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Carlson Devalues Loyalty Points By as Much as 44%

Carlson Devalues Loyalty Points By as Much as 44%

Carlson has been on a positive roll with its Club Carlson program recently, with notably consumer-friendly award changes and a particularly generous bonus promotion.

But as loyalty program members know from long and bitter experience, what goes up must come down. And last week Carlson reversed course, implementing — with no advance notice to Club Carlson members — a new points-to-miles conversion scheme that effectively devalues any points so used by as much as a jaw-dropping 44 percent.

The exchange rate in effect prior to July 1 was variable, depending on the number of points exchanged, as follows:

  • 2,000 points = 250 miles (8 points = 1 mile)
  • 50,000 points = 8,000 miles (6.25 points = 1 mile)
  • 100,000 points = 18,000 miles (5.56 points = 1 mile)

The new exchange rate is fixed at 10 pointes per mile. So the above conversions would be as follows:

  • 2,000 points = 200 miles
  • 50,000 points = 5,000 miles
  • 100,000 points = 10,000 miles

For Club Carlson members who favored miles over points, the changes represent an enormous devaluation. And the failure to at least give members a window of opportunity during which they could convert at the old rates compounds the move’s harshness.

The considerable good will equity Carlson had amassed prior to these changes? Squandered.

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