The Big “D” Word
We all knew this day was coming. Club Carlson announced a modest devaluation today. The Club Carlson devaluation has been written about to death on other blogs, so I won’t go into every detail, but instead offer a little insight and analysis. To start, let me summarize the changes.
Club Carlson is moving dozens of properties either up or down a level. (You can find the list of changes here.) As these things go, most of the properties are moving up unfortunately. Additionally, they have added a new 7th tier which will cost 70,000 points per night. At this time only 9 high-end properties will be added to that highest tier. As for other changes, they are reducing elite bonuses & eliminating online booking bonuses, but on the bright side award stays will now count towards elite status.
This devaluation had to occur. With all of the insanely good promotions Club Carlson has put out there since launching a couple of years ago, there was no way they could keep the value of their points up. If you look at the actual changes though, things aren’t too bad. Sure the addition of a higher tier is troubling, but for the most part the program is unchanged. My actual biggest issue is with the number of hotels which jumped categories in lower tiers. (I’m talking to you Radisson Hotel Fisherman’s Wharf!)
The main reason this isn’t as big a deal is because I view redemptions as half price. I carry the Club Carlson credit card (Not an affiliate link) and thus get a free night on stays of two nights or more. To maximize my points I always book in two night increments and thus get redemptions at half the rate.
For me, booking in one of the new Tier 7 hotels is essentially going to cost 35,000 points per night. Yes that is 40% more than before, but it is still very favorable when compared to other programs. Add into it the fact that I can earn 5x points per dollar with everyday spend on the credit card and it doesn’t sting quite as bad as it could.
With the improvement of the economy and travel on the rise, programs have less incentive to offer perks and bonuses. All of the major chains have devalued over the past year and it is amazing that Club Carlson held on to their redemption values as long as they did. If they had taken away the Bonus Night perk on the credit card then this devaluation would have been disastrous, but since they didn’t and we still have it for now, I am chalking this up as a minor victory.
What do you think? Please let me know in the comments!