blu-1919

Club Carlson has just announced the details of their next global promotion, called Decisions, Decisions. The promotion is valid for stays between November 1 and December 31, 2016, and registration is required.

Through this promotion you can earn one of the following:

— Double base points on all eligible stays
— Double elite night credits on all eligible stays

Continue Reading »

Should You Buy Club Carlson Points With A 75% Bonus?

Radisson-Polar-Hotel

Through October 30, 2016, Club Carlson is offering a 75% bonus on purchased points.

Club Carlson limits you to purchasing 40,000 points per account per calendar year, and the 75% bonus applies even if you purchase just 1,000 points. Factoring in the 75% bonus, you can buy a maximum of 70,000 points through this promotion. The 70,000 points would cost you $280, meaning they’re charging~0.4 cents per point.

It has been a while since we’ve seen a bonus on purchased Gold Points. To frame this promotion in the context of past ones, this is one of the better promotions we’ve seen:

Continue Reading »

4 Credit Cards That Give You A Free Hotel Night Every Year

Park-Hyatt-Siem-Reap

There are a variety of factors that can make a credit card appealing. In general, I look at the following three things when considering a credit card:

— The sign-up bonus (how much value does the card offer me just for completing a minimal amount of spend)
— The return on everyday spend (how many points will I earn on this card for the purchases I’d make anyway)
— The ongoing perks (does the card offer any anniversary perks or other benefits that make the card worth holding onto)

With that in mind, I figured I’d talk a bit about the four hotel credit cards that offer you an annual free night in a hotel just for holding onto a credit card and paying the annual fee. In my case, I have several cards I hold onto just for the perks, without actually putting a significant amount of spend on them. That’s because the perks more than justify the annual fee.

For the average consumer, I think one of the best ongoing perks offered by a card is an annual free hotel night. After all, who doesn’t want a free hotel night every year? With that in mind, below are the four credit cards that offer an annual hotel night every year upon the account anniversary, roughly in order of how I value them:

Continue Reading »

Club Carlson’s Next Global Promotion: Earn Up To Triple Points

Radisson-Blu-Royal-Copenhagen-12

Club Carlson has just announced the details of their next global promotion, called Work Hard, Play Hard. The promotion is valid for stays between August 1 and October 31, 2016, and registration is required.

Through this promotion you earn:

— Double base points when checking in Sunday through Thursday nights
— Triple base points when checking in Friday or Saturday nights
— 1,000 bonus points per eligible stay when booking through the Club Carlson mobile app

For stays in the Middle East, check-ins Saturday through Wednesday earn double points, while check-ins Thursdays and Fridays earn triple points.

Continue Reading »

Review: Radisson Blu Longyearbyen Hotel

Radisson-Blu-Longyearbyen-Svalbard - 19

The reason I heard about Longyearbyen in the first place was because of the Radisson Blu, given that it claims to be the world’s northernmost full service hotel. Based on the pictures it didn’t exactly look glam, but then again, Longyearbyen isn’t a destination you visit for a luxury vacation, but rather for the nature.

Given that we were visiting in early July, it was absolute peak season. While I have a sizable balance of Club Carlson points, we decided to book a paid rate instead. The paid rate was ~$250, while a redemption would have cost 70,000 points (that’s Club Carlson’s highest award cost for a standard room). I value Club Carlson points at ~0.4 cents each, so I thought paying cash represented a better value.

On top of that, as a Gold member I earn 23 points per dollar spent on hotel spend, so I have to consider the points I’m forgoing if I elect to redeem points. So while ~$250 per night is more than I usually like to spend on a rather dumpy hotel, in this case I was really paying for the destination rather than the hotel.

The Radisson Blu is about a 10 minute drive from Longyearbyen Airport. Our taxi driver was a lovely lady from the Philippines, who had been in Longyearbyen for about three months.

Continue Reading »