The $60 annual fee for my Club Carlson Business Visa credit card issued by US Bank appeared on my statement, so it was time to decide — should I keep it or not (I always start singing Should I Stay or Should I go, by the Clash, at these moments).
There have been many devaluations of the Club Carlson product recently, most notably, the removal of the “last night free” on an award booking, and a huge increase in the amount of points for an award redemption. These devaluations make the Credit Card less valuable.
But the credit card still has certain benefits for cardholders who continue to use Club Carlson hotels, most notably, 40,000 points on renewal and gold elite status. In 2015, I stayed at four Radisson hotels – in Prague, Lima and Capetown.
I called US Bank a few weeks ago, and spoke to a supervisor. At that time, despite my complaint about devaluation, all I was offered was an additional paltry 2,500 points. I said I’d think about it.
I still have a number of stays this year, so I initially thought maybe I would renew the card. Ivan (Saianel) and Miles Whip and I were pondering the issue this morning on Twitter. I mentioned that I might renew because I wanted to keep my Gold Elite status, at least for this year since I have a number of upcoming Radisson Blu stays in Europe planned. Miles Whip said “but can’t you just status match?” I hadn’t thought of that, so I phoned Club Carlson.
I asked the agent if the hotel chain does status matches. The answer: Yes, Club Carlson will status match. However, the highest it will go is Gold Elite, the status I already have. Still it is good information. All you folks with gold and higher status at other hotel chains, you should status match to Gold Elite at Club Carlson. It doesn’t get you breakfast, but it might get you a room upgrade.
So, I could cancel the card if I wanted, and then get a status match. I could even cancel then apply for a personal Club Carlson card, but this seemed like a lot of work and not necessarily worth the credit card pull. I was still in my dilemma. Should I stay or should I go now? This indecision’s killing me.
I ultimately decided that I would pay, but not without another retention call to US Bank.
I first spoke to Auburn, who was sweet but vapid. The phone went silent when I spoke of devaluation and my unhappiness with some of the changes to the card and the Club Carlson program. I promptly asked to speak with a supervisor.
Enter Jessica. Jessica had heard it all before and wasn’t going to hear any of this from me. She said there is nothing she could offer – the 40,000 points on renewal is all. Period. End of story. I tried a few more angles and a somersault or two, to no avail. When I told her I already received a 2,500 offer, she then put me on hold, and came back. She said, you received a free night last year, and 2,500 points. Then she said this “I am noting your dissatisfaction, and will put 7,500 points on your account for your dissatisfaction, but next year you will get nothing.” (I think dissatisfaction is a term of art at US Bank). She reiterated, this was solely because of my dissatisfaction.
7,500 points is great! Thank you Jessica.
(note: names may be fictitious)