Category Archives: Club Carlson

How Much Is a Hotel Reimbursed on a Free Stay? The Radisson Martinique on Broadway was Reimbursed $118 Per Night

I’m interested in the businesses behind loyalty programs, so I always wonder:

  • What did that credit card company pay that airline for its miles?
  • How much does American Airlines pay Qantas when an AAdvantage award includes a Qantas leg?
  • How much did that hotel loyalty program reimburse that specific hotel for the free stay I just took?

Well last month I stayed at the Radisson Martinique of Broadway (review here), and I know exactly how much Club Carlson reimbursed the Martinique for my stay.

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How much did Club Carlson pay the Martinique for my stay? How do I know?

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Around the World in Cathay, Singapore, and Lufthansa First: Radisson Martinique on Broadway

Having just landed at Newark after a First Class flight from Honolulu, I took the AirTrain to New York Penn Station, and walked the few blocks to the Radisson Martinique on Broadway.

I had two free one-night certificates at any Radisson in the United States, and I knew that a New York City hotel would probably be the most expensive place to use them.

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Although we arrived at 1 PM, several hours before check in, my friend and I were quickly checked in and given the keys to a room with double beds.

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How was the room? How’s the location? Is the Radisson Martinique on Broadway worth your cash or your Club Carlson points?

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Club Carlson’s 38k Bonus Points for Three Nights Is Mattress Run Worthy If…

Per this thread on Flyertalk, Club Carlson is running a very interesting first quarter promotion. The full terms and conditions, as well as registration, can be found here. If you stay three nights at Club Carlson hotels between January 6th and April 13th, you will earn 38,000 bonus points.

Club Carlson Promo

What will 38,000 Club Carlson points get you?

38,000 points is enough for four free nights at a category 1 or one night at a category 4. The full award chart is below. You can see the complete list of category 4 hotels here if interested in splurging for a one night stay.

Club Carlson Award Chart

Any category 4 hotels stick out?

I wasn’t enthralled by the North American list, which consisted of quite a few airport locations. However, I saw some great properties in Eastern Europe, including the Radisson Blu Sofia which I am interested in staying this summer. The Radisson Blu properties in Krakow and Athens also caught my eye.

Radisson Blue Sofia Junior Suite. Image from radissonblue.com

Radisson Blue Sofia Junior Suite. Image from radissonblue.com

There are very few category 4 properties in Asia and the Pacific and nearly all are concentrated in India. If you do have upcoming travel to India, it makes sense to browse the list of hotels.

What if you want to stretch the bonus points farther?

Yes! This offer is a bit more enticing if you can target category 1-3 hotels that you are interested in staying at. For example, the bonus points would stretch to four nights at a category 1 hotel or two nights at a category 2 hotel with some points leftover.

Is this the most lucrative hotel promotion Club Carlson has ever run?

Not even close. Back in 2012, Radisson actually ran a “Buy One Night, Get One Free” promotion that awarded you a stay at any Radisson or Radisson Blu property in the US, Canada, or Carribbean even if you stayed at a dirt cheap Radisson to qualify for the offer. You could then use the points on incredible hotels such as the Radisson Blu Chicago.

Do cash & points rates qualify for this offer?

No. The terms and conditions expressly exclude these rates from the promotion.

What if I already had a Radisson stay and just now registered? Does that night count towards the three required nights?

No. Per the terms, registration must be received before checkout of the first eligible stay to qualify.

Is this promotion mattress run worthy?

Given your upcoming hotel stays, the credit cards you carry in your wallet, and how much you value time…possibly.

The least expensive hotels I could find in my area were $89 a night ($100 after taxes). The breakdown for a regular person is below who made three separate one night stays:

Average Joe

$300 in spend for three one night stays at Club Carlson property
Hotel earn: 5,340 points ($89 base rate * 20 points/$ * 3 nights)
Online booking bonus: 3,000 points (1,000 * 3)
Buy 3 promotion: 38,000 points
Total: 46,340 Club Carlson points

In essence, you would actually earn enough Club Carlson points for a category 5 hotel (45,000 points) with the model above. I didn’t factor any credit card points you receive for this either. However, you must also factor in time foregone and gas money spent as well. Unless you found an incredible value, $300+ for a one night hotel stay doesn’t look appealing.

What if you have the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature?

This promotion gets quite a bit more appealing if you have the Club Carlson Visa. First, the card comes with Club Carlson gold elite status, boosting your earning potential. You get more points for booking stays online and for hotel spend.

Club Carlson Elite Benefits

Don’t forget the 10 points awarded for each dollar spent at Club Carlson properties when you pay with your credit card! Let’s take the same three night hotel stay from above, this time paying with the Club Carlson Visa.

Savvy Mattress Runner with Club Carlson Visa

$300 in spend for three one night stays at Club Carlson property
Hotel earn: 8,010 points ($89 base rate * 30 points/$ [Gold] * 3 nights)
Credit card earn: 3,000 points ($300 * 10 points/$ [Club Carlson Visa])
Online booking bonus: 6,000 points (2,000 [Gold] * 3)
Buy 3 promotion: 38,000 points
Total: 55,010 Club Carlson points

55,000 points is more than enough for a free night award at any Club Carlson property in the world. Still, $300 for one hotel night is a pricey proposition for most travelers. However, Club Carlson’s best benefit makes this promotion very intriguing.

Bonus Night Award

The Bonus Night Award is the killer feature of the Club Carlson Visa. In essence, when you redeem Club Carlson points for a two night stay, you only have to pay one night’s worth of points. For that reason, it makes sense to split award reservations into multiples of two.

Mattress running the latest promotion would actually give you enough points for two nights at any Club Carlson property, so you are really paying ~$150/night for the best Radissons, a far better deal with the co-branded  card than without.

Or it would be enough for six two-night stays (12 total nights) at Category 1 properties. That is certainly worth $300.

Partial Mattress Run

All of my examples so far have imagined pure mattress runs, where you are checking in and checking out just to get the points while getting no value from the room.

The calculations become even more favorable when you consider partial mattress runs.

A partial mattress run is booking a hotel stay because of the promotion that you would not have booked otherwise, but it’s a hotel stay from which you get some value.

For instance, imagine that–not accounting for promotions–you would stay in a Hilton for $150 per night. But because of this promo, you shift that one night stay to a Radisson that costs $200. In that case, the value of the room to you is $150 and the cost of the mattress run is $50.

When calculating whether a mattress run is worth it to you, consider whether it’s a pure or partial mattress run, and the exact cost of the partial mattress run.

Recap

Club Carlson announced a first quarter promotion where you receive enough bonus points for one night at a category 4 hotel after spending three nights at any property on an eligible rate.

This is great news if you already had stays planned, but this promotion isn’t conducive for a pure mattress run unless you have the Club Carlson Premier Visa.

Having that Visa and paying for the rooms with the card unlocks about 18% more bonus points. The fact that the card comes with a bonus night award feature seals the deal for me. Your points effectively are worth up to twice as much which turns this promotion into a very intriguing deal.

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Predictions for Major Changes to Loyalty Programs in 2014

2013 was a year of several major devaluation announcements including:

  • United (kicks in February 1, 2014)
  • Southwest (kicks in March 31, 2014)
  • Delta (already kicked in on current award bookings for travel that starts February 1, 2014 or later)
  • Hyatt (kicks in January 7, 2014)
  • Ultimate Rewards (with three major transfer partners devaluing–United, Southwest, and Hyatt–the program took a major hit through no fault of its own)

But the more things change, the more they stay the same. We’re still getting outsized value from our miles and points and traveling the world in style for next to nothing.

What’s my outlook for 2014 and what’s my strategy for earning and burning the major points’ currencies?

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Free Giveaway Friday: Winners of the Prepaid Visas from Club Carlson and Club Carlson Gold Status Are…

Disclosure: I am getting two one-night stay certificates at U.S. Radissons for hosting this giveaway. I’ll look into giving them away too.

This week I ran two posts as part of a giveaway to give each of two winners:

  • One $500 Visa Gift Card
  • Club Carlson Gold Elite Status through February 2014 (If you already have Club Carlson Gold Status, you will receive Concierge Status through February 2014.)

The prizes were generously donated by Club Carlson. The Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card is the only hotel card to give you the last award night for free on stays of two or more nights. (That means two night award stays are 50% off!)

The two tweets that people had to retweet to enter the Twitter competition had 460 combined retweets. The random number generator has spoken and the winner is @CLMedina, who I recognize–from his Twitter picture–from the Chicago Seminars! Congratulations, Christopher. Enjoy the $500 prepaid Visa and Club Carlson Gold Status.

The two posts had a combined 773 comment entries. The random number generator selected Jen, who said her favorite perk of the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card was “Last night free! Such a great perk.”

I very much agree with her that that is the best feature of the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card and for her comment, she’ll win a $500 prepaid Visa and Club Carlson Gold Status too.

Thanks to the Club Carlson for donating the prizes and thanks to all the loyal MileValue readers and Twitter followers out there who entered.

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Last Day to Enter: Free Giveaway Friday: $1,000 in Visa Gift Cards and Club Carlson Gold Status

Disclosure: I am getting two one-night stay certificates at U.S. Radissons for hosting this giveaway. I’ll look into giving them away too.

The Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card has generously donated two $500 Visa Gift Cards and two prizes of Club Carlson Gold Status for two lucky MileValue readers. The contest ends tonight, Friday November 8, 2013 at 11:59 PM Hawaii Time. I will pick and announce the winners tomorrow. You can still enter in two ways today even if you entered twice on Monday!

Each of the two winners will receive:

  • One $500 Visa Gift Card
  • Club Carlson Gold Elite Status through February 2014 (If you already have Club Carlson Gold Status, you will receive Concierge Status through February 2014.)

What are the two ways to enter today? What are the two ways to enter from Monday? How can you enter four ways in four minutes?

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Free Giveaway Friday: $1,000 in Visa Gift Cards and Club Carlson Gold Status

Disclosure: I am getting two one-night stay certificates at U.S. Radissons for hosting this giveaway. I’ll look into giving them away too.

The Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card has generously donated two $500 Visa Gift Cards and two prizes of Club Carlson Gold Status for two lucky MileValue readers. Each of the two winners will receive:

  • One $500 Visa Gift Card
  • Club Carlson Gold Elite Status through February 2014 (If you already have Club Carlson Gold Status, you will receive Concierge Status through February 2014.)

I just signed up for the business version of the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card in August because it is one of the best hotel cards on the market.

The killer benefit is that cardholders receive the last night free on any award of two nights or longer. That means that two night award stays are 50% off!

Other benefits include:

  • 10 points per $1 spent in eligible net purchases at participating Carlson Rezidor hotels worldwide
  • 5 points per $1 spent in eligible net purchases everywhere else
  • 85,000 Bonus Gold Points to start – Receive 50,000 Gold Points after your first purchase.  Plus 35,000 points once you spend $2,500 on your card within the first 90 days
  • Bonus Award Night – When you redeem Gold Points for 2 or more consecutive Award Nights, your last night is free. Exclusively for cardmembers!
  • Club Carlson Gold Status is yours after you activate and use your card
  • 40,000 Renewal Bonus Points each year when you renew your card
  • $75 annual fee

The automatic annual 40,000 point retention bonus means I would plan to hold a Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card indefinitely.

Club Carlson Gold Points can be used at over 1,000 Radisson, Radisson Blu, Park Plaza, Park Inn, Country Inns and Suites properties worldwide.

After meeting the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card‘s minimum spending requirement, you’d have at least 97,500 Gold Points, which with the last-night-free benefit on award nights, would be enough for 20 nights–ten two-night stays–at a Category 1 hotel like the Radisson Blue Beke, Budapest.

My aspirational Club Carlson property is the Category 6 Radisson Royal Hotel, Moscow, which costs 50,000 points per night. As a cardholder, you could stay two nights in the hotel for 50,000 points total.

How to Enter

There are two winners and two ways to win. You can enter both ways, but you can only win one of the prize packages. You have to be a Club Carlson member to collect your prize package, so sign up here for free.

#1 Comment

Comment once on this post with your favorite benefit of the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card.

You can get a second entry into the random drawing of commenters by commenting on Friday’s post about this giveaway.

I will randomly pick one of the comments from this post or Friday’s post as a winner after entry closes at 11:59 PM Hawaii time on Friday, November 8, 2013.

(For those who have signed up to receive one free daily email with all of MileValue’s latest posts: replying to that email is not a way to enter this contest. Click this post’s title in the email to be taken to the post on MileValue.com.)

#2 Retweet

Follow @milevalue and retweet the following tweet, which can be found here.

I will randomly pick one person who retweets that tweet after entry closes at 11:59 PM Hawaii time on Friday, November 8, 2013.

Good luck to everyone! And thanks to the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card for the generous prizes.

Terms and Conditions: MileValue.com is the sponsor of this giveaway. U.S. Bank, Carlson Inc., and their respective affiliates and employees are not sponsors and are not responsible for any part of the giveaway. Scott Grimmer’s decisions are final as to all aspects of the contest.

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Are Under-Categorized Hotels the Best Use of Hotel Points : Review of the DoubleTree Kuala Lumpur

I am a lodging cheapskate. My ideal trip length is four weeks, so hotel bills would add up quickly. Right now I haven’t been in the US since February, so I’ve had to come up with creative ways to sleep cheaply.

But just because I’m a cheapskate doesn’t mean I don’t want to stay at fancy hotels sometimes too. I’m jealous that Rookie Alli has two nights at any Hilton worldwide. I have my own two free nights at Hyatts worldwide that I’ll be sure to use somewhere way outside my price range.

There is a third way, though, between the extremes of free ultra-luxury and cheap adequate accommodation: under-categorized hotels are a fantastic value play.

Free nights at hotels cost a certain number of points that are decided by which category a hotel places the hotel into. For instance, a Category 1 Hilton costs 5,000 points for a free night. A Category 10 Hilton costs up to 95,000 points for a free night.

The number of points needed generally tracks the quality, location, and price of the hotel, but some hotels are under-categorized and represent fantastic value with points.

Last night I stayed in one such hotel, the DoubleTree Kuala Lumpur, which is a Hilton Category 2 property that costs only 10k Hilton points per night.

Continue for my review with photos of the DoubleTree Kuala Lumpur and a rundown of all the freebies I got. What hotel award charts might have sweet spots? What are the best value free nights you’ve gotten?

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Club Carlson Points for Half Price Today Only Means Hotels as Cheap as $15 per Night

Update at 1:35 PM ET: I missed the sale, which it looks like sold out in mere seconds. The good news is throughout the week, Club Carlson is having flash sales for just a few hours that sell points for about 0.4 cents each.

Follow me on twitter to learn about the next one.

Glad to see some readers got in on the deal!

End of update.

Today might be the best Daily Getaways deal so far. Club Carlson points are being sold cheaply enough that you can stay at a Radisson in Europe for as low as $15 per night!

Today is the third day of the second week of five weeks of discounted travel packages sponsored by the US Travel Association and American Express called Daily Getaways.

Every weekday at 1 PM ET, a discounted travel package or packages will go on sale and will usually sell out in a few minutes. Some of the offers will be awesome; some will be duds. Today’s is incredible.

Today’s deal is:

  • 100k Club Carlson points for $346.50 (0.3465 cents each)
  • 50k Club Carlson points for $174.60 (0.3492 cents each)

How can you get in on the deal? Continue reading

What Credit Card Gets You the Most Free Hotel Nights?

Sometimes I want luxury, and sometimes I want quantity.

Last week I talked about the Three Best Credit Cards for Free Nights in Luxury Hotels.

But what about going to the other end of the award chart? A lot of times when I am traveling I just need a pillow and a roof, since I plan to be out exploring the city all day. What credit card sign up would net me the most free hotel nights? (20 in all!)

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Do Two Things Right Now

You’ve put them off. Do these two things today to save yourself hundreds of dollars on future travel.

First, send 50,000 US Airways miles to a friend or family member. This will cost you $567.50. Have her send you back 50,000 at a cost to her of $567.50. Both your accounts will have 50,000 more US Airways miles than when you started.

You will have purchased miles worth 1.95 cents for 1.13 cents. You will have profited $407.50 worth of future travel.

You have to do this today because the 100% bonus on sharing miles that is allowing you to buy miles for 1.13 cents expires today. For full details, see Buy US Airways Miles for 1.1 Cents through 100% Share Miles Bonus. For US Airways award-chart sweet spots, see here, here, and here.

Second, sign up for the Radisson Buy 1, Get 1 Promo (Stay One Night, Get One Night). Book a Radisson or Radisson Blu in the US, Canada, or Caribbean today for a stay by 12/31/12. This should be a hotel you can easily check into, and a cheap one. Preferably, it will be a hotel night you can actually use. But if it isn’t, that’s fine too if the price is under $100. Look into a Cash & Points night to save even more money.

A few days after the stay, you’ll get an email saying you have earned a free night certificate. You can use this certificate at any Radisson or Radisson Blu in the US, Canada, or Caribbean by 12/31/13. You can use it any night there is a cash room available!

For more information, see Radisson Stay One Night Get One Free Night. For Tahsir’s follow up, see Incredible Free Night Availability.

I put things off all the time. (I recently had to pay a $31 late fee and drive a week without proper registration because I put off sending in a check to DMV for no reason.) If you’ve done that on these promotions, thinking, “I’ll do that later,” later is now! Do it now.

You will reap $400 in free future travel from the US Airways promo and maybe $300 more from the Radisson promo. Each one will take under 10 minutes to participate in. If you have 20 minutes, you can get $700 in free travel. But only if you participate now!

Radisson 1 For 1 Update: Incredible Free Night Availability

Club Carlson has had some amazing promotions this year, and their newest is no slouch either. Scott talked about it a few weeks ago; the gist is:

Stay one night at any Radisson in the U.S, Canada or Caribbean and get another night in any Radisson in the U.S, Canada or Caribbean for free!

This meant that buying a room for about $89/night at a random Radisson would net you a certificate to stay at any other Radisson including the Radisson New York Martinique. That hotel normally sells for about $350/night.

At first, I was skeptical about this because I didn’t know how Club Carlson would let me use the certificate.

For example, would it only be usable when there was points availability? Or would it be useable when there was a paid rate available?

I called Club Carlson and the agents didn’t seem to know either. Some said it was based on points availability and some said it was based on rates. I even called the specific hotel directly and they didn’t know either. I was in a bind and didn’t know what to do.

Eventually, I decided to take the dive and book a room at the Radisson Ontario Airport in California for $89 after my AAA Discount.

After checking in, I left to go back home and checked out the next day. The terms and conditions stated that I had to be present at check in and check out.

A few days passed, and I finally got my points and certificate. I received an email from Radisson stating that my certificate was ready to use!

There was one problem though. Radisson made it extremely hard to figure out how to use this certificate. If you log into your account and just go directly to search for availability, it won’t work. For me, I had to log in, go to my account, then at the top hit “redeem” and then find the reservation date. You know you’re doing it right if you select the check in date on the calendar and it wont let you pick more than the next day to check out.

I’m happy to report that if there is any paid standard room available, you can use this certificate. Take a look:

For a random day in November, I was able to find the Radisson Martinique available for 0 points with my certificate. The same day doesn’t have any reward availability.

It’s Showing 0 Points!

No Award Availability On The Same Day!

How about the Radisson Blu Chicago?

Basically, for the $89 that I paid at the Radisson Ontario, I was able to get a $329.00 room ($380 with taxes) for free. With this promotion, you don’t even have to pay the taxes! That means I saved $290!

Is it too late to get in on the promotion?

Heck no! You can register until October 31, and you have until December 31 to complete your stay though you must book the stay by October 31.

The first thing you must do to take advantage of this promotion is to register for a Club Carlson account, if you are not already a member, which can be done here.

Once you enter your email and complete your Club Carlson registration, you will receive your membership number. Now you must go to the Radisson 1 for 1 promotion page to sign up for the deal.

Once registered, complete a qualifying stay before the end of 2012, and you will earn your free night certificate. Qualifying stays are defined as any points-earning stay at Radisson or Radisson Blu in the USA, Canada, or the Caribbean. That means if you go through www.radisson.com or www.clubcarlson.com to make your booking, you’ll be fine.

The terms and conditions state that the only qualifying rates are “Gold Point eligible.” This includes the AAA rate, Advanced Purchase rates and Cash & Points rate. Exclusions include rates booked through sites such as Travelocity, rates booked through travel agents, and hotel employee rates.

Scott’s Take

When I was in Chicago, I spent the last night at the Radisson O’Hare. I booked the Cash & Points rate, and I got my free night certificate the same day Tahsir did. I don’t value hotel rooms very highly, but getting two hotel nights for the $80 and 5k points I spent is an incredible deal. I am looking forward to using my free night certificate at an expensive property where I would never ordinarily stay.

Everyone should get in on this deal! Register Now. Ideally, you’ll have a real night coming up where you need a hotel, and there’s a Radisson nearby. But if not, do what Tahsir did and find a cheap Radisson for your paid night.

Recap

Radisson’s Stay One Night, Get One Night promotion’s registration ends October 31 (Wednesday). Sign up now. Book a cheap Radisson by the end of the month, and you’ll have until December 31, 2013 to stay for free at any Radisson in the US, Canada, or Caribbean.

News that you’ve received a free-night certificate should be emailed to you very soon after your stay, and it appears automatically in your account.

Buy Club Carlson Points for 0.47 Cents

Club Carlson is selling points with a 50% bonus through November 10, 2012 bringing the cost down to 0.47 cents per point. Club Carlson hotels include Radisson, Park Plaza, Park Inn, and Country Inns & Suites.

To purchase points from this non-targeted promotion, start on the promotion’s home page. The promotion page lays out the rules. Every 1,000 points purchased costs $7 and earns a bonus 500 points.

The maximum Club Carlson points you can purchase in a given year are 40k, which would get you 60k total points under this promotion. The cool thing about this promotion is that you can also buy points for other people’s accounts with your own credit card. Club Carlson encourages you to give this gift!

To purchase for another person, you need the person’s full name, Club Carlson number, and email address.

To purchase for yourself, sign into your account, and most of the form will auto-populate:

The side bar mentioned that $7/1k is the pre-tax price. And you may be familiar with US Airways’ Buy Miles promotions that add a 7.5% tax to the purchase price. This purchase is tax free for Americans–Canadians will pay GST/HST.

That means in any increment that you buy the miles, the cost will be .046666 cents per point, a 33% discount on the normal 0.7 cents price. 60k points will cost $280.

Is it a good deal?

This deal should save you money if you don’t have any Club Carlson points, and you want to book a hotel in the near future. I wouldn’t buy points at this price speculatively–that is, without the redemption already in mind–but I would buy them for the following reasons (note that the purchased points take 2-5 days to post.)

Buy Points for a Cash & Points redemption that earns a free night later

Radisson is running a Stay One Night, Get One Night Free promotion right now. I’ve written about the promotion, and I just stayed a night at the O’Hare Radisson with Cash & Points to take advantage of the deal.

Generally the Cash & Points rate gives a really good value for the points used. For instance, this was my price menu at the O’Hare Radisson:

I could either pay $129 or 5k points and $77. That means that those 5k points saved me $52. I got 1.04 cents worth of value for them. That means you can buy them for 0.47 cents per point right now and redeem them for 1.02 cents or more.

Or in dollar terms, if I had no Club Carlson points, I could buy 4k with a 2k bonus (6k total) for $28. That $28 outlay would save $52 on the Radisson O’Hare by using the points for a Cash & Points redemption.

And of course, the whole reason for doing a cheap Radisson Cash & Points redemption right now is to earn the free night certificate for future use at an expensive Radisson in the US, Canada, or the Caribbean.

Buy Points for an Expensive Redemption

Here is the price menu for the Radisson Martinique in Manhattan for a Tuesday night in March:

The nightly rate is $386.10, or you can use 50k points. You can get 51k points by purchasing 34k with a 17k bonus at a cost of $238. That means buying the points would save you nearly $150. And keep in mind that if you are traveling with someone else, you can both buy 50k points to stay at the hotel multiple nights.

Recap

Club Carlson is selling its points for 0.47 cents from now until November 10. You can buy up to 40k with a 20k bonus (60k total) per account.

This 50% bonus–33% off–sale is exploitable, but I wouldn’t buy and hold the points. I would buy them with a specific redemption in mind. On that redemption, you should be able to get around 1 cent or more of value from the points that you buy for 0.47 cents.

Two key ways to redeem them well are Cash & Points awards–especially stacked with the current Stay One Night, Get One Night promotion–or points awards on very expensive properties.

Is anyone going to take advantage of the deal? How much are you saving?

Forum Buzz: Radisson Stay One Night, Get One Free Night

There has been quite a bit of recent discussion on FlyerTalk on Radisson’s new “Stay One Night, Get One Night” promotion.

Club Carlson properties Radisson, Park Inn, and Country Inn have run similar promotions in the past–I mattress ran in Krakow, Poland to take advantage–though those deals awarded Club Carlson points instead of a free night certificate.

This “Stay One Night, Get One Night” is slightly different in that you are credited with a free night award that is redeemable online only at Radisson and Radisson Blu properties in the USA, Canada, and Caribbean, award space permitting.

The first thing you must do to take advantage of this promotion is to register for a Club Carlson account, if you are not already a member, which can be done here.

Once you enter your email and complete your Club Carlson registration, you will receive your membership number. Now you must go to the Radisson 1 for 1 promotion page to sign up for the deal.

Once registered, complete a qualifying stay before the end of 2012, and you will earn your free night certificate. Qualifying stays are defined as any points-earning stay at Radisson or Radisson Blu in the USA, Canada, or the Caribbean. That means if you go through www.radisson.com or www.clubcarlson.com to make your booking, you’ll be fine.

The terms and conditions state that the only qualifying rates are “Gold Point eligible.” This includes the AAA rate and Advanced Purchase rates. Exclusions include rates booked through sites such as Travelocity, rates booked through travel agents, and hotel employee rates.

Following these simple steps will earn a free one-night stay at Radisson and Radisson Blus in the USA, Canada, or the Caribbean good through the end of 2013.

Why is this a good deal?

If you have plans to stay at a Radisson before the end of the year, or you live near a Radisson with low rates, this could be a very good deal. Radisson, and especially Radisson Blu, have some very upscale properties that go for over $300/night in places like Chicago and New York.

If you find a cheap Radisson in your vicinity, you could potentially save over $200 on these high end hotels by “buying them” at the lower rate. You are in essence paying for a future stay at the better property with a relatively inexpensive hotel stay during the promotion.

For example, I looked up Radisson hotels in the Washington/Baltimore area, and came across a very low weekend rate–most hotels have cheaper weekend rates–for the Radisson Baltimore in early December.

By staying on this cheap $92 rate, I will receive a free night good for a much more expensive stay down the road. Take a look at how much value a Radisson free night will get you in large urban tourist destinations such as Chicago and New York below.

Here’s a simple way to determine how much value you’re getting from this promotion

Calculate the value you’ll get from the paid hotel stay. If you had to take it anyway, you’ll get face value from the stay. If you are just going to check in and not stay at the hotel, you get negative value from the “stay” equal to the value of your time and gas going to the hotel. Or your value may be somewhere in between.

Add the value you’ll get from the free night. This value is your subjective value for the room, capped at face value.

Subtract the price you pay for your paid night from the value you’ll get from your two nights. This is the amount this promo is worth to you. If this number is negative, don’t participate.

In my example, imagine someone living in Baltimore. He does the $92 night at the Radisson, but gets only $10 value from the room. Hotel stays are a little fun, but he doesn’t need the room. He gets face value of $419 for a later stay in Chicago.

That means this promo is worth $337 to our Marylander ($10 + $419 – $92).

Is there any urgency to sign-up for this promotion?

Yes. The Radisson Stay One Night, Get One Night promotion is only eligible to the first 50,000 registrants. After the 50,000 number has been reached, the deal will be closed. There is currently still space, but previous promotions have reached their 50k cap, so get in now!

I never received a confirmation email even though I signed up through the site. Am I registered?

FlyerTalkers are reporting that their is a delay in the delivery of the registration confirmation email associated with this promotion. You are strongly urged to print out your confirmation page after registering to protect yourself. The page should look similar to the picture below:

Can I just book an inexpensive night online, not show up, and get the free award night deposited into my account?

No. The terms and conditions state that the registered guest must be present at the hotel at both the time of check-in and check-out. However, given my experience in previous Radisson and Country Inn free night promotions, you only need to be present for check-in to receive the bonus. The hotel has no way of verifying that you were present for check-out, so it will be safe to check-in, go to your room, and leave if need be.

Just make sure to be discreet when leaving the hotel. There is no need to draw attention to yourself if you have no intentions of using the hotel room for the night booked.

Can I have more than one cheap stay during the promotion period to accrue multiple award nights?

No. The terms state that there is a limit of one free award night per member. However, spouses may both register for the promotion and stay separately, earning more than one award night for the same household.

If you book two consecutive paid nights, one under each person’s name and Club Carlson number, hotels will generally be happy to accommodate you and give you the same room both nights. The same goes for redeeming two consecutive one night stays from different accounts. (Who will marry me for the promo benefits?)

Where can I use my free night award? I hear there are some great Radisson Blu properties in Europe.

Unfortunately, the free night can only be booked at Radissons in the US, Canada, or the Caribbean. Luckily there are still some great hotels to be found in both the Radisson and Radisson Blu brands in these locations. Major urban areas such as Toronto and New York appear to deliver the greatest value for this promotion.

How long will it take between my stay and the free night posting into my account?

According to the website, the free night award will be deposited into your account within 14 days of completing that stay. Once the free night appears, you can search for the “0 Point” rate option in the Gold Points redemption column and click “Book Now.” You should receive a confirmation email afterwards with reservation details.

Recap

The Radisson Stay One Night, Get One Night Free is a very useful promotion to exploit if there are inexpensive Radisson properties in your area. By staying at a low rate, you are essentially buying a night at an upscale or more popular Radisson at a steep discount.

When spouses or family members all take part in this separately, the free nights will add up quickly. Just remember to use your free stays by the end of 2013.

Free First Class Next Month: Signing Up for Airline and Hotel Programs

Hey there, you’re reading an outdated post! The updated series from March 2013 can be found here.

This is the second post in a monthlong series. Each post will take about two minutes to read and may include an action item that takes the reader another two minutes to complete. I am writing this for an audience of people who know nothing about frequent flier miles, and my goal is that by the end, you know enough to fly for free anywhere you want to go.

In just a few days, you’ll be earning hundreds of thousands of frequent-flier miles and hotel points, and you need a place to put them. Below are the bare minimum programs you need to be a member of as a US-based traveler, and as you get more involved with the miles game, you’ll probably sign up for more.

By signing up for these programs, you’ll be able to take advantage of every major miles promotion, and you’ll be able to fly domestically and internationally for free and stay for free once you get there.

Each one should just take a moment to sign up for. Don’t skip any even if you’ve never flown the airline or don’t want to go where it flies. We often use one airline’s miles to fly its partners. For instance, I just used my British Airways miles to fly from LA to Honolulu on American Airlines.

If you already have an account, then instead of signing up, just activate your account online. Write down your username or number and passwords all in one place, we’ll need them again very soon.

Airlines

AirTran (recently bought by Southwest, so joining unlocks a trick with Southwest points)

American Airlines

British Airways

Delta Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines

Southwest Airlines

United Airlines (if you had a Continental Onepass account, United automatically rolled that into a Mileage Plus account)

US Airways

Hotels

Club Carlson

Hilton

Priority Club

Starwood

If you fly any other carriers like Virgin America or JetBlue, you should also sign up for their programs, but if you don’t fly them, you can stick to the eight listed airlines. If you’re an avid couchsurfer, you can skip signing up for the hotels.

Continue to Post 3.