|"A very good hotel rewards credit card, which excels only for consumers who are already loyal Club Carlson customers."|
The Club Carlson Premier Rewards Credit Card from US Bank is similar to many of the other hotel affiliated credit cards available: A great option if you're a loyal patron or want a bonus that can yield free hotel stays. The primary value proposition from the credit card is related to the hefty signing bonuses new cardholders can accrue as well as the spending bonuses usable at Club Carlson related properties. The Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card also allows you to earn one free night when you charge $10,000 to your card within a year, and then renew your Card.
With two separate signing bonuses, 50,000 Points after your first purchase and another 35,000 points once you spend $2,500 on the card in the first three months, the card gives new customers a lot of immediate value. The 85,000 points equates to around 2-3 award nights at mid to high tier properties under the Club Carlson brand. We rate the average dollar value of each Club Carlson point at about .5 cents each, the total value of the bonus comes out to around $425 in total.
On the spending side of things, with 5 points per dollar spent on everyday consumers can expect around 2.5 cents per dollar spent. With a 2.5% rewards rate, the rewards compete with most rewards cards on the market. Generally speaking hotel rewards cards offer a higher nominal rewards rate than both airlines and cash back cards. This comes at the expense of flexibility, with cardholders being limited in terms of where they can spend these points. In this area, the Club Carlson Premier Rewards is no different. The best Cash back credit cards offers 2% overall, while the highest everyday travel credit cards the Barclaycard Arrival Plus and Chase Sapphire Preferred come in at a little over 2% on average.
Additionally, one of the better benefits of this card is its ability to earn cardholders a free night stay at a Club Carlson property. To qualify, you must spend at least $10,000 in purchases on your card within the 12 months before your account anniversary. If you do so, you will be granted a free night certificate, which will be good for a full year. This benefit can only be used once per account - it is not a recurring reward. The certificate can apply to one night in one standard room, double occupancy, at any Radisson Blu®, Radisson®, Park Plaza®, Park Inn® by Radisson, or Country Inns & Suites By Carlson hotel in the United States.
|Purchase APR||13.99% - 22.99% Variable|
Both the dollar value and the number of nights that the points you earn through spending rewards and bonuses with the Club Carlson credit card will depend on when and where you choose to redeem your accrued rewards. More expensive and higher demand Carlson properties will require more points for each nights stay. The following table shows what the amount of points necessary to get a single award night at the various categories in the Club Carlson portfolio. As you can see, a Category 5 stay requires nearly 5 times as many points for an individual night as a Category 1.
Keep in mind that while many different properties fall into the same category, the dollar cost of a stay may vary pretty wildly. This means that if you use your points wisely, you'll end up having varying values for what each point is worth.
|Category||Points for an Award Night|
Club Carlson Properties
The following are the list of brands where the Carlson Club points can be used.
|Quorvus Collection||Radisson||Park Inn by Radisson|
|Radisson Blu||Country Inn & Suites||Park Plaza|
Other Cards To Consider
While Club Carlson is definitely worthwhile if you're inclined to stay at one of the related resorts, there are a number of other cards that you might consider as competitors. We looked at cards that can offer similar rewards rates and have greater flexibility and other hotel affiliated cards that may give you better value overall.
Club Carlson Premier Rewards vs Barclaycard Arrival Plus
For a card that offers a little more freedom when it comes to travel rewards redemption, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus comes close to the rewards rate you'll get with the Carlson hotels offering. Rather than an average rate of 2.5% on everyday spending you'll earn 2.1% overall with the Arrival, a little lower in terms of overall rewards. The upside of the Arrival Plus is that the miles earned on the card can be redeemed for statement credits on any travel expense, with Barclaycard incorporating a number of additional categories as well. This means that you get added flexibility in exchange for giving up some nominal savings. On the bonus front the Barclaycard Arrival Plus' is worth $400 and has a slightly higher minimum of $3,000 in the first 90 days. The card is also a little more expensive at $89 against the Club Carlson Premier Rewards's $75. For an everyday card the Barclaycard Offering will generally make more sense since the added flexibility is often much more worthwhile overall.
Club Carlson Premier Rewards vs Citi Double Cash
The Citi Double Cash card is one of the newest entrants to the cash back credit card world. The introduction of this card has really forced us to move around our suggested lists for which cards to recommend. As a cash back card, it marries the ultimate rewards flexibility with a high effective rewards rate of 2%. In addition the card comes with no annual fees, making it a zero downside credit card to have. The only drawback in comparing the Double Cash to the US Bank Club Carlson card is that the Citi card doesn't offer a signing promo to most new cardholders. (Some consumers have been offered welcome bonuses but these offers are generally not offered to the public.) If you're in a search for an everyday card to use and may not meet the spending requirements to make the Club Carlson or other fee based cards worthwhile, you should probably begin here.
Club Carlson Premier Rewards vs Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
Our last comparison looks at another hotel affiliated card that competes with the Club Carlson. We've made the assumption that consumers considering the Club Carlson credit card travel enough to make having an affiliated hotel card somewhat worthwhile. If you're not locked into the Carlson properties though a massive rewards backlog, you should consider the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express. With a wider range of properties and an overall rewards rate that is higher than the Club Carlson card, it's our preferred option when it comes to hotel cards. In addition, the Starwood Points earned with the card are transferrable to many major airlines and in doing so can earn you bonus miles with those frequent flyer programs. This makes the card practically double as a hotel and airline credit card.
Comments and Questions
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