How I’ve Burned All My Club Carlson Points

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POINTS UPDATE Free Night

Tomorrow, May31, most probably will be the last day when you can still get two Club Carlson nights for the price of one at the old reward levels. The language is a little confusing as it says “can’t be booked after June 1″ which might suggest that June 1 is the actual final day, but I wouldn’t bank on it.

If you are a procrastinator, this is the final call to get all your ducks in a row.

I control three Club Carlson accounts: two personal and one business. Here is what I’ve booked.

  • 4 nights in Stockholm
  • 4 nights in Reykjavik
  • 2 nights in Bangkok
  • 2 nights in Hamburg

Stockholm

In June 2016, I’m traveling to the #TBEX conference in Stockholm (now, here are people who know where to hold conferences!), so I  booked two nights at the Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel, Stockholm, where the conference is going to be held in July 2016, and 2 nights at the nearby Radisson Blu Royal Viking Hotel, Stockholm for 50,000 points each. I’ve read suggestions that favored another central Stockholm hotel, Radisson Blu Strand Hotel, Stockholm, but it doesn’t have a pool, so the Viking won.

Club Carlson Stockholm Radisson Hotels

Burning Club Carlson Points: Stockholm Radisson Blu Hotels

Bangkok

In October, I’m traveling to Bangkok (and will attend the first TBEX Asia conference too, I guess, I’m getting addicted), Honk Kong, and Vietnam. I didn’t see many options to burn Club Carlson points except in Bangkok where I booked two nights at the Radisson Suites Bangkok Sukhumvit for 28,000 points.

Club Carlson Bangkok Radisson Suites

Burning Club Carlson Points: Radisson Suites Bangkok Sukhumvit

Reykjavik

I still had too many points left, so I decided to do what I always do in situations like that—invent a reason to go somewhere. I’ve wanted to visit Iceland for quite some time, and Iceland presents quite a nice opportunity to burn some hot points: Reykjavik is expensive and it does have 2 Radisson hotels: the Radisson Blu Saga Hotel, Reykjavik and the Radisson Blu 1919 Hotel, Reykjavik. I booked 2 nights at each of them.

Club Carlson Reykjavik Radisson Hotels

Burning Club Carlson Points: Reykjavik Radisson Blu Hotels

Hamburg

There were still some Club Carlson points left that were burning me from the inside, so I decided to make a stop in Hamburg on the way back from Reykjavik. Why Hamburg? Oh, there are plenty of reasons why one would want to see Hamburg. Here is mine.

Parents beware: this is what happens to grown men who didn’t have enough toys to play with as children. 🙁

Anyway, Hamburg is where I hit a snag.

All my bookings have worked great so far. Some of them were booked on my points, and others on my wife’s. The only thing that does concern me somewhat, is that the Club Carlson T&C state that the member has to travel in order to be eligible for the free night benefit. I’ve never heard from anyone that they would really deny the benefit to anyone, but technically, it can happen. What the hell—let’s live dangerously. 🙂

At that point, I found myself actually short of miles. I (well, wife) had slightly more than 41,000 points left, and I needed 44,000 in order to book the Radisson Blu Hotel, Hamburg.

Club Carlson Radisson Hotel Hamburg

Burning Club Carlson Points: Radisson Blu Hotel, Hamburg

So, without thinking much, I went ahead and bought 3,000 miles for $21. Not a big deal, right? Right, only the points don’t get to your account right away. The confirmation message said it could take up to 72 hours for the points to appear in her account. I’m sure they tried to warn me before buying the points somewhere, but I was in a hurry. This is the email they sent us.

POINTS UPDATE

I have no idea how I work this out or if I actually can work this out (they are closed tomorrow). I’m going to try the general reservation number, but if push comes to shove, I’ll grab 2 nights at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Hamburg Airport instead. It’s reportedly a 10-minute train ride to the city center, so I don’t sweat it much. Live and learn.

UPDATE 5.31: The points appeared in wife’s account, so canceled and rebooked Radison Blu Hamburg. Took less than 24 hours.

Club Carlson Radisson Hotel Hamburg Airport

Burning Club Carlson Points: Radisson Blu Hotel, Hamburg Airport

Will I be able to use all these reservations? I never know 100%, and that is why I’ve booked all my flights with my Chase Ritz Carlton Visa, which, supposedlyoffers the best credit card Trip Cancellation and Interruption insurance coverage, although I have never (thank god!) had a chance to find out!

So, how is your Club Carlson housekeeping: ongoing or done? Share with the class!

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12 Responses to How I’ve Burned All My Club Carlson Points

  1. Tony says:

    I applied for Club Carlson personal card on line for the 85K points with 2500 spend in 3 months and free night benefit and card issued on 5/11/15.
    Neither US Bank or Club Carlson could explain this. US Bank did cancel first year fee and Club Carlson will give 38K points. Curious what you think?

    • Andy Shuman says:

      Tony, I’m not sure what you mean. Did CC give you 38K as a compensation for the lost 1-night benefit? If so, take it. Canceling the card now won’t do you any good. It’s like biting the nose to spite the face.

      Btw, [reportedly] the Free Night benefit is still working today, and will be killed tonight at midnight EST.

  2. Dear Andy,

    Those sound like great plans, and thanks for the “heads up” on what draws you to visit Hamburg; it has got me thinking that I too ought to go there someday!

    I have a personal and business Club Carlson accounts — and have also made plans . . . .

    LATE JUNE 2015: Radisson Admiral Hotel Toronto-Harbourfront: 44K points for 2 free nights. These will be followed by 2 paid nights, earning me 30K bonus points for *each* of my two Club Carlson accounts (i.e., a total of 60K bonus points). On the first paid night, I’ll also be earning triple points (the last day of the triple points promotion). By beginning my stay one night earlier, I could have qualified for triple points on my last night too, but that would have meant paying significantly more for the room. Basic room rates at this property in June can run high as $462.71 (Canadian) per night. (Needless to say, I have selected nights with rates *a lot* lower than that!) I feel I’m getting an excellent value for my points, and I figure that the paid portion of my stay will essentially pay for itself.

    I have no compelling reason to visit Toronto; but I’ve never been there before, and I look forward to seeing some of its attractions. It’s a short flight from New York (where I live), and I’ve redeemed British Airways Avios for a ticket on American Airlines. On the outgoing flight, only first/business class was available, but it was still “less costly” than redeeming FF miles on a U.S. airline for an economy seat. I called American Airlines to have my AAdvantage account number added to the record (which it was not possible to do on line), and now — thanks to my having the Citi AAdvantage Biz card — my checked luggage fee will be waived.

    MID-SEPTEMBER 2015: Radisson Blu Hotel Berlin: 44K points for 2 free nights. These will be followed by 2 paid nights, for which I have taken advantage of a limited BOGO offer — pay for one night and get the second night free. I feel very fortunate that the BOGO offer was available for when I needed to be in Berlin! Specifically, I am flying over to attend the opening of Berlin fine art photographer Yoram Roth’s “Sacred & Profane” exhibit. I am a part-time-model, and Yoram and his creative team flew to New York in March and booked me — and several other models — for photos for this exhibit. Coincidentally, I had been planning a trip to Berlin anyway this year (LOL: it was the hotel’s AquaDom that first attracted me to the idea!), and when I learned of the opening date of the exhibit, that settled the matter of when I’d take the trip. (Happily, thanks to British Airways Avios, I’m also able to fly in my brother, and his wife, from the U.K., for the opening!)

    EARLY JUNE 2016: Radisson Blu Style Hotel Vienna: a total of four nights: 50K points from my personal account for 2 free nights followed by 50K points from my business account for 2 free nights. According to what I’ve read on line, there is never a problem when redeeming points in this way. (Time will tell what happens for me!) In my youth, this beautiful, remarkable city was my best market for modeling, and I lived there for about nine months. But though I was “a success,” the experience was not, overall, a happy one for me (it’s a long story). I suspect I shall enjoy Vienna much more as a tourist. I have not booked air travel yet and will probably not do so until early next year — at which point, I’ll add on at least one other city to my itinerary . . . if I keep the hotel reservation at all. At this moment, the idea of visiting Austria appeals to me very much. But — who knows? — I may wind up preferring to spend my precious time off from work elsewhere.

    Cheers,

    Peter

    • Andy Shuman says:

      Peter, thanks for sharing. Your plans sound like a lot of fun, and before I set on Hamburg, I had considered 2 nights at the Aquadom—precisely because of the Aquadom. Gotta be really cool, especially during this event. Congrats!

      • You’re welcome, Andy! And thanks, as always, for maintaining your blog. Your articles not only are newsworthy but — for my sensibilities — chock full of chuckles. If you ever decide to do a stand-up comedy routine, please let me know. I’ll definitely want a front-row seat! (And — hey! — if you *do* get into stand-up comedy, here’s hoping that your act will become so successful that it’ll turn into a “hot ticket” New York tourist attraction for which I can redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points!) Best wishes, Peter

        • Andy Shuman says:

          Thanks for your kind words, Peter. I don’t see stand-up comedy in my future for more than one reason, including, but not limited to, being terrified of running my mouth in front of people. 🙂

  3. Sam says:

    Here is my haul:
    6 nights in Aruba
    6 nights in barbados
    4 nights in Istanbul
    2 nights in Athens
    2 nights in Rome
    2 nights in Dubai

    Hopefully I can make those trips…:)

  4. mintcilantro says:

    It’s a bitter sweet feeling to depart with club carlson points.. they had so much promise and yet it was so difficult to redeem them because so many of their properties are sub par and I don’t want to spend precious vacation time in sub par properties. In my last few years booked 20 free nights taht would have retailed for over $5k. I spent roughly $1000 in various fees. I’m happy. I will still keep the personal and biz cards.

    I look forward to reading about next club carlson program from you. At this time, I am not aware of any program where earning hotel points via credit card spend makes any sense if your goal is to redeem for upscale properties. I’ll take sign ups but will use my arrival and double cash cards to earn cash back for hotels. And then book with citi prestige for 4th night benefit or through virtuoso for breakfast perks. I can always buy hotel points if necessary like current hilton promo or daily getaways.

    • Andy Shuman says:

      Let’s put it this way. The only program that still puts upscale properties within your reach is HHonors, if only due to a sheer number of credit cards with good bonuses and transfer options. For every other chain, the damage is done unfortunately.

  5. […] Iceland for a week. Going to stay four days in Reykjavik at—you’ve guessed it–two Radisson hotels. Going to stay in Hamburg for two days (at the Radisson, too). Why Hamburg? What do you […]

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