One easily overlooked, but valuable perk of the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card is the 40,000 bonus points you receive every year you renew your card and pay the annual fee.
Signing up for the card’s incredibly valuable 85,000 bonus point sign-up bonus is one reason to get the card, but earning an additional 40,000 points every year is another reason to keep the card active.
Pair the sign-up bonus with the card’s benefit of 2-for-1 ‘Bonus Award Nights’ and the renewal bonus could easily be forgotten.
I decided to keep both my personal and business Club Carlson Visa cards another year when the annual fees hit a few months back. Each card offers a 40,000 point anniversary bonus after you pay the annual fee after the first year, however the personal card comes with a $75 annual fee and the business version has a lower $60 fee.
Initially I planned to only pay the lower $60 fee on the business card, but I figured I could easily put both 40k anniversary bonuses to good use this year.
Why Keep the Cards?
Even if you have replenished the original 85,000 points from the bonus, you can earn an extra 40,000 points when you renew the card. If you leverage the ‘last night free’ benefit you could get between 8 nights at a category 1 property or 2 nights at a category 4 property. You won’t have enough to book a night at a top-tier hotel, but if you have 30k+ points in your account, then the 40k points could mean having enough to book 2 nights at a category 7 property. In general I think that category 4 and 5 properties are a sweet spot for finding some great hotels, but spending the extra 20k points to book at a category 7 may not be worth it.
The $75 annual fee seems well worth paying when you can get $300 worth of hotel stays with the 40,000 points.
For example, by using the 40,000 points you could get 8 nights worth close to ~$700 in free stays at the Park Inn by Radisson Budapest.
Two nights worth $414 at the Park Inn Prague.
Almost two nights at the Radisson Blu es. Hotel Rome.
If you have both the personal and business card or are traveling with a companion, you can leverage two Club Carlson accounts to book consecutive 2-for-1 award nights. This is a great way to get a longer four night stay for half price.
How Long Does it Take for the Anniversary Bonus to Post?
The terms say that it may take 6-8 weeks, which is a relatively long time for an anniversary bonus. However, it seems to be the case that it in fact takes the full time period.
“Annual Renewal Bonus: Each year that you renew your Account by making at least the minimum payment by the due date printed on the Account statement in which the annual fee is billed, you will receive a Renewal Bonus of 40,000 Gold Points (25,000 Gold Points for Platinum Rewards). Please allow 6 to 8 weeks after the payment due date for your Renewal Bonus to appear in your Club Carlson account.”
From when the the annual fee posted to my account in December it took a full 8 weeks for the 40,000 points to be deposited into my Club Carlson account. I am still waiting on the 40,000 points to post to my other card’s account.
I wasn’t traveling during this time and did not have any pressing need for the points in my account so I wasn’t feeling too eager to receive the points. That said, this deposit time is way too long. In my opinion, a customer paying the annual fee should receive the bonus points soon after paying the fee and have the option to use them anytime through the following year when they actually have the card’s benefits. When you lose three months of the year waiting to earn the points, you essentially have 9 months left to use the points with the card’s 2-for-1 award nights.
The reports over at Flyertalk also seem to show a similar experience and many of the folks are reporting that the bonus is taking the full 6-8 weeks to post to their account. That time period won’t start until at least the minimum payment is made on the statement that the annual fee posted to. With some patience they will post and your Gold elite status will be extended for a year (mine is showing through 2015).
The value you can get from the 40,000 points combined with the 2-for-1 ‘last night free’ awards is well worth paying the $75 annual fee (even more so on the business card). The value in free nights you can get from the 40,000 points easily justifies keeping the card after the first year, and possibly longer.
What are your thoughts on the Club Carlson visa? Did you get the 40,000 bonus points?
To learn more about Club Carlson, check out these posts: