Club Carlson Devalues Their Devaluation — A Second Devaluation In Just Two Days!

Yesterday Club Carlson announced several changes to its program including reduced points-earning (lower elite bonuses, that the online booking bonus wouldn’t be permanent) and increased points costs (including a new top 70,000 point redemption tier).

They also announced that award stays would count towards elite status (even as elite status will get you fewer bonus points).

One element of the award chart price increases, though, was that they would be effective March 15 for stays for travel on or after May 1.

In other words, you could still book at the old rates up to the date of travel if you’re going to stay prior to May 1. An April 15 hotel booking that you’d make on points the night before would still have been at the old rates, according to their announcement.

So members thinking that they’ve got plans for an April hotel stay may have read that and decided no need to rush, they can book their award nights once plans solidify in six weeks or so.

And they may not have noticed a new, un-announced change: the hotel category change list now says that the award chart changes go into effect March 15 — regardless of when you’ll be staying.

This is a very narrow change.

  • You can still book rooms now for stays in the future at the old rates.
  • All this means is that while yesterday’s announcement was you could book and stay between March 15 and April 30 at the old rate, that six week window is gone. Any stays in the latter half of March and in April at the old rates have to be booked prior to March 15, just like stays after May 1 do.

Nonetheless, it’s rather poor form to announce a devaluation and then change the terms of devaluation without notifying members.

Club Carlson should honor the original terms of its devaluation announcement. They should let members book stays between March 16 and April 30 at the old rates, even if they’re reserved after the 15th of March.

(HT: Travel Summary)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. “…. a rather poor form to announce a devaluation…” from a rather poorly managed company that have rather poor hotels that are not worth 70,000 points….

  2. All these programs- hotels and airlines are a constant moving target. One thing we all know is you have to grab the best deals you can, when you can.

  3. Not sure this is a new issue (since yesterday). Several of the reports I read yesterday stated these exact terms (rooms booked after March 15 for stays after May 1st would see the higher rates).

  4. How do they make a mistake like that? It is strange to me that they would go from a more complex set of rules to a simpler set of rules (i.e. from 2 date-based criteria to 1). That demonstrates that there was logic in the original, more complex rules, and presumably that the extra set of travel dates was conscious and intentional.

    Doesn’t inspire much faith.

  5. While this kinda somewhat sucks, based on some of the over the top comments that are popping up, it appears that someone would like to make the whole program look worse than it actually is. Or just plan uneducated. Malice vs. stupidity.

  6. @Santastico — but they are worth 25-35k points a night, that can be easily manufactured from a few trips to buy gift cards and $50-70 in load fees.
    What other hotel + card combo allows that? The hotels are plenty nice for that bargain.

  7. @ rick b +1

    Everyone else please ignore Club Carlson, I don’t want you competing with me for award availability. 😉

  8. @rb – 25k to 35k is OK but 70k? Do they have a St Regis or a Park Hyatt like hotel in their chain?

  9. just to be clear please.. can i book @ old rates before march 15 for stays after may 1? full refund of points if cancelled? thanks!

  10. I’d just like to know who ever gets the merchant cards with a point valuation less than $2 a thousand.

    I guess the same people that use Arrival points for cash at a 1/2 cent per point instead of paying for travel at a penny a point (and get a 10% rebate).

    I use Country Inns all the time and have been happy with them. May I never become Hyattized.

  11. @Santastico — I’ve always enjoyed staying at the Radisson Blue properties, and I don’t find Westins and Park Hyatt to be substantially nicer. At that level of quality, we’re splitting hairs, and I’m not a hotel snob. Being able to manufacture a free night with a 10min stop at c-v-s is all I need.

  12. gary- how is your answer to #14 correct?

    it clearly says stays after may 1 go up.

    was not #12 asking if he can book now for stays after 5/1 at old not the answer no?

  13. For what it’s worth if you book on the site now it shows old rates no matter how far out you reserve. That either indicates Gary is right (#14) or CC has not done a good job with the site.

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