Club Carlson

Triple Points at Club Carlson

2015-04-06 Club Carlson Triple PointsAfter taking away the best benefit in the world of hotel points, Club Carlson is trying to make nice by offering triple points on stays between now and June 28, 2015.  Award stays – whether on points only or by using points + cash – are not eligible.  You must register HERE to take advantage of this promotion.  The triple point calculation is based on the standard 20 points per dollar spent, not on any bonus points you may earn as an elite member.

Additionally, for each reservation made through the Club Carlson mobile app you will receive 1000 bonus points.

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Club Carlson Removes Crucial Visa Benefit

Club Carlson Credit CardOne of the great things about Club Carlson is how easy their points are to accrue. The Club Carlson Visa offers 10 points per dollar for purchases at Club Carlson hotels like Radissons, Radisson Blus, Park Inns, and 5 points per dollar everywhere else. The cherry on top of this was that when you have the US Bank Club Carlson Visa and have an award stay of two nights or more, the last night is free. That meant for two people who each had the card, they could make alternating reservations of two nights each and the stay would cost half the points.

Per Frequent Miler’s post this morning, this benefit is going away. In its place is an offer for a free night each year after spending $10,000 on the card and paying the annual fee of $75.

This is a huge devaluation. I hadn’t even had a chance to take advantage of this benefit and it’s already going away. At the time I made my reservations for our stay at the Radisson Blu Bosphorus, I was not a card member and thus couldn’t take advantage of it.

I’m seriously wondering whether or not I should keep this card once the annual fee comes due. Club Carlson is not my go-to hotel chain and their footprint in North America is pretty small. It’s certainly better overseas but my plans for the next few years include places where I expect I’ll be able to find Hyatt, Marriotts and Hiltons. I will definitely have to reconsider keeping this card.

 

Update 13:45 CT – Club Carlson has now sent out an email to holders of the Club Carlson Visa further clarifying the changes:

Beginning June 1, 2015, you can earn a Free Night, good at any Carlson Rezidor hotel in the U.S. This Free Night will replace the current Bonus Award Night benefit. Bonus Award Night stays may not be booked after June 1, 2015. You’ll receive the new Free Night award upon renewal of your card after an annual spend of $10,000. Updated program terms and conditions will apply and be available on June 1, 2015.

As a Club Carlson Visa® cardholder you will continue to enjoy the following benefits:

  • 10 points per $1 spent in eligible Net Purchases at Carlson Rezidor hotels worldwide – that’s in addition to the 20 points per dollar you earn as a Club Carlson member
  • 5 points per $1 spent in eligible Net Purchases everywhere else
  • 40,000 renewal bonus points each year when you renew your card by paying the annual fee
  • Gold Elite Status – which now includes a dining discount at participating hotel restaurants!

And, to thank you for your continued loyalty, you can earn 30,000 bonus Gold Points® on your next Eligible Stay at a Carlson Rezidor hotel worldwide when you pay with your Club Carlson Visa®. Offer ends August 31, 2015. Terms and conditions apply.*

So spending $10,000 on the card each year will net a free night and at least 50,000 points for that spend. Pay the annual fee of $75 and get 40,000 bonus points. If you were to use the card to load the Target Redcard you could get 90,000 points per year for the annual fee of $75 or $0.000833 per point. Even if you bought Visa gift cards for $10,079, you’d only pay $0.00171 per point. Either way that’s a pretty awesome price for points and a free night to boot.

And if you have a stay at a Club Carlson property before the end of August you’ll get an additional 30,000 points. If you can find a room for $90 those 30,000 points will cost $0.003 apiece. Of course, if the cheapest room you can find is more expensive, the points get more expensive too. Ben values these points at 0.4 cents per point while Brian values them at 0.6 cents each. So if you can get the points this cheaply, it may be worth it to you, especially if you have a great use for them.

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Club Carlson Promo for Elite Members

I’ve only stayed with a Club Carlson hotel once in the last several years but thanks to owning a Club Carlson credit card, I’m considered an elite member.  Today I received an email with information about a promotion for elite members only.  Simply book a reservation using the Club Carlson mobile app by April 5th and complete the stay any time in April and they’ll give me 5000 bonus miles within 10 days after I complete the stay.  Be sure to note that the fine print states that the room must paid in full – and in advance (!) – to qualify.  Points + Cash reservations do not qualify for this promotion.

2015-03-30 Club Carlson PromoI don’t have any travel scheduled for the month of April and even if I wanted to make a mattress run, there’s no Club Carlson property within about 200 miles of me so I won’t be taking advantage of this promotion.  Besides, as easy as Club Carlson points are to accrue, this offer is not enough to make me change a booking.

The Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature card is one of those cards to get and hang onto.  It has a number of great benefits:

  • It’s issued by US Bank, so you can have this card in addition to the number of  Chase, Citibank and Amex offerings.  If you’re planning to apply for several cards on one day, anecdotal evidence suggests it’s good to apply for this one first as US Bank doesn’t like to see a lot of applications within 90 days or so.
  • On award stays of 2 nights or more, the last night is free when you own this card.  That means if two people are sharing a room and they each own the card, each person could make a reservation for two nights and the second night would be free!  Just alternate the reservations and it’s half the points.
  • Current sign-up bonus is 85,000 points: 50,000 after the first purchase and 35,000 after spending $2500 within 3 months.  There’s a $75 annual fee
  • Each year you pay the annual fee, collect a 40,000 point bonus just for keeping the card open.
  • The card earns 10x points at Club Carlson hotels and 5x points everywhere else.

So an extra 5000 points is great but I won’t be going out of my way to earn it.

Note: I have no affiliation with US Bank or Club Carlson.  The link provided will profit a very deserving blogger, though I am not affiliated with his blog either.

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5000 Bonus Club Carlson Points Per Night

2015-03-26 Club Carlson PromoIf you’re looking to earn some bonus Club Carlson Gold Points and have plans for a spring or early summer trip, now’s the time to book. Book your trip by April 7 and you can earn 5000 bonus Gold Points per night on stays between April 17 and June 27 at participating locations in the US, Canada and Latin America.

This offer seems to apply only to Country Inns and Suites and to Radissons and not all of the Carlson Rezidor brands. Click HERE for participating Counts Inns and Suites locations and HERE for participating Radisson locations.

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Radisson Blu Bosphorus

Turkey Trip Overview
Booking Flights To Turkey
British Airways First Class Lounge IAH
British Airways 777 First Class IAH-LHR
Transiting Heathrow and British Airways A320 Business Class LHR-IST
Marriott Courtyard Istanbul Airport
Pegasus Airlines Istanbul to Izmir and Back
Ephesus, Mary’s House and Basilica of St. John
Swissotel Efes
Pamukkale Bus and Preiene
Ritz-Carlton Istanbul
Major Sites to see in Istanbul
Radisson Blu Bosphorus
Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul
Turkish Airlines 777 Business Class IST-IAH

Our final hotel for the trip was the Radisson Blu Bosphorus. Once again we arranged with the folks at SeaSong to transfer us from the Ritz to our new hotel. The hotels are only 2.5 km apart – 6 minutes with no traffic but that’s too far to walk with a week’s worth of luggage and significant traffic, so we were glad we opted for the private transfer.

As its name suggests, the hotel is located right on the water. It even had a small area for boats to dock and it was from here we were able to board the boat for our cruise of the strait. The main dining area is at sea level, which is one level down from the entrance and front desk. In addition to inside dining there’s also a covered terrace which provided a great view of all the traffic on the Bosphorus.

We checked in a bit early and our rooms weren’t quite ready so we sat in the lobby for a bit, wanting to get our luggage stored before our cruise. Just when we’d decided we needed to eat something (it was nearly noon by that point) before our cruise, our rooms were ready so we quickly took our luggage up then headed down to the patio to eat at the StarBoard Restaurant.

Radisson Blu Istanbul Front Desk

Radisson Blu Istanbul Front Desk

Radisson Blu Istanbul Lobby

Radisson Blu Istanbul Lobby

The waitstaff here could use a refresher course in service. I know that the standards are different in various countries and that in Turkey one is expected to flag down a server when something is needed rather than expecting a server to be proactive.  But at lunch the first day and both days at breakfast we often had trouble even finding a server or getting them to look our way so we could indicate we needed help.

After the fabulous breakfast we had at the Swissotel Efes, any other buffet would be a letdown so I was somewhat prepared for that but still, I was a little disappointed by breakfast here. I’m not complaining too much as it was free with my Club Carlson Gold status which I obtained just by having their credit card. While everything at the Swissotel seemed fresh and colorful, it seemed the buffet here was a bit dull. They did have a cook-to-order station one day though I don’t think they had it the next.

Radisson Blu Istanbul Buffet 1

Radisson Blu Istanbul Buffet 2

Radisson Blu Istanbul Buffet 3

Radisson Blu Istanbul Buffet 4

Radisson Blu Istanbul Buffet 5

Radisson Blu Istanbul Buffet 6

Radisson Blu Istanbul Buffet 7

Radisson Blu Istanbul Buffet 8

Radisson Blu Istanbul Buffet 9

Radisson Blu Istanbul Buffet 10

Radisson Blu Istanbul Buffet 11Cereal was an option on the buffet both days but there were no spoons on the table or by the cereal station. The first day my server managed to bring me a tablespoon (suitable as a serving spoon) while the next day I was directed to a basket of spoons – nowhere near the cereal – but they were iced tea spoons. I was hoping for a short-handled “regular” spoon or at least a soup spoon but got neither. I found it very odd that no one else complained about this.

The room itself was actually a very nice size. We’d ordered a twin room and had added a roll-away bed. They gave us a connecting room and the roll-away was place in front of the connecting door so we all got a little space this way. Unfortunately it also made it easier to hear the crying baby next door on the second night!

Radisson Blu Istanbul Twin Room

Radisson Blu Istanbul Twin Room

Radisson Blu Istanbul Twin Room Desk

Radisson Blu Istanbul Twin Room Desk

Radisson Blu Istanbul Twin Room Closet & Safe

Radisson Blu Istanbul Twin Room Closet & Safe

We got a chuckle out of the combination TV stand/mini-bar as it looked like something out of “The Jetsons” to us but we weren’t watching TV anyway. There were plenty of accessible outlets, which was nice but we did run into one unpleasant surprise. Only four devices per room may be connected to the internet during any 24-hour period. Unfortunately two of us cranked up our phones and tablets right away, leaving the third person without a connection. A warning certainly would have been nice! It’s possible that the front desk folks could have helped us but we didn’t realize the situation until we were all locked in for the night and we didn’t mention it the next day.

Radisson Blu Istanbul Twin Room TV Stand

Radisson Blu Istanbul Twin Room TV Stand

Radisson Blu Istanbul Twin Room Mini Bar

Radisson Blu Istanbul Twin Room Mini Bar

The bathroom has a window over the sink that looks back into the room. We were a little worried at first because we’re friends but not THAT kind of friends! Fortunately we found a shade on the outside of the window that raises up to give privacy in the bathroom. There was a single sink with a good-sized vanity. The shower/tub was fully enclosed with glass doors but it was quite a step up into the tub from the floor. While we three could handle this it might be tough for shorter people or those with mobility issues. Anne Semonin-branded toiletries were provided as was a hair dryer.

Radisson Blu Istanbul Twin Room Bathroom Window

Radisson Blu Istanbul Twin Room Bathroom Window

Radisson Blu Istanbul Twin Room Toilet - note the high step up to the tub

Radisson Blu Istanbul Twin Room Toilet – note the high step up to the tub

Radisson Blu Istanbul Twin Room Sink & Vanity

Radisson Blu Istanbul Twin Room Sink & Vanity

Radisson Blu Istanbul Twin Room Toiletries

Radisson Blu Istanbul Twin Room Toiletries

Radisson Blu Istanbul Twin Room Shower & Tub

Radisson Blu Istanbul Twin Room Shower & Tub

The hotel also had a small gym and a hair salon though we did not make use of either.

Radisson Blu Istanbul Gym

Radisson Blu Istanbul Gym

Radisson Blu Istanbul Gym

Radisson Blu Istanbul Gym

The location of the hotel is a beautiful one though I don’t think it’s very practical if you don’t have your own transportation. Just to the east of the hotel is the Ortakoy, a small outdoor mall of sorts. Lots of open air shops and cafes. We had fun just browsing through it and we ate dinner in the area both nights. Once you cross the main road in front of the hotel, go back a block or two and you start getting into a more residential area. We loved looking at the fresh food stalls as well as the non-touristy stores where the locals buy their goods. There is a small mosque not far away but it did broadcast the calls to prayers before midday – something we were thankful for because when they did broadcast it, it was quite loud.

Fresh Fish Market near Radisson Blu Istanbul

Fresh Fish Market near Radisson Blu Istanbul

Fresh Produce Market near Radisson Blu Istanbul

Fresh Produce Market near Radisson Blu Istanbul

So the service here is not what we experienced at the Ritz or at the Swissotel but then, neither was the price. I redeemed 100K Gold Points for this stay. If I’d held the credit card at the time I made the reservation the last night would have been free – as it was, I nearly cut it too close getting the credit card and the gold status came through just hours before we checked in.

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Free 1000 Club Carlson Points

2014-03-05 Hashtag Hotel PromoClub Carlson will be running a Twitter promotion on March 19th called their #HashtagHotelPromo.  They’ll be giving away prizes including cameras, headphones and tables.  You must be following Club Carlson to participate.  To give you an incentive to sign up early, if you connect your Gold Points account with Club Carlson today you’ll get 1000 bonus points. This is limited to the first 5000 people to sign up, so do so quickly!  You can connect to the promotion page HERE.

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Targeted Club Carlson Promo

2015-03-03 Club CarlsonI received a targeted promotion from the folks at Club Carlson offering me Triple Points on all stays from now through the end of March 2015.  That means this would earn me 40 bonus Gold Points per dollar spent in addition to the 20 Gold Points normally received for stays at Carlson Rezidor hotels.  That includes Radisson, Quorvus, Park Plaza, Radisson Blu, Park Inn and Country Inns & Suites.

While Carlson hotels are not always a great brand here in the US, they’re often quite nice overseas.  And if you have the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature card you’ll get an additional 10 Gold Points per dollar, assuming you put the charges on that card.  If you want to sign up for this card, you can apply HERE.  It has a terrific offer of 85,000 points: 50,000 after your first purchase and 35,000 after you’ve spent $2500 in the first three months.  PLUS you get 5 points per dollar on all non-Club Carlson spend and 40,000 bonus points just for renewing the card each year, all for a $75 annual fee!  There is also a business version of this card and a version that’s only $50 per year but it does not include the 40K annual bonus.

I’m not sure if I received this offer because I have a Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature card or if it’s just because I’m a Club Carlson member, but check your email to see if you’ve been targeted.

 

(Note: I do not receive any compensation for referral links to credit card but if you apply through the link above you’ll be supporting a very deserving blogger who does!)

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Two Terrific Promos

A couple of hotel chains are kicking off the new year by offering brand new promotions!

2015-01-05 SPG Double Play promo

Starwood (SPG)

The SPG Double Play promo allows you to earn double Starpoints on stays of two or more eligible nights as well as 1,000 bonus Starpoints for every five nights, up to a max of 4,000 bonus Starpoints. You must register by March 31, 2015 and the promo runs January 5 through April 15, 2015.

2015-01-05 Club Carlson Promo

Club Carlson

Club Carlson is offering a targeted promo with early access to their Extend Your Stay, Earn 30K offer. If you register by January 12, you’ll get an additional 10,000 bonus points after your first Eligible Stay of two nights or more between January 12 and March 29, 2015.

You must register for the promotion using the link sent your email address.

As always, it’s free to register for both of these promotions, so it only makes sense to sign up even if you don’t currently have plans to stay with either of these chains. You never know when your plans might change and if you register now you won’t miss out!

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Cyber Monday Deal on Club Carlson Points

2014-11-30 Club CarlsonTomorrow is Cyber Monday and to celebrate Club Carlson is offering a 100% bonus on purchased points up to 10K points. The points must be purchased in increments of 1000 points.  If you only buy 10K points and get 10K bonus it’ll cost you $70 or 0.35 cents per point.  As always, I look to Ben and Brian for points valuation to determine whether or not something is a good deal. Ben values Club Carlson points at 0.4 cents each while Brian values them at 0.6 – making this a pretty good deal.

Remember that if you have the Club Carlson Visa the last night of any award stay of 2 nights or longer is free.  Plus, Club Carlson offers rooms for cash + points, which can help you stretch those points further.

Club Carlson brands include: Radisson, Radisson Blu, Park Plaza, Park Inn and Country Inns & Suites

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Double Points or Double Nights at Club Carlson

Club Carlson is a hotel loyalty program that often gets overlooked here in the US.  The brands we see mostly commonly here are Radisson and Country Inns and Suites.  But overseas you’re more likely to see Radisson, Radisson Blu and Park Inn.  Radisson Blu can be quite nice.  I recently stayed at the Radisson Blu in Istanbul (review forthcoming!) and quite enjoyed it.

Now Club Carlson is running a promotion whereby you can earn your way toward elite status more quickly.  If you’re a member of Club Carlson (and it’s free to join) just register HERE for Double Nights or Double Points.  Then, for each stay between now and December 30, 2014 you’ll earn your selection toward elite status.

Club Carlson Points or Nights

 

Of course, the easiest way to earn Gold status is to pick up the Club Carlson Visa Signature card.  You’ll earn 50,000 points after your first purchase and another 35,000 points if you spend $2500 within 90 days of applying.   This card allows you to earn 10 points per dollar at Club Carlson hotels and 5 points per dollar elsewhere.  Plus you get 40,000 points each year when you pay the $75 annual fee!  And if you need any more incentive to pick up the card, when you make an award reservation of 2 nights or more, the last night is free to all card holders!  It’s a hard deal to beat.

Club Carlson Credit Card

 

Disclaimer: I do not have any affiliation with Club Carlson or Visa and I do not receive any referral incentives

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