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Yesterday, I had two different posts discussing the massive change to the Club Carlson co-branded credit card: “Negative Changes to the Club Carlson Credit Card, Maybe” and “Confirmed. Club Carlson Free Night Benefit Ending. And an Insulting Bonus.” This post is to outline in a concise manner the changes and the things you need to know moving forward:
- Free night with all award stays of 2+ nights is ending. The best perk of the card currently will give you your last night free on all reservation of 2 or more nights. This is only applicable to stays using points. This perk is ending on June 1, 2015. That means you have until May 31, 2015 to make any future reservations with this free night benefit.
- Changing your reservation after June 1. If you make an award reservation by May 31 utilizing the free night benefit and need to change reservation post June 1, but belief is that your reservation will not keep your free night in tact. While this is not confirmed, I know the free night is hard coded into each individuals account and when you change a reservation they know whether or not you have this benefit. For example, I made a reservation under my husbands account for a 1 night stay a few weeks ago prior to him applying for the Club Carlson credit card. Once he was approved for the card, I went into his account to change the reservation to a 2-night stay. I did not cancel and rebook, but simply changed it. During this change, the points for the second night was automatically deducted since the system knew he had the credit card. So while he was ultimately charged the same 50,000 points, during the change, it knew to re-price out the reservation. This makes me believe that once the benefit goes away all changes to an award stay will be re-priced.
- Keeping your credit card to utilize the free night award during your stay. There is talk that you must still be a Club Carlson credit card member when you actually stay at the hotel with your free night.Quite honestly, I am not sure if this is true or not. I read through all the terms and all I saw where these two things: 1) “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” and 2) “Your Account must be open at the time of redemption to qualify for Bonus Award Nights”. While I am by no means a lawyer to interpret certain terms and conditions correctly, the way I read it is that when you make the hotel reservation, you must have the credit card and your account open in good standing. Points are “redeemed” and taken out of your account during the reservation process, not when your stay actually occurs. However, I personally would take the “better safe than sorry” approach and not cancel your card right away. In the next few months there will definitely be some reports of whether or not your free night as part of a reservation will stay in tact if you cancel the card.
- Free night after spending $10,000 on the credit card. This is a new benefit that is replacing the benefit above. Once you spend $10,000 on your card you will receive a free night at any Club Carlson hotel within the US. While this benefit is on par with some of the other credit cards, it is limited to only Club Carlson properties located within the United States. From my experience, most of the better and more expensive Club Carlson properties are located outside the United States. The email I received states that more details will be announced come June 1, 2015 when the benefit actually starts.
- All other benefits stay the same. All the other benefits that come with the card are staying, as of now. This includes the number of points you earn for every purchase, elite status, and bonus points on your anniversary year. There are a few different co-branded credit cards and they all have different benefits. For example, the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature card gives you 40,000 points on every anniversary date. This is enough points to get you a free night at many hotels, but not their high end properties.
- 30,000 points after your next paid stay at a Club Carlson hotel. Many folks today received an email that stated the change and offered a 30,000 point bonus on your next eligible stay at a Club Carlson hotel. Note that an “eligible” stay is a point earning paid stay. This is valid for stays between April 1 and August 31, 2015 and does not require you to register. Unfortunately, it seems as though not all card members received this bonus in their change of benefits announcement so make sure to re-read the email you received. If you did not receive any notification of this benefit I suggest calling Club Carlson to inquire. Also keep in mind that the Club Carlson card charges a 3% foreign transaction fee, so if you are planning on staying at a hotel outside of the US you will be hit with that fee. If you plan on continuing to accrue Club Carlson points, you can probably find a $70ish hotel room as a mattress run to earn your 30,000 points.
- You can still sign up for the Club Carlson credit card. Although the benefits are changing, there is still time to sign up for the credit card and redeem your points with the last night free benefit. This is ONLY beneficial for those sitting on a lot of points and looking to burn them with the free night perk. My husband signed up last week and his account is already updated with the free night perk. I am by no means advocating signing up for this card in general, but there might be some folks out there that have been putting off signing up for some reason or another and want to take advantage of the free night perk before it is too late. The four different credit cards include: Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature (up to 85,000 sign up bonus, gold status, 40,000 points for card renewal, $75 annual fee), Club Carlson Rewards Visa Signature (up to 60,000 sign up bonus, silver status, 25,000 points for card renewal, $50 annual fee), Club Carlson Rewards Visa Card (up to 30,000 sign up bonus, $0 annual fee), Club Carlson Business Rewards Visa (up to 85,000 sign up bonus, gold status, 40,000 points for card renewal, $60 annual fee). You can learn more about the different offers here.
If you read my two earlier posts you probably get the sense that I am not happy about these changes. I do not think anyone is. But, I am not surprised. It was an amazing perk and quite honestly too goo to be true. But it did last for two years so I am thankful for that. I am just not quite pleased how Club Carlson went about not announcing these changes and it took the blog world to make this change known. I also think a fair compromise would be to allow each card member to be grandfathered into the benefit during the rest of their card membership year. Card members are required to pay for the annual fee upfront and when doing so are assuming the benefits they are signing up for will last for the year.
I am personally make many reservations prior to this May 31st date to burn my points and ensure I can reap the benefit before it goes away. Remember, many Club Carlson hotels allow you to make reservations well into 2016 as well!
As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. Where will you be making reservations?