Radisson’s Buy One Cheap Night, Get a Free NIght Anywhere in the World Starts Wednesday

Back at the end of 2011, Club Carlson was running an outstanding promotion with 50,000 bonus points for a single Radisson stay, that basically meant making one cheap stay (I did mine at Washington’s National airport during true low season to get a cheap rate) would yield enough points to stay at any of their top tier properties in the world for a night.

Most Radissons in the U.S. aren’t especially nice or aspirational, though the Radisson Blu chain is changing that, and there are also tons of better (and more expensive!) properties abroad. So a great promotion.

While available registrations for it were capped, and I expected it to go quickly, it didn’t. They presumably impose a cap to generate excitement (It’s limited! Act now!) as well as to place a cap on their potential exposure for budget reasons. But there just aren’t that many Club Carlson members, so while I got around to playing quite late it wasn’t a problem.

They’re bringing back the promotion but imposing a few restrictions, like that you have to check-in in person (no getting your friends to do it, or doing it for 15 of your friends at once at a cheap location near your home). And they’re even saying you have to check out in person though don’t imagine that’ll be enforced. Basically they know the promotion is really lucrative, they want to limit the ability to game it. Towards the end of the last one they started warning hotels not to allow mass check-ins or check-ins for guests that weren’t personally present.

This time they have a version of the promotion for 3 of their brands, which increases the possibility of earning lots of bonus points for some. Of course some of their brands have fewer properties than others making it a bit harder to make a stay in person just for the bonus:

Check out the list of Park Inn hotels, there’s only about 10 in the U.S. I might be able to pop over to the one at DFW airport during a long layover for my check-in. But the terms and conditions do say you’re supposed to both check in and check out in person, I’m unlikely to do this.

There are plenty more Country Inns & Suites, for me the most convenient is probably the Dulles airport property though there are two that are closer than that to home. Again the challenge is whether it’s worth paying for the room night and potentially having to make two trips to the property, check-in and check-out, though in practice I’m guessing that the check-out requirement won’t actually be enforced.

I’ll at the very least make a stay at the Radisson near Washington National airport. In fact I already made a reservation there. The terms and conditions for the promotion that were leaked early and then pulled said that existing reservations would not count for the promotion, then on the chain’s Facebook page they said that those stays would, but then pulled that answer off their Facebook page. Assuming the low rate I secured is still around in a few days I will cancel and rebook just to be safe.

Last time around, cash and points award reservations counted towards the promotion since the cash portion earned points. The friends and family rate doesn’t earn points so didn’t work in most cases.

If you’re not already a Club Carlson member you can join and earn 2000 bonus points on your first stay (HT: miles and smiles on Milepoint.)

Mommy Points notes that Club Carlson will status match (which earns a 50% bonus on points earned for your room rate at the Gold level), email a screen shot of your current hotel status to goldpointsplus@carlson.com, include your Club Carlson number in the email, to request the match.

In addition to the booking bonus, potential first stay bonus, and elite spend bonus, there’s the online booking bonus. Base members earn 1000 bonus points for online booking, Silver and Gold members receive 2000 points, and top tier Concierge members receive 3000 bonus points per stay for online booking.

Frequent Miler points out that if you sign up for Club Carlson’s business program then you’ll earn an extra 10 points for dollar for every reservation booked online and linked to your business account.

He also points out that TopCashBack provides 5% rebates on Radisson stays (and also Country Inn stays), if you click through to Radisson and then go from there to Park Inn properties you should get the rebate as well.

There are several other rebate options, such as 3 Membership Rewards points per dollar as well as 5% back with Mr. Rebates, and 3.5% back with both Big Crumbs and Ebates.

This promotion is well worth it to me on the basis of “buy one cheap night get an aspirational, expensive night” but in a worst case scenario and if I wasn’t going to use the points for high-end Radisson stays, it would be worthwhile just to be able to transfer the points to miles. 50,000 Club Carlson points yields 8000 miles with your choice of 20 airline partners. I’ll probably ultimately transfer 2000 Club Carlson points into 250 US Airways miles during the Grand Slam promotion come the fall.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community Milepoint.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary ┬╗

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  1. @Rookie10 we have no idea what the terms and conditions of the grand slam promo will be. WIll they be less restrictive than last year? Probably not. I was just really suggesting I’ll probably use some of these points this way, we’ll see.

  2. Do stays at properties outside the US qualify for this promotion? Does the member need to live in the US? I couldn’t find these details anywhere. Thanks! :)

  3. Gary you mixed up the min needed for getting a Hit with an actual hotel stay (that was a min of 250) and getting a Hit from doing a transfer from your Hotel program acct to US that was a min of 850 (since thats what 10k in HH gets you in miles) so a stheother poster correctly mentioned a transfer fora Hit 8000 carlson pts will be needed

  4. How many times will boardingarea bloggers beat this to death? If 3 of you already report it, no one else should waste the time.

  5. @Tyler We have different audiences. That may surprise you but that’s what the data says. Or at least, 90% of my readers don’t read Frequent Miler, etc.

  6. Gary, sorry but I completely disagree. Everyone I know goes to boardingarea.com and reads all blogs.

  7. I’ve read some of the reviews of the local Country Inn and Suites. Not so good but rates are under $100. Might be worth it just for the promotion.

    And I don’t know why people complain about the content. I feel like even though I’ve read it elsewhere, I like to read it again and get a new perspective.

  8. @Tyler then the folks you know are unrepresentative of readers as a whole, I’m actually familiar with the traffic data. ­čśë My readers on the whole are not coming to the blog through Boarding Area. Some may find other blogs through my site but that’s far more common than the other way around.

    If you don’t find my posts helpful then there are several solutions to that! :)

  9. @Tyler seriously? He has the visitor data and says he has 90% unique readers. What would be his motivation to lie about it?

  10. For what it’s worth, the greatest readership overlap as I understand it is between this blog and Lucky’s, and he hasn’t done an extensive rundown of this promo yet that I’ve seen.

  11. Quick question Gary. Can one sign up for all 3 promo and earn all 3 bonuses? I assume not as there hasn’t been any discussions. But worth asking anyways.

  12. Tyler, I am a regular reader of this blog and I have NEVER read any of the other BoardingArea blogs.

    By the way, last time I checked, reading this blog is FREE and no one is forcing you to spend your time here. If you think you can do better, start your own blog. You’ll soon find out how much work it is and how annoying a few of the visitors can be.

  13. Wait. Yes as in I can sign up for all 3 and get all 3 provided I am one of the first few registrants!??!

  14. HOly.. What am I going to do with so many points.. Time to look for cheap stays now..

  15. Gary – For transferring status, if we wait until July 1, will our Gold status stay with us for an extra year?

    Tyler – If Gary is not helping you, then stop reading. This is free for you to read or not read, so stop trying to be the one in charge of what gets written and what doesn’t. If you want that power, then go start your own blog. Thank you and have a wonderful day!

  16. Thanks for the informative write-up and links, Gary! Your title says the promo starts on Wednesday, but isn’t the kick-off on Tuesday, the 15th?

  17. @Karla sorry I got my days of the week mixed up :) Yes it starts Tuesday the 15th. i don’t actually expect them to run out of slots on day 1.

  18. Well, that place you once called home…Fresno is one of the few locations with all 3 – all reasonably priced as well.

  19. Was able to register for both Radisson and CI&S promos and be within the early group — now for the stays!

  20. Does anyone know for certain that the cash and points rate qualifies for this? I would like to book and stay at the Country Inn this weekend (I am traveling, and there is one in the town).

  21. Hey Gary, What’s a “good” rate at the National Airport Radisson? I found an AAA rate for 80.11 + tax and think that might be the cheapest. What do you think?

  22. There is a Country Inn & Suites in our city. If I book it and check in with my sister-in-law and her 3 kids (who are from out of state) but then drive home, I am assuming I can get the points? Then we can book the 2nd night in my husband’s name and do the same thing. Any reason this wouldn’t work, in your opinion?

  23. I registered this morning, and it would seem I still made the cutoff, based on the message below. (I also got an e-mail.)

    “Congratulations! You are now registered for the SO GO! (Stay One, Get One) Event! To receive your 44,000 bonus Gold Points┬«, be sure to complete a qualifying one-night stay at any Country Inns & Suites location…”

    So this means I made the cutoff of 35K people to register, right? I mean, they would send this to anyone registering AFTER the first 35K people have registered, right? The incentive would be for them to get as many of us as possible to buy at least one night….

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