The Club Carslon Card: My Biggest Credit Card “Churn”

…which still wasn’t much of a churn at all!

I tend to be stuck in the camp of not being able to use miles for dream vacations because I’m too busy flying around earning miles (through work).  In fact, I upgraded a trip to Hawaii, four different people’s flights, and got round trip award tickets to Europe (in business) and still have a six-digit US Airways point balance.

But with my trip to Hawaii, I just burned through 243,000 Hyatt Points, and my trip to Europe cost me 250,000 Club Carlson points.  Ouch.  I suddenly find myself hurting for hotel points.

So, I turn to credit cards to beef myself up a little.

The first card I applied to was the Club Carlson Premier Visa Card.  While 85,000 points isn’t as valuable as other hotel chains, there is definitely a way to make this stretch.  The card gives you your last award night (on a 2 night stay) free. Some decent properties are 9,000 points, and when used for a weekend stay, this is 4,500 points per night.

So how hard is it to get this weekend stay from the card?

The card gives you 10 points per dollar on Club Carlson spend.  Club Carlson gives you 2,000 points from booking online as a gold–which the card makes you.  Club Carlson gives you 20 points per dollar for stays there.  You get a 50% point bonus as a gold.

Let’s say I stay at the Radisson Blu Mall of America (which I want to!) 

RadissonBlu

It was totally not worth it to redeem gold points for the room.  50,000 for a $170 rate?  No thanks!  I used 50,000 points per night in Europe when my hotel was going for 400 euros.  It is not worth it to save $170.

But what can spending this $170 get me?

Let’s do the math:

2,000 points:  Booking bonus (as a Gold, which the card makes me)
3,400 points: Being a Club Carlson gold points member, getting 20 points/$ for my room
1,700 points: My 50% bonus for being Gold (which, again, the card made me)
1,700 points: Using the card to pay my bill nets me 10 points / $ spent at Club Carlson

Total: 8,800 points.

If I use my card to buy a $40 pair of shoes at the Mall of America (Club Carslon gives 5 points / $ on regular spend), I earn 200 more points easily.  (I could also spend $20 in room service!)

This nets me 9,000 points.  TWO nights in a category one property.  I can go to Orlando International Drive (which I’m considering), or Richmond (which I’m also considering).

It is also 4/5s of the way to a category two property (15,000 points), which gives you MANY more options that the category one, and nicer properties.

I just think it is crazy that a one night stay can get me a two night stay!  Then again, Radisson’s big night out promo netted some people FIVE nights with a one night stay.  More on that if they do the promo again this year!

I applied to the Club Carlson Premier Visa Card and was approved on the spot.  Score! 

I hit two more cards after that.

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Heels First is the travels and tribulations of two twenty-something frequent fliers jumping into the world of travel. Join Keri and Jeanne as they tackle mileage runs, elite status, and of course–the perfect travel accessories.

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