Club Carlson Devaluation and my Strategy Going Forward

Good evening everyone, my US Bank Club Carlson Personal and Business credit card statements closed earlier this week and I saved them to my computer on Friday morning.  Hours later, Greg @ Frequent Miler shared the horrific news about the upcoming changes to the Club Carlson’s Bonus Award Night (aka Last Night Free) credit card benefit:

Starting 6/1/2015 Cardmembers can earn a Free Night at a Carlson Rezidor hotel by spending $10,000 annually and paying the annual fee. Free Night replaces Bonus Award Night. Terms & Conditions apply. Clubcarlsonvisa.com

Club Carlson Announcement End of Statement

For those who have at least 1 US Bank Club Carlson Credit Card, the last night free perk was probably the biggest selling point of the credit card.  The other perks of the credit card like free Club Carlson Gold Elite Status, 40,000 Club Carlson points on your cardmember anniversary, and 5x everywhere were nice, but they could not compete with the last night free perk.

The first thing I do (and you should too) is call the credit card company and see if I can get any compensation (aka a retention offer) for keeping the credit card open.  It doesn’t matter if you have had the credit card for a few months or a few years.  I wise person once said, “if you do not ask (for a retention offer), you will not receive (a retention offer).”  Recently, there have been a few changes to some credit cards:

Since I have a personal and business version of the Club Carlson credit card, I wanted to see what retention offers were available. I decided to call on behalf of my business credit card first and the rep was not very helpful or friendly.  She did offer to lower my interest rate but I was not interested.  She then offered me 1,000 Club Carlson points to keep the card.  I took the points and hung up.

I then called on behalf of my personal credit card and spoke with a much nicer rep who offered me a lower interest rate or 2,500 Club Carlson Points.  I took the points and hung up.  The retention offers are pretty pathetic for both credit cards, if you got a better offer, please let me know in the comments.

With that out of the way, let’s get to the burning question… how am I going to burn my stash of Club Carlson points?  I just started planning a 2 week trip to Europe and have plenty of 2 night stays in various major cities to book.  I will do my absolute best to redeem 80% or more of my almost 300,000 Club Carlson points by booking as many 2 night stays as possible.

Starting on June 1, you will earn a free night certificate after spending $10,000 over the next 12 months (only valid at US hotels).  I will also earn 50,000 Club Carlson points in the process, since the base earning rate for the credit card is 5x.  Last but not least, I will earn an additional 40,000 Club Carlson points each year when I pay the annual fee ($75 for personal and $60 for business credit cards).

Club Carlson Change to Terms Email

Assuming Club Carlson does not add any more categories, I will want to keep around 100,000 Club Carlson points in my account plus the free night certificate which should allow me to stay for 3 nights in some of the best Club Carlson hotels in the world (excluding top tier hotels and club rooms which cost more than 50,000 points per night).

That’s my strategy and I’m planning on sticking to it.  What’s your strategy going forward?  Will you keep your Club Carlson credit card(s)?  If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.  Have a great Easter weekend everyone!

Club Carlson Easter Bunner

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42 thoughts on “Club Carlson Devaluation and my Strategy Going Forward

  1. Carl P

    I just checked San Francisco Radisson Fisherman’s Wharf. No availability on points from June 5th through April 2018. Who believes that? What’ll you bet availability opens up June 1st.?

    Reply
    1. Justin

      @Carl P I tried to book a stay there for this upcoming summer and came across the same thing until I realized in April it is being rebranded and leaving the Carlson portfolio.

      Reply
  2. Graydon

    Grant your above plan has a flaw. The free night certificate is no good internationally. From your post: “Starting on June 1, you will earn a free night certificate after spending $10,000 over the next 12 months (only valid at US hotels).”

    So better keep 150,000 points for those three nights. 40K from anniversary bonus so earn 110,000 per year?

    Reply
    1. Grant

      I believe Club Carlson will change the terms to include international hotels (like every other hotel free night certificate out there). I hope I am right.

      Reply
    1. Grant

      Yes, but I have a feeling Club Carlson will change that rule to include all hotels worldwide. No other hotel credit card restricts you to only using hotels in the US.

      Reply
  3. Mike

    Carlson has been having a fire sale the past two years with desirable properties. Waiting to see what comes of Aruba. I have a cash booking for work to get the one time 30k offer and my bonus coming in July and I’m out.

    Reply
  4. DavidNJ

    Wife and I both have the card so all our bookings have taken maximum advantage of the bogo. We did 10 nights over Thanksgiving and 8 nights in March @ the Radisson Aruba. 12 of those nights were spent in an upgraded suite. The value of our point burn was 5.5 cent per point before taxes. No wonder the benefit is being axed. This could have been a lot worse if we didn’t get a couple months warning. Yesterday we booked 10 nights @ the Radisson, Grenada on Grand Anse beach for next Thanksgiving. We will still have 400K points total next statement to burn. 16 more free nights @ 50K isn’t easy to figure out. If only I always had this problem. It was awesome while it lasted!

    Reply
    1. Grant

      Club Carlson should have changed the Last Night Free perk to only work on 3 night stays or longer. That would definitely have made more sense.

      Reply
  5. Freakflyer

    Or simply limited the number of times you could use the deal to 3 or so times per year. I never understood the 50 max. Far too generous.

    Reply
    1. Grant

      It would be really cool to know the average number of Lats Night Free nights that were used on each account. I probably used it 3-4 times last year and it was awesome.

      Reply
  6. Racerboy80

    I called at asked about any retention offers and they initially told me there were none.

    I explained that by losing the bonus night I would probably cancel the card when the AF became due. She then offered me 2500 satisfaction offer points, which I accepted.

    Reply
    1. Grant

      I believe you have to pay the annual fee to get the 40,000 anniversary points, but I have not tried requesting a refund on my annual fee.

      Reply
  7. Ryan prillman

    I used points to stay to nights at the radisson martinique on broadway. The last night free redemption is the sole reason i got the card. I plan on using 75 k points to stay 2 nights at radisson aruba casino. All good things must come to an end i guess. I wonder if the 10k spend free night bonus is based on calendar year or annual fee date.

    Reply
    1. Grant

      Regarding the annual free night, the phone rep said 12 months starting after June 1, but that doesn’t really make sense (like a lot of things).

      Reply
  8. Scott C

    I called and request a refund of my annual fee. I was shot down so I went to a supervisor, who also said no. I then asked for some points as a gesture of goodwill and he said no. He kept saying that this was a CC decision not a US Bank decision. I have filed a CFPB complaint against US Bank.

    Reply
    1. Michael Zulim

      Hi Scott, when I called and asked the rep told me it was a joint decision to end the bonus night. After giving my two cents on what a bad marketing move she offered me the 2500 pts that some of us here received. Try another rep and ask if they have something for being disenfranchised. She had no problem in making it right. Good luck

      Reply
  9. twa44

    “…horrific news…”

    Hey Grant, we met at the Phoenix DO and you know I like your posts and tweets. But “horrific”? I too am disappointed that my Carlson points earned from our family’s 2 personal and 1 bus card have been seriously devalued, but let’s save “horrific” for things like beheadings and tzunamis.

    Perspective like stewardship, matters. We really can’t forget that this very first world perk has now just become a first world problem.

    Reply
  10. Rupert

    Agreed, bad news. Just booked 300k worth of award stays in Europe to make the most if them before value is cut in half. Glad I didn’t buy any points in Daily Getaways…
    I will keep the card though – 40,000 points is still more than annual fee and Gold Status with 2for1 deal in Europe is nice… won’t stay much at Carlson anymore though…

    Reply
    1. Michael Zulim

      I agree Rupert it still has value in Europe and I will keep mine for the time being unless they cut more benefits.

      Reply
  11. JB

    Can you confirm that you can book award nights up to 1.5 year out?

    I don’t have any vacay with carlson hotels near, so I guess I will book Aruba for next winter.

    Reply

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