Last week I announced that the Club Carlson program is soon to be going through some changes in their loyalty program (you can check out all the changes here). While there were some positive changes, i.e., all stays count towards status, overall it is not in the travelers favor. One of the big hits was that they are adding a category 7 hotel and 9 hotels are currently moving up to that new category. This means that those 9 hotels are going from 50,000 points a night to 70,000 points a night to redeem for a free night – a pretty significant increase!

So with any program change, many wonder if the credit card tied to the program is still worthwhile. My opinion is that this program change should not impact whether or not you should get the Club Carlson credit card. While adding a new category is a bummer, the Club Carlson credit card is one of the best hotel cards currently available. This is for three reasons:

  1. With every award stay you get a free night on a 2+ night stay. This means if you have a 2 night stay, your 2nd night is free. If you like to redeem for many two night stays you can think of this card as giving you the opportunity as a buy one get one throughout the year! And this perk is limited to a very generous 50 times per calendar year!
  2. While there are a few different cards with this program, the sign up bonus is extremely generous. The offers range from 30,000 to 85,000 points after meeting the minimum spend requirement. Getting 85,000 points from one credit card application is huge, especially when you can combine it with the free award night perk!
  3. Some of the credit cards give you bonus points annually just for keeping the card. Two of the cards give you 40,000 points annually which is worth more then the yearly fee.

Of course the points earned from the credit card will not go as far with these nine properties, but there are a slew of other great properties in the Club Carlson chain. And even if you have a two night stay at one of the new category 7 hotels you can really think of each night only costing 35,000 points due to the free night perk with the credit card. To redeem 35,000 points at a top tier hotel within a program is very reasonable.

This prior post goes into further detail about the Club Carlson credit cards, but here is a recap of the four different cards:

  • Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature
    • Points earned for spend: 5 Club Carlson points per dollar on everyday spending; 10 points per dollar on Club Carlson hotel spending
    • Bonus points upon applying: 85,000 point signup bonus — 50,000 after first purchase and 35,000 more after $2500 spend within 90 days
    • Hotel status: Gold
    • Bonus points annually: 40,000 points annually for card renewal
    • Annual fee: $75
  • Club Carlson Rewards Visa Signature
    • Points earned for spend: 3 points per dollar on most spending; 6 points on Club Carlson hotel spending
    • Bonus points upon applying: 60,000 point signup bonus — 50,000 after first purchase and 10,000 more after $1500 spend within 90 days
    • Hotel status: Automatic Club Carlson Silver status
    • Bonus points annually: 25,000 points annually for card renewal
    • Annual fee: $50
  • Club Carlson Rewards Visa Card
    • Points earned for spend: 1 points per dollar on most spending; 3 points on Club Carlson hotel spending
    • Bonus points: 30,000 point signup bonus after spending $1,000 on the card within 90 days
    • Hotel status: None
    • Bonus points annually: None
    • Annual fee: $0
  • Club Carlson Business Rewards Visa
    • Points earned for spend: 5 Club Carlson points per dollar on most spending; 10 points per dollar on Club Carlson hotel spending
    • Bonus points: 85,000 point signup bonus — 50,000 after first purchase and 35,000 more after $2500 spend within 90 days
    • Hotel status: Automatic Club Carlson Gold status
    • Bonus points annually: 40,000 points annually for card renewal
    • Annual fee: $60

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links only for the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature card. As always, thanks for supporting the blog and enjoy traveling on a deal!

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

  • Steve said,

    To me this is the BEST Hotel credit card because of the free night offer and you get 5 points for every $ spent on all purchases while their reward night points needed are in line with the major hotels and is better than Hilton as all hotels chains are.

  • TrvlGuru said,

    Glad you didn’t go into how you can generate two nights stay at a 50,000 point property for $79 by using this credit card.

  • Grant said,

    You mean 50,000 CC points / 5pts/$ = $10,000 / $500 VRC = 20 cards x $3.95 = $80?

  • AnnD said,

    Can you clarify for me? When I book a 2 night stay with points, do I have to post the total number of points, say 44,000 x 2, then receive the 44,000 back in my account after the stay? Or do I just need the 44,000 points to book a 2 night stay? Thanks for your help. Can’t find the answer anywhere.

  • Grant said,

    @AnnD, I had 100,000 CC points in my account, booked 2 nights at a 50k Radisson Blu and my account dropped only 50k. Booked 2 more nights at a 44k Radisson Blu and my account dropped 44K. Now I only have 6k left. So as long as you have enough points for 1 night, you should be able to book 2 nights, assuming you have the CC cc.

  • donna said,

    @TrvlGuru – what’s the skinny on the $79 two night stay at a 50K property?

  • TrvlGuru said,

    @donna, see Grant’s post above.
    @Grant, yes.

  • AnnD said,

    Thank you! Will give it a go as soon as my CC sign-up bonus posts.

  • Brian said,

    Can you book 2 nights (1 paid/1 free), pay for a night, and then book 2 more nights (1 paid/1 free) at the same hotel in a 5 night period?

  • dealswelike said,

    @Brian – Technically there is supposed to be 1 day in between that is under a different reservation not using the free night benefit. So for a 5 night period it should work. I have not yet tested the system.

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