MASSIVE Club Carlson devaluation decimates European redemptions

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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  1. 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.


      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 🙂