If you didn’t hear, Club Carlson and SPG hotel devaluations are soon to come. Club Carlson is introducing Category 7 hotels to their loyalty program. Starting March 15 ,2014, Category 7 hotels start at 70,000 Club Carlson points per night. These hotels include the following hotels:
- Radisson Royal Hotel, Dubai
- Radisson Blu Le Dokhan’s Hotel, Paris Trocadero
- Radisson Blu 1835 Hotel & Thalasso, Cannes
- Radisson Blu Le Metropolitan Hotel, Paris Eiffel
- Radisson Blu Hotel Champs Elysees, Paris
- The May Fair (London)
- Plaza on the River, London
- art’otel, Amsterdam
- Radisson Royal Hotel, Moscow
My Thoughts on Club Carlson Devaluation
I think that a devaluation to Club Carlson was inevitable. However, the changes are not that bad because only 9 hotels are going up for now. This devaluation is nothing compare to the Hilton Devaluation last year. Most importantly, they did not take away the free night for stays 2 nights or more. The most effective way to do this is to just book 2 nights and get the 2nd night free. If you have a friend/spouse, you can have them book another 2 nights and have 4 nights effectively. I did want to eventually stay at the May Fair London, but looks like I might change that plan or speculatively book something.
I do think that the Club Carlson credit card is still worth getting if you can use the hotel points in the near future. I’m sure that this is only the beginning of Club Carlson devaluations, and more will come in the future. Bottom line: Club Carlson is still worth investing in if you can use the points in the near future and like short 2-night stays.
My Thoughts on SPG Hotel Devaluation
In addition, 140 SPG hotels are moving down and SPG 110 on March 4, 2014 up in number of points required for a free night awards. The entire list can be found here. While this doesn’t sound like a devaluation, many properties I like or want to stay at are moving from Category 5 to 6. That’s a rate from 12,000 SPG points to 20,000 SPG points. I have never and probably never will stay at an SPG Category 6 hotel because I value SPG points at 2.2 cents a point. Therefore staying at a Catgory 6 hotel is equivalent to paying $440 for a hotel room, which I think is excessive. These hotels that I wanted to stay at are moving up from Category 5 to 6 include:
- Sheraton Waikiki
- Sheraton Maui
- Westin Maui
- W San Francisco
- W Los Angeles
- Le Meridian Taipei
Some positive changes caught my attention. These hotels are dropping from Category 5 to 4:
- The Westin Resort Nusa Dua, Bali
- Westin Miyako Kyoto
- The Laguna, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Nusa Dua, Bali
Also, Westin Tokyo is dropping from Category 6 to 5. My assumption is because of the abundance of hotels in Tokyo and also Hyatt is opening the Andaz Tokyo soon.
Most of the changes are for SPG hotels in America. If you are a local traveler to big cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles, then the changes are not good. If you mostly care about international travel, some of the changes might be good for you. Overall I think the changes are not great because most Hawaii properties are now out of reach for me and other budget travelers. These changes in the SPG program further reinforce my desire to redeem SPG points only for airline miles and not hotels. Also, since United devalued it’s program, many premium flights are best booked on SPG partners such as ANA, Aeroplan, and Singapore Air. My plan is to build up AMEX SPG points so I can experiment with foreign carrier loyalty programs.
What do you think about the Club Carlson and SPG hotel devaluations? Any changes in strategy?