Prior to June 2015, the best hotel credit card in the world was the Club Carlson VISA Credit Card issued by U.S. Bank in the United States. The single biggest and best benefit of the card was the fact that when redeeming points for award nights, you always got the last night free with every redemption.
For example, one night costs 50k points and you would like two nights – instead of paying 100k points you just paid 50k for both nights as cardmembers got the last night free on every redemption, at every Club Carlson hotel worldwide.
Unfortunately in June the Club Carlson programme experienced some changes and most of them were negative – the credit card lost the last free night benefit AND many hotels went up in category. So for example, if a hotel cost 50k points prior to June and I book it for two nights as a credit card member, I would get two nights for just 50k. Most 50k hotels went up to 70k points per night, and with the loss of the card perk, two nights would now cost 140k instead of just 50k.
Ultimately this was costing Club Carlson a lot of money which is why they got rid of the card benefit and increased the prices for many hotels worldwide. Which brings me to my question of whether or not I should cancel my Club Carlson VISA card from U.S. Bank since my annual fee will be coming up soon.
Here some of the current benefits of the Club Carlson℠ Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card, taken from the U.S. Bank website and are current as of writing this post:
- 10 points per $1 spent in purchases at Club Carlson hotels
- 5 points per $1 spent everywhere else
- 85k Club Carlson points sign-up bonus (50k after first purchase and 35k after spending $2.5k USD in the first 90 days)
- 40k Club Carlson points when renewing the card each year
- Club Carlson Gold Status
- $75 USD annual fee
I also have the Club Carlson℠ Business Rewards Visa® Card, which currently has the same benefits as the card above, but has an annual fee of $60 USD.
Which brings me to my question: Should I keep both Club Carlson Credit Cards?
If I do, for $135 USD I would have 80k Club Carlson points each year. I don’t spend a dime on this card and therefore I wouldn’t have more points than that.
I redeemed the hell out of Club Carlson using my points this past summer, including:
Radisson Blu 1919 Hotel Reykjavík
Radisson Blu Saga Hotel Reykjavík
The May Fair London
Plaza on the River London
Radisson Blu Hotel Dubai Deira Creek
The Radisson Blu Residence Dubai Marina
Radisson Royal Hotel Dubai
Some of the hotels that I booked now cost 70k points per night, instead of 50k when I booked (and the free last night benefit).
So I already paid $135 USD for both cards during the first year and the value I got out of the Club Carlson programme and the credit card was significantly higher than that, some of the hotels I stayed at cost over $400 USD per night… especially in London and Iceland.
Having said that, I don’t know if it is worth messing with Club Carlson anymore… I am slowly switching to SPG and Hyatt since they have much better hotels than Club Carlson, but I’m thinking that if I keep the cards, I could always redeem a night at a 70k points per night hotel that could easily cost over $300 USD. At this point I’m still trying to decide what to do.
What do you guys think? Should I cancel both cards, keep both cards, or maybe just keep one? I would love to hear your suggestions and thoughts! Thanks!