Back in May, I learned that the Carlson hotel chain was having a Big Night Giveaway promotion, basically a buy one, get one kind of thing. I signed up online to participate in each promotion of the three hotel chains (Radisson-50,000 points, Country Inn & Suites-44,000 points, Park Inn-44,000 points). Staying one night at each hotel would result in a total of 138,000 Club Carlson points, which could be redeemed worldwide.
Plus, I get 20 points per dollar on the room cost, 1,000 extra points for booking online, a 2,000-point “Welcome Next Stay” bonus and I previously got a 4,500 signup bonus from E-rewards (sign-up by invite only). So all told I should end up with at least 150,000 points.
Technically, the promotions are still available; however each hotel is only offering 15,000 points instead of 44,000 and 50,000. If you’ve got a trip coming up and one of these hotels work for you, I’d obviously sign up for the smaller bonus, but it’s no longer worth doing a mattress run.
Links to the promos are as follows
*ParkPlaza also just announced a 50,000 point promotion, but there is only one in the U.S. (Minneapolis), so I didn’t sign up for it.
The three nights at the hotels I’ve selected in the Dallas area will run me about $230 (this helped to meet myspend on the Chase Sapphire Preferred as well). I was able to get each room through a 25 or 30 percent off promo.
Carlson hotels start at 9,000 points per night and go all the way up to 50,000 points. I plan to redeem some of the points for a night or two at a fancy Radisson Blu in Spain or Park Plaza in London, so I thought it was definitely worth an outlay of $230 to get rooms that cost way more than that.
My first stay for this promotion was at the Park Inn near Dallas Love Field for 44,000 points. I felt fortunate to have a Park Inn nearby, since there are only 10 of them in the United States.
I checked in about 11 p.m. on a Friday night. I had read the Trip Advisor reviews of this hotel and wasn’t planning on it being too nice. I had packed a bag to stay overnight, but if it was gross or creepy, I’ve would’ve turned around and went right back home after checking in.
My room was on the second floor. As I opened the door, I first noticed the light was on and there were towels and garbage in the vanity area immediately next to the door. I peered inside and didn’t see anyone, but the room had clearly been recently occupied. The bed was unmade and there were other pieces of trash strewn about.
I headed back downstairs and told the front desk clerk of the room’s condition. She said someone must have switched rooms and this was the second time that had happened that night. She gave me a free breakfast voucher for my troubles and reassigned me to a room on the 11th floor.
The hallways were dark (borderline creepy), but the room itself was clean. The room certainly showed its age with peeling wallpaper. The lights were not easily accessible upon walking into the dark room. The pillows were also a bit too soft for my tastes. The air conditioner was extremely loud; it drowned out the TV every time it came on. The hotel’s amenities included an airport shuttle and free Wi-Fi.
|King size Sleep Number bed with a complementary package of gummy bears, chair with ottoman|
|old tube TV, mini-fridge and microwave|
|The bath area was small, but serviceable.|
|I had a view of the pool from one window.|
|I got a nice view of the sunrise over IH-35 from the other window.|
I ordered my free breakfast to-go the next morning and headed out around 7 a.m. They put my bill under the door with a note that I didn’t have to check out at the front desk, just leave my keys on the nightstand. I did call the front desk to let them I was checking out though just in case. Points posted the following Tuesday.