Changes to the Club Carlson Credit Card Coming June 1, 2015

One of the best credit card benefits out there has to be the Club Carlson Visa’s Bonus Award Night. Cardholders who book at least two award nights per stay get the last night free. Many folks made great use of this benefit by booking stays in two night increments – essentially doubling the value of their Club Carlson Gold Points. Unfortunately, that benefit is going away on June 1, 2015.

Instead of the Bonus Award Night, Club Carlson Visa credit cardholders will receive a free night certificate good at any Club Carlson hotel in the U.S. when they spend $10,000 annually. In the email I received from Club Carlson announcing this change, I was also offered 30,000 bonus Gold Points for charging my next Club Carlson stay to the Club Carlson credit card by August 31, 2015. This is enough to cover a free night at a Category 3 Club Carlson hotel – definitely a mattress run worthy offer.

Club Carlson Visa Credit Card

Those of you who followed my series on the best Club Carlson hotels know what a major downgrade the annual free night certificate is because Club Carlson hotels in the U.S. are generally pretty terrible. With the exception of a few top-tier hotels in major cities (i.e. New York, Chicago), there aren’t many hotels where this annual free night certificate would be put to good use. It would have been less of a blow if they didn’t restrict free night redemptions to U.S. hotels only. That being said, it makes sense that U.S. Bank/Club Carlson would do away with the Bonus Award Night benefit, since I’m sure people were milking it. 

This credit card downgrade would be slightly less terrible if the free night certificate was valid at Club Carlson hotels outside of the U.S. or if cardholders were given points instead. Club Carlson credit cardholders already earn a renewal bonus of 25,000 – 40,000 points every year, which I prefer over a restricted free night. I know I’ll be spending more than $10,000 on the card annually and the free night will likely go unused. Hopefully it’s transferrable, in which case I might give it away on the blog.

While the value of the Club Carlson credit cards has been diminished slightly, I still think Club Carlson is one of the most generous programs when it comes to earning free nights. Non-elite members earn 20 points per $1 on hotel stays and credit cardholders get an extra 6 – 10 points for charging their stays to the card. While other hotels are boring us with substandard offers, Club Carlson has consistently offered superior promotions on paid stays and massive mobile booking bonuses. Overall, this is an unfortunate downgrade for the Club Carlson Visa credit cards, but the program is still one of the most rewarding out there. This is just another case of a good thing coming to an end.

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Ariana Arghandewal


  1. Hi Arianna,

    Thanks for the update – very disappointing! Two questions – do you know if they are planning to keep the 40,000 points as an annual card renewal bonus, or is the free night after $10k spending an alternative to that? Also, can we still take advantage of the free night bonus for reservations out through the rest of 2015 if we just book them by the June 1st deadline? Those two items weren’t clear.

    • Disappointing indeed! Club Carlson clarified on Twitter that the Bonus Night Award still applies as long as the actual booking takes place before June 1. So if you book a 2+ night October stay before the June 1 deadline, you’ll still get your last night free.

      They’re keeping the annual 40k renewal bonus. The free night after $10k spent is replacing the Bonus Award Night benefit – not much of a substitute if you ask me, but I’m glad we’re not losing the 40k.

  2. This is a total bummer. It’s important to note that their official email said that the Free Night is ONLY valid at U.S. hotels: “Beginning June 1, 2015, you can earn a Free Night, good at any Carlson Rezidor hotel in the U.S.”. For me, this means I won’t be renewing the card. I just got it a few months ago, have already met the required spending to get the spend bonus and will be burning my free night in London this Sept. This is a pretty bad devaluation. I don’t have any stays coming up the rest of the year so the extra 30K points they’re offering doesn’t help, although I may just try to find a cheapo hotel near home and just do a 1-night mattress run and check in/check out. All in all, a huge disappointment. I only considered this card because of some really great properties abroad, not in the U.S., so now that the Free night comes with strings attached (only valid in U.S. and only after putting $10K spend on the card), this card goes to my sock drawer until renewal hits next year.

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