Posted by Ric Garrido

Club Carlson released their U.S. Bank issued Visa credit cards today. There are some high value hotel stay benefits of the three cards offered including bonus points for enrollment, bonus points for annual renewal, complimentary Gold elite and up to 50 free award nights annually as a cardmember.

Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card benefits

  • 50,000 Gold Points after first purchase within 90 days.
  • 35,000 Gold points after $2,500 in spend within 90 days.
  • 40,000 Gold Points renewal bonus each year.
  • 10 points per dollar at Carlson Rezidor hotels.
  • 5 points per dollar for all other purchases.
  • Redeem 2 or more award nights and your last night is free as a bonus award night. You only pay points for one award night on a 2-night award stay.
  • Complimentary Gold Elite Status
  • $75 annual fee

Club Carlson Business Rewards Visa Signature Card benefits

  • All the same benefits shown above for a $60 annual fee.

Club Carlson Rewards Visa Signature Card benefits

  • 50,000 Gold Points after first purchase within 90 days.
  • 10,000 Gold points after $1,500 in spend within 90 days.
  • 25,000 Gold Points renewal bonus each year.
  • 6 points per dollar at Carlson Rezidor hotels.
  • 3 points per dollar for all other purchases.
  • Redeem 2 or more award nights and your last night is free as a bonus award night. You only pay points for one award night on a 2-night award stay.
  • Complimentary Silver Elite Status
  • $50 annual fee

Two data points to keep in mind when evaluating these card benefits:

  • Club Carlson sells Gold Points at rate $7 per 1,000 points.
  • 100,000 Gold points = 18,000 airline miles.

The free award night benefit is huge. I currently have access to over 400,000 Club Carlson points with the huge promotion bonuses of the past year.

As a Club Carlson Visa card member I can redeem 2 night award stays and receive 400,000 points worth of free nights if I set up all my redemption stays as redeem one night with points and get one night free.

Club Carlson Visa T&C

Bonus Award Night: When you redeem Gold Points for Award Nights of two or more consecutive nights at the same participating Carlson Rezidor hotel property, you will receive the last of the Award Nights of that stay free without deduction of any Gold Points from your Club Carlson account (“Bonus Award Night”). Your Account must be open and reservation must be in the Club Carlson member’s name and use the member number associated with your Account to be eligible for the Bonus Award Night.

The Bonus Award Night offer is available only on advance reservations for Award Nights paid in full with Gold Points and is not valid with standard paid reservations or Points + Cash redemption reservations.

Only one Bonus Award Night will be available for a stay of two or more consecutive nights at the same hotel (early checkout with one night stay not eligible), regardless of the total length of stay, the total number of reservations or the number of check-in/check-outs, is subject to availability and all other terms and conditions and cancellation policies regarding Award Nights apply. Does not apply to additional reservations booked as contiguous stays at the same hotel.

Only one room per reservation, per hotel for an Award Stay will be eligible to receive the Bonus Award Night offer.

Maximum fifty (50) Bonus Award Nights per calendar year per member with an open Account (“Annual Maximum”). If a reservation with a Bonus Award Night is subject to a cancellation penalty, the Bonus Award Night from that reservation will count against the Annual Maximum. A Bonus Award Night has no Gold Point or cash value and cancellations involving a Bonus Award Night will not result in the credit of any additional Gold Points in your Club Carlson account.

There are other card member benefits like car rental coverage and $1,000,000 travel accident coverage.

The free award night benefit is the offer that jumps out to me. This is potentially worth hundreds of thousands of points each year along with complimentary Gold elite status and associated benefits if you qualify for the higher earning cards.

Perhaps I will start pimping credit cards like other travel bloggers to really play this loyalty game to the extreme.

38 Responses

  1. Yep, I had no doubt you will pick up on this huge benefit! And I especially LOVED the ending of your post;-)

  2. Contra @TravelBloggerBuzz, “Perhaps I will start pimping credit cards like other travel bloggers to really play this loyalty game to the extreme” seems gratuitous, and makes you come off as bitter and petty.

    Ric, I love your blog. It’s really good and I read it all of the time. You usually strike me as a real class act. But I thought the end of your post was… beneath you.

  3. Sounds like a pretty solid offer due to the Bonus Award Nights!

    It looks like the pimping of this card has already started on various blogs…

  4. Ric, you provide a service to the community by researching the travel market and publishing your findings. I don’t see why you should not be rewarded.

  5. Can I use my Bluebird card to buy the CC Visa?

  6. My use of Club Carlson points so far has been for one night stays during road trips. This card will definitely change my habits as I will try to do weekend stays with the free night.

  7. There’s no pimping of this card yet since there are no affiliate links yet!

  8. Ric, I will sign up if you get credit. I love to read your blog.

  9. Ric your blog is on the top of my “check a coupla times a day” list. You’ve alerted me to tons of great deals, so please, pimp away. I know you’ll do it with honesty and integrity.

  10. @John M. – Discussion of credit card affiliate links has been making travel blog news frequently lately.

    Gadling – Bloggers v. The Community In The Great Mileage War http://www.gadling.com/2012/11/24/bloggers-v-boarders-in-the-great-mileage-war/

    Interesting to see that the url link states ‘Boarders’ rather than the ‘Community’.

    Freedom of speech is important to me and I also am probably not the kind of writer who would last in the credit card affiliate game.

    http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/06/21/i-just-gave-up-4000-per-month-to-keep-my-freedom-of-speech/

    And then there is the provocative new blog Travel Blogger Buzz.

  11. Does the card double the “Radisson Free night” awarded this quarter or simply redemptions with points?

  12. @Chris – Terms state the full points for the award stay must be redeemed and then I assume the free night’s points are redeposited to your account after the stay.

    So it will not work with Radisson free night as I read the terms.

    Update on this comment Dec 3: I have been traveling the past two days. After rereading the terms:

    When you redeem Gold Points for Award Nights of two or more consecutive nights at the same participating Carlson Rezidor hotel property, you will receive the last of the Award Nights of that stay free without deduction of any Gold Points from your Club Carlson account (“Bonus Award Night”).

    This now reads to me that you might only need 50,000 points in your account to book a 2-night stay at a category 6 hotel for 50,000 points per night. We will have to see how this plays out once a Club Carlson cardmember actually makes a redemption.

  13. Does anyone know if US Bank pulls from any particular bureau (like Barclays does w/ TU…?)

  14. @Ric – Yes, I’m pretty sure you’re right about not working with the free nights. However, it’s the perfect use for all of those points from previous promotions that are laying around in my account.

    Finally, a credit card that competes well with the Citi + Amex Hilton combo.

    I typically value Club Carlson points at 0.4 c/pt, but with this credit card I’m going to have to revise my assessment up. Given that i will probably typically use 3-night stays, this means I have to revise up to 0.6 c/pt, putting Club Carlson points on a par with Hilton points for me. I don’t rate Radisson properties quite as highly as Hilton or Marriott, with top-tier equivalent to mid-top tier in other schemes. However, some are still very nice.

    Better yet, I mostly use the card for stays in London, and there are plenty of hotels there to choose from. Typically, we stay in London for 2-3 nights, which normally costs upwards of $200/night, or 50,000 points (giving 0.4c/pt). With a CC award booking, it’s possible stay at the Mayfair, which can cost as much as $450/night, also 50,000 points (giving 0.9 c/pt). For two night stays these values are now doubled, for three nights a 50% bonus.

    From an earn rate perspective, you do well too. In addition to the 40,000 points, which is almost enough for a 2-night stay at a top-tier property, the earn rate for a Gold member booking over the internet with their CC credit card is 40 points/$ + 2000 for booking online.

    I’m definitely adding the card to my next churn.

    Comment by Karl Mitchell on December 1st, 2012 at 10:37 am
  15. if i apply, i would apply via your link. i am sick of many bloggers.

  16. 100,000 Gold points = 18,000 airline miles

    Who are the transfer partners?

  17. Ric, I would apply credit cards via your affiliate links as thank you for all great posts.

  18. Ric,

    I would highly recommend have referal links for credit cards and that is your expertise. You can always have them until you feel the pressure of credit card/affiliate companies. Nothing to lose.
    You have been writing extensively unselfishly and no harm to make extra money. At the end you can always exit out of affiliate game if you feel your thinking is getting influenced.

  19. “I can redeem 2 night award stays and receive 400,000 points worth of free nights if I set up all my redemption stays as redeem one night with points and get one night free.”

    Could you break the above down for me about receiving 400,000 worth of free nights…..sorry don’t get it

  20. Interesting, the so-called experts that miles and points continually depreciate, so BURN BURN BURN. Yet CC vastly increased in value overnight. Makes me glad I’m stil holding PILES of CC.

  21. #19 – LT is saying since he already has 400,000 points, it is now worth double the nights if 2 night stays are always done. Use the 400,000, get 400,000 points worth in bonus nights.

  22. If there’s anyone who can say they’ve earned a referral commission, it’s you. You should get paid well for your services!

  23. I think you should get affiliate links too. I would sign up through your links in the beginning, at least until you became too much of a CC pimper like gleff/MMS/TPG/FTG/et al and I could no longer take it. Right now I refuse to give my applications to the normal CC pimpers, so it’s either FrequentMiler (since he doesn’t shove it down your throat), or hopefully you if you get some referral links.

    Comment by gregorygrady on December 2nd, 2012 at 2:08 am
  24. With a free award night on stays of two nights I can get a category 6 award for two nights for 100,000 points. Club Carlson will refund the points for one night and I pay 50,000 points for the 2-night award stay.

    I can repeat this with 2-night award stays and ultimately get 800,000 in award stays with my 400,000 points as a CC card member.

    Comment by ric garrido on December 2nd, 2012 at 5:13 am
  25. what do you think “per hotel” means? It seems unnecessary if they mean per reservation… because they say that too.
    Can it mean one bonus award night per hotel per year? That would be odd, but it almost reads that way.

  26. Saw the discussion thread on Flyertalk – and thought I wouldn’t see anything on any blogs until they lined up their afilliate links (other bloggers waited a couple weeks on the Fairmont Credit Card announcement). So predictable. Then I read yours. Kudos for your independence!

  27. Any idea whether car rental coverage is primary? The link only says “Refer to your Visa Guide to Benefits for details.”

  28. @TravelisFree – I think they just want to be clear that if you have two consecutive award nights at different hotels, that wouldn’t qualify for this. If you find out differently, please let us know.

  29. Ric – there are ways of handling credit card affiliate links. Unfortunately most of your neighbors here at BA go the tasteless pimping route. But not all. FrequentMiler is a great example and he is the only BA blogger who’s link I always use. MMS despite all the criticism also does a good job of clearly highlighting other offers and covering both affiliated and non-affiliated cards. I believe you could card affiliate links without impacting the blog, exactly as FM has done with his. Good luck and keep up the great blog work

  30. Update on the free award night. I emailed Club Carlson for clarification on the free night award.

    The way it was explained to me is you only need the points in your account for the award stay with a prediscount for the last night free.

    Example: Category 6 hotel for three nights is normally 150,000 points. A Club Carlson Visa member can book this three night award with only 100,000 points in your account. The booking system is supposed to automatically recognize Visa cardmember and make deduction up front at time of booking.

    I had thought the member might need 150,000 points and then 50,000 for last night free would be redeposited. As it was explained to me the deduction happens at time of booking and member only needs sufficient points for the final cost of the award.

    Of course the final word will be a Club Carlson Visa card member actually booking an award to see how the process actually works.

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  34. [...] Credit Card Benefit: Club Carlson Visa by U.S. Bank launched December 1, 2012. This card is one to consider, if only for its awesome hotel award discount for last night free on award stays of 2 nights or more. Credit card members can book a 2-night award stay for the price of one award night for any Carlson Rezidor hotel worldwide. Loyalty Traveler post December 1, 2012: Up to 50 free award nights annually with Club Carlson Visa. [...]

  35. Hi, Ric

    Have you heard any latest actual redemption experience by any member? I just got card.

    Thanks

  36. [...] Credit Card Benefit: Club Carlson Visa by U.S. Bank launched December 1, 2012. This card is one to consider, if only for its awesome hotel award discount for last night free on award stays of 2 nights or more. Credit card members can book a 2-night award stay for the price of one award night for any Carlson Rezidor hotel worldwide. Loyalty Traveler post December 1, 2012: Up to 50 free award nights annually with Club Carlson Visa. [...]

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  38. [...] Credit Card Benefit: Club Carlson Visa by U.S. Bank launched December 1, 2012. This card is one to consider, if only for its awesome hotel award discount for last night free on award stays of 2 nights or more. Credit card members can book a 2-night award stay for the price of one award night for any Carlson Rezidor hotel worldwide. Loyalty Traveler post December 1, 2012: Up to 50 free award nights annually with Club Carlson Visa. [...]

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