Other bloggers have covered the Club Carlson Visa Card extensively and I've previously covered it HERE, so I won't go into it in depth about the card in this post. The signup bonus for the card is 85,000 points (approx. $4-500 value). The card carries an annual fee of $75, but is offset by an annual 40,000 point ($200+ value) bonus on the renewal date. The card also confers Gold status in Club Carlson's program and earns a respectable 5ppd on all spending. Of course, as many other bloggers have noted, the card also carries one other killer benefit: the last night of any multi-night award stay is free. For instance, I'm using the card to book two nights in a "business class" room at the Radisson Blu Zurich Airport, a booking that would ordinarily cost me around $800 or 150,000 points. But since I have the card, it is only costing me 75,000 points.
Club Carlson doesn't have the greatest mix of hotels, but the do have some pretty decent properties (generally Radisson Blu hotels in Europe) where you can get real value out of your points. I'd recommend as a card to consider for anyone looking to diversify or planning a trip to Europe. All three of the blogs on my sidebar will have links to the current best available signup offer.
All that said, I've had the card for more than a year and while I really like it, I'm consistently underwhelmed by the promotions that US Bank (the card issuer) puts on for actually using the card for ordinary spending. Today, I received a letter notifying me of a (targeted) bonus promising that I can "EARN 1 BONUS POINT PER DOLLAR SPEND THROUGH OCTOBER 31st." Sounds great, right? Well, in the smaller print, it turns out that the offer is more complicated. You have to register first. Then, you have to spend $2,600 dollars to trigger the additional 1ppd on the next $2,000 you spend before October 31st. So, the bonus is really an extra 2,000 points for spending $4,600 dollars on the card. That works out to a significantly less impressive 0.43ppd. That's better than a kick in the teeth if you were already planning to spend that much on the card. But if you weren't I'd hardly call it strong motivation to put nearly $5,000 spending on one card in 60 days.