Club Carlson Visa – match and rollover strategy for Concierge Elite chasers

Status match, activate and charge, rollover.

I received my Club Carlson Premier Rewards card yesterday, Business Rewards also approved from same-day applications, though Business Rewards took a few days of processing in contrast to instant approval for the Premier Rewards.

I knew about the Gold Elite status benefit that comes with both of those cards (while Platinum Rewards confers Silver Elite status, and the no annual fee Rewards confers no status) though not the lesser personal versions. But I am already Gold Elite from a status-match earlier this year, and noticed footnote 6 in the card description (bold emphasis added):

6 Elite Night Credit: If you are already a Gold or Concierge Elite member (Silver, Gold or Concierge for Platinum Rewards) in the Club Carlson program at the time that you applied for your Account, you are eligible to earn a one-time credit of 15 nights (10 nights for Platinum Rewards) towards obtaining or maintaining your current Concierge Elite status (Gold or Concierge for Platinum Rewards) after opening your Account and your first Net purchase on the Card (“Elite Night Credit”). Elite Night Credits are eligible for Elite Roll Over Nights the first year following the date of issuance, but will not carry-over thereafter. Please allow 6 to 8 weeks after the date of the first Net Purchase to receive your Elite Night Credit. The Elite Night Credit is not available to applicants who have had this Card or another Club Carlson credit card product within the last 12 months.

I have no idea what my travel patterns will be in the next 1-2 years, but with the year almost at an end, I will not activate/use my cards until January 1, so that I can get the Elite Night Credits in 2013 and have them through 2014. Maybe in 2014 I will stay at a ton of their properties and those nights will come in handy.

The terms says I won’t get the bonus twice. I will post if I get both, maybe try the ‘2-activation method’ and the ‘2-purchase method’ in the spirit of the ‘2-browser method’.

For those who plan to get the cards and plan to go for Concierge Elite status, then a consider a status match to Gold prior to getting the cards so you will have the Elite Night credits. There are a number of forum discussions on getting a status match, this MilePoint one I find useful because it shows that matches in 2012 were good through Feb 28, 2014 so I have no worries about waiting until 2013 to activate. (The Club Carlson website currently does not display elite status expiration.)

Is Club Carlson worth it over Gold? Probably not worth making any special effort (see comparison table). You don’t need any nights to have Gold with the credit card vs 75 night/30 stays for Concierge Elite. If these Elite Night Credits put you over the top for Concierge Elite, though, an extra 1,000 point online booking bonus, 25% point bonus, and free breakfast are nice to have. Don’t forget the ego benefit of top-tier status!

Note 1: Rapid Travel Chai does not receive any commission for the Radisson credit cards, and is unaware of any better offer than the current publicly available offer.

Note 2: Many people have expressed indignation that US Bank has denied their applications or approved them for the lesser Platinum card. Why wouldn’t US Bank want people with dozens of cards who use them for the sign-up bonuses and benefits and never put another dollar of spend on them? 🙂

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  • AK

    You raise a good point with Note 2: “Many people have expressed indignation that US Bank has denied their applications or approved them for the lesser Platinum card. Why wouldn’t US Bank want people with dozens of cards who use them for the sign-up bonuses and benefits and never put another dollar of spend on them?”

    I got my first US Bank card this summer with the FlexPerks Olympics promo and while I had to do $2500 in 5 months, I have zoomed way past the minimum spend in 4 months (what can I say? I like the points!). I also do open other cards for just the bonus frequently. I wonder if US Bank would see the amount of revenue they’ve gotten from me in the past 4 months of having that FlexPerks card and give me a pass on the inquiries if I apply for the Carlson card…

  • @AK – each bank certainly varies in their sophistication and what they consider but I have to believe a deeper relationship with a bank, be it actively using their cards or establishing accounts such as check or savings, or getting loans, helps a customer’s profile. For that reason I have moved half of my checking to Chase and frequently use their hotel credit cards even when those are not the best earning cards, I love the benefits from their Hyatt, Marriott and Priority Club cards and don’t want to leave them dormant.

  • Gol

    75 nights for Concierge? Ouch! Even with a one-time credit of 15 nights from the CC, that leaves a gap of 60. Impossible to fill at Carlson properties alone (with glaring holes in their global footprint, e.g. no hotels in Singapore, Hong Kong or Buenos Aires) unless you are lucky enough to snag a series of long term corporate assignments in Europe.

  • @Gol – I certainly agree it is a stretch, my travel for work and pleasure bounces around the globe so I end up with scattered stays across many brands. I recently noticed that Carlson has a decent footprint in Central America while many others do not. And in India they have a wide presence in the first and second-tier cities, with many planned openings. For South America just about everyone global is weak. In Asia I find the global brands often to be so exorbitant and that I do not consider them, and if I were going to pay that kind of money I would stay in a regional/local brand like Peninsula, Mandarin Oriental, Shangri-La, etc that put the global brands to shame.

  • @Gol – maybe 30 if I am lucky with both cards, but even then there is no way I could make it, I checked and this year I have 19 nights with them.

  • Lucy

    did you get instant approval or dod you have to call ?

  • @Lucy – instant approval for the personal, for business I called and they said it would take a few days, and similar to the experience of many others, calling does not seem to led to anyone who can influence the decision. A few days later the business was approved without a follow-up call and they never called me.

  • Lucy

    thanks, i really want to apply to both personal and business, i never had a US Bank card before, what kept me from applying is the reports i read about them not approving applicants with too many recent inquiries, my last credit card app was on August 28, but for the year i had applied to and got approved for 13 cards, did you have any recent inquiries when you applied? Will waiting a few months improve my odds with US Bank?

  • @Lucy – US Bank is new ground for most of us, not enough reports to show a consistent pattern, for me they pulled TU, which had only a few pulls, in terms of overall cards this year I think I have gotten, prior to this churn, 2 Amex, 1 Barclays, 2 Citi, and 3 Chase, which is why I felt it was as good a chance to go for these as I am likely to have. If you try,please share your experience.

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  • E

    Is it possible to match SPG plat to CC concierge?

  • @E – I have only ever heard reports of Club Carlson matching to their Gold Status, it is worth a try but likely only will get Gold.