Club Carlson has allowed conversion of Gold Points to miles at a fixed scale of 2,000 points to 250 miles, 50,000 points to 8,000 miles and 100,000 points to 18,000 airlines miles. I wrote a piece about airline transfers in December (you can read it here), when I redeemed 300K Gold Points to 54K United miles + 15K bonus for hotel points conversion from United. So, I got 69K United miles for 300K Club Carlson points.
Now, Club Carlson has devalued the Gold Points to airline conversions by up to 44% and has not given any prior notice to program members. You can see the old rates on the left and the new conversion rates on the right. You can access Club Carlson’s web page for points to airline conversion here.
Club Carlson likely pays around one cent for an airline mile that they purchase. Conversion of 100,000 CC points to 18,0000 airline miles likely cost them around $180.
Hotel loyalty programs reimburse hotels for awards usually at a very low rate of $20 to $50 per night (unless the occupancy is really high). Club Carlson must have run the numbers and decided that buying these miles from airlines was too expensive for them.
There is absolutely no excuse for Club Carlson for not giving any prior notice about this change for their members and let them to redeem at the now old rates for set period of time. This would have been the right thing to do.
Club Carlson changed their award requirements earlier this year by only publishing well hidden page on their website couple of days before the new award levels were going to take effect and never emailed anything about this to their membership. They have also changed some hotel award categories mid year without any prior notice to program members.
I would say that anyone with any significant number of Club Carlson points on their account should be very careful and use the points rather sooner than later.
It usually doesn’t bode too well for the longevity of the program, when they make drastic changes like changing their award charts without giving any prior notice and revamping the points to airline conversion with no notice again. They can certainly do so and it is within the Terms and conditions of the program, but is it ethical?
This change was first posted on a thread on FlyerTalk that you can access here.