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The time draws near.
I managed to burn most of my Club Carlson points during my trip to Ireland earlier this month (reviews of Radisson Blu Royal in Dublin and Radisson Blu in Galway are up so far). But I also had a paid stay at the Radisson Blu St Helens and ended up earning ~44,000 Club Carlson Gold Points between that and the room charges in Dublin.
Book now, change later?
The terms and conditions of the Club Carlson program suggest you can book dates now, and change them later – if you call their help desk. I’ve had to call in before and had short waits and helpful service reps each time.
Cancellations or changes can be processed via Member Services or clubcarlson.com only (hotels cannot modify or cancel award bookings). Points will be credited back to the Member’s account provided the hotel’s cancellation policy was followed.
However, per this thread on Reddit that may or may not be the case.
In the email communication about the change, all Club Carlson said was that we’d get new Terms & Conditions on June 1st.
Still others think it will be up to the individual hotels (see comments on that link).
Or book now, cancel later
Of course if you know your dates and can lock them in now, that’s preferable. Especially since who knows how lenient they’ll be with changes to award bookings.
Considering most hotel schedules are open through 2016 (and some into 2017), you should have no trouble burning your points if you choose to do so.
The Radisson Blu 1919 Hotel in Reykjavik is $434 per night for dates in July 2015. Your 44,000 Gold points are worth $868 if you have the US Bank Club Carlson Visa – but only for another week.
After June 1st, this property – as well as nearly 70 others in Europe – are jumping up to a Category 7, and will require 70,000 Club Carlson Gold points per night. By that time, you’ll need 140,000 Club Carlson Gold Points (!) for a 2-night stay, which is a staggering increase.
I’m actually going to burn my points for 2 nights here on the off-chance I get back to Iceland in the next year. If standard room rates are available, I should be able to change my dates and maybe have Club Carlson honor the terms under which the room was originally booked.
And if I cancel, or they won’t honor it, no biggie. I’ll get the 44,000 points back anyway, though they won’t be worth nearly as much this time next week.
Club Carlson went from being “the little hotel program that could” to Hilton-esque in its devaluations, which is too bad. They don’t have the footprint like IHG or Marriott nor the polish of Hyatt or Starwood.
They have some lovely European properties… but they’re going the way of the dinosaur, as far as award bookings are concerned.
I’m burning every point that I can this week, in hopes that I’ll be able to switch my dates later.
My strategy is to keep the US Bank Club Carlson Visa for until I get one more annual bonus of 44,000 Club Carlson Gold Points. Then, I’ll get back the annual fee and cancel the card once and for all.
Club Carlson is dead to me. Starting June 1st, anyway.
Has anyone else had success in changing dates of an award stay with Club Carlson? Do these devaluations change your hotel strategy moving forward?
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