Credit Cards The Basics

Why Do You Do This To Me, Club Carlson?

Club Carlson
Written by Charlie

One of my favorite hotel value credit cards is the Club Carlson Premier Visa. It comes with a total of 85,000 Club Carlson points (after spending $2,500 in 90 days) as well as Club Carlson Gold status (which is their mid-tier). One of the incentives to keep you using the card after meeting the bonus threshold is the 5 points per dollar spent – so, for every $10,000 spent on the card, you will basically earn one free night at the top Club Carlson properties (actually, two nights but more on that in a bit). All in all, it is a solid credit card with many options for use with the lowest category hotel only costing 9,000 points (in effect, giving 10 award nights – or more – with the bonus).

Club Carlson

But, why, oh why, do you do this to me, Club Carlson?

What is my problem with Club Carlson? Because they have an incredible perk built into their credit cards – the last night on an award stay is free. This means, if you are redeeming 44,000 points for a stay at a category 5 for one night, you can stay one more night for free (if you have a Club Carlson credit card). If you stay for four nights in a hotel, you will only owe the points for three nights. This is an incredible value – one that is increased significantly when you stay at hotels for only two nights a time. If you were visiting a city with more than one Club Carlson hotel, you could stay two nights at one (for one night’s worth of points), move to another for another two nights (for one night’s worth of points), and then even move back to the original hotel for two nights (for one night’s worth of points). All in all, you would have stayed six nights and only used points for three of them!

Club Carlson

Just like that – one night free!

So what is not to like? I cannot say “no” to anything free! That means if I am staying someplace for more than one night (like my upcoming trip to Dubai) and any of my stays are at Club Carlsons, I must stay there for two nights. In the case of Dubai, I am staying at a Club Carlson the night before the race because it is most convenient for me. The problem comes in that I would prefer to spend two nights at the Park Hyatt or another Radisson on the other side of the city. Because I am paying the same price for one night or two nights (in points) at the Radisson I need to be at, I “have” to stay at the same Radisson two nights in a row. Quite the problem, hmm? 🙂

Is this a real problem?

Of course it isn’t a real problem. The only problem is that it is too hard to stay at a Club Carlson for just one night so already it has made me take trips that are one day longer (instead of my usual overnight trip) just so I can get more value out of my Club Carlson points! 🙂 My rule of thumb with my Club Carlson points is this – do not use them for one night stays. It is simply too difficult to literally throw away anywhere from 9,000 – 50,000 (depending on the category hotel you are at) by only staying one night.

Getting the Club Carlson cards

I find the Club Carlson cards to be the hotel card with the best perk – the last free night. If you want to get some of these great points, check out the cards below.

  • Club Carlson Credit Card Premier Rewards from US Bank (85,000 total bonus points) –application link (I do not receive a commission from this card)
  • Club Carlson Credit Card Visa Signature from US Bank (60,000 total bonus points) – application link (I do not receive a commission from this card)
  • Club Carlson Credit Card Business Rewards from US Bank (85,000 total bonus points) –application link (I do not receive a commission from this card)



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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • I have the same problem – when a CC hotel is the most convenient, I’m loath to spend only one night, and if I’m staying 2 nights, then the other chains are less attractive

  • You have no idea that you could just book alternating 2-night stays if you have two separate club carlson accounts? That is a perk that comes with having a business version of this card as well. You can string together any even-night stay for half the points.

        • re: “you could just book alternating 2-night stays if you have two separate club carlson accounts” Confirmed or speculation? Thanks.

          • Oh, about Rick’s comment. I do not know about this – I would assume that it is against the rules of the program to have two accounts for the same person. If it were two people traveling together, of course they could alternate the award stays to the same end. Not sure about the multiple accounts for one person though. Rick, can you help with that?

  • I definitely agree with you. Staying 2 nights = award stay. 1 night = paid stay. Having the Club Carlson credit card and paying for your stay earns so many points. The only negative is that the Club Carlson credit card charges 2-3% foreign transaction fees. I am shaming them on twitter for having a travel credit card that has a $75 annual fee (not waived) and still charging foreign transaction fees. Join me in this twitter movement!