I’m sure everybody has heard by now – Club Carlson (VISA) is doing away with their “Bonus Night” perk beginning on June 1.
The Bonus Night is being replaced by a certificate for 1 free night at any US Club Carlson hotel, if you spend $10,000 in a calendar year. The free night certificate would be more valuable to most people if it could be used outside the US. The majority of the Club Carlson hotels within the US are nothing to write home about. (with the exception of a few top tier hotels in major cities) I stayed at a Country Inn & Suites in Orlando during Spring Break. It was perfectly fine for us as it offered free breakfast and it was clean. What more do you need when you are spending all day at the parks anyway?
At this moment I have my recent US Bank Club Carlson VISA bill sitting on the desk in front of me. I have until June 1 (conveniently) to decide whether or not to pay the $75 annual fee to renew the card. I am not sure I would spend $10,000 on the card in a year. With Manufactured Spending getting more difficult, spending $10,000 isn’t so easy any more. But if you did manage to do it, the $10,000 would not only give you the free night certificate, but also 50,000 points!
They will give me 40,000 points for renewing and 40,000 points could give me 1 free night at a Category 4 hotel. Or 4 nights at a Category 1 hotel in Cookeville, TN or Tulsa OK! Incidentally there is a very nice looking Radisson Blu in El Quseir Egypt which is a Category 1. It is located directly on the Red Sea, just east of Luxor with its own dive center. If only it were easier to get to Egypt!
So Why Am I Stressed?
Because. Because between Matthew and myself we have 337,042 Club Carlson points. (377.042 if I renew) I am the type of person who absolutely, positively has to get the most bang for my buck. Just because it’s “free” doesn’t mean I will do it. Many people will pay 32,500 or 37,500 miles for a roundtrip domestic airline ticket that should only be 25,000 miles. Roundtrip tickets have been 25,000 miles for years! It has only been recently that all of these “levels” were introduced. It doesn’t matter if those miles cost me $0. I am not giving them more than 25,000 miles for a roundtrip domestic ticket. I’m just not.
Go ahead. Call me crazy.
So, Club Carlson eliminating the Bonus Night and basically cutting the value of my points in half has me scrambling to redeem all my points, with the best possible value, before May 31. Or May 28, just to be safe.
As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I am planning a trip to Australia in June 2016.
There are all of 3 Club Carlson hotels in Australia. 2 in Sydney and 1 in Melbourne. (There seems to be a lack of chain/award hotels in Australia in general). I would be perfectly happy to spend 4 nights at the Radisson Blu Sydney (2 nights from my account and 2 nights from Matthew’s) but the problem is that I have no idea on what nights I will actually be in Sydney. I won’t be able to book my airfare until mid-July and of course that will be too late to book the Bonus Night at the Radisson.
I think my best bet is to plan the trip, book the Radisson and hope that I can get business class awards on the dates I want. If not, the room will end up costing 200,000 points for 4 nights, instead of 100,000.
And I’ll still have 137,042 left.