Reviews U.S. Bank Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature card review
U.S. Bank Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature card review

U.S. Bank Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature card review

Published: September 26, 2017
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Hotel Rating:
4.3 rating
4.3 rating
4.3 / 5
Rewards Value: 4.7
Annual Percentage Rate: 3.1
Rewards Flexibility: 4.1
Hotel Options: 4.0
Features: 4.0

In a nutshell:

The Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature card has some nice features for frequent travelers, as well as some very valuable rewards for frequent guests of Club Carlson.

Rewards Rate

  • 10:1 at Carlson Rezidor hotels
  • 5:1 general purchases

Sign-up Bonus

  • 50,000 points with first purchase
  • 35,000 points if you spend $2,500 in first 90 days

Annual Bonus

  • 40,000 points when you renew membership
  • Free night certificate when you spend $10,000

Annual Fee
$75

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$813

APR
14.99-23.99% (variable)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Points don’t expire as long you use the card every 24 months
  • Good values for low-category Club Carlson hotels
  • Can transfer points to other Club Carlson accounts
  • Option to book with points + cash
  • Change and cancel rewards reservation at no charge
  • Official “no blackout dates” policy

Cons

  • Poor value for gift cards and airline miles
  • Rewards rooms may still be unavailable in popular hotels despite the “no blackout dates” policy

Hotel Options

  • Properties: 1,400
  • Countries served: 115

Other Notable Features: Automatic upgrade to Gold Elite Status, food and beverage discounts, complimentary room upgrades, 35% bonus on hotel stays, early check-in and late checkout, elite member services line, 72-hour room availability guarantee, concierge service, lost luggage insurance, purchase security

Rewards Rating:
4.3 rating
4.3 rating
4.3 / 5
Rewards Value: 5.0
Annual Percentage Rate: 2.3
Rewards Flexibility: 3.9
Features: 4.0

In a nutshell:

One of our favorite travel cards, this premium hotel card was tailor made for fans of luxury hotel stays: for just $75 a year, it offers some of the generous rewards available on hotel stays and regular purchases as well as some the industry’s best bonuses.

Rewards Rate

  • 10:1 at Carlson Rezidor hotels
  • 5:1 general purchases

Sign-up Bonus

  • 50,000 points with first purchase
  • 35,000 points if you spend $2,500 in first 90 days

Annual Fee
$75

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$813

APR
14.99-23.99% (variable)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Points don’t expire as long you use the card every 24 months
  • Good values for low-category Club Carlson hotels
  • Can transfer points to other Club Carlson accounts
  • Option to book with points + cash
  • Change and cancel rewards reservation at no charge
  • Official “no blackout dates” policy

Cons

  • Poor value for gift cards and airline miles
  • Rewards rooms may still be unavailable in popular hotels despite the “no blackout dates” policy

Other Notable Features: Automatic upgrade to Gold Elite Status, food and beverage discounts, complimentary room upgrades, 35% bonus on hotel stays, early check-in and late checkout, elite member services line, 72-hour room availability guarantee, concierge service, lost luggage insurance, purchase security

The Club Carlson card has a lot of perks and benefits. For starters, it comes with a huge sign-up bonus. It also has a solid earning scheme, nice retention bonus after each year of membership, and free mid-level elite status. Despite the recent rewards devaluation, rewards points can still be redeemed for some valuable hotel stays. Thanks to the generous bonuses, the value of the rewards you can earn ranks high among the travel cards we’ve reviewed.

If you frequently find yourself staying at Radisson, Park Inn, Country Inn or other Club Carlson properties, you will probably find the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature card worth the price of admission.

85,000-point sign-up bonus
The card comes with a very generous sign-up bonus. You get 50,000 points after the first purchase and an additional 35,000 points after spending $2,500 in the first 90 days. This is enough for a one-night stay at any Club Carlson hotel in the world, or for up to a nine-night stay at a Category 1 hotel.

Excellent earning scheme
You get 10 points for every dollar spent at Club Carlson properties and five points per dollar spent elsewhere. These is a high rewards rate, even taking into consideration the lower redemption value of Club Carlson rewards points. It can still amount to several hundred dollars’ worth of hotel stays, or more if you are a frequent guest of Club Carlson.

Large yearly renewal bonuses
You get 40,000 points annually on your card’s anniversary. On top of that, you receive a certificate for one free night at any Club Carlson hotel after charging $10,000 a year on the card and renewing your membership. These are great benefits that allow you to be continually awarded for your loyalty.

Good rewards value despite the recent devaluation
Club Carlson points have been greatly devalued in the last 12 months. Its top 71 Category 7 hotels are now priced at 70,000 points per night. So if you choose any of these top properties for your redemption, your sign-up bonus will only be enough to pay for one night.

They have also unfortunately canceled the best Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card redemption feature: getting one free night on an award stay lasting two nights or longer.

However, a comparison of the required points to the value of stays across the different categories of hotels shows that the value of the rewards that you can earn with the card is still pretty high. By our estimate, a cardholder who spends around $1,325 a month on the card can earn more than $800 in rewards per year in a three-year period.

Limited rewards redemption
Limited redemption options are the main drawback of the card. While the program allows you to redeem points for gift cards or to trade points for airline miles, the value for these options is low. Rewards points are primarily good for stays at Club Carlson properties. While the Club Carlson network does cover a worldwide range, it contains a more limited number of properties than some of the largest hotel loyalty programs. If you are not a frequent customer of Club Carlson hotels, the card may have limited value for you.

Good VIP Perks
The Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card gets you the Gold Elite status, which is the mid-level status between Silver and Concierge. The Club Carlson Gold status is not as good as Marriott’s Gold or Hilton’s Gold – both of which entitle members to a free hot breakfast. But you still get great perks, like a 35 percent point bonus on hotel stays, early check-in and check-out, and complimentary room upgrades.

Reasons to sign up for it:

  • You frequently stay at Club Carlson properties.
  • You want a generous sign-up bonus and decent point-earning options for a modest annual fee.
  • You want Visa Signature benefits.

How to use it:

  • Do not forget to spend $2,500 in the first 90 days to get the full 85,000-point bonus.
  • Put all your Club Carlson expenses on your Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature card for all U.S. stays. If you frequent Club Carlson hotels abroad, be aware of the 2 to 3 percent foreign-transaction fee. It might still be worth it to earn an extra 10 points on a dollar, though.
  • If you can’t find points availability on the Club Carlson website for a particular property, call your Gold Elite member services line and ask the representative to open availability.
  • If the room you want to redeem is unavailable, call the Elite Member Services line and ask the representative to open it for rewards. If there is some availability, you might still be able to get it.

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