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Club Carlson recently announced several changes to their program, which were implemented as of March 15, 2014.
I wrote a post a few weeks ago outlining the changes to the Club Carlson program, and one of the interesting notes was that Gold Points will be redeemable for premium rooms.
Club Carlson members will have a choice of room types when redeeming Gold Points for award nights. In addition to standard rooms, members will be able to redeem points for premium rooms at participating hotels. Ultimately we don’t know what the rates or availability look like, so it’s anyone’s guess if this is actually worthwhile.
Now that the changes have gone live, it looks like the rates are reasonable, with premium rooms requiring 50% more points than a standard room:
That seems like a reasonable premium in my opinion. In comparison, Hyatt charges 60% more Gold Passport Points for suite awards, and has a three-night minimum stay requirement. Starwood prices suites at double the cost of standard rooms when redeeming SPG points. Hilton charges approximately a million HHonors points per night for
standard rooms suites, so they’re not even remotely competitive.
For example, looking at random dates in October for the Plaza on the River in London, a Category 7 property, the following options are available for Club Carlson Gold Points redemptions:
The Plaza on the River is a bit of a unique property, as all rooms have at least a kitchenette. The one-bedroom suite is nearly double the size of the standard room though, so in this case is potentially a good deal.
Plaza on the River Studio Room
Plaza on the River One Bedroom Suite Living Room
On the other hand, some premium room awards appear to be for rooms with a better view, rather than more space.
Looking at those same dates for the Park Plaza County Hall in London, a Category 6 property, the only premium redemption options are for rooms with a view of the London Eye.
The most valuable benefit offered by the card has to be that the second night of every award redemption is free, so it’s basically like a “buy one get one free” award redemption for as long as you have the card. That’s really tough to beat, especially when you’re redeeming for suites in expensive cities.
The Club Carlson cards offer five points per dollar for everyday spend, and if you want to redeem for premium rooms at Club Carlson’s top hotels you’re looking at 75,000-105,000 points for every two nights. If you’re accruing those points at the rate of five points per dollar, and factoring in that every second night is free, that means you’re basically earning a free night for every $7,500-$10,500 of spend.
Of course there are lots of other ways to accrue Club Carlson Gold Points as well, like through hotel promotions, the annual bonus, and the occasional promotion on the purchase of points, but I can’t think of any other hotel credit cards that offer this type of redemption value on non-bonused spend.
(Tip of the hat to Mommy Points)