Another Club Carlson Devaluation Coming June 1

Last year Club Carlson reduced elite bonuses, moved many hotels up in reward category, and introduced a new more expensive top redemption tier.

A month ago Club Carlson announced the elimination of the last night free benefit on award stays for members with their co-brand credit card.

Now — effective June 1 — Club Carlson is changing categories for hundreds of hotels. Via Well Traveled Mile, 212 hotels get more expensive and 117 get less expensive.

The increases are centered in Europe (where 128 – more than half the total – go up and only 27 go down). Asia Pacific gets less expensive (9 go up and 40 go down).

None of this should really be surprising. The Club Carlson program was ‘overindexed’ (to use Jeff Diskin’s the awkward phrasing). You can generally expect offerings that are substantially better than the median not to last.

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 InsideFlyer.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. The headline should have been “Shocking News about a Club Carlson Devaluation”. What’s shocking is that they gave us advance notice.

    But hey, thanks for playing it straight on the headline rather than my facetious clickbait suggestion.

  2. The changes to the US Radisson Blu properties (in my opinion, the only good properties here in the US) are quite dramatic, going from either 44,000 or 50,000 points a night to 70,000. That’s a huge increase.

  3. Previously a crap program that was respectable for awhile /short time has now returned to its fomer status of crap
    I won’t go near them now for revenue or award
    Avoid!!!!

  4. Time for everyone to run for the Club Carlson exits. The party was fun while it lasted

  5. Sigh… This is the proverbial cherry-on-top… of the crap sandwich of the previous announcement.
    No one in their right mind would purposefully earn towards 70k per night for the inconsistent Blu’s…

    SO & I are actively burning off a total of 700k pts with bookings before June 1st, and walking away from future with Club Carlson.

  6. If it isn’t surprising (something you say a lot), then why weren’t you predicting/warning about it happening (which you rarely do despite later claiming it “isn’t surprising”)?

    I agree with @Dwonderment though – previous crap program, got to be somewhat good for a short time, now spiraling back down to crap again. ho hum.

  7. Just canceled my CC Visa. Wasn’t even offered a retention bonus! Had some fun at Blu properties in Norway on a 2-for-1 basis, but I’m out.

  8. Hey, let’s be fair here; if you are going to be going to India, you just hit the jackpot! If you are going anywhere else, the jackpot just hit you!
    I have looked at the redemptions I have done with Club Carlson and the value of my points has dropped from 1.48 cents per point to 0.57 cents per point with these two changes. That is a 61% devaluation (or 160% increase in points needed) for me personally. It has pretty much wiped out any reason to spend on their card and they are pushing the envelope on paying the annual fee to buy the points for 0.15 to 0.20 cents per point.
    I am usually the voice of reason when devaluations happen, but this appears to be the worst devaluation any program has had. For the properties moving from 5 to 7, this will be a 218% increase, that certainly beats any devaluation I recall seeing. I think Hilton has passed the torch!

  9. In tandem with the last night free being discontinued, this is astonishingly bad. If you’re going to butcher the hell out of your program, don’t split up the announcements, just do it and deal with the consequences. And you want to talk devaluations? The number of top tier hotels just exploded. Now the prices are comparable to Hilton, which aint exactly a complement these days. It’s too soon to figure what to do, but this just shot a big hole in my plans for Europe next summer.

  10. None of this devalue matters much to me as I will have my extra free night bookings and points set by the time this happens and doubt I’ll need these properties in the future for awards or any stays. Disappointing that they would chose the nuclear errrr.. I mean Wyndham option.

  11. The writing was on the wall when Carlson closed the escape hatch by massively devaluing redemption for airline points without notice less than two years ago.

  12. It is interesting that Aruba Radisson is moving up from 6 to 7, while it has been the talk of the town that the property will be sold by the end of March to Hilton, then end of April. Now, it is May, and it is still a Radisson. Does this mean the property will stay with Radisson?

  13. Actually, even after the double nuclear blast, Club Carlson is still a much better value in major European cities than Hilton, since CC points are much easier to earn (example – 5 points/$ of un-bonused credit card spend for CC vs. 3 points/$ for HH). For me, the program will move from my primary program to a niche program – I’ll keep my personal and biz cc’s for the 40,000 point annual bonus, put $10,000 of spend on each one to get two US free night certs (to use at Radisson Martinique NYC), and use the points in London, but move the rest of my un-bonused spend back to Starwood Amex. (Hopefully the nukes are done for awhile….)

  14. @Christian Now is the time to dummy book. I am also looking at going to France next summer for the European Championships and the French hotels I am looking at are going up to 70k points. Good thing you can book now through June of 2016 on points, which I did. So I got my 50k pts/night plus the last award night free locked in now at the Radisson Blu’s in Marseille and Nice. If we end up cancelling the trip, no harm done. I usually pay for Club Carlson hotels in the US due to all the promotions, so this won’t affect my travel until then.

  15. Gary,

    Do you have any comments/notes on dummy booking (I see I can go as far as dec 2016) using the second free night deal and these lower award levels?

    Just wondering if there has been anything said about not allowing that free night for reservations that are really far out in advance.

  16. Gary, do you know if I dummy book some of the rooms for next year but cancel the card this year, can I still get the one night free? I called Club Carlson twice and got two different answers.

  17. So I found out the club Carlson’s no annual fee version currently allows one free night also. Maybe the safer bet is to downgrade to this card instead of cancellation so my dummy booking next year is still good.

  18. What I dont see discussed much though, Is that for $75 AF and spend $10,000 (which honestly shouldn’t be too hard right now) you are getting 90,000 points and a free night certificate. That’s not too shabby. Find another card where 10K in spend will pull 2 nights at their top tier level and still have 20,000 points left. Still a keeper in my book.

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