Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Carlson Hotels Club Carlson changes coming on March 15 - another devaluation for the books

The recent spate of airline and hotel program devaluations hasn't stopped as Club Carlson sent out emails to their members today detailing changes coming to the program on March 15. Some of the changes are positive but most are negative hence our titling of this post! For Club Carlson's details on these changes see here

Positive Changes
- You will now be able to redeem for a variety of room types instead of only standard rooms

- Award nights will now count towards elite status qualification

- Food & Beverage purchases will now earn Gold Points if they are charged to your room during a stay

- Enhanced gift card redemption variety - Some of the new cards available for Canadian members include Esso, WINNERS, Cineplex and WaySpa

- (Not a change) Category 1-6 redemption rates stay the same but 115 hotels Worldwide are moving up a category while 67 are going down 1 or 2 categories. In Canada only 2 properties are affected, the Radisson Hotel & Suites, Fort McMurray is going from Category 5 to 6 while the Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Calgary-Airport is moving from Category 5 to 4. The Ft. Mac site is obviously due to the immense demand for hotel rooms in the Oilsands city while the Calgary move could possibly be attributed to the changes happening around the Calgary Airport whereby hotels south of the airport have been essentially cut off with a direct route by the construction of the new airport runway. Once the tunnel underneath the runway is complete and the circuitous route eliminated we may see this hotel move back up unless the onslaught of new hotels being built around the airport keeps its occupancy lower. The category changes do not take affect until May 1st. For a complete list of category changes please see here

Negative Changes
- The introduction of a Category 7 for award nights - 70,000 Points will be required for stays at hotels in this top end category:
Radisson Royal Hotel, Dubai
Radisson Blu Le Dokhan’s Hotel, Paris Trocadero
Radisson Blu 1835 Hotel & Thalasso, Cannes
Radisson Blu Le Metropolitan Hotel, Paris Eiffel
Radisson Blu Hotel Champs Elysees, Paris
The May Fair
Plaza on the River, London
art’otel, Amsterdam
Radisson Royal Hotel, Moscow

- The online booking bonus of 1,000 to 3,000 Gold Points is being removed and will only be offered on a promotional basis. This is a major negative change, this bonus while somewhat antiquated was a huge benefit to Club Carlson members.

- Elite bonuses for Gold and Silver Elite members are being reduced from 50% to 35% and 25% to 15% respectively. Another hit in the points earning department when combined with the online booking bonus removal

With the introduction of a 7th award category, the removal of the online booking bonus and reduction in elite tier bonuses you can tell that Club Carlson's generosity over the past few years with their huge acquisition promotions has hit them dearly in the books. They are obviously looking to cull the number of points they are awarding and making sure more of those points are burned when redeeming at their top end hotels.

If you have any plans of redeeming for those top 9 hotels (or any of the other 115 moving up) you should really look at booking by April 30th to ensure you don't end up using more points for those stays and likewise for the 67 moving down if you can wait to redeem until May 1st you should do so.

What are your thoughts on this latest program change news from Club Carlson. I know for me I am at least happy they are giving a proper heads up when compared to last year when they did not! Are you going to look elsewhere to stay for something as little (or potentially big if you have a lot of Carlson stays) as the removal of the online booking bonus or will you just keep on trucking with Club Carlson despite these changes?

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