MASSIVE Club Carlson devaluation decimates European redemptions

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Club Carlson, the Radisson / Park Inn / Park Plaza programme, slipped out a list of category changes on its website yesterday.  No announcement has been made to members.

The impact is shocking with many properties – mainly in Europe – jumping by 40%.

Take a look at this chart on the Club Carlson website.  329 hotels are changing category of which 212 are going up.

Let’s take a quick step back.  Last year, Club Carlson introduced its new Category 7 which costs 70,000 points per night.  Only 11 hotels globally – their real top tier hotels – were in Category 7.

Whilst 70,000 points was a massive jump from Category 6’s 50,000 points, it didn’t matter much with only 11 hotels involved.

On June 1st, another 67 properties are moving into Category 7.  Pretty much every London hotel, for a start, will now cost 70,000 points per night – up 40%.

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge

There is no logic for this move at all.  Remember that Starwood Preferred Guest cut the points price of many of its European hotels this year to reflect the more attractive $ / € exchange rate.

Here a few of the other European hotels which will now be 70,000 points per night (there are many more besides):

  • Radisson Blu Style, Vienna
  • Radisson Blu, Lucerne
  • Radisson Blu, Zurich Airport (I mean … who has airport hotels in their top tier?!)
  • Radisson Blu, Basel
  • Radisson Blu Royal, Copenhagen
  • Radisson Blu, Madrid Prado
  • Radisson Blu, Nice

Even the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge (above) where I stayed for £27 last week, will be 70,000 points!

Club Carlson has been very generous with awarding points, of course.  The current triple points offer gives a Gold member 67 points for every US$ spent.

You will still need less spend to get a free top tier night with Club Carlson than with many other programmes.  For example:

Hilton HHonors, for example, wants 70,000-80,000 points for top hotels in London and gives you 15 base points per $1 before status bonuses

IHG Rewards Club wants 50,000 points for a top-end redemption and you earn 10 points per $1

Club Carlson will be 70,000 points based on 20 per $1 spent – and their bonus offers are better than Hilton (IHG is less clear cut). 

Let’s look at it another way.  I have written before – most recently yesterday! – that I value Club Carlson points at £5 per 1,000.  I will now drop that to £3.50 per 1,000, based on redeeming 70,000 points for a £250 room.

Given that you can still transfer points from American Express Membership Rewards to Club Carlson at 1:3, it remains a decent conversion option.  You will still get better value than 2:1 into Starwood or 1:2 into Hilton.

If you want to make bookings at the old rates, make sure you get them locked down before May 31st.  I will remind you before the day comes but if you need to transfer points from American Express first you should initiate it ASAP.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  To see our complete list of promotions from the major chains, click here to visit our ‘Hotel Promos’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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Comments

  1. Nathan says:

    It’s a tough one because in Carlson points are still the most valuable IMO. I have about 600k worth and am probably going to convert my Amex membership rewards to the program again this year which will be another 300k because, even at 70,000 points a night instead of paying sometimes close to £300 is fine by me.
    50,000 points to stay in an Edwardian London property was insane value and 70,000 is still pretty dam good.

    • Brian says:

      I hope you’re not judging the value of your points by the cash price. Unless you absolutely HAVE to stay at an Edwardian London property, you really have to compare the points to what you would normally pay for a hotel. If you use Secret Escapes, you can generally get decent London hotels for less than 200 GBP, or you can take advantage of the Happy Mondays deal and get Accor hotels for a pittance at the weekend.
      I would never value hotel points (apart from Starwood) at anything like 0.5p, for instance, because i wouldn’t pay the cash rates that would justify such a valuation.

      • My point too. For a weekend stay why do you have to use the Edwardian when a Novotel is only 60 quids? For weekdays you can still find Hiltons at 150 or less, plus they upgrade you and give you free breakfast whereas CC gold probably gives you nothing.

        • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

          I’ve generally had pretty good upgrades (Junior Suite etc) in their London properties based on CC status.

  2. Fred says:

    This hotel group’s programme management is incapable, probably it’s full of useless people.

    They never make any announcement on important changes to members, not even to Concierge/Gold. Giving out too many points and they start several devaluations. I will never consider staying at Carlson properties though I have been Concierge due to business since it’s introduced.

  3. Lloyd says:

    When I saw the post I got that sinking feeling as I was planning to redeem today! Although the changes to not apply for a while, luckily I’m not affected in any case.

    I’ve always placed a far lower valuation to Raffles (£5/1,000).
    I’ve just booked 4 nights redemption in Athens for 152,000. Lowest cash price (albeit prepaid rate so more restrictive) is £372 so I would value at about £2.50 a point (rising to £3.00 on the same booking basis). Sure, there are far better redemptions out there, but the above is a real world example of somewhere I want to go rather than extracting maximum value out of my points.

    • I agree. The ‘£5 per 1000’ is what is achievable at the top or bottom end on an expensive day. I am at a Radisson in Stockholm on Sunday and Monday and am paying cash because the 44,000 points required is a bad deal compared to the cash price – especially given the current ‘triple points’ offer.

  4. Stephen says:

    I take it you could book today at 50k for Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, for example, and move it after June 1st if you don’t yet know when you want it and still retain the 50k price?

    • Not certain, but it might work and is certainly worth a punt given that redemptions can be cancelled with no fees.

      • Alan says:

        Although it didn’t work last time with the devaluation – I had a Mayfair booking at 50k and if although I was free to cancel it, if I changed the date it would go up to 70k.

  5. The_Real_A says:

    I nearly fell off my seat when i saw the Raddison Blu in Bergen at Cat 7. My current Ibis is more comfortable. I can only think the hotels must be full with cash bookings. This cannot be a true reflection of value.

    • Alan says:

      Indeed – could be interesting if hotels then find redemptions falling off a cliff. I know some properties in NYC had issues following the Hilton deval where they were too highly priced (as under most points schemes the properties get recompensed quite nicely on redemption bookings made when they’re already quite busy).

  6. RIccati says:

    Definitely represents devaluation and creep up, as all city centre properties are moving into Category 7 — they look at other central holels and are saying “we want it too”. This is so transparent.

    • JamesWag says:

      I have only just triggered the 20,000 points on my new Amex Gold card and was intending to exchange for 60,000 CC points. This added to about 20,000 CCpoints I’ve just earned was going to be the start of my saving up for a few days away somewhere nice.
      Now having seen this AND the article Raffles recently ran on Etihad Guest, I’m tossing up between sticking with CC or transferring all of these to Etihad Guest (which I’m not a member of yet).

      I’ve been into Avios for 15+ years and have had some stunningly good redemptions, and some pretty average but useful ones along the way but CC was going to be my first foray into hotel points in a serious way.
      I probably don’t stay enough to make it seriously worthwhile but directing the (less than) 6/7 nights a year I could stay in a CC hotel their way could have added up over time.

      Hmmm… If I am going to go the Etihad route I’ll have to do it soon to take advantage of the current 25% bonus Raffles wrote about.

      Grrr…

      Not going to get to use any Etihad points this year for a holiday flight mind you as already have three holidays booked with Qatar thanks to their Globetrotter promotion 🙂

      Should get myself Platinim Privilege this year (Emerald One World) and a couple of hundred thousand QMiles which’ll be nice. Plus a few glasses of Krug for breakfast 🙂

      What are peoples’ thoughts on me sticking with CC or transferring to Etihad ? A first class one way does sound like quite a treat but perhaps the CC points will prove more useful in the long run.

      By the way, I haven’t seen this mentioned here (or any blogs); I have gained CC Gold elite status by purchasing 200 Rezidor shares (CC hotels’ umbrella company) and emailing their customer services with a copy of the invoice / statement.
      Bit of a gamble of course but my shares are up so far, easily covering my dealing costs and more.
      Have enjoyed the welcome gift & a room upgrade (to business – with club lounge acces) on my first Radisson Blu stay already 🙂

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