Friday, October 12, 2012

Hold your horses! Radisson offers one free night certificate for one paid night, must book by Oct. 31

    Okay, I said in my previous post I had only one word for travel and that word was Marriott. Well, add one more word to that list for one stay: Radisson.
    Club Carlson is offering a 1-for-1 offer for stays at Radisson hotels booked by Oct. 31 and completed by Dec. 31. The free night can be used at any Radisson or Radisson Blu in the United States, Canada or the Caribbean and expires after one year. So before you start booking those Marriott stays you do need to book one night at a Radisson!
    You must be a Club Carlson member. To sign up for this promotion click here.
    Club Carlson has been offering some pretty good promotions. Earlier this year they offered 50,000 points for a single stay at Country Inn & Suites and another 50,000 points for a single stay at any Radisson.  50,000 points is enough for a free night at virtually any Radisson in the world, and is worth anywhere from $200 to as much as $500, depending on where you decide to land. Jinny and I both took advantage of this offer, and I took advantage of another offer for 25,000 points. So for very little spend we have roughly 250,000 Club Carlson points between us. Hopefully we'll both be able to take advantage of this most-recent offer so that we'll have an embarrassment of Club Carlson riches.
    One of the reasons hotel chains offer these deals is to try to reel in new customers. To earn her bonus Jinny stayed at the New Orleans Country Inn & Suites on Magazine Street, which is really more of a boutique hotel than a run-of-the-mill Country Inn, and I think it is her favorite New Orleans hotel. She may be a Hilton Diamond and  Marriott Silver, but this is where she would rather stay in New Orleans. It's frequently booked, though.
    I would describe most of the other Country Inn & Suites as a notch above a Hampton Inn and a notch below a Hilton Garden Inn. I like them.

    Be aware that Country Inn & Suites is offering a free-night certificate for two-night stays Oct. 1 through Nov. 29. To book this click on the "Packages" tab when booking Sunday-Thursday stays. The certificates don't have a long shelf life though; they are only good Dec. 15, 2012 through Feb. 15, 2013, and you apparently have to register for the certificate after your stay. So all in all this offer isn't anywhere as good as the Marriott MegaBonus, but still worth a look for those who know they will get all their MegaBonus free nights.

    If you are going to take advantage of these Club Carlson offers, you might as well sign up for some extra bonus points. Click here to sign up for a bonus of up to 6,000 points per night for stays through Dec. 31.

    Jinny has requalified for HHonors Diamond for this year, and certainly there are some great benefits to the HHonors program for elites. But when it comes to bonuses -- things offered above and beyond the regular point earnings -- HHonors sometimes comes up short. For the Fourth Quarter HHonors is offering 1,000 bonus points per night; it takes 50,000 points to get a top Hilton room.
    A quick comparison of some various bonus offerings:
Radisson: Stay one night, get one free night certificate, maximum of one.
Marriott: Megabonus, stay twice, get free night certificate, Cat 1-4, maximum of three.
Country Inn & Suites: Complete a two-night stay Sunday through Thursday, get quick expiration free night certificate (plus earn generous bonus points!).
 Hilton: Stay 50 nights, get enough points for one night at a top Hilton.
    Needless to say, Hilton is at the bottom of Jinny's list until next year.

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