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In a move I’ve long expected and feared, Club Carlson has removed the last-night-free benefit on 2+ night awards booked by people who have the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card effective June 1, 2015.
The good news is that the change is effective for bookings made June 1 or later, not for stays made June 1 or later. Some hotels lets you book up to three years in advance, so you can get your last night free on award stays through 2018 as long as you book by May 31.
As further compensation, the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card introduced two benefits: a free night at any Club Carlson hotel in the United States after spending $10,000 during your membership year and 30,000 bonus Gold Points for making one paid stay at a Club Carlson property by August 31, 2015 and paying with your Club Carlson card.
- How is the last-night-free benefit the best benefit of any hotel credit card?
- How does it work?
- How can you use it for stays through 2018?
- Can people who don’t yet have the Club Carlson card get the card in time to use the last-night-free benefit?
- What is my analysis of the two new benefits?
The Last-Night-Free Benefit Is the Best Benefit of Any Hotel Credit Card
Here’s the card’s bullet point on the benefit:
- Bonus Award Night – When you redeem Gold Points for 2 or more consecutive Award Nights, your last night is free. Exclusively for cardmembers!
It really is that simple. On any award stay of 2+ nights, the last night is free. That means that the ideal award length is two nights in order to get a 50% discount on the points needed for an award.
This benefit can save you 50,000 points per stay. No other hotel credit card benefit is nearly this good. And that’s why the benefit is disappearing. It was too generous. Offers that stick out as too generous eventually disappear. *cough* Southwest Companion Pass from opening two credit cards *cough*
How the Last-Night-Free Benefit Works
Your Club Carlson account knows you have the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card, so at the payment stage for your award, it deducts the last night’s points from the price.
Here’s a full post on How the Last Night Free Benefit on the Club Carlson Card Works.
You Can Use the Last-Night-Free Benefit Through 2018
The last-night-free benefit is available on bookings made until May 31, 2015 no matter when the stay takes place.
Unfortunately not all hotels take bookings so far in advance. Here is a search for next summer in Paris. Only two of the hotels are taking bookings, and only one with points.
Take a look at the places you want to go for the next few years, and book now, so you can to lock in the last night free. You can always cancel and get your points back if you didn’t pick the correct dates a few years in advance.
If You Don’t Have the Club Carlson Card Yet, You Can Still Take Advantage of the Last Night Free Benefit
If you apply for the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card now and are approved, you’ll have the card by about April 10 (in about a week.) Your first statement will close about May 10 (about a month later,) and your points will post around the same time. Those dates are estimates, but certainly your first statement will close before May 31, and my experience is that your points post when your statement closes.
If during the first statement period, you make one purchase, you will earn 50,000 bonus Club Carlson points. Free nights start at 9,000 points, which means you can book two-night stays for 9,000 points until May 31. That means you could book five two-night stays (10 nights) by May 31.
Even better, if you spend $2,500 in the first statement period, you get the entire 85,000 point sign up bonus + 12,500 points for spending at 5 points per dollar. Your 97,500 points would be enough for 10 two-night stays (20 nights) booked by May 31. (Here’s more on the math.)
Application Link: Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card
The Two New Benefits
Here’s the email sent out to cardholders.
The new permanent benefit to “replace” the last-night-free benefit is that every cardmember year during which a cardmember spends $10,000 on his card and then renews his card, he’ll get a free night at any Club Carlson hotel in the USA.
This is a definite downgrade from last night free on awards worldwide.
Club Carlson does have some expensive properties in New York and San Francisco, so this benefit could be worth a few hundred dollars per year, and it is is a nice benefit overall. If a hotel credit card added this benefit, I would be excited. But if a hotel credit card replaced the best benefit of any hotel credit card (last night free on all awards) with this benefit, I’d be disappointed.
I value 30,000 points at $120, so I’ll be sure to stay at a property that costs less than that as a mattress run if I don’t have any real hotel needs by August 31.
These are nice new benefits. Combined with the fact that the card gives you 85,000 bonus points, 5x per dollar on all spending, and Gold Status, the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card will still be one of the best cards after the last-night-free benefits disappears on June 1, but losing that benefit is still a huge blow.
The last day to book Club Carlson awards with the last night free for holders of the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card is May 31, 2015. That date still give you time to get the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card, and use its points before May 31.
Some Club Carlson properties allow points bookings up to three years in advance, so you can use the benefit for stays through 2018. Feel free to book speculatively since hotel awards usually allow free cancellations until the last day or week (depending on the property.)
To partially offset the sting, the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card is offering two new benefits: a free night at any Club Carlson hotel in the United States after spending $10,000 during your membership year and 30,000 bonus Gold Points for making one paid stay at a Club Carlson property by August 31, 2015 and paying with your Club Carlson card.
The last-night-free benefit was too generous, and too generous benefits always disappear. I’ll miss this one. Use this as a reminder to pound all the best offers while they last. *cough* American Airlines award chart *cough*