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Earlier this morning I reported that there was some rumblings that the free night benefit of the co-branded credit card was going away. At that point I was really really really hoping that it was a late April Fools joke, but unfortunately it is not. The reports are true. The free night on any award stay of two or more nights is going away. This was by far one of the best perks out of any credit card and quite honestly one of those “too good to be true” scenarios.
While I am not surprised that they are getting rid of this benefit, I am not pleased on how they are going about it. For example, those that just applied for the card (i.e., my husband) will not receive the benefits they were promised when hitting the submit button on the application link. By the time one is approved, receives the card, hits the minimum spend, and gets the points credited to their account, they will not have the time to actually go ahead and redeem the points. You are given three months to hit the minimum spend requirement and with this scenario they are essentially forcing you to spend money much quicker. It is also not fair to those that paid their annual fee to maintain a card that they assumed one perk to then be told it was vanishing. I actually see a lawsuit waiting to happen.
I just received this email from Club Carlson and while I appreciate a bonus opportunity, it does not make up for it. I think they freaked out this morning when they saw all the blog posts and hate emails/tweets and quickly got their communications department to put something together. I would not want to be the one working for Club Carlson today having to put out this fire!
- The free night one any award stay of 2+ nights will be eliminated on June 1, 2015.
- You have until May 31, 2015 to book your stay with the free night. This includes any stays post June 1, 2015.
- Starting on June 1, 2015, a new benefit will go into place and you will receive a free night after spending $10,000 on your card annually. Little details have been provided about this.
As a good will gesture, they are offering 30,000 points for staying at their hotel between now and August 31, 2015 and paying with your Club Carlson Visa. I am not sure if there are targeted offers, but this is the one I received. I personally find this gesture insulting. They should just be handing out the 30,000 points to those with the credit card with no stay requirement. A change in benefits should not then require you to stay at their hotel when you already have a sour taste in your mouth. Additionally, the point of the credit card benefit that is vanishing is to help people use their points, not pay for stay (to receive the bonus points it must be a paid stay and not booked with points or cash + points).
Personally, I am probably going to burn most of my points on speculative stays and then re-evaluate whether or not this credit card is worth it. I will post again soon on my thoughts on the credit card going forward.
What do you think?