Take Another Look At Club Carlson
With all this chatter about Hotel Points devaluation, I thought I would talk about one of the Hotel Programs that many people overlook and has not done any devaluation, Club Carlson!
Although Club Carlson (Radisson, Country Inn & Suites, Radisson Blu, etc) may not have the swankiest properties, they do offer a great value and pretty good Loyalty Program.
Club Carlson also has a pretty great Credit Card that is offered from US Bank, but I will cover that in another post.
I have a few Free Night Certificates from all the promotions that Club Carlson runs, but in the event that you do not have any of those, there are a few other ways to save money while staying at Club Carlson.
Club Carlson Friends & Family Rate
Club Carlson is great in that they offer a “Friends & Family” Rate without any questions asked.
At a minimum, if there is availability, you can knock 25% off the rate with the Friends & Family discount.
However as you will see below, you can far exceed the 25% discount at a majority of their properties.
Full Terms & Conditions can be found here, but basically this offer is open to anyone.
I am going to Austin this weekend, and our original lodging plans fell through, so today was spent scrambling trying to find accommodations.
You would think Austin would be fairly cheap, BUT apparently SxSW (South By Southwest) starts next week so that has caused Hotel prices to skyrocket.
I checked Starwood, Marriott, Hilton, etc and they were all outrageous.
Even the Austin Radisson for a Sunday – Monday night stay was a whopping $274!
Although I have some Free Night Certificates, I need them for New York later in the month, so I decided to try out Club Carlson’s Friends & Family Rate.
I have heard great things about using this rate. During the Chicago Seminars last October, people used this rate to get the Radisson Blu in Chicago down from $300 to only $80 a night!
How To Get The Friends & Family Rate
1) Go To ClubCarlson.com & Search
To search for a Friends & Family Rate, simply go to ClubCarlson.com and search for your location.
I searched for Austin, TX and got a normal rate of $239 before tax.
2) Enter “CARLSONF” In Promotional Code Area & Hit Update
To get the Friends & Family Rate, simple enter CARLSONF in the promo box and hit update. If there is Friends & Family availability, then the price will update.
In this case, the Friends & Family Rate caused the price to drop from $239 to $80 before tax.
3) If There Is No Availability, Then Use Calendar To Search
There are only a set amount of Rooms reserved for the Friends & Family Rate, so in the event that there is no availability, click on the Calendar (where the Red Arrow is below), and it will show you which days do have availability.
In my case, instead of spending $275 for 1 night, with Club Carlson Friends & Family Rate I was able to knock down the rate to $92 after tax! That is a 67% DISCOUNT!
After having such success finding a Friends & Family Rate in Austin, I tried it for New York.
There was Friends & Family availability and the price got knocked down from $195 pre-tax to $146.25.
While it is only a 25% discount, $146 a night in NYC is still a great deal.
Note When Using Friends & Family Rate
The Terms & Conditions make it pretty clear that this rate is open to everyone, but sometimes Hotel Front Desk Employees let the little power they have, go to their heads and may ask to ask you who your Friend or Family member is.
If you want to be a smart-ass, feel free to use the name Hubert Joly, who also happens to be the CEO of Club Carlson.
Another option is to just go on LinkedIn and find someone who works for Radisson or Club Carlson and use their name. It is highly unlikely that you will get asked to verify your Friend or Family, and honestly you can just say that it isn’t part of the terms, but in my opinion it is better to be safe than sorry.
One final thing is that Friends & Family Rates DO NOT earn Points or Stay Credit, although YMMV.
Club Carlson Gold Member Benefits
Since Club Carlson will Status Match just about anything or anyone, I have Club Carlson Gold Status by matching from SPG Gold.
If you don’t have Club Carlson Gold, I’d suggest using any of the free Hotel Credit Card Statuses (like Hyatt Platinum, Hilton Gold, etc) and Status Match to Club Carlson solely for the benefits below. More information can be found here.
I have stayed 2 times at Radisson Blus in Europe and the Gold Status didn’t really do much in terms of upgrades. It just helped me earn more Points.
That being said, there are some other fairly lucrative Gold Member Benefits that I wasn’t even aware of, for stays in Europe, Middle East, and Africa. Unfortunately these offers below aren’t valid for the U.S!
I wish I would have known about these a few weeks ago when I did my Spain Hotel Bookings because there was a Radisson Blu in Madrid that would have been eligible for the offer below.
2 Nights For The Price Of 1
Give how expensive some Hotels are in Europe, this offer is really a steal. Basically it is a Buy 1, Get 1 Free Offer, which in Europe can save you some serious Euros.
- Stay Thursday night, get Friday night FREE!
- Stay Friday night, get Saturday night FREE!
4 Nights For The Price Of 2
This offer is better for extended stays, but again can cut the amount you spend on a Hotel in half!
- Stay Wednesday and Thursday night, get Friday and Saturday night FREE!
- Stay Thursday and Friday night, get Saturday and Sunday night FREE!
Although not everyone loves Club Carlson, I have never had a bad experience with them.
While their Hotels may not be the best or most luxurious, as we have seen with their new Credit Card, they are really trying to break into the Big 4 (Starwood, Hilton, Hyatt, and Marriott).
All these crazy 50,000 Points Promotions last year and even this ridiculous Friends & Family Rate, all serve one purpose…….to get people in the door and give Club Carlson a shot.
I did their 50,000 Point Promotion last year and was extremely satisfied with the experience.
While in the past I never would have considered staying at a Radisson, after that experience, they are now on my radar and always on my list of Hotels that I search for.
After seeing the Radisson Blu in Chicago, I strongly believe that Radisson is on the right path and in the next 5 years, Club Carlson will be a major player in the Hotel Loyalty Program game.
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