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

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

Published: April 25, 2017
Ratings Policy
Hotel Rating:
4.1 rating
4.1 rating
4.1 / 5
Rewards Value: 4.2
Annual Percentage Rate: 2.5
Rewards Flexibility: 4.1
Hotel Options: 4.0
Features: 4.0

In a nutshell:

The Club Carlson Rewards Visa Signature card offers a lower annual fee and easier spending requirements than the Club Carlson Rewards Premier card, but comes with fewer benefits as well.

Rewards Rate

  • 6:1 Carlson Rezidor hotels
  • 3:1 general purchases

Sign-up Bonus

  • 50,000 with first purchase
  • 10,000 if you spend $1,500 in first 90 days

Annual Bonus

  • 25,000 points when you renew membership
  • Free night certificate when you spend $10,000

Annual Fee
$50

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$576

APR
14.74-23.74%

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Points don’t expire as long as card is active every 24 months
  • Pay with points plus cash
  • Can modify and cancel hotel reservations, no charge
  • No blackout dates
  • Transfer points to 20-plus airline partners
  • Free point transfer to other Club Carlson accounts

Cons

  • Rewards rooms may be limited
  • Poor rate for anything other than hotel redemptions
  • Limited availability for points plus cash

Hotel Options

  • Properties: 1,400
  • Countries served: 115

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

Rewards Rating:
4.3 rating
4.3 rating
4.3 / 5
Rewards Value: 4.7
Annual Percentage Rate: 1.9
Rewards Flexibility: 4.2
Features: 4.0

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.

Rewards Rate

  • 6:1 Carlson Rezidor hotels
  • 3:1 general purchases

Sign-up Bonus

  • 50,000 with first purchase
  • 10,000 if you spend $1,500 in first 90 days

Annual Fee
$50

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$576

APR
14.74-23.74%

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Points don’t expire as long as card is active every 24 months
  • Pay with points plus cash
  • Can modify and cancel hotel reservations, no charge
  • No blackout dates
  • Transfer points to 20-plus airline partners
  • Free point transfer to other Club Carlson accounts

Cons

  • Rewards rooms may be limited
  • Poor rate for anything other than hotel redemptions
  • Limited availability for points plus cash

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

Travel Rating:
4.2 rating
4.2 rating
4.2 / 5
Rewards Value: 4.7
Annual Percentage Rate: 2.0
Rewards Flexibility: 3.9
Features: 4.0

In a nutshell:

Despite a high APR and lower than average rewards value, this hotel card is still a good pick for frequent guests of Radisson and other Carlson Rezidor hotels thanks to its unusually large spending bonus and generous sign-up offer.

Rewards Rate

  • 6:1 Carlson Rezidor hotels
  • 3:1 general purchases

Sign-up Bonus

  • 50,000 with first purchase
  • 10,000 if you spend $1,500 in first 90 days

Annual Fee
$50

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$576

APR
14.74-23.74%

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Points don’t expire as long as card is active every 24 months
  • Pay with points plus cash
  • Can modify and cancel hotel reservations, no charge
  • No blackout dates
  • Transfer points to 20-plus airline partners
  • Free point transfer to other Club Carlson accounts

Cons

  • Rewards rooms may be limited
  • Poor rate for anything other than hotel redemptions
  • Limited availability for points plus cash

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

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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.

Reasons to sign up for it:

  • 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 it:

  • 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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