• How I’m staying a week in Paris for $356

    Posted on February 9, 2012 by in Club Carlson


    UPDATE 5/14/12
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    Welcome to the first installment of Mile Monster Case Study. These posts will help give you an idea of what airline miles, hotel points, and travel “hacking” in general can get you. Our first stop…Paris!

    On November 2nd, 2011, Club Carlson, the parent company of Radisson Hotels launched a promotion called “The Big Night Giveaway”. They were celebrating the opening of the Radisson Aqua Blu in Chicago. The rules of the promotion were simple. Stay one night at a Radisson anywhere in the USA, Canada, or the Caribbean between November 10th and December, 30th and Club Carlson would award you with 50,000 Gold Points.

    Each person was only allowed one bonus. It was a one shot deal.

    Now Radisson’s in the USA are OK. They aren’t the greatest but they certainly aren’t the worst. However in Europe, Radisson Blu Hotels are considered 4 and 5 star hotels often going for well over 350 euros. That’s around $460 USD at the current exchange rate.

    The key now was to find inexpensive Radisson Hotels for our fellow Mile Monsters to check-in to. Fortunately a few live in a cold weather state. Over Thanksgiving we found a rate on hotels.com for a Radisson that was convenient for check-in. The price was listed as $44 . Radisson.com had it listed for $65. Now pay attention here people! All major hotel groups have what is called a Best Rate Guarantee (BRG). If you find it cheaper on another website with a certain period of time that you make your reservation they will match it and usually give another discount on top of that rate. Radisson’s (Club Carlson) BRG states they will match the price and beat it by 25%.

    Our $65 hotel just turned into a $33 dollar hotel. Below are the prices we paid for each check-in.

    • Hotel 1 – $33 (BRG)
    • Hotel 2 – $33 (BRG)
    • Hotel 3 – $57 (BRG)
    • Hotel 4 – $73
    • Hotel 5 – $62
    • Hotel 6 – $65
    • Hotel 7 – $33 (BRG)
    $356 USD for 7 nights. The funny thing is no one actually stayed in these rooms. They simply checked in and walked out the door. Now you’re probably thinking “What good is 50,000 points in 7 different peoples accounts?” In most hotel loyalty programs this would pose a problem. Sure you can transfer points but they charge you. Club Carlson lets you gift points. For FREE. Each person simply transferred their points to the same person. The one spending a week in Paris for $356. Me. When all the transfers were complete, I ended up with over 350,000 Gold Points.


    Now the fun part.

    The Radisson Blu Ambassador Hotel, Paris Opera

    I wonder which one I should pick?

    Also something to note is that when paying for the room out of pocket you incur around 10% tax. So the total would be roughly 2700 Euros or  $3500.00! When “paying” with Gold Points, the tax is included!

    Now of course no one that I know would actually pay that much to stay in Paris. (And if you do…can we be friends?) Of course there are cheaper options in Paris. Sure. But remember, you get what you pay for here. If you want run down, far away from the city center and still pay over $100 USD per night…enjoy your trip.

    Bottom line:

    Total Room Cost – $3500
    Total spent obtaining Gold Points – $350
    Savings – 90%

    The one thing you should take away from this case study is the fact that we “bought” Gold Points for $0.001 That’s 1/10 of a cent and redeemed or “sold” them for 1 cent.

    Buy low. Sell high.

8 Responses so far.

  1. […] Redeeming for a week in Paris document.write(''); Ran across an article on high value redemptions with Club Carlson points. http://www.milemonster.com/2012/02/0…-for-only-356/ […]

  2. […] points). Here's a good article on the value of Carlson Gold Points and high-value redemptions. http://www.milemonster.com/2012/02/0…-for-only-356/ Also they just confirmed you can participate in 3 separate promos. […]

  3. […] on last years promo on how to utilize Carlson Gold Points for high-value hotels in Europe here http://www.milemonster.com/2012/02/09/how-im-spending-a-week-in-paris-for-only-356/ Share […]

  4. […] Check out my previous post on last years promo on how to utilize Carlson Gold Points for high-value hotels in Europe here http://www.milemonster.com/2012/02/09/how-im-spending-a-week-in-paris-for-only-356/ […]

  5. ccw says:

    any creative tips on how to maximize the bonus beyond being a “one shot deal”? i can stay one night, my spouse can also, but how to include other family? would love to get an additional 5x as your above strategy illustrates. thanks for the info and strategy!

    • Miles says:

      @ccw We included other family members in our strategy. Do you have any brothers, sisters, etc. that you could create and account for? You do all the heavy lifting. Setup the Club Carlson account, make the reservation, and then just have the people show up. Give them cash to cover the room because they will have to pay with their card. When the points post have them, or you :) call and make the transfer from their account to yours. This years promo will be easier to achieve with less people. We will know everything once it’s confirmed but chances are you will be able to participate in the Radisson (50k), Country Inn (44k), and if you live by one, Park Inn (44k). One person could take in over 138k Gold Points. You just need to ask yourself how many you want (and how much you are willing to spend!) and how many people are willing to help you achieve it.

  6. BJ says:

    Just some intel based on your comment above about “giving cash to each family member who has to show up and pay”…..last year I essentially did what you did in their 50K Radisson promo, and set up accounts for 5 family members, all in the same hotel and same night. The thing of it is though, I paid for all the rooms with my card, so I am pretty sure that one person can pay for all the rooms.

    I also suspect that by doing this, that same paying family member can go to the hotel and check everyone in, even if they aren’t there, regardless of what CC is saying about that person must check in and out. I think it’s pretty easy to say hey the rest of my family wont be here until late tonight and Im here now so I am just going to go ahead and check them all in. Its not as if CC front desk agents are going to note who the person was.

    Again this is all conjecture on my end so proceed at your own risk, but I know for a fact that the same person can pay for all the rooms, and highly surmise that same person can “check in” for everyone…..Now if we can just find some hotels that will let everyone do this over the phone, lol

    • Miles says:

      @BJ Thanks for the comment. You’re right in the fact you can pay for them all with your credit card. In my situation, my family members were out of state so I just sent them a check for the total. I know last year there were a few hotels that allowed a phone check in/out but it was shut down by Carlson after a few weeks.