Sunday, December 2, 2012

US Bank Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa

US Bank recently unveiled their new Club Carlson Visa Card with full details here.  No question, its one of the strongest regular credit card offerings this year, and its a tremendous surprise coming from US Bank, rarely associated with the big credit card offers usually given out by Chase, Amex of Citi! The card offers a tantalizing 85k Club Carlson points (50k after first spend and 35k after spending $2.5k in 3 months), almost good enough for 2 nights at their second highest Category 5 hotels!

While the Club Carlson program requires a large number of points for their stays, it is important to point out Hilton and Priority Club share this very similar feature. To make it easier to collect these huge piles of points, these programs tend to give out more points for spending in specific categories. As a result, points are not as difficult to earn as one might think.

Aside from the hefty initial bonus, the card offers a whopping 5 points per $1 spent on regular items, which gives it a superb earnings ratio, especially when compared to the excellent Chase Hyatt and Amex Hilton card category spend bonuses (2 Hyatt Gold Passport points per $1 and 6 Hilton points per $1 for restaurants, gas and groceries respectively). In this case however, there is not even a need for specific categories and you still get 5 points per $1 making this an exceptional card for regular spending.

And probably the best part of the offer is the bonus award night. If you make a redemption of Gold Points for 2 more more consecutive award nights, your last night is free! This is an exceptional offer no matter how you look at it! If you were to split the 85k initial bonus into two parts, this is equivalent to at least 4 nights at a Category 4 hotel or after spending $3,000 on the card (relatively easy if you need to fulfill the $2,500 spend requirement in the first 3 months), you'll have 2 two-consecutive-night stays (total of 4 nights) at a Category 5 hotel!

To summarize:
  • 50,000 Gold Points after first purchase
  • 35,000 Gold Points after spending $1k in the first 3 months
  • 40,000 Gold Points upon renewal each year
  • Bonus Award Night, for every 2+ night redemption, the last night is free
  • Club Carlson Gold Status
  • 10 Gold Points per $1 on Club Carlson purchases
  • Gold Points per $1 on everything else
  • Annual fee of $75

To top it all off, the icing on the cake is an additional 40,000 Gold Points upon renewal each year (good enough for two Category 4 nights!) AND Club Carlson Gold Status which gives you complimentary room upgrades. Given all these perks, the annual fee of $75 is a very small price to pay for such an exceptional card.

The one thing that you might want to consider though just before applying is to make sure the hotels you would like to stay at are included in Club Carlson's list of properties. Currently, it looks like they have a fair number of properties in the US, Europe (primarily UK and Germany) and a large number of hotels in China and India. Elsewhere though, coverage is a bit more sparse so you might want to make sure you have potential upcoming stays in those areas before applying to this card.

The application link is located here, good luck and have fun with all the free hotel night stays!

Disclaimer: This card is only available to US residents.  Also, I am not paid by US Bank to endorse their products.

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