While Club Carlson has increased the price of some room redemptions, they’ve also introduced premium room redemptions — using more points for a better room. And unlike at some chains, it’s only a modest increment over a standard room.

In fact, a premium room is a 50% upcharge over a standard room — that’s what Hyatt Gold Passport used to do. (Starwood charges double for a suite, Hyatt 60% more, and Hilton based on a poor valuation per point and the going rate for the room. With IHG Rewards premium room redemptions aren’t an option.)

What’s more, several hotels offer better-than-standard rooms for less than a ‘premium room’ award. These can include family rooms (at a 25% premium), junior suites, and even sometimes one bedroom suites. (HT: Mommy Points)

A tip for searching for these rooms online is to put in two adults and two children in the search box, otherwise sometimes only the standard room option shows available on points. It also helps to click on “view complete list of rates” as that is the only way some of these family room options display.

Ironically then, it’s these program changes — that in many ways constituted a devaluation — that have probably finally sold me on greater participation.

See, I like suites. I like premium rooms. I don’t like redeeming points on vacation and getting a standard room.

Now I can use points for better rooms. And the Club Carlson Premier Visa Signature Card provides real leverage in doing so because it still gives you the second night free on all award redemptions.. even on premium room awards.

This $75 annual fee card comes with:

  • 85,000 point signup bonus — 50,000 after first purchase and 35,000 more after $2500 spend within 90 days
  • 40,000 more bonus points each year old card renewal
  • Gold elite status
  • 5 Club Carlson points per dollar on most spend, 10 points per dollar on Club Carlson hotel spend.
  • “Bonus Award Night” Your last night on an award redemption is free.

The key here is that Bonus Award Night. On a two night award stay, it’s two for the price of one. Redeem 2 nights at a top tier property, pay for only one night. Even if the room is a suite.

Accounts with elite status can still transfer points to other accounts with few restrictions. And award nights now count towards elite status.

(Note that cards in this post offer credit to me if you’re approved using my links. The opinions, analyses, and evaluations here are mine. The content is not provided or commissioned by American Express, by Chase, by Citibank, US Bank, Bank of America, Barclays or any other company. They have not reviewed, approved or endorsed what I have to say.)


  1. bruce said,

    Any reason that a couple both of whom are card holders could not alternate 2 night stays and say get every other night free by alternating two night reservations?

  2. Lively said,

    Great info. Thanks.

  3. Cliff said,

    If I make my GF an authorized user on my Club Carlson credit card, will I be able to book her a room (using my points) to take advantage of the two for one?

    Any help would be appreciated.

  4. Carol said,

    As best I can tell, Carlson hasn’t changed anything but has simply made it more transparent that you can use points to book the premium rooms. I used to force the website to show me what was available either by booking for 3 people or by asking it to show me all packages. I’ve routinely booked the premium room with the 2nd night free in order to get more space and to get free breakfast. That still doesn’t generally give me a suite, so I’ll also choose the standby upgrade to a junior suite or suite, depending what is charged for it. It is much more affordable when upgrading from a premium room. We got a wonderful 600 sq ft junior suite at the Radisson Blu Style in the heart of old Vienna by booking a premium award and paying 17 euros per night extra. I’ve stayed in Vienna many times in a wide range of hotels and thought this our best stay. But Carlson still has a frustrating program. Sometimes the premium rooms are marginally larger than a standard room. It’s nice to have choices. Club Carlson with its credit card and 2nd night free is an important part of my hotel portfolio. As I’ve come to learn the program, I value my points more highly than a year or two ago. But the hotels are inconsistent in quality and gold status has little meaning.

  5. The Masked Poste said,

    Recently returned from Paris, where we used the two person, two account method of getting four nights for the price of two. 100000 points for four nights at the Radisson Blu le Metropolitan, which currently is going for 350 euros, or 70000 points per night. Nice hotel, within easy walking distance of the Eiffel Tower and the Arc. Several restaurants in the area, none of which was memorable or inexpensive.

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