Point Me to the Miles

Navigating the Path to Great Travel

Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa – Is It Worth It?


Club Carlson is currently offering 85,000 Gold Points for signing up for their co-branded Visa Signature card.  50,000 points will be awarded after first purchase, and an additional 35,000 after spending $2,500 on the card (plus the $75 annual fee) within 90 days.

Many folks may be unfamiliar with the Club Carlson brand–and rightfully so since it is a relatively new brand, but one plus is that it does have a decent footprint of properties worldwide, with such names as Radisson, Radisson Blu, Country Inns & Suites, Park Inn, Park Plaza and Missoni Hotels.

So the new kid on the block his touting his plastic.  It does afterall, have a $75 annual fee.  But is it really worth it?

For starters, it is a Visa Signature card, which carries some half-decent benefits, regardless of associated loyalty program.  These include a 24/7 concierge, travel insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, and car rental protection.

One of the really nice Club Carlson-centric features of the card  are that for each year you renew your card each year (ie pay the annual fee) you are awarded 40,000 bonus Gold Points.  The kicker in my opinion, is their Bonus awards night.  When you redeem points for 2 or more consecutive award nights, your last night is free!  Essentially it is a 33% discount on award redemptions.

Also, the card grants one Club Carlson Gold Status, meaning card members will be eligible for a complimentary room upgrade, early/late checkout, and receive an in-room welcome amenity.

Finally, there are increased earned rates when using your card at Club Carlson properties.  The offer page lists 10 points per $ spent, but when you consider that you are earning $20 points per dollar as a Gold member, you are actually earning a total of 30 points per dollar spent on your room rate and food and beverage!

I think where this offer has the most value however, is with the award redemption potential, particularly with high-end properties.

Take for example, the Radisson Martinique on Broadway, located in the middle of Manhattan where hotel rates can be as high as the skyscrapers.  I picked a date at random, and these are the room rates that Radisson returned:

1-Reg Rate Mart

That’s $360-$380 before taxes, mind you!  For many folks, this hotel would simply be out of the question.

Compare this the 100,000 it would cost if you used Club Carlson points:


However, just the credit card bonus would have you most of the way to a completely free stay.  And keep in mind that the 3rd award night would be absolutely free, as I mentioned  above.

As a cost comparison, even if you purchased the additional 15,000 points for $105, laying out a grand total of $180 is much, MUCH better than paying ~$1100 for a 3-night stay.  In other words, you are getting 9 cents of value, per point.

So would I sign up for the card without a specific award in mind?  Maybe, maybe not.  It is a quick pay day, yet loyalty programs are constantly devaluing their points.

But if you can see yourself using the points, this card offer provides an INCREDIBLE value.

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