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Why the Club Carlson Visa may be the Best Card for Manufacturing spend

Radisson Blu AquaI had the pleasure of staying 2 nights at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel in Chicago this past weekend.   It’s a category 6 hotel and  costs 50,000 points per night.  My wife has the Club Carlson Premier Visa, so the 2nd night was free.  I thought it was a good use of points considering it was Memorial Day weekend.

If you are into manufacturing spend, you know points can add up fast with the Club Carlson Premier Visa which gives 5 points per dollar spent on everything and 10 points per dollar spent on Club Carlson hotels.

To put this in perspective, $10,000 spent on the card earns you 50,000 points, enough for 2 nights at a top hotel like the Radisson Blu Aqua.

What will spending $10k on other cards get you? (Assuming non bonus category spend)

  • Spent on the Fidelity Amex will get you $200 (still not enough for 2 nights at this Radisson)
  • Spent on the Starwood Amex (10,000 Starpoints = 1 free night at a category 4 SPG property)
  • Spent on the Hyatt card (10,000 Hyatt Points = not even enough for a category 3 hotel)
  • Any Ultimate Rewards earning card (10,000 Ultimate Rewards Points ~ worth about $200 if you value them at 2 cents a piece)
  • Barclay Arrival Card (20,000 Points redeemable for $220 in travel)

You get the idea.  I would rather manufacture spend on the Club Carlson Visa to rack up free hotel nights.  The value is just too good.

There are a lot of blogs out there who teach you how to manufacture spend, but three ways to easily put spend on this card include:

  1. Amazon payments: 1K each month for 12 months = 60,000 Club Carlson points (easy 2 free nights)
  2. Amex Serve:  You can load $1K per month online ($200 daily limit) without the headache of going hunting for gift cards… again 60,000 points per year.  Outandout.net confirms there are no cash advance fees charged by Club Carlson Visa for Amex Serve loads.
  3. Visa gift cards from the mall (You can google which mall): There is a $2.95 fee for a $500 Visa gift card which can then be loaded to bluebird.  $10K in Visa gift cards = $60 in fees = 50,000 Club Carlson points = 2 free nights (well technically not free… since you paid $60 for them)

There is a $75 annual fee for the card which is not waived.  However, every year you get 40,000 points which makes the card totally worth it.

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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Harlan V. May 30, 2014, 1:41 pm

    I’ve been loading Serve with the Club Carlson Visa and couldn’t be happier with it. I LOVE this card. Have to agree it’s one of the best for non-bonused spend!

    • lovetofly May 30, 2014, 5:38 pm

      Yeah, I agree. Thanks for verifying that there are no cash advance fees

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