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Carlson Bucks Trend with Positive Award Changes

Carlson Bucks Trend with Positive Award Changes

It’s been a particularly dispiriting few months for hotel loyalty program participants, with significant award-price increases from Hilton, Starwood, Marriott, and Wyndham.

Carlson is bucking the stick-it-to-’em trend with just-announced award changes that are a refreshingly net positive for Club Carlson members.

Of the 248 changes set to take effect on May 1, 97 will be price increases while 151 will be price decreases.

In sharp contrast to other hotels’ program changes, Carlson’s benign adjustments add value to the program. They also call into question the argument used by competing programs to justify their price increases, namely that the current environment for room rates and occupancy levels necessitated the price rises in order to keep the programs economically viable.

Either Carlson is operating in a parallel universe, with radically different economics, or other programs are being less than forthright in their rationalizations.

Although the net effect of Carlson’s new award pricing is positive, the company’s communications of the changes was much less consumer-friendly. Giving program members just a few days’ advance notice to book at the current award rates, before the increases take effect, is a glaring disservice.

As always with upcoming price rises, Club Carlson members should review the list of changes and book award nights at current prices before increases take effect on May 1. And hurry!

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  • Rick Mulhaupt

    Not everyone agrees. Some don’t look at it from Carlson Rezidor’s macro perspective.

    As a fairly new Carlson Rezidor customer, who has become a big fan, I think this is the first customer unfriendly flub I’ve observed. To be clear, I think for those who see benefit in the properties that dropped, it wouldn’t matter how quickly things change. But for those interested in properties that increased the point requirement, four days notice is just awful. And the many properties that went from 9,000 to 15,000 points or higher had a minimum 67% increase — or decrease in the value of our points.

    A definite black mark against their 1.5-million-customers-by-2015 – or whatever the numbers are – campaign.

    I and friends have commented that we think some of Club Carlson’s policies and practices are kind of quaint – when they fall our way. We might have anticipated that the same quaintness can fall the other way.