Frequent Miler reports that the Club Carlson Visa is eliminating the one thing that makes it — and the Club Carlson program — such a hugely valuable offering.
This should come as 100% expected since Gary’s Law of frequent flyer programs is that anything which is several standard deviations better than what other programs offer will not last.
Club Carlson offered the last night on an award redemption for free for their co-brand credit card holders, first introduced in December 2012.
This was effectively a 50% discount on two night award stays. Plenty of people would get a card for themselves and spouse or partner, stay 2 nights in their own name and 2 nights in their partner’s (and then even flip back to themselves on a 6 night stay).
Effective June 1 the ‘Bonus Award Night’ will be replaced by a single free award night after $10,000 spend on the card each year.
The Club Carlson program still offers the strongest return for spending on hotels, with the least spend of any major chain required in order to redeem for a typical big city hotel and for their top tier hotels (and the second cheapest for entry-level redemptions behind Hilton).
The Club Carlson chain is relatively small and has a ton of very bad properties. There are decent enough Radisson Blu properties in Europe. But it takes truly going out of one’s way to stay loyal to them, and sacrificing quality in many cities. That’s something that many savvy frequent flyers did given the outsized value of the Bonus Award Night benefit from the Club Carlson Visa. But it’s something that’s likely not to be worthwhile to many without that benefit.
Update: to be clear, you can still get the Club Carlson Visa and its 80,000 point signup bonus. Earn a bunch of points on it in the first month, too. You can make bookings using this Bonus Award Night through May 28 including for travel beyond that date. So there’s still nearly two months to leverage the single best hotel offer out there, before it goes away..