2-for-1 Club Carlson Award Nights: Do you need enough points for both nights?

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WTM reader Wayne asked: "To book two nights (to get the 2nd night free) do you need to have enough points to book two nights?

The short answer is no, you do not need to have enough points in your account to book both nights at the normal rate. You only need to have enough points to cover the amount needed for a one night stay if you are booking for two nights. By booking stays of two nights you can double the value of Club Carlson Gold Points and get a value of anywhere from 1.0 - 3.0 cents per point.

In August, I stayed at the Radisson Blu Split in Croatia and received Junior Suite room upgrade that runs around $600 a night during the summer. By booking a two night stay and getting the 2nd night free, I paid 44,000 Gold Points for two nights and I got a redemption value of 2.7 cents per points.

To book a Bonus Award night online you have to be signed in to your account and simply search for the hotel booking. For example, let's say you want to stay at the Radisson Ambassador Plaza & Casino San Juan. The nightly award rate is 38,000 per night and say you only have around 41,000 points in your account. From having the Club Carlson Visa you can still book two nights using because the card gives you the perk of Free Bonus Award Nights. Basically you get 2 nights for the price of 1 when you stay only two nights. No matter how long your stay is, the last night will be free.

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When you select the room that you want to reserve the first confirmation page will show the total amount for the two nights. If I remember correctly, in the past you could not continue past this screen if you did not have enough points in your account and you would get a message saying your balance could not cover the reservation. It looks like Club Carlson now allows you to book the Bonus Free Night award even if you only have enough points to cover one night.

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If you click continue at the bottom of the page you will get a second confirmation page showing the half price rate. All you need to do now is confirm the booking.

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The fact that Club Carlson allows you to book 2-for-1 stays with the Bonus Award Nights even if you don't have enough points to cover both nights is a huge benefit. This will allow you to use up any remaining Gold points while still maximizing your free nights.

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