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Last month I wrote about a massive change to the Club Carlson credit card. When the card was initially launched it came with an amazing benefit that allowed you to get your last night free on a reservation booked with points. Even better, this free night was valid on stays of 2 or more nights. So ultimately it could be thought of as a buy one, get one which is one of the best perks out of all the credit cards out there!
Unfortunately, this benefit is coming to an end on May 31, 2015. You still have the next 5 weeks to book a reservation (your stay does not need to happen by this date, just booked by then). And after that date, many people are wondering if the Club Carlson credit card is in fact worth it? While the free night on an award stay was an amazing benefit (and quite honestly one of those two good to be true perks), the card still has some value.
There are four different versions of the card, each with a different annual fee, bonus points upon applying, bonus points annually, and amount of points earned for spend. You can learn more about the four different offers in this prior post, but the two that will give you the best value are the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature and Club Carlson Business Rewards Visa. Both give you 40,000 points annually upon paying the annual fee. So for $75 for the personal card and $60 for the business card you can get a nice stash of points. Within the Club Carlson portfolio, hotels range anywhere between 9,000 and 70,000 points a night for a standard room. Ultimately, you are able to get a free category 4 award annually for $75 or $60, or you can save your points for a higher category redemption. This is a similar perk as Marriott and Hyatt, except the points you are receiving from Club Carlson do not expire and with Marriott and Hyatt the free night certificate has a 6 month (Marriott)/1 year (Hyatt) expiration date attached.
The sign up bonus for the two cards are still very high. With both versions of the card you’ll earn 50,000 points after your first purchase and another 35,000 points after spending $2,500 within 90 days. These are two lucrative bonuses with not much minimum spend required. You’ll also receive Gold status, although I do not put much value on that. Maybe you’ll get a slight upgrade during your stay, but I wouldn’t put much emphasis on the status.
While the free night benefit is going away, there is a new benefit being added. You can earn 1 free night to be used at any Club Carlson hotel after spending $10,000 on the card. This can be earned on an annual basis. Not nearly as lucrative as the perk it is replacing, but still a nice benefit and on par with the way some of the Hilton credit cards work. Since there are not too many high end Club Carlson hotels in the US, I do not put much value on the free night certificate. However, if you know of a Club Carlson property you are looking to stay at over the next year, then putting $10,000 on the card could be worthwhile.
Overall, this is a card I am still going to hold onto post May 31st. While I will not be putting any spend on the card, it will be one I keep in my desk draw for the annual points. I have the business version of the card so for $60/year, I will absolutely get more value with the 40,000 points.
Also, if you get the card now, you still have time to use the free night benefit on all award stays. When my husband applied last month, he was approved within a few days, and a few days thereafter his account was upgraded with the free night perk. If you have a lot of points stashed away through various promotions, you still have time to get even more value out of them! If you are solely getting the card for the free night benefit to cash out on your points earned, then I recommend the no annual fee card (listed below).
Let me know if you have any questions!
- Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature: 85,000 point signup bonus — 50,000 after first purchase and 35,000 more after $2,500 spend within 90 days; 40,000 points annually for card renewal; $75 annual fee
- Club Carlson Rewards Visa Signature: 60,000 point signup bonus — 50,000 after first purchase and 10,000 more after $1500 spend within 90 days; 25,000 points annually for card renewal; $50 annual fee
- Club Carlson Rewards Visa Card: 30,000 point signup bonus after spending $1,000 on the card within 90 days; $0 annual fee
- Club Carlson Business Rewards Visa: 85,000 point signup bonus — 50,000 after first purchase and 35,000 more after $2,500 spend within 90 days; 40,000 points annually for card renewal; $60 annual fee