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Archive for the category “Club Carlson”

Return of Radisson Big Night Giveaway

OFFER:

Radisson (part of Club Carlson, along with Park Inn and Country Inn & Suites) has just re-launched their Big Night Giveaway Promotion, in which a single stay yields 50,000 Club Carlson Gold Points!

After going to the sign-up link, hit “Register & Book Your Stay Today.”  You will be redirected, and asked to watch a short video on Club Carlson and Radisson.

After hitting play and watching the video, you will be asked to enter either your Club Carlson number, or your email address, if you already have a Club Carlson account.

If you are not already a member, you can sign up here.

Radisson Big Night Giveaway Returns

Finally, after registering your account, you will be asked to book a stay at one of the Radisson brand of hotels.

TERMS & CONDITIONS:

Terms and conditions can be found here.  This offer is only valid for the first 100,000 or so who sign up, and was still going yesterday when I signed up.  Eligible stays at a Radisson hotel must be completed between now, and July 15, 2012.

Technically, it requires a physical stay involving checking in and checking out.

I posted on the original giveaway back and November, and had some success a second time around.  So if you try to get in on this again, like I did, your mileage may vary.  But I will leave you with the picture of a certain hotel that had no problem giving credit for a “phantom” stay:

A Certain Hotel

ANALYSIS:

The Big Night Giveaway is a great way to earn a free night (or possibly even nights) for staying one cheap night at a Radisson hotel.

A great example is the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney,  where a one-night stay may cost about $300.  Instead, you can get the same room, and pay only $80-$90 via the Big Night Giveaway promotion.

Is It Worth Asking For More?

A few weeks back, I wrote about how usually it never hurts to ask for points, especially if you leverage your business and loyalty.

Fresh off of receiving 50,000 Club Carlson Gold Points for the Radisson Big Night Giveaway promotion, I checked and noticed that the promotion was still live(ie 50,000 had not yet registered).  So I set up a new Club Carlson account with a completely different address, signed up for the promotion, (again) and booked a 1-night stay at the Radisson Hotel Dallas East.

I suppose this is where I should point out another lesson: sometimes you can get too greedy.  Instead of booking another pre-paid rate as I had done before, I booked a double points rate, hoping to reap greater points earnings.

My “stay” came and went, yet I noticed no activity in my account.  I got hopeful a few days later when I noticed a charge to my credit card, but I saw no sign of any points posting.

So 10 days after my phantom hotel stay, I called up Radisson to request my missing points.  The customer service rep at least seemed very courteous and helpful.  I provided her the confirmation number, and informed her  that the stay was for the Radisson Big Night Giveaway promotion, even though I did not physically check in.

She kindly informed me that she would need to look into the situation with corporate, but they would get back to me within 48 hours.

A day later, I logged into my Club Carlson account and was slightly dumbfounded.  I was not sure whether to be ecstatic  or upset about their “points adjustment”:

On one hand, I paid a full rate, so I should get the full benefit (50,000 Gold Points) of the promotion, based on my “stay.”  On the other hand, I think maybe I should be satisfied.  I realize I have gamed this promotion further than was originally intended, and still gained (again) for doing so.  As the saying goes I got something, which is always better than a kick in the groin.

While points junkies sometimes get a bad rap for really pushing the envelope *cough cough Mr. Pickles and your US mint coins cough.*  There are a fair number of us–I like to think myself included, who are careful not to take things too far so we don’t completely abuse the system for others.

So, should I call them up again and ask for the full amount of points offered in the promotion, or would I just be pushing my luck?

Happy 2012 and Year In Review

Happy New Year to you!  If you believe in the Mayan calendar, spend all of your miles by the end of the year–they will expire during the apocalypse.  Just Kidding!

As far as travel goes, 2011 was a pretty good year for me.  While I did not do any international travel, I did travel a fair amount of domestic travel, which was nearly all for leisure.  Due to some upgrade savvy, most of this travel was in First Class.  In the coming weeks I will highlight some of these experiences in the form of trip reports.

At the start of the year, even before becoming a miles and points junkie, I made it a goal to obtain Medallion status on Delta for the first time.  Originally I thought I just might be able to make Silver Medallion.  (25,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles or MQMs)  As it turned out, I ended up exceeding my goal and making Gold Medallion (50,000 MQMs despite flying only about 25,000 “Butt-In-Seat” miles.  HOW SO??

Thanks to The Points Guy, I got in on the 100,000 Membership Rewards bonus for new cardmembers, after spending $1,000 on the card in the first 3 months.  I then immediately turned around and transferred all of those points to Delta.  Concurrent to this, Delta had a 50% bonus all AMEX Membership Rewards points transferred to Delta.  In addition, transfers of 100,000 or more AMEX points would earn 25,000 MQMs.  Because of these two promotions, I literally went from zero status to elite status overnight.  I will quickly mention here that I have enjoyed numerous other perks of the card–including elite-level rental car benefits, rental damage insurance, SPG Gold Status, and especially airport lounge access!

Another big promotion for me this past year was the Radisson Big Night Giveaway.  As I mentioned already, a phantom stay netted me 50,000 Club Carlson Gold Points–good for at least one night at any Radisson hotel in the world.  High off of my success, I tried it again with a new Club Carlson account.  I have not seen the points post just yet since the “stay” was only a few days ago, but they did charge my credit card for the stay which gives me some hope.  We will see if I can get 50,000 more points.

The final big points haul for me of 2011 was actually a little bit of a surprise.  Back in November I applied for and was accepted for a Chase Sapphire Preferred card.  For spending $3,000 on the card in the first 3 months there is a 50,000 point bonus–which is still active. In addition, there is a 7% bonus on all earned points during a calendar year.

However, due to some confusion about my address I waited and waited for the card to arrive, but it never did.  Finally at the beginning of December I got a hold of them (I am always amazed at the immediate response once receives when calling them….listening AMEX???) and everything was straightened out.  When I called to activate the card, I was informed I had until mid-February to meet the spend requirement.  I quickly pointed out that due to their error I had only just received the card, and should get an extension.  They obliged, and I received the card just in time to do my Christmas shopping.

After only about two weeks of use I am roughly halfway to meeting the $3,000 spend threshold.  But here is this crazy part.  Via AwardWallet I was informed that my Chase Ultimate Rewards Account had changed to 50,000 points.  I wondered if this was a mistake and logged, to see it listed as “an” adjustment. I have made a couple of payments already, but most of it is not yet paid off.  I know this will earn me 3,500 based on the card’s 7% annual points bonus, but maybe I still have a chance to get in on 50,000 more points.

Also, I bought US Airways 90,000 miles (for around $1,300) this past summer.  I plan to top off my account to 120,000 and then redeem for a First Class ticket to Asia (Tokyo) with a stopover in Europe (Rome) either this year or next year.

Thus, 2011 has been a decent points haul for me.  With some points still pending, I am looking at about 400,000 – 500,000 points and miles earned this past year.  I know of many points junkies like Frugal Travel Guy and One Mile At a Time who gain 900,000 miles and points constantly churning credit cards, but I am pretty satisfied.  When it comes to miles and points I am pretty soft core–I don’t do a ton of Credit card churns (the two I have gotten I intend to keep for a while) and don’t do many mileage runs.

I think of the miles and points I have earned, as a real asset.  I am currently unemployed and really appreciate knowing that I can still have some aspirational travel ahead of me in 2012 and beyond.

Still Time to Get In On the Radisson 50,000 Gold Point Giveaway!!

I cannot currently say that I know much about Radisson hotels, though I know they have a great promo that is still running. I have seem them around in several places that I have traveled to, but never actually remember staying at one.

Their loyalty program, Club Carlson is currently having a promotion where a one night-stay at an Radisson or Radisson Blu hotel, through December 30, 2011 earns 50,000 Gold Points-so there is STILL TIME!.  Additionally, the Terms & Conditions state that it must be Radisson, and CANNOT be a Country Inn & Suites, Park Plaza, or Park Inn.

Terms & Conditions

I should mention also that this promotion, which kicked off a couple of weeks ago, is supposedly only for the first 50,000 people who register.  However, if you do not make the cut, you are still eligible for 15,000 Gold Points.

At top-tier properties, especially in larger cities one night a Radisson cost around 50,000 points.  This is a steal when compared to an average rate of 470 Euros per night in Paris, according to this post by Loyalty Traveler.

Once you hit “Register Now” you simply watch a short video on the new Radisson Blu hotel in Chicago, enter your Club Carlson number, and if you are eligible you will see this:

As far as what constitutes a “Qualifying Stay” it seems that is all relative. :) Unfortunately, despite living in an area with a quarter of a million people, there are no Radisson hotels within 3 hours of me.

So I made a refundable booking and called the hotel directly about my virtual stay to ensure it would count.  While the hotel receptionist had not heard of the promotion, initially she indicated that it would be alright as long as it was a pre-paid rate since I would not be physically checking in.  She then checked-in with her management and indicated it would not count.

I should probably mention here when you find a good travel deal it may not always be the best idea to call the hotel or airlines.  In this case, I wanted to ensure my money would be well-spent.

Nevertheless, I ruled out that specific hotel but decided to look for one in another state, just in case they would not let the virtual stay count.  I searched Radisson’s map, and looked for hotels in fairly cheap markets.  Thus I landed on the Huntsville Airport Hotel, at a rate of $63 for the night of Thanksgiving .  To be on the safe side, in the special requests section I left a note stating “Will not physically check-in, room booked for Big Night Giveaway Promo.”

I was not sure if this would work or not.  I even got a little worried when I checked back on my reservation and it showed BOTH a check-in and check-out on the 25th, the day after my “stay.”

A couple days later I checked back to find that I had been credited with around 4,000 Gold Points for my stay–which includes 1,000 as a bonus just for booking online.  Per their site, I had to wait 10 days for the points to post, but to my delight right on cue the 50,000 points posted!  So for only $60 and a little bit of research, I earned 54,000 Gold Points for a stay I physically did not complete.

Maybe I am a greedy, but I decided to create another new Club Carlson and try the same thing again, at another hotel.  I heard through FlyerTalk that the Radisson Hotel Dallas East has been contacted quite about this, and should be prently lenient on “phantom” stays.  We will see how it goes the second time around.  Let me know how it goes for you.

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