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Carlson Award Changes Are Good News

It's been a particularly dispiriting few months for hotel loyalty program participants, with significant award-price increases from Hilton, Starwood, Marriott, and Wyndham.

Carlson is bucking the stick-it-to-'em trend with just-announced award changes that are a refreshingly net positive for Club Carlson members.

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Of the 248 changes set to take effect on May 1, 97 will be price increases while 151 will be price decreases.

In sharp contrast to other hotel program changes, Carlson's benign adjustments add value to the program. They also call into question the argument used by competing programs to justify their price increases, namely that the current environment for room rates and occupancy rates forced the price rises in order to keep the programs economically viable.

Either Carlson is operating in a parallel universe, with radically different economics, or other programs are being less than forthright in their rationalizations.

Although the net effect of Carlson's new award pricing is positive, the company's communications of the changes was much less consumer-friendly. Giving program members just a few days' advance notice to book at the current award rates, before the increases take effect, is a glaring disservice.

As always with upcoming price rises, Club Carlson members should review the list of changes and book award nights at current prices before increases take effect on May 1. And hurry!

This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.

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