10 Places to Redeem the Club Carlson Annual Free Night Certificate

Since my last post outlining the 10 best Club Carlson hotels to redeem the annual free night certificate, several changes have taken place. Several hotels have changed categories and the Radisson Hotel Fisherman’s Wharf and Radisson Plaza – Warwick Hotel Philadelphia are no longer part of the Club Carlson portfolio. I recently re-applied for the Club Carlson credit card after cancelling it earlier this year. The ability to generate free nights through credit card spending is the main reason I got the card and the annual 40,000 point bonus isn’t too shabby either. 

Club Carlson Radisson Blue Chicago Hotel

The Radisson Blue Aqua Hotel Chicago remains one of the best places to redeem the annual free night certificate from the Club Carlson credit card

However, my post prompted some comments about the annual free night certificate that got me thinking: Is this benefit completely useless? Are there still U.S. based Club Carlson hotels where redeeming the free night certificate gets you good value? The answer to the latter question is simply “yes.” Even if you redeem your free night certificate at a Category 1 Club Carlson hotel, you’re bound to get at least $75 worth of value – enough to off-set the annual fee. Use the certificate the next time you’re stranded at the airport. The Radisson may not be the fanciest hotel in the area, but free beats fancy (at least in my opinion).

Anyway, if you’re wondering if there are any decent Club Carlson hotels left in the U.S. where you can get good value out of your Annual Free Night Certificate from the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card, here’s an updated list of hotels and the points normally required for a free night:

  1. Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago (70000 points per night)
  2. Radisson Martinique on Broadway (70000 points per night)
  3. Radisson Blu Mall of America (70000 points per night)
  4. Radisson Blu Minneapolis Downtown (70000 points per night)
  5. Radisson Suite Hotel Oceanfront (44000 points per night)
  6. Country Inn & Suites New Orleans French Quarter (44000 points per night)
  7. Radisson Hotel New Rochelle (38000 points per night)
  8. Radisson Hotel Orlando – Lake Buena Vista (38000 points per night)
  9. Radisson Hotel San Diego-Rancho Bernardo (38000 points per night)
  10. Radisson Hotel Newport Beach (38000 points per night)

It was really tough to find hotels that didn’t have photos of cracked walls, leaky ceilings, or bed bug bites plastered all over TripAdvisor. It’s blatantly clear that Radisson needs a major revamp in terms of its branding as well as the condition of its U.S. properties. If some of these properties were part of the Hyatt, Starwood or pretty much any other chain, they would have never made any kind of “top 10” list unless that title was followed by “places to get viciously attacked by bed bugs.” 

Club Carlson has made a lot of progress (and regressions in some areas) over the years, but hopefully now that they’ve established themselves as a rewards program and created several great co-branded credit cards, they’ll work on improving the conditions of their U.S. branded hotels.

Where do you plan on redeeming your annual free night certificate from the Club Carlson credit card?

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Ariana Arghandewal


  1. Did you get the 85,000 bonus points again when you reapplied for the card? The Martinique brings back memories from when I used to live in NYC. It was previously a welfare hotel called The Martinique. An expose was done on the place revealing cat sized rats running around and biting the residents as they slept. Eventually it was condemned. It was then remodeled and reopened as The Martinique Hotel. I’m sure it’s a decent place now, but I could never stay there. They need to change the name.

    • Something about the Martinique always seemed off to me, but I had no idea that was the case! Sounds like they would have been better off burning the place down. I’ll provide an update once the statement closes about whether the points were credited or not.

  2. ClubCarlson indeed is a chain in serious trouble — what’s left of it. We may yet do Radisson Oceanfront in Melbourne again soon…. (We have two free nights, courtesy a transfer of otherwise worthless Frontier Airlines miles. (thank you Drew from TIF for that tip) But it too is an aging property. Great to have all suites facing the ocean…. it’s one redeeming wondrous virtue.

    Yet one question, in this post you keep referring to a free night certificate? Are you referring to the certs CC was doling out last May through August to placate customers otherwise disappointed by the downgrade of the Credit Card 2/1 benefit? Aren’t they all just about expired by now? Anybody have one still good beyond this month?

    Or are you suggesting that one gets such free nights for simply having the card? (above and beyond the pittance 40k on renewal)

    • I’m referring to an annual free night that’s issued to Club Carlson credit cardholders every year they spend $10k on the card. It’s only good at US hotels though, irrespective of category. This is a recurring benefit and different from the certificates they were issuing as a result of the card benefit downgrade.

  3. Speaking of the free night certs that CC was doling out last year because of the downgrade of the CC cc (good at any CC hotel worldwide), is there any chance they’ll offer it again this year if I stuck with their cc? I haven’t heard a peep from them, & assume that it was one time only.

    • Probably just a one-time thing since they made such a huge change to the card. They do offer a 40k renewal bonus and a free night certificate redeemable in the U.S. for Club Carlson Premier credit cardholders.

      • IIRC, the annual free night in the US only kicks in after spending $10K and subscribing to their email. Does it also apply to the biz card?

  4. I would recommend Radisson Blu in Chicago. Beautiful hotel and our go to hotel for Chicago. Mall of America was alright for a weekend and we stayed over Christmas at the Oceanfront in Melborne. Nice location, alright hotel but I think paying cash here is a better option unless its spring break.

  5. When the devaluations hit, we booked a bunch of stays. Also so happens we spend a lot of time in Minneapolis/st Paul. Rad Blu Warwick philadelphia was nice, too bad it left the brand. Rad Blu Chicago is the real standout. Rad Blu moa…just can’t bring myself to love a hotel at the mall of America. I loved Radisson Blu downtown mpls when it was a green and we could do last night free stays at 44k. Now it’s overhauled with nice common spaces but not much improved rooms – they’re fine but not special – and 70k is just too much as well as being chintzy with upgrades to executive level. Was there a lot…no more. Radisson red (yep, you read that right) opens first us location in downtown mpls in a month. Looks like a nicer, updated w/aloft style to me. Country inn new Orleans fq has had great reviews from our family that I sent there regularly-just clean, nice staff, reasonable price. Rad green Austin was perfectly serviceable and Austin is neat. And then there are the disappointing ones…so many, I’ll spare ya But for the radisson green baton rouge… That one is about to turn from old to kitchy.

    • It’s tough to make a list now that so many decent hotels have left the brand. Hopefully in the future they bring their U.S. portfolios up to the same level as their hotels abroad.

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