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The Club Carlson℠ Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card: Over a Thousand Hotels to Choose From

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The Club CarlsonSM Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card: Over a Thousand Hotels to Choose From

Club CarlsonSM Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card Editor's Rating: 3.2 / 5

If you’re a frequent traveler who fancies earning points on hotel accommodations around the globe, the Club CarlsonSM Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card might be the card for you.

Let’s take a look and see what this card has to offer.

The Club CarlsonSM Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card: Benefits and basics

With the Club CarlsonSM Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card, you’ll earn 10 Gold Points per dollar spent on eligible purchases at over 1,000 Carlson Rezidor hotels worldwide, which include brands like Radisson Blu®, Radisson®, Park Plaza®, Park Inn® by Radisson and Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM. Cardholders will earn 5 points per dollar spent everywhere else.

Beyond the basics, the Club CarlsonSM Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card comes with a handful of other appealing features:

A two-tiered sign-up bonus

One of the reasons we love the Club CarlsonSM Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card is its unique sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 Gold Points after your first purchase, plus 35,000 points once you spend $2,500 on your card within the first 90 days - that's up to 9 Free Award Nights at Category 1 hotels. So whether you hit the spending threshold or not, you’ll still start off with a nice bundle of points.

Automatic Gold Elite Status

Club CarlsonSM Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card cardholders are granted automatic Gold Elite Status upon activation of their card, a benefit normally limited to those who spend 35 nights (or 20 stays) per calendar year at participating hotels. This comes with benefits like a 15% discount on food and beverages at participating hotel restaurants, complimentary room upgrades and a 35% point bonus.

Bonus points for loyalty

The Club CarlsonSM Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card values loyalty. Cardholders who renew their accounts will earn an additional 40,000 points per year upon making at least the minimum payment on the statement that includes the annual fee. That’s just one more reason keep the Club CarlsonSM Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card after the year is up. 

The Club CarlsonSM Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card: Pitfalls and other possibilities

Although the Club CarlsonSM Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card is a great option for many people, it isn’t ideal for everyone.

Limited earning, redemption choices

If you’re not a big spender at Club Carlson hotels, you’ll have a hard time earning (and ultimately redeeming) points with Club CarlsonSM Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card. For those who prefer more flexible travel rewards redemption, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® is probably a better choice.

As far as rewards go, this card is straightforward, earning 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases. Miles, which are worth at $.01 apiece as statement credit, gain an additional 5% in value when redeemed for travel credit — including things like hotels, airfare, taxis and more. Just designate which purchases on your statement you’d like to use miles on, and you’re good to go.

›› MORE: NerdWallet’s best hotel credit cards

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® also comes with a promotion for new cardholders: Enjoy 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days — that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit toward an eligible travel purchase. With no foreign transaction fees added, this card is a solid choice for earning rewards in the United States or abroad.

Foreign transaction fee

The Club CarlsonSM Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card comes with a 3% foreign transaction fee, which means it’s not the right card for making purchases overseas. Many rewards cards come without a foreign transaction fee. This is a good reason to carry more than one credit card.

Membership fee not waived

Most rewards cards entice new users by waiving the membership fee the first year. Not so with the Club CarlsonSM Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card, which charges $75* for your first year and every year of membership. For some Club Carlson enthusiasts, this fee might be worthwhile. Still, it’s nice to have the option of trying a card out for a year before committing to a fee.

One of the Nerds’s favorite hotel cards, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express. The annual fee is $0 for the first year, then $95. With this card you can earn up to 5 Starpoints per dollar spent at SPG hotels (depending on status), 2 Starpoints per dollar at Marriott Rewards properties, and 1 Starpoint earned on all other purchases.

For those who like to travel in style, Starpoints are the cream of the crop. Cardholders can transfer Starpoints to more 30 frequent flier programs at a 1:1 value, providing a lot of flying flexibility. But you’ll get the most bang for your buck by redeeming points for stays at SPG hotels, netting an average of 2.3 cents per point when used at eligible locations.

If you’re looking for more information on potential hotel card options, see NerdWallet’s roundup of good credit cards.

Is the Club CarlsonSM Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card right for you?

If you’re the type of traveler who regularly stays at hotels that fall within the Club Carlson network, this card will earn solid rewards that are eligible for future stays at those same properties. Folks who seek a wider variety of redemption options are probably better off with a general travel card.

Kevin Cash is a staff writer covering personal finance for NerdWallet. Follow him on Twitter @kevin_cash and on Google+.


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