2013 was the year of hotel devaluations, requiring more points to redeem reward nights.
Hotels are generally full, and prices up, so hotel loyalty programs haven’t needed to be as generous.
Devaluations took various forms — new award categories, wholesale point increases, shifting categories, and structural changes. And they were doing in varying degrees, at the extreme end was Hilton’s absolute bloodletting.
Some gave notice, others did not.
Meanwhile Club Carlson, the loyalty program for Radisson, Park Plaza, Park Inn, and Country Inns & Suites, didn’t make a move. Until now (HT: Hans)
There are some positive changes, but the biggest change from my perspective is increased award prices for many hotels and a new top tier redemption category.
Here’s the summary they sent by email:
More Redemption Options
Club Carlson is introducing premium room redemptions, the ability to redeem more points for better rooms. They’re also offering more gift card redemption options which is a total non sequitur in terms of deriving value from the program.
Changes to Points Earning
They’re adding points-earning for food and beverages charged to the room on award nights, something I didn’t realize didn’t exist previously. That just makes sense, but is hardly something to get excited about, you won’t accumulate tons of points unless you’re eating a lot at their hotels!
They also make this statement, which I assume means less points-earning in the future but is very vague:
Our Gold Points bonus for booking a stay online will now be offered only on a promotional basis, so watch for upcoming opportunities
In other words, the 2000 point online booking bonus won’t be a permanent part of the program — it won’t always be there, but it’s unclear whether that’s going to change immediately or later.
They’re also reducing elite points bonuses.
- Currently Silver, Gold, and Concierge members earn 25%, 50%, and 75% points bonuses.
- That will change to 15%, 35%, and 75% on March 1.
One More Modest Elite Benefits Change
Top-tier Concierge status members will lose the “24/7 Global Concierge Service” on March 1.
Award Nights Count Toward Status
Award nights will count towards status, something fantastic for US-based members with their co-brand credit card (who get 2nd night free on an award stay of two nights or longer).
Here they match Hilton, IHG Rewards, and Starwood. Hyatt is something of a hybrid, with cash and points awards counting towards status while standard award nights do not. Marriott stands alone without any points redemptions counting towards status (and the most nights required to earn status).
More Hotels Getting More Expensive to Redeem For, and a New Category 7
Effective March 15 for bookings on or after May 1, a total of 181 hotels will change price for award nights.
Here’s the list of new award redemption categories.
- 114 hotels go up 1 category
- 66 hotels go down 1 category
- 1 hotel goes down 2 categories
In Asia just 4 hotels go up, while 21 go down.
In Europe and Africa 45 hotels go up and 13 go down.
In the Americas 65 hotels go up and 33 go down.
As a part of these changes, Club Carlson is introducing a new category 7 that costs 70,000 points per night — hotels going up to category 7 will cost an additional 20,000 points per night (40% increase).
There are (9) hotels in this new category, all in Europe, Middle East, and Africa:
- 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
On net these changes are not good. You’ll earn fewer points, and it will take more points to redeem for many hotels.. especially their most expensive properties.
At the same time there are some positives, like award nights counting towards status (although elites who qualify for status without this change will see that as a negative — since they might face more competition for upgrades) and premium room night awards.
Club Carlson didn’t devalue in 2013 when everyone else did. So now it’s their turn. On the whole, since the change from Goldpoints Plus to Club Carlson they’ve been exceptionally generous. And exceptionally generous offerings don’t stay that way… so this also isn’t entirely unexpected. But it’s never good to see.