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Club Carlson doesn’t get much love in the travel blogging circles these days. Their co-branded credit card used to offer a “last night free” perk which was utterly amazing. You could maximize the perk by booking only 2-night stays with the card, saving yourself 50% of the points. Dan used his perk to save 75,000 points on a 2 night stay at the Radisson Blu Roma in Rome, Italy
But that is long gone. You can still get the Club Carlson Visa card from U.S. Bank with a sign-up bonus of 85,000 points, and 40,000 on each anniversary. Valuing their dime-a-dozen points at 0.3 cents each, that bonus is worth $255 and the annual bonus is worth $120. For a $75 annual fee, it’s not terrible. But it’s not stellar.
Changes to hotel categories in 2018
Like most other hotel programs, Club Carlson changes hotel categories each year. This year things actually don’t look too bad, and at face value, you could actually say it is a slight improvement. There are a total of 124 properties changing category: 58 of these are increasing, and 68 are decreasing. So the good in general outweighs the bad.
In some cases, things are looking really good. Here are some examples of some of the best changes:
- Park Inn by Radisson Aberdeen – Going from 50,000 to 28,00 points (down 3 categories!)
- Radisson Blu Hotel Riyadh – Going from 70,000 to 44,000 points per night
- Radisson Hotel Astana – Going from 70,000 to 44,000 points
- Radisson Blu Hotel and Residence Maputo – Going from 70,000 to 44,000 points
- Park Inn by Radisson Novosibirsk – Going from 28,000 to 9,000 points
- Radisson Blu Hotel Cairo Heliopolis – Going from 28,000 to 9,000 points (adding to Egypt’s Cat 1 bounty)
- Park Inn by Radisson Kigali – Going from 50,000 to 38,000 points
- Radisson Blu Hotel Istanbul Asia – Going from 44,000 to 28,000 points
- Radisson Blu Udaipur Palace Hotel and Spa – Going from 44,000 to 28,000 points
- Radisson Hotel Dubai Deira Creek – Going from 70,000 to 44,000 points
But…as always, there are some major losers:
- Radisson Blu Mountain Resort and Residences Trysil Norway – Going from 44,000 to 70,000 points
- Park Inn by Radisson Hotel and Spa Zalakaros, Hungary – Going from 9,000 to 28,000 points
- Park Inn by Radisson Danube Bratislava – Going from 9,000 to 28,000 points
- Park Inn by Radisson Kiev – Going from 28,000 to 44,000 points
Here are some of the properties in major locations that are changing category:
- Cassa Hotel New York 45th Street – Going from 70,000 to 50,000 points
- Radisson Paraiso Hotel Mexico City – Going from 38,000 to 28,000 points
- The Radisson Blu Residence Dubai Marina – Going from 70,000 to 50,000 points
- Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek (Dan stayed at the Radisson Blu Dubai Deira Creek in 2016 and was NOT a fan)
- Radisson Blu Royal Hotel Dublin – Going from 70,000 to 50,000 points
- Park Plaza Victoria Amsterdam – Going from 50,000 to 70,000 points
Overall, not a lot of damage. Depending on your plans, you may even come out ahead. The new prices go into effect March 1.
I do happen to have a Club Carlson Visa that sits sock-drawered. I may pull it out this year and try to hit the $10,000 annual bonus for a free night this year (sadly only valid stateside). This’ll also earn 50,000 points in the process, as it earns 5x on everything.
With the minor changes this year, I’m hopeful for the future of the program. They aren’t obliterating their value a is IHG (SEE: Man IHG points really ARE worthless).
If you want to book any of the few hotels that are going up in price, make sure you do before March 1!
Featured image courtesy of Club Carlson.
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Hotel programs are killing their lowest level redemptions across the board, leaving category 1 options only in places like India and Turkey.
And Egypt. Which makes any of these places a steal. But you make a great point. We may see the death of the current Category 1s someday soon.