Carlson announced a devaluation of its own today, joining last year’s Hilton bloodbath and last month’s Hyatt changes. The announcement is on the Club Carlson website and will go into effect March 15th.
The key takeaways, roughly prioritized by significance:
- Carlson is creating a new Category 7, 70k points per night, tier that will initially include:
- Radisson Royal Hotel, Dubai
- Radisson Blu Le Dokhan’s Hotel, Paris Trocadero
- Radisson Blu 1835 Hotel & Thalasso, Cannes
- Radisson Blu Le Metropolitan Hotel, Paris Eiffel
- Radisson Blu Hotel Champs Elysees, Paris
- The May Fair
- Plaza on the River, London
- art’otel, Amsterdam
- Radisson Royal Hotel, Moscow
The full list of changes is on Carlson’s website.
- The online booking bonus will be restricted to promotional periods, rather than for all bookings.
- The points bonus on stays is being cut to 35% for Gold Elite and 15% for Silver Elite members.
- Award nights will count towards status.
- Hotel restaurant spend will earn points
Hack My Trip points out that this devaluation was inevitable, following the overly generous promotions in the last two years. I agree: It’s hard to be surprised that any of these one-for-one stay promotions were sustainable in any way. More importantly, the changes could have been worse.
To top things off, the signup bonus for the Carlson Visa works out to about four free nights (by strategically booking two stays of two nights) at any top tier hotel. That’s quite a bit more than Hyatt (two nights), Starwood (not even one night at a Category 7), or the Citi Hilton card (two nights).
With the cobranded Visa card, I have Gold Elite status with Carlson. The points bonus cut stings ever slightly, but historically, I’ve earned 90% of my Carlson points from various promotions (50k points for a $80 stay? Sign me up!) and the credit card signup bonus.
Even with award nights now counting towards status, I would not be much closer than I was from just revenue nights (maybe 9/35 instead of 2/35 last year). Absent shifting my hotel stays nearly completely to Carlson, I’m still hopelessly far from hitting the Concierge level at 75 nights. Doing so would involve completely forgoing SPG status (and my stays), which have served me quite well for my many trips to Hawaii.