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Club Carlson is running three separate promotions which together could net you 138,000+ Club Carlson points.
Loyalty Traveler confirms that you can take part in all three promotions and that cash & points reservations (where you use part cash and part Club Carlson points to make your booking) does count as an eligible rate.
If you don’t have a Club Carlson account, thanks to InfamousDX, you can get 2,000 Club Carlson points by signing up for a new account and using code NSB2K12 and staying in a Club Carlson hotel within 90 days.
What Does Randy Petersen Think About This?
Most bloggers (except the steadfast Online Travel Review) are going ga-ga over this promotion and are assuming that many of their readers will redeem their points at the most expensive Radisson Blu hotels.
But here’s the most astute analysis I’ve read of Club Carlson’s previous giveaway, which not surprisingly is from Randy Petersen:
Radisson simply “out Groupon” Groupon by coming up with a bonus that caused many travelers to “pre-buy” an advance purchase at a Carlson Hotel? Stays that increasingly, I observe, would not have been purchased if not for the Big Night Giveaway?
Essentially, Club Carlson (Raddison) ran a very well thought through promotion which compelled folks to stay in a Club Carlson hotel when they otherwise wouldn’t have.
As a marketeer, this is just they type of promotion I want to run, where I want folks to shift consumption of my product (hotel rooms in this case) from the future to the current period and to get new users to try my product (hotel rooms in this case).
And better still, I know that not everyone will redeem their bonus points later on!
But as Randy points out (bolding mine):
Fact is, many of these opportunists will now likely use the points for a purpose far more pedestrian than the seven Radisson Blu hotels that are located in and around Paris.
So do the math for yourself before jumping in! Club Carlson would not be running the promotion again if they didn’t make money during the last version of the promotion.
But of course Million Mile Secrets are savvy enough to not let hotel chains, airlines or banks make money off them!
What Is 1 Club Carlson Point Worth?
- Radisson Promotion – 50,000 points are worth at most $350 (50,000 points X0.7 cents per point)
- Country Inn & Suites Promotion – 44,000 points are worth at most $308 (44,000 points X0.7 cents per point)
- Park Inn Promotion – 44,000 points are worth at most $308 (44,000 points X0.7 cents per point)
This (0.7 cents per point) should be the maximum price you’re willing to pay for 1 Club Carlson point since you can buy them at that price from Club Carlson. Yes, there is a limit of 40,000 points, but Club Carlson lets you combine points between accounts for free.
Your value (which is different from the price you’re willing to pay) should depend on how & where you redeem your points and whether you would pay the regular hotel room price or not. And of course, you should be getting more value than what you’re willing to pay.
Is The Promotion Worth It?
If you have a hotel stay planned before July 15, it doesn’t hurt to shift those stays to take advantage of the Club Carlson promotion. At the very least, you’ll get 1 free night after paying for 1 night.
However, depending on how you redeem your points, you could get a lot more value from the Club Carlson promotion.
You can get a lot of value if you use these points to stay in Europe or expensive US cities. Or if you use them to stay for many nights at a low category Club Carlson hotel.
For example, the Radisson in Copenhagen costs 44,000 points a night or ~$300 a night.
Similarly, you can get good values by using Club Carlson points for hotels in Europe (think Cannes, Paris, Scandinavia, London, etc.) For example, the Radisson Blu Champs Elysees costs 500 Euros+ a night and the Radisson Blu in Cannes costs 320+ Euros a night!
You can also get good deals in US cities (New York, Boston, or Chicago) and in the Caribbean ( St Martin or Aruba).
Or 50,000 bonus points will get you 5 nights at a category 1 Club Carlson hotel such as Country Inn and Suites in Orlando or Cookville, TN (which I’ve actually stayed in).
However, keep in mind that you may not always get award availability and may have to pay more points for a premium room.
How Do I Register?
You have to register for each promotion starting May 15, 2012, and then stay for 1 night in each hotel by July 15, 2012 to get the bonus points. You can take part in one, two or all three promotions.
Here are the 3 separate promotions:
1. Radisson Big Night Giveaway Promotion – Up to 50,000 bonus points
Earn 50,000 Club Carlson points for 1 stay at a Radisson hotel. Registration opens 12:01 am CST on May 15, 2012 and you have to stay in a Radisson hotel by July 15, 2012.
Do note that only the first 100,000 online registrations world wide are eligible for the 50,000 bonus points after 1 Radisson stay, after which you get only 15,000 bonus points for your stay.
2. Country Inn & Suites – Stay 1 Get 1 Promotion – Up to 44,000 bonus points
Earn 44,000 Club Carlson points for 1 stay at a Country Inn & Suites. Registration opens 12:01 am CST on May 15, 2012 and you have to stay in a Country Inn & Suites hotel by July 15, 2012.
Do note that only the first 35,000 online registrations world wide are eligible for the 44,000 bonus points after 1 Country Inn & Suites stay, after which you get only 15,000 bonus points for your stay.
3. Park Inn – One Plus One Promotion – Up to 44,000 bonus points
Earn 44,000 Club Carlson points for 1 stay at a Park Inn. Registration opens 12:01 am CST on May 22, 2012 and you have to stay in a Park Inn hotel by July 15, 2012.
Do note that only the first 20,000 online registrations world wide are eligible for the 44,000 bonus points after 1 Park Inn stay, after which you get only 15,000 bonus points for your stay.
There are only 10 Park Inn hotels in the US, so it may be a bit hard to find one close to you.
Link: Park Inn hotel directory
What Else Do I Need To Know?
Check-in & check-out
You have to physically check-in and check-out of the hotel to qualify for the promotion.
Like Gary, I’m not sure if they will enforce the check-out requirement, but you could check-in, go to your room, and change your plans or express disappointment at the room (but of course insist that the hotel charge your for the room), and check-out a few minutes later!
Extra points for online booking
You can earn 1,000 extra points (more if you’re an elite member) by making a booking online.
Match your existing hotel status
Mommy Points says that you can match your existing hotel elite status to Club Carlson by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org with a screen shot of your current hotel status.
This will help you get more points for online booking and also will get you some perks depending on which status level you’re matched.
If you don’t have any hotel elite status, folks are commenting that you may still be able to get free Hilton Gold elite status.
5% 10% Cash Back For Bookings
Frequent Miler writes that you can also get 10% cash back from Top Cash Back by booking clicking through from the Top Cash Back website (I get a $5 referral if you sign-up for Top Cash Back using my link).
If you spend ~$100 for each hotel night, you will get at least 44,000 to 50,000 points (unless you register after the quota for online registration is filled).
That’s either 1 night at a very nice Radisson Blu costing $200+ or a few nights at the lower tier Club Carlson hotels (especially if you the cash and points). In most cases, you should come out ahead with this promotion, but do the math for your situation before diving in.