If you have kids, hotel reward redemptions can be a bit messy. Most programmes only make standard rooms available for redemption and, especially in big cities, these are small with a maximum occupancy of two people.
The only option is to book two connecting rooms. I promise you, however, that getting hotels to honour requests for connecting rooms is a complete nightmare. I have stayed at super-luxe hotels where I have personally contacted the Director of Rooms in advance and had a guarantee in writing that my connecting rooms would be available – only to find out, on arrival, they were not.
The other downside of booking two connecting rooms is that, in terms of value for your points, it is often a bad deal compared with paying cash for one superior / deluxe room or junior suite.
Club Carlson – the Radisson, Park Plaza and Park Inn programme – made a change of its programme in 2014 which brought in ‘Family Room Redemptions’. These are an interesting option worth looking at if you have kids.
The only Club Carlson property where I redeem on a regular basis is Park Plaza Westminster Bridge in London (below), where my brother and his family also occasionally stay when they visit. I reviewed the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge here.
The hotel offers three levels of redemption:
Standard Room at 70,000 points
Standard Atrium Room at 105,000 points
Studio Room (‘Family Room Award’) at 87,500 points
The Atrium room is a waste of the extra 35,000 points. These rooms only sell for a modest premium and are the same size.
The studio rooms are a lot bigger and well worth 87,500 points for a family. The rooms sleep three adults or two adults and two children.
Plaza on the River London is also interesting. They are offering 1-bedroom suites at 60 square metres for 105,000 points, 50% more than the standard redemption. This would sleep four people.
As well as offering ‘Family Room Awards’, Carlson also has ‘Premium Room Awards’. If you can’t see a family room offered, click through to the details of the premium award. This rooms are usually bigger and may be able to sleep a whole family anyway.
Don’t forget that Club Carlson is an American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner at the generous ratio of 1:3, so this article may be more relevant to you than you think.
PS. One other option for family-sized rooms is via Marriott Rewards. A lot of Marriott hotels offer, via the usual booking site, larger rooms for a co-pay on top of the standard reward price. When we went to the JW Marriott Venice (review here) in 2016 we booked a Junior Suite, sleeping four, for the standard 35,000 points per night plus €110. Bargain. It doesn’t always work out – when we went again this year, it wanted 40,000 points per night (higher category now) plus €300 so we paid cash instead – but it can be a good deal.
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)