Not too bad, right? Wrong! Because the numbers don’t matter. Let’s put it another way: 9 half-decent hotels in somewhat interesting locations are going up and zero are going down. That’s easier to understand, right?
Please, fellow bloggers, this is a devaluation. Stop calling it “category changes,” because it’s anything but. The only “silver lining” about this devaluation is that’s it’s limited in scope. And, oh, yes, it could’ve been worse. There’s always that.
Last time I wrote about Club Carlson was 3 years ago in a piece aptly called How I’ve Burned All My Club Carlson Points. Well, now, 3 years later I have around 100,000 Club Carlson points again, and I have no idea what to do with them. Might try to finish them off this summer.
Club Carlson devaluation “valuation”
Look, if you want to travel to some less known places in China, India and Turkey, you might like the new scheme, I’ll grant you that. And if Russia or Egypt are on your radar, they throw Moscow and Cairo into the mix, too.
But even then, the newly minted Category 1 and a couple of Category 2 hotels (9,000 and 15,000 points) are the only ones where you’ll find some value. The rest of them are still overpriced. Many are insanely overpriced.
Of course, my valuation is highly subjective. You might feel that the Radisson Blu Hotel, Paris-Boulogne going down in a category is a good thing. I say bullcrap, because a) 50,000 is still too much for a hotel that can be had in general for $140, and b) you might not want to stay on the “wrong” side of the Seine anyway.
There are plenty of valuation models, and all of them suck (including mine). If you are happy to redeem Club Carlson points for 0.25-0.30 cents per point, you might find some of these changes useful. Me? — I’m an incorrigible romantic, so I want 0.40 cents per point or more.
Unfortunately, there are not many places where you get that. Mostly in Russia, Egypt, and somewhat in China. And generally, not in major cities either.
Club Carlson devaluation: going down
In case you want to explore Russia, you’ll find some changes to your liking. The thing is, though, Russia has been “downgraded” by other programs, too, so there are already plenty of options. But anyway:
- Park Inn by Radisson Izmailovo Moscow: 2 =>1; 9,000 points — not a central location, but not too far away, and in the vicinity of Izmailovo Kremlin.
- Park Inn by Radisson Sochi City Centre: 4 => 2; 15,000 points — a very nice and interesting Black Sea resort, especially after Russia invested tens of billions of dollars into upgrading the infrastructure for the Winter Olympics 2014. Great value in the summertime.
- Park Inn by Radisson, Astrakhan 3 =>1; 9,000 points — an interesting southern Russian city with its own beautiful Kremlin.
- Park Inn by Radisson Volgograd: 3 => 1; 9,000 points — good for WWII history buffs; the place where the Stalingrad battle unfolded, the bloodiest battle in the history of mankind.
There are several Chinese and Indian Club Carlson hotels going down, but I don’t know much about the locales, except this:
- Radisson Blu Shanghai Pudong Jinqiao CN: 4 => 3; 28,000 points. Looks like a marginally decent value to me, as hotel is priced at around $100+.
And then, there are increases.
Club Carlson devaluation: going up
Again, a good thing is that most of them don’t matter. Some Club Carlson properties they moved up are already drastically overpriced, so who cares?
But some increases are unfortunate. This section is more important, because you still have time to book at the old levels. Again, there are no major travel destinations in my selection, but all of these places seem to be well worth visiting, and I can personally vouch for the Baltics.
Radisson Hotel Salt Lake City Downtown UT: 3 => 4; 38,000 — seems like a good value for 28,000 points if booked before March 1.
Park Inn by Radisson Meriton Conference & Spa Hotel Tallinn (Estonia): 2 => 3; 28,000 — Tallinn is old, medieval, and lovely, especially in the summer. Book it before March 1 for only 15,000 points.
Park Inn by Radisson Kaunas: 1 => 2; 15,000 — absolutely beautiful city, and I love it much more than Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. Book it now for 9,000 points.
Radisson Blu Hotel, Klaipeda; 2 => 3 28,000 — another beautiful Lithuanian city and the gateway to Curonian Spit, the “home of the highest moving sand dunes in Europe.” The Curonian Spit is a UNESCO World Heritage Site squeezed between the Curonian Lagoon and the Baltic Sea coast and one of the most beautiful places in the world you’ll ever see. Book before March 1 for just 15,000 points and do go in the summer.
Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, San Jose Aeropuerto, Costa Rica: 1 => 2; 15,000 — a good idea if you arrive in the evening. Book for 9,000 before March 1.
Park Inn by Radisson Hotel and Spa Zalakaros; 1 => 3 28,000 — while this place is virtually unknown outside Hungary, Zalakaros is a very popular bath resort. It goes up 2 categories, from 1 to 3, so at 9,000 points (book before March 1) it’s a steal.
Park Inn by Radisson Danube Bratislava: 1 => 3; 28,000 — a one-hour train ride from Vienna. Also goes up 2 categories, and also a steal for 9,000 points (before March 1).
Radisson Exhibition Center Shanghai: CN 2 => 3; 28,000 — a Radisson hotel in Shanghai for 15,000 points (before March 1, 2018). ‘Nuff said.
So there you have it. Book now while you can!
- Kaunas Photo By: Diliff – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36951479
- Curonian Spit By: JonasS at the Lithuanian language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8164665