The Club Carlson rewards program is quickly becoming our favorite hotel rewards program for incredible redemption value and hotel availability throughout the world. This is especially true when you open the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature credit card.
If you are unfamiliar with the Club Carlson name, there are five main brands under the Club Carlson hotel chain:
- Radisson Blu
- Park Plaza
- Park Ink
- Country Inn & Suites
They have a network of over 1,000 hotels worldwide, including extensive offerings in Europe, the United States and India (with many additional hotels throughout the Caribbean, South America, and Asia). See all the Club Carlson hotels by category here (just click through the six categories).
Club Carlson Premier Rewards Credit Card details:
When you open the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature credit card you earn 50,000 Gold points upon your first purchase and an additional 35,000 points after spending $2,500 within the first 3 months. A $75 annual fee applies. You also earn an annual bonus of 40,000 points each year when you renew your card, which makes this a valuable card to keep open going forward.
The card awards an astounding 5 points for every dollar spent on regular purchases and 10 points for every dollar spent at Club Carlson hotels. With the 5x points on every dollar spent, you can rapidly earn Club Carlson points for additional hotel stays.
The card also offers you automatic ‘Gold’ level status which entitles you to:
- Complimentary room upgrades as available
- 50% point bonus on every eligible stay
- 2,000 point online booking bonus at clubcarlson.com or any Carlson Rezidor hotel website
- Early check-ins and late checkouts as available upon request
- Roll Over Nights (unused elite-qualifying nights count again next year toward elite status)
- 72-hour room availability guarantee at participating hotels
- Elite Customer Service Line
Once you’ve spent $3,000 total on this card you will have 100,000 Gold points (85,000 bonus points plus 15,000 for $3,000 of regular spending (5 points x 3,000 = 15,000).
As you can see from their rewards chart, this is enough for 11 nights at one of their Category 1 hotels or two free nights at the top-tier Category 6 hotels including 5-star hotels in London, Paris, Sydney and many others:
The Single Biggest Travel Rewards Hotel Deal Available:
(IMPORTANT NOTE: As of 6/1/2015 the following is NO LONGER ACCURATE! This perk is being removed)
Here’s where things get really interesting: When you have this credit card and you book an awards stay with points of two consecutive nights or longer, the last night is completely free – zero points needed!
This last night free is automatically applied when booking the room online, so you don’t have to do anything to receive this free bonus.
The real key to maximizing this bonus is to stay in two-night increments. Using this concept you can get 11 two-night stays at a Category 1 hotel out of your 100,000 gold points for a total of 22 free nights!
Each two-night stay would normally cost 18,000 points but since your last night is free, it only costs 9,000 points. You can do this 11 times with your 100,000 points (11 x 9,000 = 99,000).
For most people going away on a significant vacation, it usually wouldn’t work out to stay at a hotel for just two nights, so this doesn’t sound all that great, right?
Here’s the simple way to work around this and why we think the Club Carlson credit card is an essential part of your travel rewards strategy: If you have two Club Carlson credit cards, you can stay in the same hotel in two-night increments for as long as your points allow!
There are two ways to get two Club Carlson credit cards for your hotel stays:
- One person can open the personal Club Carlson Premier Rewards credit card and the Club Carlson Business credit card.
- One spouse/traveling companion can open one Club Carlson credit card and the other spouse/traveling companion can open their own Club Carlson credit card.
In each of these cases you’d have two distinct credit cards with two distinct Club Carlson rewards account numbers. Therefore you can stay in one hotel for let’s say four straight nights and only pay for two of the nights with points. You’d book the first two nights with the first credit card and the third and fourth nights would be booked with the second credit card. You’d have to pay for only two nights with points as the 2nd night of each booking would be completely free!
Travel Rewards Coaching Examples:
Here are two real-life examples we just put together for our travel rewards coaching members:
Aruba: One family wanted to take a trip to the Caribbean and we were able to get them an 8-night luxury trip to the Radisson Aruba Resort, Casino and Spa.
They were able to get 8 free nights at the AAA Four Diamond Radisson on Aruba just by opening these two cards and utilizing the following method:
- Nights 1-2: Husband books two nights for 50,000 points total
- Nights 3-4: Wife books two nights for 50,000 points total
- Nights 5-6: Husband books two nights for 50,000 points total
- Nights 7-8: Wife books two nights for 50,000 points total
Total spent: 200,000 points (100,000 points for each the husband and wife).
The only downside is that they might have to change rooms every two days, but once the reservations are explained to the front desk we assume they would not even have to do that. Even if so, this is a small price to pay for four additional free nights at a 5-star hotel on Aruba!
Europe: We were able to get Mr. and Mrs. Done by Forty a 16-night, four city European vacation with this Club Carlson two card strategy.
- Budapest, Hungary: four nights at the Category 1 Radisson Blu Beke Hotel for a total cost of 18,000 points.
- Krakow, Poland: four nights at the Category 2 Park Inn Krakow hotel for a total cost of 30,000 points.
- Berlin, Germany: four nights at the Category 3 Park Inn Berlin hotel for a total cost of 56,000 points.
- Prague, Czech Republic: four nights at the Category 3 Park Inn Hotel Prague for a total cost of 56,000 points.
The total cost of this 16-night European vacation was 160,000 Gold points (80,000 on each account), so they still have approximately 40,000 total points remaining to extend this trip or for future trips!
You can use the same concept to book in 2-night increments at any Club Carlson hotel on the planet. If you did this at a Category 1 hotel, you could book for 44 straight nights for free (with 200,000 total points (100,000 points each)). And since you’re a Gold status level, there’s a high likelihood you’ll even be upgraded to a better room at check-in!
If you need help with this or any other travel rewards related strategy, please sign up for our completely free travel rewards coaching service below: