One thing I was curious about when first hearing about the Club Carlson Visa is how the Free Bonus Award Night works. It’s what actually makes the card appealing to me and worth keeping. But do you have to book over the phone or can you book online? It’s actually quite simple and can be done online but I figured that I would go over booking the free Bonus Award night and the details of the free night.
Once you see how easy it is to book the free night, we’ll talk about ways to get multiple free nights on a longer stay. If you have the credit card, you should really consider reading about the different ways to book the free Bonus Award Night on back to back stays.
In The Best Use of Club Carlson Points I talk about how the credit card gives a free Bonus Award Night. This means that when you book an award stay you get a free night on the stay, which is a great perk. David commented asking/bringing to light the confusing language in the Terms and Conditions of this free night:
Bonus Award Night: When you redeem Gold Points for Award Nights of two or more consecutive nights at the same participating Carlson Rezidor hotel property, you will receive the last of the Award Nights of that stay free without deduction of any Gold Points from your Club Carlson account (“Bonus Award Night”).
Put simply, this means that when you book two or more nights you don’t have to pay for one of them. In other words, you could pay for one night and get one free. But it doesn’t actually work like that. You book two nights and if you have the credit card, you simply don’t have to pay for one of them.
Let me just go ahead and show both how to book it and that the free night can be applied to a two night stay – one paid night and one free night.
1) Have the credit card already.
2) Go to ClubCarlson.com and choose to redeem at least two nights in your desired location.
3) Click though the pricing screens to the check out.
I don’t know why it doesn’t tell you the actual price on the first pricing screen but instead chooses to tell you that you do get a free night. But fear not and click through.
4) On the last screen everything is adjusted and you’re good to go!
Easy, right? I wanted to show that you can indeed get a buy one get one free and that it is indeed bookable online.
Bonus Award Nights Back to Back
The other thing I wanted to talk about is getting the free night stays back to back. Let’s say you had a 4 or 5 night stay coming up. Well if you book it all as one stay you will get only one free night. Here are some ways around that.
First, let me say that booking two separate stays back to back does not work. If I now go back and try to book a two night stay from August 7th to August 9th, it will not give a free night.
Notice that the red box alerting you of the free bonus award night does not show up and the price is not adjusted. Club Carlson programed the computer properly and knows this is just a 4 night award stay and is only going to give one free night.
Ways around it?
1) Your spouse can book the second two nights. I could check out on the 7th and my wife check in and they might even give the same room. This way you pay for two of the four nights. This also assumes that you both have the credit card. But if so, simply log in to the different accounts and book your stays.
2) Book a paid stay in the middle.
I successfully booked an award stay Aug 5-7 and then a paid stay 7-8 and then another award stay 8-10. This gives me 5 nights, of which I pay for two award stays (and get two free) and pay full cash price.
3) Book an award stay somewhere else.
There are three Club Carlson hotels in Budapest and the Park Inn is also only 9,000 points. I could spend Aug 5-7 at the Radisson Blu and then Aug 7-9 at the Park Inn. And if desired, we could return to the Radisson Aug 9-11. With this strategy, you could forever only pay half of your award nights and get half free.
4) Book an award night in the middle. I booked an award stay from Aug 5-7 and Aug 8-10 and then went back and booked an award stay on Aug 7-8. In that order it works. This means on a 5 night stay we pay for 3 award nights and get two Bonus Award Nights.
The concept is simple. If you have an award stay already with a Bonus Award Night, you will not then be able to book a stay touching that reservation (at the same hotel) and get another Bonus Award Night.
Only one Bonus Award Night is available for a stay of two or more consecutive nights at the same hotel and does not apply to additional reservations booked as contiguous stays at the same hotel.
So are there any other ideas to be tested for booking Bonus Award Nights back to back?