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Club Carlson Premier Card Review – Big earning, but a lot of hotel gaps

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This article was last updated Mar 21, 2017, but some terms and conditions may have changed or are no longer available. For the most accurate and up to date information please consult the terms and conditions found on the issuer website.

The information related to the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card and Club Carlson Platinum Rewards Visa® Card has been collected by CompareCards and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

Who should get this card?

We only recommend this card if you already stay at Club Carlson hotels frequently and are aware of the limitations of its hotel locations.

You won’t find many Carlson hotels in beach locations like Hawaii or the Caribbean, and they tend to be strongest in Europe. You also won’t find many locations in big U.S. cities, but you will find plenty in the suburbs and smaller cities.

The hotel options are just too limited to be useful to most people, so you’re probably better off with a more versatile travel rewards card.

What can you do with the points?

Club Carlson points can be used for free nights at Carlson family hotels, which include:

  • Radisson
  • Radisson Blu
  • Radisson Red
  • Park Plaza
  • Park Inn
  • Country Inn and Suites
  • The Quorvus Collection

Carlson doesn’t have many hotels in beach areas like Hawaii, the Caribbean, or Mexico, so don’t count on Club Carlson points to get you a beach vacation. But they have lots of hotels throughout Europe, and they’re great for saving on hotels there.

The price of a free night depends on the category of the hotel you’re booking and these are the prices for each category, with links to a directory of hotels in each category:

Category 1 – 9,000 points

Includes hotels like the Park Inn Budapest

cat1parkbudapest

Category 2 – 15,000 points

Includes hotels like the Radisson Baton Rouge

cat2radissonbatonrouge

Category 3 – 28,000 points

Includes hotels like the Radisson Blu Lisbon

cat3radissonblulisbon

Category 4 – 38,000 points

Includes hotels like the Radisson Orlando Lake Buena Vista

cat4orlando

Category 5 – 44,000 points

Includes hotels like the Radisson Blu Milan

cat5milan

Category 6 – 50,000 points

Includes hotels like the Radisson Blu Rome

cat6rome

Category 7 – 70,000 points

Includes hotels like the Radisson Champs Elysees in Paris

cat7paris

We value Club Carlson points at about 0.4 cents each, so 10,000 points can get you about $40 in hotel value.

Earning 5x points per dollar on the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card , here’s what you’d need to spend on the card to earn a free night in each category:

  • Category  1: $1,800
  • Category 2: $3,000
  • Category 3: $5,600
  • Category 4: $7,600
  • Category 5: $8,800
  • Category 6: $10,000
  • Category 7: $14,000

So if you spend between $1,000 and $2,000 a month on the card, you have a good shot at earning a free night from your spending. And that’s on top of the 40,000 points you get each year for holding the card, so it’s not too hard to get a few hundred dollars in rewards every year, if you like staying in places that have a Club Carlson hotel.

How does it compare?

Club Carlson Platinum Rewards Visa® Card

If you want to earn Club Carlson points, the Club Carlson Platinum Rewards Visa® Card is your option with a $50 annual fee.

The point earning is pretty bad, though. You earn 3x points per dollar you spend – so it could take you $5,000 – $10,000 a month in spending to earn a free night at many properties.

A better bet is to just get a general travel rewards card with no annual fee like the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card - 25,000 Bonus Points Offer card, that earns points you can use like cash for any travel. With $1,000 – $2,000 a month in spending on that card you’ll rack up around $300 a year in rewards, enough for at least a free night at many hotels.

Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card

The Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card lets you earn 5x points on all your spending, 10 x points for purchases at Carlson hotels.

You also get 40,000 points each year you renew the card.

How is getting approved?

The Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card is from U.S. Bank, and they tend to be pretty strict about approvals if you’ve applied for many cards recently.

What happens if you cancel the card?

Nothing will happen to your points if you cancel your card. Club Carlson Gold Points expire after 24 months of no activity in your account. Anytime you earn or use points, the clock is reset another 24 months, so you don’t need to have the credit card to keep your account active.


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