For a program that has been so generous with promotions, I’m surprised this didn’t happen sooner. Aside from a few minor changes in hotel categories last April, Club Carlson has steered clear of devaluations – until now.
Starting March 15, the program is adding a new Category 7, which will require 70,000 points per night. This is pretty obnoxious because I just got done updating the Best Club Carlson Hotel Redemption Series after the last devaluation. Only 9 top-tier hotels (including the ones in Paris) will be moved to the new category, along with a few other adjustments.
Club Carson is still one of the easiest programs to earn free nights with, as it pays out 20 points per $1, a minimum of 1,000 point online booking bonus, and 15-75% bonus points for elites, not to mention 3-5 points per $1 spent on the Club Carlson Visa Signature card. Even better, with the card you get your last award night free when you book at least two nights.
While previously you could get a top-tier hotel after $2,500 spent, that has now increased to $3,500 spent. This is still better than programs like Hyatt, where non-elite members have to spend $6,000 to earn a top-tier award.
Club Carlson members will be able to start redeeming different room types. This is a bit strange because you can already redeem a “Premium” award for 50% of the points required for a standard award. These premium awards usually get you into an upgraded room, but not a suite. I assume the distinction here is that members will be able to redeem points for suite.
Earning Points and Status
As part of the program changes, members can now earn elite night credit on award redemptions, which is a great perk, considering most of us redeem Club Carlson awards more often than we pay for a stay.
In addition, members will earn points on food and beverages charged to the room, even during award stays.
On the down side, Silver members will only earn 15% bonus points (down from 25%) while Gold members will earn 35% (down form 50%). The earning structure for top-tier Concierge members does not change, though the Global Concierge Service will be discontinued on March 1.
I like that Club Carlson took a page out of Hyatt’s book and introduced positive changes along with the negatives. This definitely softens the blow, and overall this “devaluation” isn’t so awful after all.
HT: Travel Summary
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