Hotel loyalty program gets revamp

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The Independent Travel

International hotel chain Carlson is to relaunch its loyalty club with new rewards and perks for guests.

The firm announced February 14 that Club Carlson will replace its old Goldpoints Plus program from March 31 as it aims to compete with similar programs such as InterContinental's Priority Club and Hilton's HHonors.

Members will be able to redeem their points at an expanded number of Carlson properties, which includes Radisson, Country Inns & Suites and Park Inn hotels, as well as 80 Club Med resorts for members that join in the US and Canada and Carlson Wagonlit vacations for US members.

Carlson says that the program has no blackout dates for redeeming free stays and that its program has been designed to be one of the most rewarding - five nights in the Radisson Hotel Los Angeles Westside can earn you a night at the Park Inn Prague, for example.

An app with functionalities that include points redemption, destination guides, GPS maps and express booking, will be launched for iPhone and Android on March 31.

Brian Kelly, who blogs about frequent traveler programs at his website ThePointsGuy, says Carlson's new program could give the brand a much-needed infusion of life.

"My biggest problem with Carlson is the lack of 'aspiration' properties - properties [where] I look forward to redeeming my hard earned points," he told Relaxnews, "Radissons are hardly my idea of a retreat from the rigors of corporate travel."

"Linking up with Club Med and Carlson Wagonlit Vacations, if they can offer reasonable redemption opportunities, could be very interesting."

Carlson says that it plans to have 10 million Club Carlson members by 2013 - double what it had last year but still far less than competing programs.

InterContinental's Priority Club, the world's largest hotel loyalty program, has some 56 million members globally, Marriott Rewards has 34 million and Hilton HHonors is thought to have around 25 million members.