There is always talk of the Club Carlson Visa with the $75 annual fee which is not waived the first year. However, there is also a no annual fee Club Carlson Visa which is rarely talked about. In some instances, it can make sense to get this version of the card. Here are a few of them:
No annual fee
I guess I can’t make that any more obvious. There is no annual fee… ever! This is great because you can use this to build a long relationship with US Bank, the issuer of the card.
Last night free on award stays
One of the main reasons for having a Club Carlson Visa is because the last night is free for award stays. The no annual fee version gives this “last night free” benefit as well. So, if you seek the 2 for 1 benefit, you don’t need the $75 fee Visa.
Photo courtesy of RadissonBlu.com
The funny thing is that I have this no annual fee Visa and after meeting the minimum spend, I put it away in a drawer and haven’t used it since. However, every time I book a Radisson on points, my 2nd night is free.
30000 Bonus Points
You get 30,000 bonus points after spending $1000 in the first 3 months. This is in contrast to the annual fee version where you get 50,000 points after 1st purchase and an additional 35,000 after $2500 spend in 3 months.
You can buy Club Carlson points
Normally, Club Carlson sells points (up to 40,000 points per year), for 0.7 cents each. Thus, the full 40,000 points would cost $280. However, recently, they have been selling points with a 75% bonus in their flash sale, which translates into 70,000 points for $280. Of course, you can use those points as you please and use them for 2 for 1 nights. This is a pretty good deal in my opinion.
Also, Club Carlson sold points for 0.45 cents each on Daily Getaways recently, which was much tougher to get in on.
But it doesn’t come with any status
Unlike the annual fee version which comes with gold status, this one doesn’t give any status. Not to worry, Gold Status with Club Carlson is easy to get.
The no annual fee version only gives 3 points per dollar at Club Carlson hotels, and only 1 point per dollar on everything else. This makes it a terrible card for everyday spend, but hey, you’re not paying an annual fee, so it shouldn’t matter. Just pick another card for everyday spend.
There is no annual bonus, whereas the $75 fee version gives 40,000 points on every anniversary.
How I leverage this card
I have the no annual fee version, while my wife has the $75 annual fee version. We alternate our reservations to always get 2 for 1 as that is the best benefit. For example, on a four night stay, I book the first 2 nights under my name and book the other 2 nights under her name. As a result, we get 4 nights for the price of 2. My wife has status because of her annual fee card. I have status from status matching.
Don’t forget that Club Carlson allows you to transfer points between accounts. Thus, I transfer points between accounts when one account is short on points.
The no annual fee Club Carlson Visa is a bare bones card that also gives you the free night benefit of the other Club Carlson cards. It certainly is not the best card for manufacturing spend, but it may be good enough if you can buy Club Carlson points at a discount.
Related: Comparing the Club Carlson Credit Cards
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