|Rewards Rating:||4 / 5|
|Annual Percentage Rate:||3.0|
|Issuer Customer Experience||3.5|
In a Nutshell:
For cardholders who prefer to stay at mid-tier hotels such as Country Inn and Suites or the Radisson, the Club Carlson Rewards Visa Signature card offers a fair amount of value, including a sizable sign-up and an above average rewards rate on regular purchases. This offer is no longer available.
Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
U.S. Bank Customer Service Ratings
Other Notable Features: Automatic upgrade to Silver Elite status, 10 qualifying nights toward next Elite level, food and beverage discounts, complimentary room upgrades, 15% bonus points on hotel stays, early check-in/late checkout, concierge service, travel and emergency services, lost luggage insurance, purchase security
This card will earn its space in your wallet if Club Carlson hotels and resorts work for your travel patterns, despite the chain’s slightly smaller geographical foothold. You get a decent sign-up bonus coupled with a low spending requirement, a moderate annual fee, and a reasonably good earning scheme. You also get entry-level elite status as soon as you enroll. The downside is that last year’s drastic rewards devaluation made the whole program a bit less valuable than it used to be.
Excellent sign-up bonus
The card offers a large number of bonus points for signing up. You get 50,000 points after your first purchase and an additional 10,000 points after spending $1,500 in the first 90 days. This is sufficient to get you a free hotel stay in the first year – up to six free nights at a Category 1 property.
In addition, the card offers a nice annual bonus to loyal card members. You get 25,000 points every year upon your account anniversary for as long as you carry the card. You also earn a free-night certificate every year that you spend at least $10,000 and renew your membership.
Decent earning scheme
You get six points per dollar spent at Club Carlson hotels and three points per dollar for all other purchases. The typical rewards card only offers one point per dollar of general spending. At triple that rate, you can rack a lot of points toward free hotel stays just through your everyday spending.
Low membership fee
The $50 membership for the Club Carlson Rewards Visa Signature is on the low side for a hotel card. However, if you are already prepared to pay a yearly fee, you are probably better off spending the additional $25 for Club Carlson’s Premier card, which comes with a much higher sign-up bonus and annual bonus, as well as a longer list of hotel perks.
Flexible redemption options
Club Carlson offers fairly flexible redemption options for its rewards. The terms and conditions guarantee no blackout dates, although rewards rooms may be limited at some properties. The program also provides the option to pay with points plus cash at participating properties, enabling cardholders to get a rewards room with a lower number of points.
Good geographic coverage
One upside of the Club Carlson hotel portfolio is that it features some nice properties in most parts of the globe. Although the portfolio contains a relatively modest number of properties – approximately one-quarter the number of the largest hotel chains – Club Carlson hotels are present in more than 100 countries. That means rewards points can take you to a large variety of destinations.
Elite status benefits
The card automatically qualifies you for silver elite status in the Club Carlson loyalty program. Silver elite status comes with some good perks, including 15 percent bonus points on hotel stays, a 10 percent discount on food and drinks, a possible complimentary upgrade at the check-in, and early check-in and late checkout.
Also, elite members can transfer points to other club members for free. It’s rare for a hotel loyalty program to allow members to transfer points with no fee.
Why get the Club Carlson Rewards card?
- You frequently stay or plan on staying at Club Carlson hotels.
- You want to take advantage of a decent sign-up bonus combined with a low spending requirement and low annual fee.
- You’re working on obtaining elite status and want a jump-start.
- You value Visa Signature benefits.
How to use the Club Carlson Rewards card:
- Spend $1,500 in the first 90 days to get the full 50,000-point bonus.
- Charge all Club Carlson expenses to your Club Carlson Rewards Visa Signature card in the U.S. Take advantage of your 10 percent food discount, but be aware of the 3 percent foreign-transaction fee if you are traveling abroad.
- Call the Elite member services line on the back of your card if you can’t find reward availability on the Club Carlson website.
- Be sure to use your free-night certificate before it expires in 12 months.
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