Updated on March 26, 2014
Updated on March 26, 2014
Thanks to a “bonus night on rewards stays” perk offered by the Club Carlson Visa, card holders can make great use of Club Carlson points with little to no work what-so-ever. We use this ridiculously easy trick all the time. In this post I’ll walk you through how we got two nights for 15,000 points total at a hotel going for around 65 Euro’s a night.
The Currency: 15,000 Club Carlson Points
How it’s earned: Paid stays, promotions, and Club Carlson sign-up and spend bonuses
Tools: Club Carlson Visa Card
What you’ll learn: How to book your free bonus award night and examples of how we’ve used this perk to stretch out our points.
The free bonus night on reward stays
The Club Carson Visa Card comes with (in my opinion) the normal collection of hotel-card perks. A first spend bonus of 50,000 points and another spend bonus of 35,000 points if you spend $2,500 bucks in the first 90 days. That’s all well and good, yes, but the feature we find really useful is the “free bonus night on reward stays of up to two nights or more.” It’s as simple as that really. For every stay of 2 nights or more, the last night’s charge magically disappears.
How it works
How it works is very simple. When you go to Club Carlson to make a booking, make sure you’re signed in and Club Carlson will do the work for you. The first check out screen will not show the discount but will instead show a notice that as a card member, you will receive the last night free.
Then, your final check-out screen will show the accurate price, this time with the last night’s charge taken off.
It’s always nice when it just works without any hassle. 🙂
Taking full advantage of this
Everyone’s got a different strategy I suppose but we try to make the most of our points by booking mostly 2 night stays at Category 1 locations or Category 2 locations. We think of it this way. A category 1 Park Plaza might go for 9,000 points or around $110. That’s about 1.2 cents per point. A category 6 Radisson Blu however could go for $410. That’s just 0.8 cents per point.
The reality is that two nights for the price of one is a good deal no matter what category, but for long-term travelers like us, 2 nights for 9,000 points is a convenient way to make our points last.
The Park Plaza Prenzlauer Berg Berlin: 2 nights for 15,000 points (Category 2)
One thing that will sometimes sway me toward the higher category hotels are their fantastic central locations. But I have to say that our category 2, 2 night stay at the Park Plaza Prenzlauer Berg Berlin was right by the metro and thus, didn’t really feel inconvenient. The extra points spent to score two nights at the Radisson blu would have gotten us a bit more proximity, lots more luxury, and an aquarium elevator.
Don’t pay extra for what you didn’t realize you wanted in the first place.
Alas, no free breakfast with this stay since we’ve only got Gold status with Club Carlson, though it did get us a nice little fruit tray. 🙂
The Radisson Blu Budapest: 2 nights for 9,000 points (Category 1)
This hotel is not centrally located compared to the InterContinental Budapest, but is really only a short walk from the river in a city that’s beautiful everywhere, so definitely worth saving points staying here.
The Radisson Blu Salzburg: 6 nights (not entirely consecutive) for 84,000 points (Category 3)
We spent 6 nights at the Radisson Blu Salzburg total, but these were not entirely consecutive stays, though all within the same week. One way you can do this is to simply stick a night in between your 2 reservations of 2 nights each. So instead of staying four nights and only getting that fourth night discounted, your spending two nights (and getting the last night free), taking a one night hiatus, then two nights again (getting the last night free again). For example spend two nights at the Radisson Blu for 28,000 points, then hop over to the Crowne Plaza for a night, then right back to the Radisson Blu for 28,000 points.
If you and your spouse or travel partner both happen to have the Club Carlson card this is even easier. Just spend 2 nights reserved under one person’s account, and the next 2 nights reserved under the other person’s account.
We had lounge access here for 4 of the 6 nights which became our meal plan for that half of our Salzburg time. I’ve never had so much Kombucha in my life…
The Park Inn Bratislava: 2 nights for 9,000 points (Category 1)
The Park Inn Bratislava is one example that there can be Category 1 hotels in great, central locations. The Park Inn is right on the river and is basically where the old city begins. We had a view of the castle from our window and were walking distance from everything. I’ll admit though…that the main tourist zone of Bratislava is so small that being “in walking distance from everything” is just not that hard to achieve.