Club Carlson announced today that they have re-branded to become Radisson Rewards. There were some negative changes in terms of points earnings for mid-tier members (more on that below), but one interesting change came to the former Club Carlson Visa cards (now apparently the Radisson Rewards Visas): all Radisson Rewards Visa cardholders can now earn up to 3 free nights annually based on spend. That’s in addition to the points earned based on spend. With the Premier version of the personal card or the Business card, if you maxed this out you’d earn enough points for an additional 2 free nights anywhere (or more at lower-tiers) — and that’s before considering the 40K annual bonus for renewal. While Radisson Rewards isn’t for everyone, that’s a huge improvement for Visa card holders.
- New Big Spend Bonus on the Radisson Rewards Visa cards: upon renewal, earn one free night with each $10K in net spend up to $30K net spend (3 free nights max)
- Find more information about these cards (being transitioned in name from Club Carlson Visa cards to Radisson Rewards Visa cards) on our Best Credit Card offers page.
- Free nights are only valid for Radisson Hotel Group hotels in the United States
- Free night certificates are valid for one year
This is a nice big spend bonus for a hotel credit card. While you can earn hotel elite status with spend on several other hotel credit cards and you can earn one free night per year based on spend thresholds with the new Amex Hilton cards (See: Hilton Amex Cards. Everything you need to know.), the chance to earn 3 free nights with $30K spend certainly stands out from competitors (See Best Big Spend Bonuses for more on big spend bonuses available on other cards). What’s more, you’re still earning 5x on the $30K spend with the Premier and Business versions of the Radisson Rewards visa cards. Between the 150K from spend and 40K annual anniversary points on those cards, you would end up with 3 free nights + 190,000 points after 30K spend. That’s enough points for two free nights at Radisson’s top tier:
Unfortunately, you’re limited to using those free nights at properties in the US. Radisson Hotel Group doesn’t have many high-end properties in the United States. In fact, they have just four Category 7 properties in the US and four more in Category 6. Out of those eight hotels, three are in the Minneapolis metro area, two are in New York, and one is in Canada (where you can’t use your annual certificates) — meaning that the geographic distribution of the top two tiers is limited to four cities/metro areas: New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Anaheim. Of course, there are many properties in lower tiers where you could stretch your points further. See hotels by category here.
Note that I’m not finding much updated information about these three free nights on the website yet apart from a brief mention in the press release. I followed up for more information and a representative confirmed that this new big spend bonus would apply to all of the current versions of the Club Carlson Visa cards (now Radisson Rewards Visa cards):
Along with the above news about the credit cards, Radisson Rewards announced some changes to earning structure on paid stays. This isn’t related to the credit cards above – rather, this is just the general earning structure for members on paid stays. Gold and Silver members will earn fewer points on paid stays with the new earning structure. Whereas Silver members used to earn 23 points per dollar on Club Carlson spend and Gold members earned 27 points per dollar, they will now earn 22 and 25 points per dollar respectively.
That’s bad news for mid-tier loyalists (including those who receive Gold status from the Premier card) who count on earning points from paid stays. The earnings will not change for members with no status or Platinum members.
On the flip side, status can now be earned with fewer nights, and these tiers are being awarded retroactively — meaning that if you stayed 60 nights last year but fell short of Platinum based on the old structure, your status should now be upgraded.
Overall, the gains certainly outweigh the losses for credit card holders who will go after the big spend bonus and the devaluation isn’t huge for non-cardholders. As far as rewards program changes go, this isn’t bad.
[…] Rewards credit cards as of the time of writing, but slated to change at some point) — see: New big spend bonus: more free annual nights with Radisson Visa cards. While you were previously able to earn a free night certificate with $10,000 spend in a cardmember […]
In past years, US Bank sent me an e-certificate that I could deposit in your Club Carlson account to exchange for a free US night within the next year. I think this was based on $10K spending on my acct on my card anniversary since the last anniversary. This year, my anniversary was in Feb., but I’ve received nothing yet. Anybody else with a Feb anniversary? Did you get your e-cert from US Bank yet?
[…] to Frequent Miler’s post, “Unfortunately, you’re limited to using those free nights at properties in the US. […]
I had the CC Personal and Biz cards and cancelled them over 2 years ago since CC stopped the BOGO free offers. Any DPs on getting approved for these cards again and getting the bonus again?
Congrats Nick on being the first to write on the new Club Carlson Visa programs. The changes are potentially “huge” — perhaps even more so that you cautiously outline. But there are real and potential devils in the offing too.
Happens wife and I held onto our Business versions of the CC card — despite our general hesitation about the CC brand. (now “Radisson” ) I used to rag a lot on the run down, sad nature of so many aging club carlson properties, the fact that a lot have been closing and/or being sold — and the general lack of “aspirational” CC places to go in north america. (Used to give Ariana A at pointchaster a tough grilling over this — as she was the last blogger still high on the old card program, after they dropped the 2 nights for 1 promo.)
Irony, I’ve warmed up to Club Carlson and the card in recent years, in part with the ongoing serious decline of the once much loved IHG program. In a few days, will find out just how/if the previous 10k annual spend => free cert actually works. (Kudos again to AA for being rather alone among bloggers in emphasizing that…. Met the 10k spend since last annual fee as of last statement — now waiting to see if/how the free cert posts….?)
That the program now is upping their game to offer 3 free nights certs for 30k spend seems awesome….. yet worth pausing over.. In addition to the 3 free night certs, that’s 150,000 points added to your account (5 for each dollar spent). That’s an additional 10 free nights at cat 2 properties (and we do have a few favorite local Country Inn’s — yah know, the ones with the indoor pools & whirlpools, the places that still use metal silverware at breakfast.) Oh, and yes, as you note, you still get 40k more each year at renewal.
On the other hand, a few cautions:
1. I predict we’re going soon to see some really lame posts in various places trying to sketch out aspirational Radisson properties to use the certs. (again, see AA at PC) The chain really is hurting stateside. Our favorite is the Melbourne, Fl Radisson… an aging, yet still stunning high rise, all suites — right on the beach. (with every room fronting the ocean — and with floor to ceiling glass doors) Really cool structure — but wonder how much longer it will last…
2. I seem to recall that the bank handling this “new” Radisson card is also one of the ones becoming increasingly hostile to any manufactured spending…. (Even though I did about half “organic” spend on the card, has me worried if they’re going to honor my pending annual cert or find an after-the-fact excuse to deny it — and relevant to the new deal, if a lot of new card owners heavily ms with it, it could turn off the faucet on this deal)
3. Parting “Highlander” note….. Parts of the Club Carlson (ok Radisson) program are quite the joke. They’ve long hawked their cards with the blaring headline using the stats about “free nights starting at just 9k points.” (if you can find one, that is) In fact, after the latest devaluation, there’s now only one 9k Club Carlson property left in the US. (the Country Inn at CVG airport) Yup, you read that right. Radisson now is home to “The Highlander.” (there can be only one)
[…] @ FrequentMiler recently posted that a new “big spend bonus” of one free night with each $10K in net spend up to $30K […]
[…] (Tip of the hat to Nick at Frequent Miler) […]
In the past they’ve allowed you to get a free night at a US hotel with $10,000 in spend. I’ve personally used this at the Radisson Martinique in Manhattan and was surprised at how nice a hotel it is. Really classy. Being able to get multiple nights free with more spend makes this much more usable.
So if I spend $30k starting now I’d get the 3 free nights at anniversary? When does this change go into effect?
That’s what I was told by the PR team. Personally, I probably wouldn’t spend $30K tomorrow. I’d suggest holding off on going hard on this until the website changes. I’ve reached out for further clarification — but I think it’s worth waiting at least a week or two to let them get everything updated online (and then maybe send a SM to US Bank to verify before you go ahead and spend $30K). But yes, it’s supposed to be starting now.
Yeah, I’ll wait a bit and won’t start today. Should’ve clarified 😉
My biz annual fee is coming up within 3 weeks. Is it worth paying $60 renewal fee for 40k Club Carlson Points. Kept card for 3 years and almost 300k Club Carlson points
Here’s the link in the post to hotels by category:
Look at the Category 4 properties. $60 a year gives you a free night at any of those. Would you stay at one of those? If not, would you consider enough points for a night in NY or Chicago for $120 every 2 years worth it?
I can’t answer it for you — but personally, I’m happy with trading $60 for 40K – especially because it’s points. I’d much rather have an annual 40K points than an annual Cat 1-4 certificate (like what you might get with other hotel cards). The points won’t expire as long as I have the CC and they can be combined with points from my spend or with the 40K from the next year to be used as I see fit. So I’d renew — but that doesn’t mean that you should.
Meh certs are only good for US. Might be useful for some but this card will remain in my sock drawer. That said it is interesting to see them at least trying to up their game but they aren’t relevant again to me yet. I am sitting on mid-six figure CC eh RR rewards and in several years haven’t found a good use for them yet.