US Bank / Club Carlson gives me a FREE night cert! When hotel cards perks are worth the fee alone.

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cc letter free night

I had some good news in the mail yesterday and it came in the form of the above letter giving me a free night at ANY Carlson Rezidor hotel. That is HUGE! I have a sinking feeling that the massive cut in the BOGOF perk from the US BANK Club Carlson card that hit on 1JUNE15 has created a rather large flood of cancellations and complaints.

Now if you have never had the US Bank Club Carlson card it still can have real value for the non-waived $75 fee, at least for the first year, in terms of bonus points after spend and the GOLD status that comes with the card. After the first year, if this free night offer becomes more than a one time thing, it could make this yet one more card that pays for itself in terms of value on it’s own.

ihg free night with card

Take another hotel card I pay the annual fee for HAPPILY each year, that is, the Chase IHG rewards card (e-mail me if you need Chase links btw). I am more than thrilled to pay the $49 fee to hold the card for the free night at ANY IHG hotel including Intercontinental hotels and I will be using mine at just such a hotel this year saving me hundreds of dollars for the night and well over hundreds by burning up my wife’s cert as well (yep, we both hold the card and pay the fee each year). Before Platinum was top status, but even mid-status for free for holding the card has real value like the Club Carlson card.

spg elite credits

Lastly we have not free nights certs but stay credits as a perk from both the personal SPG AMEX card and then the same bonus from the business SPG AMEX card. Notice the above screen shot from the T&C on the application page. If you are, like me, chasing SPG Platinum status each year for the value of the perks that gives you like shots at some very nice upgrades and free breakfasts and club access then getting, if you hold BOTH cards, up to 4 stay credits and 10 night credits total can be well worth the fee alone compared to maybe having to do a “mattress run” to maintain your status. Real value and one of the many reasons I hold an SPG AMEX card.

I really like all this effort by hotel cards to basically do what the airlines are doing, that is, giving away a room each year (or something similar) that likely will go empty that day anyway and keeps a customer loyal to the travel card and paying the fee each year. If you have the card in your wallet you are much more likely to use it for spending to get some more points. Smart.

Now what if you did not or don’t get the above US Bank letter? I would wait till about this time next week and then maybe call and see if they can issue an E-Cert to you as well for keeping your Club Carlson card. All they can do is say NO and if you also let them know this would be a real reason to keep the card just maybe it could become an annual benefit for the card! – Rene


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  1. Thanks for the heads up! I got the same letter, and will be watching for the email. If this is an annual benefit, I’m keeping the card. If it’s a one-time thing, I’ll still probably cancel.

  2. @Rene and @DaveS I also received the letters in the mail for my personal and business account. I just checked my accounts online and the e-certs are listed but I never received an email. Check your accounts, they are probably there!

  3. @Deborah – My cert is there but nothing for my wife who did NOT complain a while back. Humm… time to call!

  4. @Rene-Same here! I can’t get my husband to call and complain so he didn’t for the extra miles when they dumped the bonus night. I called on both my cards and received the free nights. He’s going to have to suck it up and call about the free night.

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