Club Carlson℠ Business Rewards Visa® Credit Card
Club Carlson, the loyalty program for the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, offers the Club Carlson Business Visa Rewards credit card through U.S. Bank. If you’re a loyalist to Carlson hotels, which include Radisson, Country Inn & Suites, Park Inn and more, this is a great card to accelerate your Club Carlson earnings.
The Club Carlson Business card offers a nice return on spending, a great sign-up bonus and automatic Gold Elite status for as long as you remain a card member. You’ll also earn 40,000 bonus points on your card member anniversary and an additional free night if you spend at least $10,000 per year on the card. Best of all, you get all of this for a low $60 annual fee.
If you’re not familiar with the Club Carlson program or the hotels mentioned above, it may be because they have fewer properties in the U.S. compared to some of the larger chains, but the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group does have nearly 1,500 locations in over 100 countries.
In this review, we’ll closely examine all these perks, as well as other benefits of the Club Carlson program, to help you determine if this card is right for you.
Bonuses and Benefits
Knowing what benefits come with a credit card can help you decide if it’s a good fit for you. Here we cover the bonuses and perks that the Club Carlson℠ Business Rewards Visa® Card offers and the value of the U.S. Bank Club Carlson℠Rewards Gold Points® you earn.
Club Carlson’s business credit card offers multiple attractive bonuses. To begin, once you make your first purchase on your new card, you’ll earn 50,000 bonus points (also called Gold Points). That’s right, a single cup of coffee could earn you 50,000 points.
Next, if you spend $2,500 on your card within the first three months of being approved, you’ll earn an additional 35,000 points. Even better, you’ll earn 40,000 points on your card anniversary each year when you renew and pay your annual fee.
If that wasn’t good enough, you’ll earn an annual free night good at any property in the United States if you spend at least $10,000 on the card each year. These are great bonuses that are among the best of any hotel credit card!
What You Get
- 50,000 Gold Points® after your first purchase
- Another 35,000 Gold Points® if you spend $2,500 within 3 months of account opening
- 40,000 Gold Points® annually when you renew your card
- A free night every year you spend $10,000
- 10 Gold Points® per dollar spent at Carlson Rezidor hotels
- 5 Gold Points® per dollar for all other purchases
Club Carlson Gold Points can expire, but this can easily be avoided. Normally, these points have an expiration date of 24 months after they are earned, but if you earn or redeem at least one point within that time frame, you will extend the life of your points balance another 24 months. You can do this by staying and earning points at a Club Carlson property at least once every two years, or if you use your card at least once in that same timeframe, you’ll continue to prolong the expiration of your Gold points.
What is the value of the Club Carlson℠Rewards Gold points®?
You’ll get the most value from your Club Carlson rewards points by redeeming them at one of over 1,000 Carlson Rezidor properties worldwide. Redemptions start at just 9,000 points per night for a standard room and go up to 70,000 points for high-end Category 7 hotels.
If you prefer to redeem for a premium room, those redemptions start at 13,500 points and go up to 105,000 points per night. While not uncommon, that’s a pretty big range. You can also redeem points for in-hotel awards like movies, laundry credits and room upgrades.
While you can transfer your Gold points to certain airlines, you do so at a measly 10:1 ratio. Club Carlson points aren’t worth as much, on average, as other travel currencies, so transerring them to irlines for any type of flight redemption is going to yield a very low return, and we advise against it.
What is CPP and How is it Calculated?
Cents Per Point (CPP) is a way to measure the value of points. It tells you how many cents you get for each point you redeem by dividing the cash price of the hotel room by the number of points of an equivalent award stay costs. This can be a somewhat subjective calculation because the price of the stay in both cash and points fluctuates by season and availability.
How we calculate CPP:
The Best Ways to Redeem Club Carlson Gold points®
Club Carlson is a standard hotel loyalty program offering multiple categories of hotels and a set number of points to redeem for each category. Their worldwide group of properties are divided into seven categories based on location, brand and other factors.
As mentioned earlier, rooms start as low as 9,000 points per night, so the best way to maximize your points is to stay at lower category hotels. That said, if you’re valuing your points on a CPM basis, you may get a higher value at hotels that cost more points but also cost a lot more in cash.
Country Inn & Suites By CarlsonSeattle, WA · Category 4Points price38,000pointsDollars price/Night$107
Radisson Hotel FortWorth South, TX · Category 1Points price9,000pointsDollars price/Night$88
Country Inn & Suites By CarlsonAnaheim, CA · Category 6Points price50,000pointsDollars price/Night$129
Park Inn by RadissonHasselt, Belgium · Category 1Points price9,000pointsDollars price/Night$100
Radisson Blu HotelCairo Heliopolis, Egypt · Category 3Points price28,000pointsDollars price/Night$68
Radisson Blu PlazaDelhi Airport, India · Category 5Points price44,000pointsDollars price/Night$162
Other ways you can redeem Gold Points®
Hotel Staysmore than 1,000more than 1,000
The best way to redeem your Club Carlson Gold Points is at one of their hotels. Fortunately, there are many options across the globe (Radisson, Country Inns & Suites, Park Inn by Radisson, Park Plaza, etc).
Car Rental6 partners6 partners
While you can earn extra Gold Points by booking a rental car, you cannot redeem your points toward free rentals (Avis, Budget, National Car Rental, Alamo, Enterprise, etc).
Another option for your Club Carlson points is to redeem them for gift cards through a variety of major retailers. However, this is not recommended as the value of your points drops significantly for these types of redemptions.
Unfortunately, you cannot redeem points toward cash back. You can redeem points for prepaid Visa cards, but the value of your points is downright terrible if you do so. Another option would be to donate your points to the World Childhood Foundation or the American Red Cross, or to help offset your carbon footprint..
One very nice benefit of the Club Carlson Business credit card is the great earnings rate you get on your purchases. You can earn five points per dollar on every purchase at any merchant. And when you use your card at Club Carlson hotels, you’ll earn a generous 10 points per dollar, which can really accelerate your earnings and points balance.
Other than using your card when you stay at Club Carlson properties, you don’t have to worry about rotating category bonuses or caps on the number of points you can earn. You can truly earn a ton of Gold Points with this card.
- Car Rental
- 5Gold Points®/$1
- 5Gold Points®/$1
- 5Gold Points®/$1
- Carlson Rezidor purchases
- 10Gold Points®/$1
- 5Gold Points®/$1
- All Other Purchases
- 5Gold Points®/$1
Since this card earns five points per dollar everywhere, the only bonus category is for Club Carlson hotels. And remember, any charge that gets added to your bill (like room service or spa treatments) will be included in your total and also earn ten points. That’s huge and adds to your great rate of return!
Gold Elite Status
Get instant elite status with Carlson Rezidor just for being a cardholder. If you already have status, you’ll get credit for 15 elite qualifying nights toward Concierge Status.
Foreign Transaction Fee
You’ll pay a 2% fee for each foreign purchase transaction or foreign ATM advance transaction made in U.S. Dollars, and 3% for each foreign purchase transaction or foreign ATM advance transaction made in a foreign currency.
While a TSA PreCheck credit does not come with this card, you can redeem your points toward the PreCheck registration fee.
Earn Elite Status Fast
As long as you remain a card member, you will maintain Club Carlson Gold status, their mid-tier elite status. This is a great benefit because non-cardholders have to achieve 20 stays or 35 nights per year to attain the same benefits.
By simply being a cardholder, you don’t need to complete any stays to become Gold. If, however, you already have Gold status without the help of this card, you’ll get a 15-night credit toward top-tier Concierge status. This is a unique benefit not offered on other hotel credit cards!
- Cardholders get instant Gold Elite status with Carlson Rezidor
- If you already have Gold status, you’ll get a 15-night credit toward Concierge status.
Fees: the cost of Having the Card
The annual fee for the Club Carlson Business Rewards card is $60. It is not waived for the first year. While this charge is very reasonable, it’s good to assess how much you need to spend on the card to offset that cost.
Based on our calculations, you’ll get a value of about 0.38 cents per point, so you would need to spend $3,158 each year to cover the cost of the fee. By doing so, you’ll earn at least 15,790 points, which is roughly worth $60. If you spend about $2,000 each month, you’d have the card paid off in just two months. However, if you wanted to spread that cost out over the course of a year, you’d only need to spend $264 per month to accomplish the same thing.
Another way to think about the cost to hold this card is to weigh the annual fee against the sign-up bonus. Let’s assume you earned the full 85,000 points that are worth $323. At only $60 per year, your sign-up bonus covers over five years of fees, which is a deal.
But don’t forget, you also get 40,000 bonus points each year you renew your card and pay the annual fee. Those points are worth $152, which is more than double the $60 annual fee! So just by paying that fee each year, you’re getting more value in points than the cost to keep the card. What’s not to like?
- Annual Fee
- Balance Transfer Fee
Either 3% of the amount of each transfer or $5 minimum, whichever is greater
- Foreign Transaction Fee
- 2% - for foreign transaction in $; 3% - in a Foreign Currency
- Late Payment Fee
- $19 on balances up to $100, $29 on balances from $100 up to $250, $39 on balances of $250 or more
See What It Takes to Cover an Annual Fee:
Get anniversary bonus: 40,000 Gold Points®
You will receive 40,000 bonus points each anniversary year – enough to cover more than a half of the annual fee.
We strongly recommend to spend not less than $1,053 per months to cover the annual fee in three months.
Let’s see what your first-year earnings and savings will be. Then calculate the second-year savings to see if you can keep the earning power and it will be worth keeping the card a er signup bonus is no longer available. This simple calculation can show if the card is worth your attention or you can skip this offer and find another one.
These estimates are based on an annual monthly spend of $2,000
Top 5 Benefits of the Club Carlson Business Rewards Visa
There are numerous great benefits of the Club Carlson Business card including the sign-up bonus and great rate of return. Let’s take a look at the five best benefits that come with this credit card.
- Big Sign-Up Bonuss: This card comes with a fantastic sign-up bonus of 85,000 points. That’s worth $323 in hotel stays with Club Carlson.
- Great Earning Potential: Every purchase you make earns five points per dollar, while stays at Club Carlson properties earn 10 points per dollar. You can really earn a ton of points on this business card with regular spending and stays at Carlson hotels.
- Awesome Anniversary Bonus: Starting with the second year that you have the card, you’ll get an annual bonus of 40,000 points. On top of that, if you spend at least $10,000 on the card, you’ll get a certificate for a free night at any U.S. Carlson hotel. That’s incredible!
- Automatic Gold Status: You’ll be awarded Club Carlson’s Gold status as an automatic benefit for maintaining your card. No minimum stays or nights required.
- Employee Cards at No Cost: Unlike other business cards, you don’t have to pay extra to add your employees as authorized users, and all their purchases will earn at least 5X, too!
Should You Get the Club Carlson Business Rewards Visa?
Although there are fewer Radissons and Park Plazas around compared to other hotel brands, the value of the Club Carlson Business credit card is very good. Their Gold Points aren’t the most lucrative travel currency out there, but the value of the credit card far outweighs the nominal cost to keep it.
If you’re considering the Club Carlson Business Rewards card, the biggest question to ponder is if Carlson Rezidor properties are in places that you travel to for business or pleasure. In other words, will you be able to use the Club Carlson points you’ll earn? If so, the annual bonuses are worth far more than the annual fee, and if you use this card a fair amount for your business, you’ll only accelerate the rate at which you earn Gold Points.
In all fairness, there aren’t a great deal of Carlson properties in the U.S., so if you’re mainly a domestic traveler, that’s worth considering. But even if you stay at one or two Club Carlson property every year, this card may be the one for you.
Need more info? Check out our frequently asked questions. If you have other questions, please click on “Ask Now” below.
- Absolutely. If you don’t have enough points for an award night, or you just want to stretch your loyalty account balance, you could choose to pay for your room partially with points and cash. Remember, you’ll earn 10X on the cash portion of your payment when using your Carlson Business card.Unlike other hotel programs, though, you don’t have complete control on the number of points you can redeem for a partial redemption. The category of the hotel will dictate the exact number of points you’ll need to complete a Points + Cash stay.
What’s better, redeeming the sign-up bonus for one night at a really nice hotel or multiple nights at less flashy properties?That’s a great question, but the answer is totally subjective. I think you should ask yourself what you value more, using more points for a nicer property or room, or getting more free stays out of the points I have? If you don’t stay in major cities or care about fancy hotels, use fewer points for more free nights. But if you’re a luxury traveler, you’ll need to cough up more points to stay in fancier digs.Also, consider how quickly you earn points. If you’re a big spender on your Club Carlson Business card or stay in their hotels often, you might earn points at a faster rate than you can redeem them. If that’s the case, consider splurging on an expensive redemption every now and then. Conversely, if you don’t earn many Gold Points each year but like staying with this chain, you’ll need to stay at lower category properties to get more free nights.
- If you have multiple Club Carlson credit cards, all of the points you earn on your cards will be deposited into one Club Carlson account. However, unlike a few other hotel chains, only U.S. Bank issues Club Carlson cards, and there aren’t any rewards programs that allow transfers to Club Carlson. This is a major downside to the Carlson brand.
- Status is great, but what does it get you? In this case, quite a bit! Some of the benefits you get as a Gold Elite member include access to member-only room rates, a 15 percent discount on food and beverages with participating hotel restaurants and bars, complimentary room upgrades, 35 percent bonus points on your paid stays, early check-in and late check-out, an in-room welcome gift and 72-hour guaranteed room availability. This is a nice value in addition to other perks you get from this credit card.
There are four Club Carlson credit cards offered through U.S. Bank, and they all offer the ability to earn a ton of Gold Points. Some benefits and bonuses are shared across these cards, so we’ll take a closer look to see how they stack up against each other.
Other Club Carlson cards
|Club Carlson℠ Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card|
|Sign-up bonus||30,000 Gold Points®||85,000 Gold Points®||60,000 Gold Points®||85,000 Gold Points®|
|APR On Purchases||23.99% Variable±||14.99% to 23.99% Variable±||14.99% to 23.99% Variable±||14.99% to 23.99% Variable±|
|Second Year Value||$91||$608||$369||$608|
At first glance, the Club Carlson Business Rewards credit card is most like the Club Carlson Premier Rewards card for consumers. Both cards offer the same earnings rates, sign-up and annual bonuses, and automatic Gold Elite status. The biggest difference between these two cards is that the annual fee is lower on the business version, and the personal card offers a few extra benefits because it’s a Visa Signature.
The Club Carlson Rewards Visa Signature card has a lower fee at only $50 per year but also earns fewer points on everyday purchases as well as on stays at a Carlson hotels. While its Visa benefits match the Premier version, its anniversary bonus each year is lower at 25,000 points.
Finally, the no annual fee Club Carlson Rewards card earns the fewest number of points per dollar spent. It also comes with the smallest sign-up bonus with no points after the first purchase and only 30,000 points after spending $1,000 within 90 days. There are also fewer card benefits since it isn’t a Visa Signature card.
As you can see, these cards are very similar but have different benefits for business versus personal customers, and the higher annual fee cards have more perks than their no-fee cousins. If you want a Club Carlson business card, there’s only one option. If you’re looking to pair it with a personal card, there are three to choose from. The amount you spend and how well you can utilize the benefits should help you decide which card is best for you.
Compare Club Carlson Business Rewards Visa to Other Cards
Club Carlson’s biggest competitors are Starwood (and their SPG loyalty program) and Marriott. These chains also offer co-branded credit cards that earn points for their respective programs, but the similarities stop there.
Right off the bat, you might say the SPG card offers the fewest points in terms of everyday spending and bonuses. However, SPG points are among the most valuable reward currencies due to their reasonable hotel redemptions and the ability to transfer them to over 30 airlines. Plus, each transfer of 20,000 points yields a 5,000 points bonus.
Meanwhile, the Marriott business card offers five points per dollar on Marriott stays and two points per dollar on airfare, car rentals and internet/cable/phone expenses, as well as at restaurants and office supply stores. You get one point per dollar everywhere else, which is lower than the everyday rate on the Carlson business card.
On an annual basis, the Club Carlson card gives you 40,000 bonus points (which could be redeemed for multiple free nights), while the Marriott card only awards one free night each year. The SPG card doesn’t give you a free night award, but it does offer credits for stays that count toward elite status.
Speaking of status, the Marriott card gives automatic Gold status (like the Club Carlson card). You have to spend $30,000 per year to get the same status with the SPG business card.
As you can see, these cards are very different. And while Starwood and Marriott will soon be fully merged, they are maintaining separate credit cards and loyalty programs for now. For the time being, their points can also be transferred freely between the two programs (and statuses are matched as well), but the long-term plan for the combined chain’s loyalty program has yet to be announced.
Whenever you apply for a credit card make sure you read the terms and conditions of the card and the rewards program to find out about minimum spend requirements and any restrictions to ensure you can successfully obtain the card and earn the rewards it offers.
Card Terms and Conditions
While it's easy to focus on the rewards offered by the Club Carlson Business Rewards Visa card, it's worth taking a closer look at the terms and conditions. There's a lot to consider as you think about how you're going to use the card. Will you carry a balance, get a cash advance or maybe make a big purchase? Below is a rundown of the various interest rates, purchase protections, security features and mobile banking options that come with this Visa Business card.
- Intro APR:
- See Terms and Conditions
- Intro APR for balance transfers:
- See Terms and Conditions
- Ongoing APR:
- 14.99% to 23.99% Variable±
- Minimum Grace Period:
- 24 - 30 days
- Purchase Security and Extended Protection:
- Shop with peace of mind knowing your card has you covered by extending the warranty on your purchases and offering extra protection if something goes wrong after you buy.
Cash Advance Features
- Ongoing APR:
- 24.99% Variable±
- Cash Advance Fee:
- Either 4% of the amount of each advance or $5 minimum, whichever is greater
Security and Protections
Like other major credit cards, the Club Carlson Business Visacomes with built-in security features.
- Account alerts:
- Get notified when large transactions occur, if there’s an unauthorized withdrawal and when your bill’s due.
- Zero Fraud Liability Protection:
- U.S. Bank helps protect your account and you won’t be liable for unauthorized transactions if your card is ever lost or stolen.
- EMV Chip Technology:
- Use your card worldwide thanks to the latest chip technology.
Banking on the go has never been easier. U.S. Bank offers a great mobile website and free app to manage all of your U.S. Bank accounts (in addition to your Club Carlson Business card). It’s secure and convenient. Check your purchases, make payments and more all in the palm of your hand.
- Mobile Wallet:
- Link your card for Apple Pay, Android Pay or Samsung Pay to use your card through your smart phone.
- U.S. Bank App:
- You can get the free U.S. Bank app as a way to keep track of your credit card on your phone.
Additional Cardholder Benefits
The Club Carlson Business credit card is offered through Visa and comes with many great benefits. While not a Visa Signature, the worldwide acceptability of Visa is the same for your business credit card and does come with additional features for the primary cardholder.
Visa Signature Travel Benefits
- Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver:
- If you’re renting a car while on business, you’ll have coverage for theft and collision for most rentals in the U.S. and abroad. This coverage is secondary to your personal insurance.
- Roadside Dispatch:
- Get roadside assistance, including lockout service, towing, jumpstart and gas delivery when the unexpected arises. Service charges apply.
- Travel Accident Insurance:
- In the unfortunate event of accidental death or dismemberment, you’re covered for up to $500,000 for any air, bus, train or cruise ship transportation paid for with your card.
- Travel and Emergency Assistance Services:
- For the things you can’t always plan for, this card offers legal and medical referrals, and other travel and emergency assistance any time of day. Service charges apply.