The annual fee just posted on both my personal and business Club Carlson Visa cards. Originally I debated only keeping the business card due to the lower annual fee of $60 compared to the personal card’s $75. Here’s rundown on why I decided to keep both cards.

40,000 Point Anniversary Bonus

Both cards have a 40,000 point anniversary bonus that can easily be worth two nights at a Category 4 Club Carlson property. The cards come with the added benefit of 2 for 1 Bonus Award Nights, which makes any stay of two nights half price. With the points from both anniversary bonuses I could get 4 nights at a Category 4 hotel or 16 nights at a Category 1 hotel.

Just throwing some numbers out there, 4 nights at a Category 4 hotel could easily run $600+ and 16 nights at a Category 1 hotel in the range of $1,600.

A few category 4 hotels that caught my eye include the new Radisson Blu Bangkok which looks like a great property and is just opening this May 1, so I may check that out. I also have my eye on the Radisson Blu Riga. On the other hand the category 1 Park Inn Budapest looks like a great value for only 9,000 points per night.

Club Carlson Just Devalued Their Points

In my opinion Club Carlson’s devaluation last month was very reasonable and not nearly as bad as it could have been. The hardest hit properties were the most expensive top-tier Radisson Blu properties mostly in Europe, but for the most part most hotels did not increase their nightly rate and there were also a good amount of hotels that moved down a category. I still consider Club Carlson points to be a good value with their 2 for 1 award nights. Earning extra Club Carlson points won’t be a crux to my hotel points strategy this year, but still think they can offer a lot of value when used at the right hotels.

Booking Back-to-Back 2 for 1 Award Nights

When I signed-up up for the business version of the Club Carlson Visa I had to make a separate new loyalty program account. At first I thought this was a just an inconvenience that I could not link both cards to my one Club Carlson account, but there was a silver lining. With two Club Carlson accounts I can book back-to-back 2 for 1 Bonus Award Nights.

If you try to book consecutive 2 for 1 award nights with the same account, the second stay will not be discounted, but by having two accounts I can easily book these stays back-to-back to get 4 nights for the price of 2. This makes things simple because both accounts are in my name and if needed I can transfer points between accounts for free. Another way around this is to use a travel partner or spouse’s account to book back-to-back 2 for 1 award nights.

Automatic Gold Status

Yes, keeping just one card would give me automatic Gold elite status, but by having both it will also count towards both stays booked back-to-back. Since each card is attached to separate accounts, the accounts used to book back-to-back awards nights will both have Gold elite status. This could be useful and increase your chances of receiving an upgrade, however you will have the inconvenience of checking out and then back in. All I can say is try not to make it obvious.

So far I have had good results from Club Carlson’s elite status benefits and received a room upgrade at all but one of my stays last year. Welcome gifts have been more of a hit or miss.

Paying $135 in Annual Fees for ~$1,000+ Worth of Hotel Stays

Feeling confident that I can put an extra 80,000 Club Carlson to good use this year, I can justify keeping both of these card for another year. The cards’ 2 for 1 Bonus Award Nights are undeniably one of the most valuable hotel credit card perks out there. Now let’s see how long it takes the 40,000 anniversary points to post…

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About the author

Rand Shoaf

Introduced to traveling at a young age, Rand has since traveled to over 45 countries. Learning how to maximize credit card sign-up bonuses in college has allowed him to earn millions of travel miles and points. Using the same tips and tricks he writes about here has ultimately allowed him to explore the word for pennies on the dollar.