Normally it is a bad deal to buy miles and points. This is often even true when airlines or hotels have sales that offer bonus points when purchasing points. With that being said it is possible to buy airline miles on sale and redeem them for tickets cheaper than it would be just by purchasing the ticket outright. Case in point: purchasing Club Carlson gold points and redeeming them for two night stays to get one free bonus night.
This essentially doubles the value of gold points. One of the biggest benefits of the US Bank Club Carlson Visa are the free bonus award nights when points are redeemed for two or more nights–so to be able to do this you will need the card.
By leveraging the bonus award night you can buy Club Carlson gold points for 0.7 cents and redeem them for at least a cent per point. So you can actually buy points and book a hotel stay cheaper than you can outright pay for the stay. However, the point earning opportunity of paying for that room has to be taken into consideration. You will only earn 5 points per dollar when purchasing points with the Club Carlson Visa.
Lets see how the numbers break down:
Club Carlson allows you to purchase up to 40,000 gold points per year. At 0.7 cents per point 40,000 points will cost you $280. You will earn an additional 1400 points from using the Club Carlson Visa, rounding out the total to 41,400 points.
Since Club Carlson’s top-tier ‘aspirational’ properties, such as a Radisson Blu in Europe, requires 50,000 points to book an award night, you cannot purchase enough points on one account for even one free night.
A benefit is that you can transfer points for free between Club Carlson accounts. Another plus is that you can even gift points to other people’s accounts using your credit card. So by using a different account (friend or spouse) you can purchase an additional amount of points at 7 cents per point to have enough for your award stay.
Say you buy another 9,000 points for $63 using a different account– transfer them to your account for free. Now you have spent a total of $343 and have bought and earned 50715 gold points.
So what can you get with 50,715 gold points?
First off, this is only a good deal if you have the US Bank Visa because you earn the additional points and have the exclusive benefit of the bonus award nights. When you redeem gold points for 2 or more consecutive award nights, your last night is free.
Since you paid 0.67 cents per gold point you obviously want to redeem them for more value. Rooms at some top-tier Radisson Blu properties in Europe run $400+ a night and will cost you 50,000 gold points for a two night redemption meaning you can redeem your gold points for around 1.6 cents per point.
For example the Radisson Blu Ambassador Hotel, Paris Opera has a lowest nightly rate of $393 in August. Granted you may not go out and pay for a room this expensive (why would you when you have so many miles and points!), but even if you purchase gold points for this stay you are getting a 56% discount from the average nightly rate in June.
The Bottom Line
Club Carlson sometimes runs a 50% bonus–33% off–sale that would certainly be exploitable. Even with the normal rate of 0.7 cents per point you can redeem them for more than twice the value paid by taking advantage of the bonus award nights at a top-tier hotel. With that being said, I wouldn’t buy and hold Club Carlson points. I would buy them with a specific redemption in mind. You should expect to get at least 1 cent or more of value from the points that you buy for 0.7 cents.