Details on the New US Bank Club Carlson Credit Cards

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In yet another step that signals Club Carlson’s increasing presence in the loyalty points world, the hotel chain has teamed up with US Bank to launch three new Visa credit cards.

Club Carlson is now offering three new Visas from US Bank.

Here are the terms of each:

Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature

  • Up to 85,000 Bonus Gold Points to start. Receive 50,000 Gold Points after your first purchase, plus 35,000 points after you spend $2,500 on your card within the first 90 days
  • 10 points per dollar on eligible purchases at participating Carlson Rezidor hotels worldwide and 5 points per dollar everywhere else Visa is accepted
  • 40,000 bonus points each year  after you renew your card and pay the annual fee
  • Bonus Award Nights – when Gold Points are redeemed for two or more consecutive award nights, the last night is free – exclusively for cardmembers
  • Automatic Gold Elite Status once the card is used. Existing Gold Elite members receive 15 qualifying nights toward Concierge Elite Status
  • Annual Fee: $75

Club Carlson Rewards Visa Signature

  • Up to 60,000 Bonus Gold Points to start – Receive 50,000 Gold Points after your first purchase. Plus 10,000 points once you spend $1,500 on your card within the first 90 days
  • 6 points per $1 spent in eligible net purchases at participating Carlson Rezidor hotels worldwide
  • 3 points per $1 spent in eligible net purchases everywhere else
  • 25,000 bonus points each year  after you renew your card and pay the annual fee
  • Bonus Award Night – When you redeem Gold Points for 2 or more consecutive Award Nights, your last night is free.
  • Club Carlson Silver Status is yours when you activate and use your card
  • $50 annual fee

Club Carlson Business Rewards Visa Signature

  • Up to 85,000 Bonus Points: first purchase bonus of 50,000 Gold Points, you must first make a purchase with your Club Carlson Business Rewards Visa credit card within 90 days after your Account was opened. You may earn an additional one-time Spend Bonus of 35,000 Gold Points if you spend at least $2,500 in Net Purchases on your Card within 90 days after your Account was opened.
  • 10 points per $1 spent in eligible net purchases at participating Carlson Rezidor hotels worldwide
  • 5 points per $1 spent in eligible net purchases everywhere else
  • 40,000 bonus points each year  after you renew your card and pay the annual fee
  • Bonus Award Night – When you redeem Gold Points for 2 or more consecutive Award Nights, your last night is free. Exclusively for business owners.
  • Club Carlson Gold Status is yours after you activate and use your card
  • $60 Annual Fee
The new Club Carlson Premier Visa Signature.

The bonuses seem pretty generous considering the low spending requirements on all three cards. For the Premier and Business cards, those 85,000 points are enough for almost two nights in a Category 5 property, and just 15,000 points shy of two free nights in a top-tier Category 6 property like some of those expensive European Radisson Blu hotels.

However, it is two perks of the Premier and Business cards that are particularly valuable:

1. Gold Status: Regular Club Carlson members earn 20 Gold Points for every $1 spent at Carlson properties on room revenue and food and beverage charged to the room plus a 1,000-point online booking bonus.

Gold Status is usually achieved after 20 qualifying stays or 35 nights and includes the following perks on this stay:

  • Complimentary room upgrades as available
  • 50% point bonus on every eligible stay
  • 2,000-point online booking bonus at clubcarlson.com or any Carlson Rezidor hotel website
  • Early check-ins and late checkouts as available upon request
  • Roll Over Nights (unused elite-qualifying nights count again next year toward elite status)
  • 72-hour room availability guarantee at participating hotels
  • Elite Customer Service Line

If you’re already a Gold member, this card also gives you 15 nights’ credit toward the next level, Concierge Level, which normally requires 30 stays or 75 nights and confers the following perks:

  • Complimentary room upgrades as available
  • 75% point bonus on every eligible stay
  • 3,000-point online booking bonus at clubcarlson.com or any Carlson Rezidor hotel website
  • Early check-ins and late checkouts as available upon request
  • Roll Over Nights (unused elite-qualifying nights count again next year toward elite status)
  • 48-hour room availability guarantee at participating hotels
  • Elite Customer Service Line

So let’s say you were just a regular Club Carlson member who got the card and got Gold Status. That would mean that if you paid for Carlson reservations using your credit card, you’d go from earning 20 Gold Points per $1 to earning double that, 40 points per $1! That’s because you’d be earning 10 points per $1 for using your card, and a 50% bonus on base points from gold status. You’re effectively doubling your earning potential. That also means that for every $1,250 you spend at Club Carlson hotels – not even including the 2,00-point online booking bonus for reservations – you’d be earning the 50,000 points necessary for a free night at a top-tier hotel, some of which can easily go for $300-400 a night. That’s like getting between a 25-35% return on your investment – not bad.

The Radisson Blu Berlin goes for 284 euros or 44,000 points a night – you’d have almost enough for 2 nights with these sign up bonuses.

This also brings me to the second valuable cardholder benefit, which is available for all three cards…

2. Bonus Award Night: For every 2 award nights you book, you get the last night free. That means if you wanted to redeem for those Category 5 and 6 properties, you’d be saving either 44,000 or 50,000 points – not a bad deal.

Let’s say you wanted to book a two-night stay at one of the Radisson Blu Paris properties.

The Radisson Blu Hotel Champs Elysees is going for 336 euros ($440) a night in February, or 50,000 Gold Points since it’s a Category 6 property. For two nights, you’d either be paying 672 euros ($880) or 100,000 points under normal circumstances – a value of 0.88 cents per point.

However, with your cardholder Bonus Award Night, you’d only need 50,000 points for the two-night stay, getting a value of 1.76 cents per point instead – doubling your value.  Much better, especially considering you would have more than enough points just from the sign-up bonus to redeem for this stay, not to mention that the $440 you would save on that second night would more than make up for the annual fee on the card. You can take advantage of up to 50 Bonus Award Nights per year.

While Club Carlson isn’t one of the hotel programs I concentrate on, I do have quite a few points with them, and I like many of their top-tier European properties where the perks of these cards would provide me with even more value options for redeeming those points.

The other consideration is that while I have several cards open each at Amex, Citi and Chase, I also don’t have any US Bank credit cards at the moment, so this could be a good opportunity for me to score a sizable bonus with a new bank.

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