No More Bonus Award Nights: Massive Devaluation for Club Carlson Visa Cardholders

I wish this were an April’s Fools post but I guarantee it is not. One of the best aspects of the Club Carlson reward program was that if you were a Club Carlson Visa cardholder, the last night of ALL awards stays was free. If planned properly and your significant other had the card as well, that meant every 2nd night were free.  However, as of June 1st, Club Carlson is eliminating this Bonus Award Night and instead replacing that benefit with an annual free night at Club Carlson hotels if you spend $10,000 annually on the card. You can still make reservations using the Bonus Award Night until May 28th and it can be for stays after that date.

Per my last statement

Per my last statement

To me, this is a MASSIVE devaluation and basically kills any interest I had in the Club Carlson program. While the new benefit isn’t truly awful and you do get 40,000 points annually for renewing the card, I loved getting double the value of points since almost every other night was free for me. In my scenario, this cuts the value of points in half. Furthermore, the Carlson Rezidor chain, which includes Radisson, Radisson Blu, Park Inn and Country Inn, has a much stronger presence in Europe and aboard then the United States and my future travel plans don’t match the footprint of Club Carlson hotels.

This benefit was fantastic though – in fact, it must have been too good since they obviously felt a need to eliminate it. I’m sad to see it go and even more upset, I’m still sitting on ~200,000 points that would have been worth 8 nights at top end properties (which go for 50,000 points/night) with the Bonus Award night benefit. Now those 200,000 points will get me just 4 nights.  You have until May 28th to book using these Bonus Award nights and they can be used for future stays after that. I will make sure I book by then and I HIGHLY suggest everyone does as well.

(H/T to Frequent Miler)

Free Points Friday: 5,000 Singapore Miles & 1,000 Club Carlson Points

Happy Friday! Here are two quick deals for some free points and miles.

1. 5,000 Singapore KrisFlyer Miles – This is only applicable to new members who register for a Singapore frequent flyer account with an Australian address.  You can register at this link and use promo code KFACQPU. Singapore is transfer partner of all 4 major programs (Chase, Amex, SPG and Citi), they have some great award options such as 35k (economy) and 60k (business) miles roundtrip to Hawaii and the KrisFlyer program is really the only option if you want to fly Singapore First Class Suites.

Singapore

While this is obviously intended to Australians, people have reported success signing up with all their information but using an Austrlian address (a random address generator can help here). Obviously do what you feel comfortable with but if you tried to take advantage of the United mistake fare and used Denmark as your home country for billing purposes, I don’t see how this is much different. Most of us in the travel hacking game already have Singapore accounts but for those down under or the adventurous type without an account, this is an offer worth signing up for.

2) 1,000 Club Carlson Points – Club Carlson is offering members 1,000 Club Carlson points for following Club Carlson on Twitter. To earn your free points, register here and follow @ClubCarlson on Twitter – it’s that simple!

ClubCarlson

Club Carlson is doing this as a way to promote their #HashtagHotelPromo which is on March 19th when the Club Carlson Twitter account will go private (only allowing followers to see tweets) and they will tweet giveaways along with some free points.

Have a great weekend!

Point & Center: 100 Free American AAdvantage Miles, Only 26,250 Miles Roundtrip for a Award Flight to Europe and More!

Welcome to the first Point & Center feature of 2015. Let’s get to it with some real quick updates of what’s going on in the points/miles world.

1) 100 Free American AAdvantage Miles for Joining PointsHound – PointsHound, which is a site that offer miles or points for booking hotel rooms through them, is offering new users 100 Free AA miles simply for signing up – no purchase required. You will also get an additional 2,000 miles if you actually reserve a hotel room by March 31st. I definitely recommend signing up to get the free 100 AA miles but if you do book a hotel room through them, remember you will most likely not earn stay credit with the hotel program nor have your elite benefits recoginzed. I mainly use PointsHound if I have a non-chain hotel stay. (H/T View from the Wing)

AA100Miles

2) How to Fly to Europe for 26,250 Virgin Atlantic Miles Roundtrip…with a catch – Virgin Atlantic is having an award sale that is discounting the amount of miles needed for an award flight by 25% for ALL destinations. If you orginate on the East Coast of the United States, that means a roundtrip award is only 26,250 miles but with one major issue – fuel surcharges of $500 per person.  The other approach is to use this for a one way TO London where the cost would be 13,125 miles + $134 in fuel surcharges (its more expensive departing FROM London). You must book your tickets by January 22nd and this is valid for economy only. This is similar to their award sale last year that I wrote about here.

Cost of Discounted Awards

Cost of Discounted Awards

3) Starwood Best Rate Guarantee Improves – Starwood has one of the easiest Best Rate Guarantees as you don’t need even need a current reservation to make a best rate claim to get a cheaper rate at Starwood branded hotels. Starwood recently announced an enhancement to their best rate guarantee by now offering customers 20% off the lower rate if it is found outside the Starwood reservations channels (website, mobile app & phone reservations). The old discount used to be 10% off. You also still have the option to select 2,000 Starpoints instead of the 20% discount.

4) A Pretty Awesome Club Carlson Promotion – Club Carlson is enticing its members to stay at Club Carlson hotels (Radisson, Radisson Blu, Country Inn & Park Plaza) in Q1 2015 by offering 15,000 points after staying 2 nights or 30,000 points after staying 3+ nights for stays from January 12 to March 29. This promotion called “Extend Your Stay, Earn 30K” is by far the best promotion of Q1 across all major hotel chains. Additionally, some Club Carlson members were sent an email offering them an extra 10,000 points on top of the bonuses if they registered by January 12th. Here is the link to register.

5) Starwood Q1 Promotion – Starwood has also announced their Q1 promotion which is open for registration as well called the SPG Double Play Promotion. You can earn double points on stays of 2+ nights and 1,000 point bonus after every 5 nights. The 5 nights do not have to be consecutive to earn the 1,000 point bonus. Compared to the Club Carlson offer, this pales in comparison but is still worth registering for.

As always, I recommend registering now even if you don’t think you’ll have an applicable stay in the period because if the need for a stay unexpectedly arises, chances are you won’t remember to register for these promotions (this applies to the Club Carlson offer above as well).

6) Start Linking Your American & US Airways Frequent Flyer Accounts – The next step in the merger of American and US Airways is to combine the frequent flyer accounts of both program so members will have just one resulting frequent flyer program (which will be your American AAdvantage account and you will keep your existing AA number). However, before they can completely merge the frequent flyer accounts, American is asking members to link their AA account to their US Airways account.

Per One Mile a Time, American announced the following:

“The time has come – beginning tonight, members with accounts in both programs will be able to match their accounts on aa.com and usairways.com (full sites only; not on the mobile sites or the app). Members will automatically be presented with the option to match their accounts on either site when they log-in or by selecting the Match My Account link in the My Account section. Once a customer has successfully matched their account, they will see a success message online, receive an email and will see a success message in the My Account section on both sites. Matching accounts is simply a way to self-identify, so the process to merge the accounts in second quarter of 2015 is easier on the business.”

Hopefully this is a sign that members will soon be able to transfer miles back and forth between programs but this has not been announced yet. Here is to hoping its sooner rather than later!

Free 1,000 Club Carlson Points via Twitter

Club Carlson is giving 1,000 points to the first 15,000 people who follow them on Twitter and register at this link.  Club Carlson is the rewards program for Radisson, Country Inn, Park Inn and Park Plaza Hotels. Before you dismiss this, Club Carlson has a very strong presence in Europe and if you get their credit card, you will receive your last night free when paid with points!

Note: Registration is limited to the first 15,000 people so I would do this ASAP!

CC